Morecambe academic tells of Hurricane hell

Fallen trees in the area near where Professor Tracey-Anne Cooper lives.
Fallen trees in the area near where Professor Tracey-Anne Cooper lives.
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A PROFESSOR from Morecambe who now lives in New York has spoken of her terror as Hurricane Sandy battered the city.

Tracey-Anne Cooper, a former Morecambe High School pupil, now lives in Flushing, Queens, where gusts of up to 60mph lashed her home on Monday.

“I moved to the US in 1997 and have seen many storm and a few hurricanes blow through the North East but nothing quite as scary as this one,” said Professor Cooper.

“It was the gusts that were really terrifying because they shook the whole house, and while it may have only been for 20 seconds or so at a time it felt like it was going to go on and on.

“The worst part of the storm also lasted such a long time and did not really die down again until it started to come light on Tuesday.

“Fortunately, we live on about the highest point of Queens, and so, although we were pretty badly shaken up by the wind gusts, we were not in danger from the storm surge.

“Sadly there was a fatality on the street over from ours when a tree fell on someone’s house. It was a horribly random tragedy.

“One of the strangest things was the lack of traffic, I live on a major road that has four lanes on each side and the only traffic was police cars crawling by every 10 minutes or so.

“The information prior to the storm was first rate - and the predictions of what we could expect in different areas on a hourly basis very accurate. Information from the mayor’s office about buying water, flashlights, batteries and having a go-bag even if one wasn’t in an evacuation area was useful.

“We are fortunate that we did not lose power, because we have the electric cables underground, but most side streets still have above ground electric cables.

“In the street next to ours a tree came down on the powerlines and there was a shower of turquoise and lemon coloured sparks for several minutes as the transformer was compromised.”

Professor Cooper, a Lancaster University graduate, works at St John’s University in Queens, which was still closed on Thursday. Her parents live in the Thornton Road area of Morecambe.