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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Millom family caught in Superstorm Sandy

SHOPS boarded up, trees uprooted and public transport grinding to a halt – not the ideal scenario for a first visit to New York.

But that was the scene that greeted Millom mum Carolyn Burn and her family, when they stepped out of their Times Square hotel room, after Superstorm Sandy had wreaked havoc in the city.

Touching down in the Big Apple last weekend, the Millom Town Council clerk and her family arrived just before the tropical storm hit.

Mrs Burn said: “I kept looking at the weather forecast before we went and saw that it was meant to rain. It was only a couple of days before when I was talking to my colleague Debbie that she mentioned a hurricane might hit the city.”

Mrs Burn, husband Martin and two daughters Evie, 14, and Molly, 16, had to rip up their five-day itinerary after flooding and building damage meant large parts of Manhattan was closed off.

While out sightseeing on the Sunday and Monday, including a visit to the iconic Empire State Building, the city started shutting down around them, with shops and attractions boarding up windows and putting sandbags in front of doorways.

Mrs Burn said: “On the Monday the wind started to pick up and we went back to the hotel room early.

“There were safety notices put through the door telling us not to open the windows. And they gave us free wi-fi connection so we could contact people back home.

“People kept asking if we were okay so I kept posting updates on Facebook to let everyone know we were fine.”

Despite the hotel losing its hot water supply for two days, the Burn family escaped the storm’s worst effects unscathed, before waking up to the scenes of devastation on Tuesday morning.

Mrs Burn, who is now back home, said: “We didn’t hear anything outside on the night because we were quite protected with the high rises around Times Square.

“When we ventured out, all the shops were closed and that’s when we went to Central Park and realised how bad it had actually been.”

The storm claimed 113 lives across America’s East Coast and left tens of thousands of people unable to return to their homes due to damage.

The Burn family stayed just a few blocks away from where a crane partially collapsed, and was left dangling over the New York skyline, at a construction site where a 90-storey luxury apartment building was being built in Manhattan.

Despite the chaos around them, Mrs Burn said the holiday was far from ruined.

She said: “We experienced a different side to New York.

“It wasn’t the New York that we expected but we got to see the city in a different way.

“We were watching all of the news coverage in our hotel room and they were showing things that were only a couple of miles away and it was hard to believe.

“It didn’t spoil the holiday. It just means we’ve got to go back to do everything we missed!”

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