How I Lost My Roof To Hurricane Sandy

  1. Monday, October 29, 2012
    11:30 AM ET
    A NASA satellite photo shows the massive size and force of Hurricane Sandy. Most weather models show Sandy reaching landfall along the southern New Jersey coast and heading west over Philadelphia some time in the early evening. Directly in its path: my house.
  2. The latest satellite image of Hurricane #Sandy, as captured by the NASA Goes Project
  3. 6:30 PM ET
    The wind is really picking up at this point, with gusts of wind that are starting to make me a bit concerned. You can physically feel the house shaking. At some point, a massive gust of wind ends with a muffled roaring sound that made our neighbor think a tornado was coming through. It was not a tornado.
    About an hour later, my wife Renee is looking outside the window into our backyard and sees a “black blob”, but it’s too dark to determine what it is. In the middle of a hurricane, I grab my flashlight to go out and inspect. It’s obvious right away that it’s roofing material of some sort, so I immediately shine my flashlight on the roof of my shed and the sheds of my surrounding neighbors. They all appear intact. I’m starting to get a sinking feeling in my stomach at this point, but I’m also starting to see a number of good sized branches laying around me. Another blast of wind comes and the giant spruce tree behind me starts waving and creaking ominously. I decide now would be a good time to head back inside.
    I share my fear of what’s laying in the backyard with Renee and she posts the following on Facebook:
  4. I think we lost our roof. 😦 On the bright side, we still have power.
  5. I wait a few minutes until the wind seems to die down a bit, then head back out, taking my phone with me. This time, I notice two things:
    1) Being too distracted with everything going on around me, I missed the huge piece of roofing that was hung up in the power lines behind the shed.
    2) When I shine my flashlight up onto the 3rd floor of my house, while I can’t see the top of the roof, I see a piece of spouting or flashing sticking up at an odd angle.
    It’s now becoming pretty obvious to me that Hurricane Sandy has ripped the roof off my house like the lid of a sardine can.
  6. Well, THAT’S not good. That would be part of our 3rd floor roof hanging from the cable/phone lines behind our house…
  7. I come back inside and call my dad.
    “Hey, Dad…what’s underneath the the tin layer of these old roofs?”
    “I don’t know for sure…probably just some boards and then your ceiling.”
    Not good.
    “Why?”
    “Ours just got torn off in the storm.”
    “Hmmmm…well…you’re going to have some leaking.”
    No kidding.
    I go up to the 3rd floor and nothing looks any different. The ceiling looks fine. Then I look REALLY closely at it, and see the start of moisture discolorations starting to form. The plaster on our ceiling is old and cracked. It’s only a mater of time before it starts to leak.
    Then, the power goes out.
    We decide to make the best of it, put the kids to bed and invite over our neighbors for a little hurricane party. Renee is doing a good job staying positive. Her post:
  8. Power is out. Neighbors are here. Candles in the kitchen feel cozy.
  9. 10:30 PM
    The neighbors leave and we go back upstairs to check. Multiple damp spots are evident in both our bedroom and the office – the two rooms on the 3rd floor – and drips are starting to form along some of the cracks. We spend the next hour or two moving out small furniture, covering the big stuff with plastic, and finding pots, pans, and tubs to catch the drops that are now falling.
  10. Tuesday, October 30, 2012
    12:30 AM
    I post:
  11. Power status: lost
    Roof status: missing
    Third floor ceiling status: dripping
    Stress status: high
    Kid status: warm, dry, and sleeping soundly
    Could be worse…
  12. 9:00 AM
    After a horrific night sleeping on the couch, I go out back to survey the damage.
  13. That’s not where the roof is supposed to be…
  14. This piece cleared our backyard, shed, and power lines and landed in the parking lot.
  15. I’m almost afraid to go up to the 3rd floor to see what has happened while we slept, but I have little choice. Here’s Renee’s post about what we saw:
  16. I’m just hoping the plaster doesn’t end up on the floor. 😦
  17. 11:00 AM
    It has been raining pretty steadily for the past 2 hours and some of the drips are starting to turn into drizzles. There are now so many leaks that I can’t keep up with all the buckets we need to catch them. Luckily, we are able to find a roofer who is willing to come out and do an emergency repair. Again, from Renee:
  18. A big shout out to Brendan of Hopkins Roofing for braving the rain to nail down a tarp on our missing roof. Thank you!
  19. From me:
  20. Thanks all for your thoughts and concerns! How bad is the roof? Well…it’s gone. From the entire third floor. Peeled off like a big sticker. Water was dripping into the rooms on the 3rd floor (our bedroom and office) to the point that I basically gave up putting down buckets because I couldn’t keep up. We were able to move or cover up our stuff, so nothing was damaged or destroyed. We found a roofer to come out and put down a tarp, so hopefully that helps. We have our power back, which is fantastic! No trees down and no other damage. Happy to be safe, warm, and dry…
  21. This is what the roofer saw when he put the tarp on our roof this morning. Crazy…
  22. 2:00 PM
    The roof, obviously, is gone and will need to be replaced. The ceiling never fell in, but it’s destroyed. Some of the walls sustained water damage and the carpet, too.  And…
  23. Well…we’ve been wanting to remodel the third floor…
  24. Wednesday, October 31, 2012
    12:30 PM
  25. Hurricane update: the feeling-sorry-for-ourselves stage is over. Renee has been practically giddy with excitement planning out the repairs/remodeling for the 3rd floor. She already has plans drawn up on graph paper and everything. Life goes on…
  26. Thursday, November 1, 2012
    12:30 AM
    I have to admit – it does make a pretty cool story to tell people that the roof of my house got ripped off in the middle of Hurricane Sandy. That being said, it’s an experience I hope to never go through again…

12 responses to “How I Lost My Roof To Hurricane Sandy

  1. So happy you and Renee maintained your positive attitude – the stress can be awful, but no one was hurt, no fire resulted from encountered power lines, and best of all for we who follow you — your computer access and sense of humor prevailed! Bless you!!

  2. I’m glad you were all ok and it wasn’t worse (though I know it seems terrible.) I hope that your homeowner’s insurance will cover everything with no issues in timely fashion.

  3. Amazing story. I’m so glad that all of you are okay. I noticed that a roof was ripped off of one of the twins on our block of Shawnee, yet most of us seem to have escaped with just some tree damage. It’s like a game of roulette.

    • Thanks, Karen! Yes, I know the house you’re talking about. We’re friends with the owners of the other twin. Sounds like basically the same thing happened to them that happened to us. Crazy…

  4. Wow D. That’s amazing. So glad you all are okay.

  5. Too bad we weren’t doing the webinar at the time–Tim would have had another good story to tell! Glad to hear you’re all keeping a sense of humor about it.

  6. Wow, I didn’t realize anything that bad happened around here. I’m glad you all are okay.

  7. Thank you for sharing your Story. Glad you were safe.

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