Recent Seabury Hall graduate Gregory Saydah watched from his grandparents' beachfront Connecticut home as large waves tumbled over their 12-foot high seawall and spilled water into their yard Monday night, the effects of a powerful storm hitting the East Coast.
"I'm certainly concerned about the storm," he said via email and cellphone Monday. "My grandparents live on Long Island Sound in Connecticut. . . . They have a beach and a 12-foot seawall, but the level of the water has risen to about 2 or 3 feet below the top and the waves are crashing over, filling the yard with water," he wrote.
The Kula resident said he went to visit his grandparents in Connecticut over the weekend but couldn't get back to college at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., because the train station had closed.
New York University freshman and Kula resident Hoku Krueger took this picture of a fallen tree just outside her dorm, Rubin Hall on 10th Street in New York’s Greenwich Village on Monday afternoon. Krueger said that she and other students were holed up in the dorms and would probably evacuate today because electricity went out Monday night.
HOKU KRUEGER photo
Saydah said there was no flooding yet at his grandparents' home Monday night. They live on the highest point on the street, but lower lying homes were completely covered in water.
He said electricity was out, but fortunately his grandparents and others in the neighborhood have generators, so the lights were still on.
Saydah was one Maui resident caught in what had been Hurricane Sandy that bashed the East Coast but was downgraded by the National Hurricane Center to a "post-tropical cyclone," news reports said late Monday afternoon.
The effects of the storm did not appear to reach Kahului Airport or tourists staying in Maui hotels.
State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Caroline Sluyter said that the cancelled flights she had on her list were bound for and leaving from Honolulu. She did add that there could have been Maui passengers on those flights but didn't have that information.
At the Grand Wailea, Director of Sales and Marketing Brian Lynx said Monday afternoon that they had no cancellations or guests needing to extend their stays because of the storm.
Other hotel and visitor officials on Maui did not have any information about problems or cancellations because of the storm.
In New York City, two Maui students at New York University were holed up in their dorm rooms Monday.
At about 10 p.m. EDT (4 p.m. HST), NYU freshman Hoku Krueger of Kula said that the electricity had gone out and that students would be evacuating the dorms this morning. She said earlier that NYU had emailed students to pack their bags, because they would need to evacuate when the power goes out because the fire alarms would not work.
"NYU has been sending us emails pretty much hourly updating us about everything that's going on," said the 2012 Kamehameha Schools Maui graduate in an email.
Earlier Monday, Krueger said via cellphone that she wasn't afraid of what the storm would bring. Her dorm is in Greenwich Village, which is far from the water and where people had been evacuated.
"Right now, New York is just quiet. For the first time I've been here, it's quiet. The streets are still. It's like the calm before the storm," she said.
As she spoke to The Maui News, her roommates saw a tree fall outside their dorm.
Krueger said classes were cancelled Monday and today.
Another NYU student, sophomore Spencer Hyde, also was stuck in his dorm room and described the weather outside early Monday evening as "very windy, dark and rainy."
"It's pretty crazy," said Hyde, a 2011 Seabury Hall graduate, about the weather. "I was planing on going to see surf. Apparently, it's 10 feet plus. No one's surfing because it's pretty windy."
Hyde of Kihei, who is a filmmaker, said he had wanted to go out and film the surf but couldn't because transportation systems were down.
He, too, wasn't worried about water reaching them. He said the dorms are about 10 feet above sea level and, like Krueger, he was in a high-rise building.
In Washington, D.C., Buzz Stoner of Haiku had his classes canceled at George Washington University, which is several blocks away from the White House.
"It's pretty bad. I actually went out there two hours ago to pick up food and stuff. It was rainy and very windy. They were light gale-force winds," said Stoner, a 2012 Seabury Hall graduate.
He said although he lives in a dorm, dining services were closed.
"When I went out, every store was closed,"he said. "Nothing was open."
Stoner eventually did find a 7-Eleven open and bought a "bunch of Cheez-Its."
He won't go hungry. His dorm room has a full refrigerator with fruit and other items, a microwave and, of course, some instant ramen noodles.
Stoner said his dorm is in a business district, but it "was a ghost town" Monday when it should have been busy.
Although the George Washington campus on the outer reaches of the nation's capital did not have power, the campus he was at did. His building is on the same grid as the White House so they don't often lose electricity, he said.
Stoner had no fear.
"Everybody is actually kind of excited. Classes have been canceled. Everyone is hanging out watching movies. . . . I'm actually more excited than scared. It's been pretty fun."
To connect with friends or family in storm-affected areas, the American Red Cross Hawaii Chapter urged having those on the Mainland register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website. It's a secure online tool that helps families connect during emergencies. To register, parties in affected areas should go to the website www.redcross.org or call (800) RED-CROSS (733-2767). Residents here may then search for their names and view messages.
People may donate to the Red Cross at www.redcross.org or by calling (800) RED-CROSS or by texting "REDCROSS" to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions also can be sent to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C., 20013.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.