BABYLON, N.Y. -- "There was a fish in my kitchen," said Elizabeth Scoyen, standing on the deck of her apartment in the Babylon marina, two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean. "That is when I knew this was going to be bad," she said, as she arranged water-logged chair cushions, soaked clothes and lamps in the open air.
Like many residents on the south shore of Long Island, Scoyen, 57, a retired high school teacher, came outside Wednesday as the rains let up, and tried to dry out her belongings and take stock of what just happened.
Scoyen weathered Hurricane Irene in 2011, so decided not to follow the mandatory evacuation order for her area when Hurricane Sandy approached. On Monday night, she looked out the window of her wood shingled home, and saw boats floating by and waves lapping at her deck.
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Before she knew it, water in her apartment was knee-deep, but the electricity was still on and the newscasters on Channel 12 were telling her how hard Long Island was being hit by Hurricane Sandy.
Then she heard a loud pop and saw sparks fly out of the electrical transformer cans on the pole outside. That's when it got dark, the water rose further, and she saw the big fish at her feet.
She screamed for help and a neighbor assisted her in wading through waist-high water to get to the upstairs apartment.
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"It was like being in the ocean," said Scoyen, who remembers feeling the pull of the swirling currents as she was helped to safety. "You got waves outside the window and critters in there."
Surviving the storm was "the blessing of my life," she said. Originally from Palo Alto, Calif., Scoyen remembers the last time she was so scared: the 1989 San Francisco Earthquake.
The Giants were in the World Series that year too, she added.
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