VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The people living here in the Hampton Roads Region hoped they might make it all the way through hurricane season without encountering a major storm.
Hurricane Sandy, however, had different ideas — for here and for the rest of the East Coast.
As tons of people listened, watched and read reports about the path of this hurricane, there was a mix of responses from those who are — and will be — affected by the storm.
Some quickly packed up their items and left town. Others headed to the store to stock up on water, food, batteries, gas and other items they felt they would need if Sandy brought the impact it would reportedly bring. Still others ignored the reports altogether.
Now that Hurricane Sandy has moved up the East Coast and is now making its presence felt in New York and New Jersey, the citizens of Virginia Beach and surrounding areas are dealing with the aftermath. One of the things this area knows is that when a storm like this comes and goes, it does not just go away.
It may not have been brought the strongest winds or even the hardest rain, but what it has brought is a lot of water. No matter where you go, you will eventually be turning around as "High Water" signs seem to be a part of the landscape. Although many stayed home due to widespread work closures, some that did venture out.
What they found was lots and lots of water. There seemed to be standing water everywhere, which was quite dangerous if a driver did not notice it prior to hitting it a high rate of speed. Some saw their yards disappear and others saw regularly traveled roads completely flooded.
There were a number of unfortunate drivers who tried their luck in making it through some of these flooded areas but got stuck. Often, first responders and other professionals were able to help them.
Although Hurricane Sandy may have made its way up the East Coast, there is no doubt the Hampton Roads Region will be feeling its effects for a long time. The amount of water that has fallen and continues to fall is causing widespread flooding. This flooding could have devastating impacts on homes, business, roads and vehicles.
And there are continual wind gusts and the rain has yet to stop, which means that people are going to have to wait a little longer to really start any type of serious clean-up efforts.
And at this stage, there is no way to definitively if other dangers have subsided. There have been a number of updates from both local, state and national government leaders and the way that things have shaped up, people here will continue to receive those updates for the next couple days.
One thing is for sure: No matter how much hype any storm gets, those that prepare early seem to not panic, which in turn actually helps the community as a whole. When people do start to act in ways that cause panic, more problems arise and when that happens, it really does cause a mess.
To this point, it seems some of the predicted major disasters haven't unfolded. With that said, the storm has undoubtedly created lots of damage and people will continue to hunker down and hope for the best.
Seth Saunders is currently branch president of the Pembroke Branch (Spanish) and President of the Pink Shoe Hero Foundation. Seth has been married 16 years to his amazing wife Amber and is the proud father of three wonderful sons.