Norwalk native's Connecticut home in Hurricane Sandy's path

Area resident assisting Red Cross relief effort in New Jersey.
Aaron Krause
Oct 29, 2012

The hurricane that forecasters have dubbed "Frankenstorm" hasn't scared off Norwalk native and Connecticut resident Amy Recalde and her husband, Oscar.

They have stocked up on food, their flashlights and portables are charged up and if they fail to work, the Recaldes have chargers in their car.

The Recaldes don't have to worry about going to work, either. They operate their advertising agency out of their two-story ranch hone in Fairfield, on a big hill about five miles from Long Island Sound and about an hour from New York City. At least as of Monday afternoon, Amy said residents had access to roads, although highways were shut down.

Amy, a 1976 Norwalk High School graduate, said Monday afternoon she is concerned about the multiple trees on her and her husband's property falling.

"My husband's never nervous," she said.

"You try not to buy into the fear," he said.

However, he admitted that a statement from Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy was "quite a sobering statement."

Malloy had warned that Hurricane Sandy could be "catastrophic" in his state.

Sandy, a category 1 Hurricane with winds about 75 mph, caused more than 60 deaths in the Caribbean before churning northward and threatening the east coast. The thousand-mile wide Sandy has caused the closing of New York City bridges, shut down public transportation, blown out windows, closed schools and drenched roadways.

Federal government officers were expected to be closed Tuesday due to the storm. As of late Monday afternoon, the hurricane had knocked out the power to more than 765,000 utility customers in 10 states, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine and Washington D.C. The center of the storm was moving toward Cape May, N.J. at 4 p.m. Monday.

Amy Recalde said she and her husband lost power for about a half hour Monday afternoon. Local authorities were expecting about 70 percent of that area's customers to lose power, she said.

Oscar said all indicators showed a massive surge would inundate communities near where he and his wife live. He said he is texting neighbors to keep abreast on power outages and other occurrences.

While the Recaldes are staying home, others about an hour a way either decided to evacuate or were told to.

Eileen Guy, a volunteer with the Firelands chapter of the American Red Cross, is with them at a shelter at a high school in Toms River, N.J., between New York City and Atlantic City.

Guy, of Sandusky, arrived Saturday and teamed with a professional photographer to document Red Cross disaster service efforts.

"Our main focus at the moment is getting people in safe places and making sure they have food and water," Guy said.

Guy said on Monday, the shelter housed about 320 evacuees and a Red Cross staff of 10.

People coming in were "drenched," she said.

"What I'm seeing now is fewer and fewer people arriving at the shelter because the conditions on the road are so bad," Guy said.

She said it took her about two hours to drive to the shelter.

"It's just getting to the point where it's not safe to be on the roads," Guy said. She added county officials where she is at closed a number of roads.

Guy said Red Cross officials' first priority is to make sure the evacuees are safe. For the time being, they will have access to three meals a day and shelter.

Ron Rude, executive director of the Firelands chapter of the American Red Cross, said he expects more volunteers from the area by mid week. There are several volunteers on a waiting list who wish to travel to hard-hit areas and help. On Monday, Rude said the problem was the Red Cross would have a hard time getting volunteers to those areas.

Rude said locally, if conditions become hazardous, shelter agreements are in place and the Red Cross "has a lot of good volunteers."

"Hopefully, we will be OK," Rude said.