The Great Gust of 2010

Gather ’round and let old man Prime tell you the tale of the Great Gust of Wind of 2010!

I was deep in my studies at the time on that day of days, September 16th around 6:00pm. Sealed away in my micro fortress of solitude, a practice room in the music building working on my piano skills. I glanced down at my watch and noticed that I had just about enough time to pack up my study materials and walk across campus to my French class. I stepped outside and froze dead in my tracks. The pathway leading to my next class was obliterated by felled trees. Looking slowly around me it became clear that it was going to be easier to count the trees that still stood than to count those that now lay in pieces on the ground.

It was so quiet outside. I knew that this was storm damage. The buildings around me seemed unharmed so it had to be the wind that caused this destruction. I am from California and damage of this magnitude out there tends to be from earthquakes, but this was something I had never seen before.

A group of fellow students stood nearby and were talking in hushed voices, as though being loud and boisterous might draw the unwanted attention of the storm back to campus. They took note of me and I could only mutter at them, “Did this really just happen?”

I slowly picked my way to French class, unsure that there would even be any students there. As I navigated my way through the wreckage the magnitude of destruction came into greater focus. I saw sixty-some-odd year old trees that had fallen and destroyed parked cars. I saw the child development playground half buried under fallen trees and debris. I thanked God that there were no little kids playing in there at the time. The size of some of the branches in there would have easily crushed five strong men, let alone a few little kids.

Later in the evening I found myself having to walk to down town Flushing. I have walked there before on a more pleasant day for the exercise and that took about forty-five minutes. This was much different. I was weaving my way around fallen trees, crushed cars, damaged store fronts, and downed power lines. An endless dissonant chorus of car horns assaulted my ears as hundreds of motorists trapped on the impassable roads chose to express their frustration in this annoyingly typical New Yorker pastime.  It took two hours to walk to the 7 train and then almost another two  hours to get the rest of the way home.

Here  is a nice look at a small amount of the damage. This video was taken shortly after the storm by a student I don’t know, but my thanks to him for posting it.  This footage is taken mostly in the main quad across campus from where I was at the time, and the damage you see seems to be just a little less intense than the damage near the music building, but that is just my opinion.

What was your storm experience like?


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