WESTERLY, RI (WWLP) - Hurricane Sandy made landfall on October 29th just one year ago. Floodwaters heavily damaged many parts of the Northeast, including a Rhode Island beach.
The East coast was battling the largest storm to ever build in the Atlantic. Hurricane Sandy ripped a cross the shoreline leaving behind around $70-billion in damages. Sandy was arguably the biggest weather event of 2012.
On October 29th, Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey as a post-tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds. It was the largest Atlantic storm on record with winds stretching across 900 miles, affecting 24 states from Florida to Maine, and as far west as Wisconsin.
Most of the damage along the coastline was caused by storm surge, which is simply the rise of water caused by strong winds.
22News visited Misquamicut Beach in May to take a look at the rebuilding efforts, and now we are back to see how the beach is one year after Sandy.
22News spoke with one of the year-round residents who has a house on Atlantic Avenue in Westerly.
Jim Kirker told 22News, "The basement wall had been pushed in 2 feet; there was 8 feet if sand piled right against the house. All these dunes were gone, all the walkways, the porches were gone. What we've done is gradually bulldozed back sand, we've got some of the sand that was piled high in the roads, and with each segment of dune rebuilding, we planted grass, so we've been planting beach grass for a full year."
Jim told me Sandy was the worst storm since the Perfect Storm of 1991. He said this coast cannot really afford to take another hit from a strong hurricane or Nor'easter, luckily no strong storms in sight for now.
When 22News came to Misquamicut just before Memorial Day in May, several businesses were struggling to get things in order in time for the busy season.
One of the places we visited was The Andrea. It's now called The Andrea because the 3-story hotel is gone; it was completely destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. The owners of The Andrea decided not to rebuild the hotel for the summer, and just open a kitchen and patio.
Caswell Cooke, one of the town councilors and business owners in Westerly, spoke with 22News about what has changed since Sandy.
"Misquamicut is better than you remember it now, because every ounce of sand that was deposited into the street was sifted and put back, so it was actually the cleanest sand we've ever had. Of the 44 businesses in Misquamicut, 43 were open for the season, which is amazing. The one that chose not to open, he's going to raise the structure and do something different," said Crooke.
The Andrea was very busy over the summer with just the kitchen and patio, and was so successful that the owners may not re-open a hotel at all.
Paddy's, a very popular spot during the summer on Misquamicut Beach, was also affected by Hurricane Sandy. After Sandy, Paddy's had sand pushed into the restaurant. Instead of a beach, there were huge rocks that have now been moved.
Just before their re-opening on Memorial Day, this business was struggling to get everything ready. 22News spoke with one of the owners, Paul Doyle, about how business was over the summer,
"Actually, we were busier than last year, even with the shortened season, we missed most of May,” said Doyle. “I think it was the combination of things; new look, new chef, new menu, and different layout, so people were curious to see what was there"
Now, Paul said some business owners are calling Hurricane Sandy, "Saint Sandy" because it forced most places to renovate and made them better than they were before.
This will be the first time in two years Halloween hasn't been cancelled by Mother Nature.