Ex-Bridlington Town footballer caught in US superstorm

Aaron Allanson during his time at Bridlington. Picture by Dominick Taylor
Aaron Allanson during his time at Bridlington. Picture by Dominick Taylor

A FORMER Bridlington Town footballer currently living in New York has spoken of the chaos and disaster caused by one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the US – the super storm Hurricane Sandy.

Aaron Allanson is currently coaching football and lives in Sleepy Hollow, close to New York city – which along with New Jersey has been declared a “major disaster” zone.

Speaking to his dad Gary, a former title-winning Bridlington Town manager, by text message, Aaron described the scenes as: “Like the end of the world with roof tiles, trees and debris all over, like the film ‘The Day After Tomorrow.”

Speaking to the Free Press, Aaron has described the atmosphere after the storm – which has seen more than 40 people die in seven states and at least 7.4m homes without power – saying: “The mood right now is defeated around the area. Lives have been lost and people’s homes destroyed”.

Aaron, 24, worked at Hull City’s academy before leaving for the US earlier this year. He said: “I didn’t quite realise how serious the hurricane was until about an hour before it hit.

“I’ve never watched the news so much in my life waiting for it to come. I was sort of nervous but excited to see one, but after seeing what it can do I was glad it didn’t really effect us as badly as elsewhere.”

Aaron, who played alongside his brother Ash in Bridlington Town’s NCEL championship winning season in 2010, said he had not personally had too many close calls but had friends whose houses were evacuated.

“During the hurricane I stayed at my girlfriend’s house in Bergenfield, New Jersey which is 20 minutes from New York City.

“The house was not hit too hard, it kept its power throughout, and there were no floods but every area within five minutes drive around us lost power and trees fell through houses and collapsed on roads. There are roof tiles all over the place.”

Aaron, who played for Bridlington Town for three years until an ankle injury forced him to quit the club in 2011, described how his own house in Sleepy Hollow still has its power out, and spoke of his luck after trees were blown over in the 90mph winds and crushed cars in his street.

Contacting friends and family back in Britain has proved difficult for some, and Aaron’s dad Gary, from Hull, spoke of his anxious wait to hear news from his son.

He said: “Obviously we were very worried especially as we didn’t hear from him until 1.30pm this afternoon (Tuesday) after numerous ways of trying to contact him and he replies ‘all safe just got up’ in his usual laid back way!”

Millions of people in New York are without power and the transit system, schools, the stock exchange and Broadway are all out of action after a 13ft wall of water caused by the storm surge and high tides brought severe flooding to subways and road tunnels.

Millions more across the entire stretch of America’s east coast, have been affected by what looks likely to go down in the history books as one of the world’s biggest storms.

More than 50 people died, and more are missing, on the Carribean island of Haiti, which was also hit by the hurricane before it moved up to the north east coast of the United States. Haiti has been hit by numerous tropical storms in the past decade, and is still recovering after suffering a catastrophic earthquake in 2010, which saw 230,000 reported deaths.

President Barack Obama declared states of emergency in the densely populated areas of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Thousands of people in low-lying coastal areas were ordered to take cover in emergency shelters with their families, pets and the few belongings they managed to save as winds of more than 90mph sent waves crashing inland.

More than 7,500 flights were cancelled in and out of the area were cancelled.