I made it through that night and… two more quakes? Aftershocks? Who knows? I was just trying to get through to the morning. Phones were out; Internet down; Sirens everywhere; No power. But the closer it got to dawn of the 2nd the less noise there was. The sirens fell off. It began to snow at first, but as dawn started the rain came hard, and then the lightning. A thunder and lightning storm in the middle of winter!
It was spooky, and when morning finally came it didn’t make sense at all. Almost everything I could see in every direction was flattened. The streets had cracked open and had become rivers. The temperature was higher than it should have been. But that didn’t last.
By noon the rain stopped, and I kept expecting to see someone. Emergency workers… Cops… Power Company… Somebody. Even a neighbor. But I saw no one at all that day.
I guess as serious as it was, I wasn’t taking it seriously. At least not that first day. I was still thinking rescue, help, it’s on the way. This is the most powerful country in the entire world. Help is coming. So I sat on my ass and drank beer and ate bologna sandwiches and chips, staring out at the street from my front porch, which was now perched on the edge of a twenty foot rain gully.
Just before dark the real quake hit. It had to have been stronger than the previous ones. It felt like it anyway.
I barely jumped off the porch before it fell into the gully. Scared the hell out of me. It wasn’t long after that when darkness settled in and I knew I was in trouble. Something in the whole structure of the house was damaged. Every aftershock made it dance, sway around me. It was also now a two foot drop down to the ground since my porch was gone. And I didn’t dare leave because I had no idea what it was like outside. No Streetlights. No Moon. No starlight. No starlight, none! Then the storms came back, and the air turned back to cold.
Every time the lightning flashed I could see the street, or what had been the street. There was no more street, not really. It was a river – wide, and it looked pretty deep too. All of the opposite side of the street was gone now. No houses, cars, telephone poles, satellite dishes. Nothing. It seemed like the entire side of the street had washed away right down to the river. The water roared past me – just a few feet from where my porch had been – flattened out, and then turned into rapids breaking away to crash into the Hudson river further down the hill. That was when I realized it wasn’t just the other side of the street that was gone. The other two blocks that had been between me and the river were also gone.
Later on the rain turned back to snow, but the lightning kept up. Lightning in a snow storm. How crazy is that? By the morning of March 4th, the river running past my house was down to a trickle, but the snow was piling up. Down the hill the Hudson was over her banks. There was nothing else to see, a few solitary houses still standing as my own was. But there was no one around anywhere. Even Manhattan, outlined against the gray sky, seemed deserted. No towers with their blinking lights. No noise. Nothing. That’s when I got into the hard stuff.