Monday, Hurricane Sandy devastated the New Jersey shoreline as well as much of the East Coast. And while rebuilding and reclamation projects are underway from Washington DC to Boston, former Clawson Patch Editor Nicquel Terry is in the middle of it all.
The Michigan native took a job with the Asbury Park Press this summer and had a front row seat to Sandy this past week.
“I survived it,” said Terry, who had never experienced a hurricane before. “It’s been a crazy last few days. I live in Toms River, New Jersey but our office is actually in Neptune, which is north of here.”
The storm hit the shore residents hard but Terry was somewhat protected living inland. She lost power but her apartment complex was spared from the harsh damage dealt out by the tropical storm.
“My neighborhood had no flooding but there was a lot of trees down and of course the power was out, but thankfully my apartment complex was OK and we didn’t have any major damage,” she said.
Terry was far enough out of the major part of the storm’s path that her area was not told to evacuate. As this was her first taste of hurricane weather, she rode out the storm with a friend rather than experience it alone.
“Also, I was scared to drive home that night,” she said. “It was extremely windy and I had to work. I live 25 to 30 minutes from the office.”
While driving to work on Monday morning, she could actually feel her car “was competing with the wind.”
“I was doing live shots from the newsroom and you could see the trees moving and it was starting to rain. I’d never experienced a hurricane so I didn’t know what to expect,” she said.
The state experienced Hurricane Irene last year but it was not comparable to Sandy in damage.
“They (weather experts) told us before we even came that it was gong to be bad,” she said. “They said it was going to be something we’ve never seen.”
Since moving to New Jersey, the Michigan State University grad has had to adapt to driving differences and the cost of living.
“There are a lot of differences. One thing I was not used to was having to pay for tolls. In Michigan you can drive anywhere but here you have to pay tolls to use the parkways,” she said. “And, I don’t like to drive into New York City so I take the train.”
Terry's new community is a “moving one," she said.
“Here in the fall and winter, it’s kind of calm. People kind of hibernate but in the summer the Jersey Shore is the heart of this area. People have memories here and they are known for the beautiful beaches here. It’s one of the things that attracted me – the boardwalks and restaurants. It just breaks my heart to see all the devastation that has occurred up and down the Jersey Shore.”
Terry does miss Michigan.
"Michigan is my home. I do miss living in an area that I’m familiar with. I’m still trying to adjust, but I do like it here and I love my job. It’s been a great adventure so far.”
And don’t worry, you can take the girl out of Michigan but you can’t take the Michigan out of the girl.
“I have an allegiance to Detroit – to the Tigers, Pistons and Lions. I’m still a Detroit sports fan,” she said.
Here is a link to one of Terry's recent post storm stories: http://www.app.com/viewart/20121101/NJNEWS/311010024/nj-sandy-heroes.
PHOTOS: Cleaning Up Devastation in Toms River