As Hurricane Sandy hurls devastating winds toward the East Coast, three young Lodi natives wait expectantly in a second-story Manhattan apartment, six blocks from an evacuation zone.
"Winds are blowing strongest down the avenues (which run from southwest to northeast)," said Adrienne Reynolds. "They're like giant wind tunnels."
Reynolds feels lucky that her apartment is tucked behind bigger buildings on 13th Street, a safe distance off Fourth Avenue. She's a third year drama student at New York University; her parents are Rex Reynodls and Dr. Annie Santos of Lodi.
Her friend Ann Yacopetti is a recent NYU grad and has lived in New York for several years.
"I've never seen storms in California like I have in New York," said Yacopetti, who rode out Hurricane Irene last year. "This one (Sandy) is supposed to be like ten times worse."
She works in a restaurant located in an evacuation zone, "so I can't go to work until the end of the week. I'm not too happy about it."
Ann is the daughter of Ron and Marjie Yacopetti of Lodi.
A third Lodi High grad, my son Mike Weybret, is also holed up with Reynolds. He was on vacation and lucked into a day's extra cash as a freelance videographer Sunday. The storm caused the cancellation of his flight home until the weekend.
Mike's mother is my wife Christi Kennedy Weybret.
In a mood to celebrate before the hurricane landed, the young people went out for sushi. Later Weybret and a friend from New York walked from Reynolds' apartment to look at the East River. At about 2 p.m., hours before the storm's arrival, the rain and wind "weren't too bad."
They reached the East River when the Atlantic Ocean was at low tide. They saw the normally placid waterway "about to flood ... and covered by white caps." The river's surface looked like "rapids on a mountain stream." As they turned back to the safety of Reynolds apartment, gusts of wind nearly knocked the two young men off their feet.
New York police were attempting to clear the streets.
High tide will arrive soon — about the same time as the storm.
There are five young people in Reynolds' apartment. They have stocked up on food and water and are glued to the news: A construction crane above a 70-story building was knocked over by the wind. The subway stopped running at 7 p.m. (EDT) Sunday; all bridges onto Manhattan were closed around 5:30 p.m. Monday. The power company has announced it will soon cut the power as a safety precaution.
"We've been charging our phones and computers until the power goes out," said Reynolds.
At this point they're safe and enjoying an impromptu hurricane party.
Since my first post at 3:43 p.m. (PDT), I talked to Megan Bedford, daughter of Steve and Jeanette Bedford of Lodi, a 2007 graduate of Lodi High.
Her apartment in lower Manhattan is in an evacuation zone. Yesterday afternoon, she and her roommate took a taxi 40 blocks uptown to ride out the Hurricane with a college friend who lives in a safer neighborhood.
"It was pretty scary to leave my apartment. It's scary what I'm going to come home to," said Bedford.
Her building is "between First Avenue and the East River — bascially on the river." Her 19th floor rooms are high enough to be out of flood danger, but the higher up you go in a building, the harsher the winds.
Being so close to the river, there is no protection and Bedford is afraid the windows in her building might be blown out or smashed. So she and her roommate moved all the furniture out of that room.
The building they're in now is on 72nd Street and Third Avenue, well out of harm's way. She and her friends have a good supply of water and food, and so far, the power's still on.
(Written at 4:15 p.m. PDT/7:15 EDT)
Anyone with news of Lodi area friends and relatives is welcome to post updates on their status and observations of Hurricane Sandy. At some point, your comments may be republished in the Lodi News-Sentinel. Thanks, Marty