At least 121 people have perished due to Superstorm Sandy, a
hurricane that ravaged the U.S. coast from Florida to Maine. Sandy ranks as one
of the most costly storms to have reached the American coastline—an estimated
$50 billion in damages— with much of the destruction happening in the
Kate Worzala, a sophomore University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
student working on a master’s degree in English education, was in New York City
on a Continuing Education trip to see Broadway shows with nineteen other
Worzala said that for the majority of the trip the weather was
sunny and nice but that it quickly changed the day the storm hit.
“Sunday, when you walked out the door, it was probably fifteen to
twenty degrees colder than it had been the other days, and the sky was dark,
like a deep-blue dark.
It was very windy, kind of like a harsh cold wind that
was all over. Saturday was kind of unofficial Halloween, and Sunday just felt
Saturday night in Times Square compared to Sunday in Times
Square was a huge difference,” Worzala said.
The group was able to see the effects of the impending storm
firsthand. Announcements notified New Yorkers of the closing of all public
transportation, a rare event for a city where 54 percent of the population
commutes to work, the majority of which utilize the vast subway system.
Worzala said that there was a mixture in opinion from New Yorkers
about just how the hurricane would affect the city. Many of the events around
the city continued right up until the storm hit, including a religious
procession through the streets at 4 p.m. when the weather was beginning to
“Before we left, we didn’t want to have to stop to eat so I went
to a Rite Aid, which is basically like a Walgreens, but the snacks and the
bottled water had been ransacked, and there were four lines of people, almost
like a holiday shopping crowd of people trying to get stocked up to leave. I
heard someone in front of me say, ‘I’m just going to go home and get tucked in
and wait out the storm,’ and another person behind me say, ‘You think we had
never heard a storm here the way people are reacting,’ so it was kind of
interesting to hear how people were being blasé about it,” Worzala said.
Worzala’s group was scheduled to leave the afternoon Sandy hit but
quickly realized that the flight home would be canceled due to the pounding
wind and rain. The group then chose to rent cars and drive home to Wisconsin.
“The wind was definitely picking up, and the sky was a gray blue.
I don’t think I saw the sun that day. The rental car place was a mess with
people because everyone’s flights had been canceled, and everyone was trying to
get out before the wind picked up,” Worzala said.
Worzala said that it began to rain heavily as they reached New
Jersey and that the downpour and heavy winds continued until the group reached
“What we were driving away from was pretty nasty,” Worzala said.
Worzala stressed the importance of Professor Patricia Kluetz, the
UWSP faculty member who led the trip, in helping the group escape the city
was aces. She was very cool and calm. She was very efficient. She was a good
captain of the ship,” Worzala said. “It was a great trip. I hope they do it
again under better circumstances.”