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Cornwall expats and holidaymakers feel the full force of Sandy

By West Briton  |  Posted: November 01, 2012

  • Cars submerged as Super Storm Sandy hits Downtown New York. Picture courtesy of Joshua James Richards

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FAMILIES and individuals from across Cornwall have been caught up in the devastating storm that has ripped through the US.

A family from Mithian, near Truro, spent an anxious evening in a New York building that creaked through the night as the killer storm ravaged the city that never sleeps.

Huge trees were uprooted outside the apartment of a young woman from St Austell who lives in Manhattan and a film-maker from Penzance witnessed shards of metal flying past his window.

A state of emergency was declared in New York and flooding closed down the city. More than eight million people were left without power in the US and more than 100 people died as Hurricane Sandy rampaged through the Caribbean and into the US.

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Sarah Trethowan from Mithian was staying with her husband and two children on 54th Street in Manhattan.

She said: "It's been our first time in New York City and for all the wrong reasons a trip we won't ever forget. You wouldn't choose to take your family on holiday to somewhere in the path of a hurricane. We will have to hope flights are back to normal by Saturday and we can come home."

Speaking on Tuesday – the morning after the storm hit – she said: "It sounds and looks calmer when we look out the window. The building has also stopped creaking, which is good because that was scary."

Mrs Trethowan, who runs the TRAC pharmaceutical consultancy company based at Pool Innovation Centre, said there was no public transport and cars were ordered off the road on Monday evening.

The family were still hoping to make the most of their time in New York, however, and were hoping to see the Broadway show of Mary Poppins tonight.

Elizabeth Baillie is originally from St Austell but moved to New York with her husband in late 2011 to continue her career with IT company Savvis.

They narrowly escaped being evacuated on Monday from their home close to the Hudson River and Battery Park but power lines were knocked out.

Mrs Baillie – whose maiden name is Shumacker – said on Tuesday: "Since around 7pm yesterday evening we have been without power.

"Throughout the day you could really start to feel the wind pick up and although it wasn't constant, the gusts were very powerful between high buildings."

Mrs Baillie said trees were uprooted where she lives in the West Village – an area usually better known as the setting for the hit television show Sex And The City.

A Penzance film-maker described the chaos around him as the cyclone raged through New York.

Joshua James Richards moved to the American city three years ago to study a master's at New York University Film School and was also in the city for Hurricane Irene.

He said: "She's really rearing her ugly face, it's getting pretty intense. Downtown Manhattan is pretty badly flooded.

"The parks have been completely ravaged. Huge trees have been uprooted, lying in the road, the front of bodegas and delis swept away.

"Friends of mine have had their windows blown in, and broken shards of metal are flying past our windows.

"The front of a building right by my school in the city has completely collapsed. Some friends of mine have been evacuated in New Jersey and Queens."

The storm caused a record surge of seawater in New York City, flooding subway and road tunnels and plunging much of Lower Manhattan into darkness.

Joshua said he had received a text from New York University asking residents not to use elevators and not to evacuate.

An electrical shutdown had also affected his halls of residence.

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