Frankenstorm, 100-year storm, devastating storm—whatever words you use, Hurricane Sandy beat down the lake communities with heavy winds that downed trees and power lines and left virtually the entire lake area without power. While the storm was at its height on Monday and Tuesday, now begins the long road to cleaning up and bringing a sense of normalcy back to the lake.
That effort could take some time, however, as nearly 25,000 JCP&L users were still without power around the lake as of Thursday at 5 p.m., according to the company’s outage map. The standard response to questions regarding time frame for restoration is 7-10 days, due to the widespread damage.
In the meantime, towns are helping residents wherever possible. Below is a list of what is happening and where you can go in your town if you’ve been affected by the storm.
Jefferson: Charging stations/warming centers are open in two locations from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. You can go to the Senior Center on Schoolhouse Road in Oak Ridge or the firehouse on Rt. 15 in Lake Hopatcong to charge your electronic equipment and warm up. Cold water is also available, but you must bring containers to carry it. Showers will be available at Mahlon Dickerson Reservation starting at 9 a.m. on Friday. Mickey DeLoreto, captain, FD #2 Deputy OEM Coordinator, said water is also available at the Prospect Pt. Road substation. Within 24 hours of opening the FD #2 building, almost 200 people signed in to either warm up or charge their cell phones or both. The local C.E.R.T. volunteers are manning both the senior center and the firehouse.
Hopatcong: Hopatcong High School is open 24 hours a day as an official Red Cross shelter until power is back up in the borough. There is a shower area, hot food and cots for overnight stays. Pets are welcome as long as they are in crates and they will be housed separate from the humans.
Mt. Arlington: Residents can warm up and charge their electronics during the day at the Civic Center next to the police station on Howard Boulevard.
Roxbury: While there is no specific shelter set up in the township, residents may go to the shelter at Mennen Arena on East Hanover Ave. in Morristown. However, according to the county Office of Emergency Management, this is really only for those who absolutely cannot stay in their homes.
“Everyone is coping and they’ll have to cope for a while because of the immensity of the disaster. Resources are spread thin,” said Hopatcong Mayor Sylvia Petillo. “We are trying to help residents by keeping the high school open 24 hours. There are showers and food and a place to sleep and a place for pets, as long as their crated. JCP&L is in Hopatcong and assessing the damage. They are working with DPW to remove wires from trees to get the roads open. There are two numbers the residents need to have. For emergencies call 973-810-8346 and if they have damage to their homes call FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA.”
Hopatcong C.A.D. teacher Mike Juskus thought he would stay in his classroom just to get away from his cold house.
“I thought I would stay in my room overnight, perhaps with my dogs—my wife, myself and my four dogs. But if the dogs can’t be with us we might not stay,” said Juskus.
Obtaining gas for vehicles and generators has also been tricky, as many stations are either out of gas or have no power to pump it. This has caused long lines and frayed tempers. Town officials are universally recommending that residents stay home as much as possible, both to save gas and avoid a close encounter with a downed tree or wire.
A house on Northwestern in Hopatcong has a very large tree across the roof and into the attic.
Wires are dangling in the middle of the road just before River Styx Bridge in Hopatcong.
River Styx Road in Hopatcong is blocked by two large pine trees resting across the road.
A Hudson Ave. house near Crescent Road Beach, in Hopatcong, had the front part of the house ripped off by a fallen tree.
Hopatcong High School is now home to many township families looking for a place to get warm, take a shower and rest.
Elizabeth Laulerhahn, right, stakes a claim for herself and her husband inside Hopatcong High School gym.
Veronica Blewitt, second from left, oversees Hopatcong Borough C.E.R.T. volunteers helping serve hot food at Hopatcong High School.
Isabella Calbo, 14 months, has a place to be warm and run around at Hopatcong High School.
Catherine O'Regan from Lake Shawnee, Mary Ann Buglino from Lake Shawnee, Amy Baysa from Lake Forest and Lisa Braner from Lake Shawnee spend some time at Jefferson Twp. Fire Company #2 getting warm and charging their cell phones.
Jeanne Pockel from Lake Shawnee uses her laptop to pay bills. She is taking advantage of the warm room and electricity at the Jefferson Twp. Fire Company #2 building.
Jessica Marino from Lake Hopatcong signs in at the Jefferson Twp. Fire Company #2 warming center.
Jessica Marino, right, with members of her family, using the Jefferson Twp. Fire Company #2 warming station to recharge their cell phones and to warm up a bit.
James and Brian Lenihan get to watch TV at the Jefferson Twp. Fire Company #2 warming station.
Pennsylvania Ave. in Lake Hopatcong.
A house on Schwarz Ave. in Lake Hopatcong.
A crew from Superior Landscaping removes a tree from on top of a house on Northwood Road in Hopatcong.
A very large tree destroyed a garage at a house on Northwood Road in Hopatcong.
Two residents on Pitney Road in Hopatcong clear a large tree from the road.