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Florida Struggles to Recover from Hurricane Sandy

More than a week has passed since Hurricane Sandy swept the eastern cost of the United States, but people are still reeling from the damages caused by the excessive winds, heavy rainfall, and mass flooding. Florida was among one of the first States to bear the brunt of the storm, which made landfall on October 29. By that point, Sandy had evolved into a massive cyclone with a wind field over 500 miles in diameter.

After making its way through much of the east coast of the United States, Hurricane Sandy swept the coasts of Florida, affecting people in Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Broward, Moore, Monroe, and Berkshire Counties. Most of the damage in Florida was caused by the toppling of trees and telephone poles, sources indicate. One Florida resident had an unsettling experience when the strong winds snapped a large in her front yard, which landed on her car. The spruce tree, estimated to be 70 feet tall, luckily hurt no one but the car.

“It was a healthy tree. It’s not like it was dead,” the woman said. She told reporters that she had parked the car in a different place than usual because she was afraid of flooding. The car now appears to be totaled, reports say, and the woman is filing a statement with her insurance company to have it repaired or replaced. Despite losing her car, the woman says she is thankful. “The tree could have hit the house. It could have hit me and my dog.”

Similar events occurred throughout Florida during the storm. Reports say 4,219 people were left without power in Berkshire County, and 784 were without power in North County. Felled telephone poles were a leading culprit of such power outages. A spokesperson from the National Guard said the damages are “widespread” and that repairing the power outages is going to be a “lengthy” problem.

Before hitting Florida, Hurricane Sandy barreled through the Caribbean, striking Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Cuba. The storm was the largest in the region in over two decades. Hundreds were left without power during the storm in those areas as well, and as many as 30 people were killed. In Jamaica, the storm killed one man when high winds pushed a large rock into his home. The storm also claimed the life of a woman in Haiti as she attempted to ford a waterway. Heavy rains aggravated the turbulent waters, sweeping the woman away as she crossed. Flooding caused by the storm also displaced local wildlife, including crocodiles.

As the storm swept through the lower portions of the Caribbean, official recognized the threat and placed certain parts of Florida under a state of emergency. At least one Florida ship, the Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship, was caught up in the storm. On October 26, the ship was out in the waters near Miami, loaded with passengers, when it began to experience turbulent waves and wind caused by the hurricane. Violent waves caused the ship to rock violently, sending furniture in cabins and lobbies from one end of the room to the other. How much damage the ship sustained during that episode is unknown. So far, no one appears to have been seriously injured in that incident.

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