York family witness devastating damage caused by US superstorm

York Press: Some of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy Some of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy

THE full force of Superstorm Sandy was felt by a number of school pupils from our region as well as one York man who had travelled to Manhattan to show his family where he was born.

Nick Gunnell, 47, who lives in Dringhouses, was with his wife, Jayne, and daughter, Lucy, in New York when the storm hit.

He said: “I knew about the storm before we set off but heard there was only a 30 per cent chance of it hitting. Then I heard there was a 90 per cent chance, then when we got there it had 100 per cent hit.”

Mr Gunnell was born in Manhattan and had chosen a hotel in the mid-town area, which turned out to be next to the crane which millions of television viewers saw hanging damaged from the top of a skyscraper.

He said: “It started absolutely throwing it down and the wind just got worse and worse. If you looked out of our window you could see the police clearing the area and the crane just hanging there.

“It was a bit frightening when the crane was hanging down. It didn’t come down, but it was close.”

Meanwhile, a group of Year Nine pupils from Rossett School in Harrogate, who were visiting another school in the state of Maine, were also caught up in the storm.

Teacher Rob Beever said: “I thought at one stage I must be cursed. I was on Rossett’s Barcelona trip in 2010, which was delayed due to the volcanic ash cloud.

“While we were in America, we had very high winds, heavy rain and the large parts of the town were out of power. The flights scheduled out of Boston were all cancelled two days prior to our departure.

“Fortunately, things were back up and running by Friday, so we could get home just a day later than planned.”

A visit to New York by a group of politics students from St Peter’s School in York was also cut short by the weather in the US.

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