Horsham residents scared by storm Sandy

People from Horsham have told of their experiences of storm Sandy, which wreaked havoc in the North East of the United States.

At least 64 people died in the US and a similar number in the Caribbean as winds ripped through the region, New York’s subway (underground) suffered the worst damage in its 108-year history and a record storm surge of 14ft (4.2m) was recorded in central Manhattan. The storm made landfall in New Jersey on Monday night before also causing death, destruction and disruption in several other states.

Horsham couple Andy and Katy Hutt this week stayed in a hotel in Newark, New Jersey, with sons Ollie, 11, and Will, eight, who attend The Forest School and Kingslea Primary School. The Hutts were joined by Trevor and Janet White and their daughters Erin, 14, and Anna, 11, both pupils at Millais School, who were also expecting to enjoy the sights of New York during a memorable half-term holiday.

Aircraft engineer Mr Hutt, a former chairman of the PTA at Kingslea Primary, told today: “You could feel the hotel building move in the wind and the windows wobbling. It was a bit scary and the kids were worried. I’ve never seen a storm like it.

“It was absolutely horrendous, an experience I never want to go through again. Eventually the power went off and we saw bits of the city slowly dying. Some of the taxi drivers are charging $100 to travel about 15 miles from Newark to Manhattan.

“We’re hoping to get out of the country tonight. BA is laying on an extra flight. We get evicted from the hotel at 12. There are no hotel rooms for 50 miles, so if we don’t fly tonight, we will be sleeping at the airport.”

Victoria Thompson-Hill, who attended Tanbridge House School and Collyer’s, was with a university friend visiting another friend who lives and works in New York.

The 32-year-old lawyer, whose parents still live in Ashleigh Road, told yesterday: “The build-up to the storm was slightly scary, as the whole city effectively shut down. The subways are still shut, and most shops are closed and have lots of sandbags outside. We are only a few blocks away from the fallen crane and all roads around there are shut.

“We have actually been very lucky here, as our hotel is in a part of Manhattan which wasn’t too badly affected by the storm. We had power throughout and saw no flooding. However, the friend who we came to visit lives in Lower Manhattan and hasn’t had power or water since Monday night.

“I was one of the lucky ones to get a new flight out of New York within a few days of my original flight. I was supposed to fly last night (Tuesday) and hopefully I will fly on Friday night. Others are having to wait up to a week to fly back. We are staying in our hotel, but the insurance is covering only a small part of the extra costs, so the whole experience will be relatively expensive. They are paying up to £150 in total, which clearly will not cover three days in a New York hotel.

“The New Yorkers have been troopers about the whole thing and have been trying to get the city up and running as soon as possible.”

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