Hurricane Sandy: Norwich woman’s concern for family and friends in New York

A woman who moved to Norwich from New York has spoken of her concerns for family and friends - including her mother - with Hurricane Sandy about to hit.

The vast hurricane, about 520 miles across, which has been dubbed Frankenstorm, is moving slowly north-west and could linger over as many as 12 states for 24-36 hours, bringing up to 25cm of rain, 60cm of snow, extreme storm surges and power cuts.

In New York City, thousands of people have been ordered to leave their homes and evacuation shelters have been set up in 76 schools.

Public transport has been halted and the New York Stock Exchange closed while dozens of flight dozens of flights to and from the east coast of America have been cancelled due to the threat of Hurricane Sandy.

Kate Heley, 32, from Lakenham, was raised in New York, but has lived in Norfolk since 2000 and works as a teacher at Loddon Junior School.

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But following reports of the hurricane moving towards New York - and being so far from home - she is understandably concerned about the welfare of her family and friends back home, including her 66-year-old mother Ronnye Halpern.

She said: 'It's just the conflicting information from different news sources. I think a lot of people are a little bit blase about it at the moment thinking it will be fine, but the news is telling us it's really quite serious.

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'My mother actually lives on a little island just off Manhattan (Roosevelt Island) but even though it's a little island, it's not in the evacuation zone. My mother seems to think it's fine but as the news of what's coming makes you a little bit panicky. I'm so far away.'

There are tramways and subways as well as a bridge which connect Roosevelt Island with Manhattan, but the subway has closed down and Ms Heley's mother does not have a car.

She added: 'I've spoken to my mum several times today. She feels a little bit trapped. She says a lot of stores are being bought out of most stuff. People are trying to stock up just in case.'

Ms Heley, who is communicating with her mother via Facetime, said one of her biggest concerns is losing contact with her mother when the storm hits.

She said: 'If her Wi-Fi goes down I can't communicate with her. It's more the not being able to speak to her.'

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