Just last year I chronicled my brother Phil’s encounter with a predicted weather Armageddon in downtown Manhattan.

He lives with wife Sylvia and their six year-old twin girls between the World Trade Centre site and Wall Street in an apartment, five steps above street level.

In August 2011 he was mightily relieved that the Category 5  tropical storm Irene turned out to be a fizzer. Like many New Yorkers, he joked about it.

“If this Hurricane Irene doesn’t happen a lot of people in Manhattan are going to be really bummed. The first thing they’re going to do is go back to the stores ...

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  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Half my house was damaged in a storm a few years ago – whilst I always fully sympathised with people getting their houses damaged in storms I didn’t fully understand until it happened to us. I feel for your brother and the Americans affected. It is a difficult time and well take a long time to fix.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Nice story Wendy. Hope your brother and his family retrieve a few more treasures….I’m so sorry they had to endure this.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    This story really brought home to me just how bad it was in Manhattan. I am so glad your brother heeded the warnings and got his family out of his apartment during the storm, it could have been an unimaginable tragedy.

    PS The hurricane week was pretty strange for me, because my name is Sandy – lots of bad jokes at my expense – “big and mean”, that kind of thing!

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    What a lovely positive man your brother is Wendy. Despite such heartbreak he shows the resilience and fortitude. I love that he’s started a new photo album. Best of luck Phil but I doubt you’ll need it – hard workers never do!

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Thanks for this story Wendy. Hope your brother and his family recover from their losses of home and belongings, and life goes back to as near normal as possible for them soon. Just brings home how lucky we are to be safe and sound down here.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    This is from my friend in rural New Jersey today (near the Pennsylvania border) – She’s had no power since 29th October, lives in a wooden house, surrounded by trees and is relying on a generator for basic needs – no tv etc. Updating friends via cellphone.
    “Still no power. Now we are told they have ran out of power poles and parts to fix the lines! Good news.
    More roads are opening up. So I tried coming home my regular way in the dark. Mistake. I had to reverse out the other end of my road. Line down, big tree & many branches still on the road! Well now I know one of the reasons I have no power :)”
    This storm was so widespread, we really had no idea of the impact. Imagine if one storm front hit from Brisbane to Melbourne at the same time…. that’s the area it covered!

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Hello Uncle Phil and Auntie Sylvia, hope you guys are ok give Misty and Riley a big hug and kiss for us!!! have a good christmas oxoxox

    love Marley & Maeve

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Thanks for sharing Wendy. So glad your brother and family escaped without loss of life – but that’s not to say that they are not facing huge and devastating problems for the immediate future. Good luck to them in the rebuilding process, and just goes to show it can happen to any of us – it’s all just random!
    Best wishes to them and to all the others affected. Fingers crossed for a speedy return to ‘normal’. Hugs and kisses…

  • Reply November 8, 2012


    thanks for sharing via that article – it brings home how it really is after such a disastrous weather event. It will surely take time to recover both physically and emotionally.

    I have memories of losing our family home, as a child of 9, through bushfire, and I know it had a huge impact on my parents for the rest of their lives. We were lucky to escape with our lives.

    I wish your brother and his family well, and may the recovery be straightforward as they move on with their lives.

  • Reply November 9, 2012


    Here’s a poem which won’t soothe much.

    Salt water
    Salt water
    rush in
    to the room
    we are in
    as if a wall
    can stop an ocean
    as if a caring hand
    can stop this motion
    nature swaggers
    on elaboration
    and rides
    her storm
    with devotion.

  • Reply November 9, 2012


    Salt water
    Salt water

  • Reply November 10, 2012


    Can’t imagine what it must be like for everyone affected over there. Wish them well, Wendy and hope everyone, including your brother and his family, has a safe and warm shelter before winter drops in with a vengeance too much longer.

  • Reply November 12, 2012

    Phil Brown

    Thanks to everyone for your kind thoughts, means a lot in this difficult time.

    Big hello to Marley and Maeve from Misty & Riley – hope we can visit next year.

    Still no power in our apartment – could be another 3-4 weeks and then the repair work can start. New floors, plaster, wiring etc. Staying in a small hotel for now while we look for a new home.

    Girls are back at school and we’re managing to work but the logistics are difficult.

    Anyway, we’re doing fine and hopefully will be settled in a new place when the Christmas snow starts falling.

    Thanks again for your best wishes and support.

    Love from the Big Apple.


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