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By Dan Santy Wednesday 31 October 2012 Updated: 19/12 15:37
A RUGBY man who took his wife to New York for her birthday has described the 'sobering' experience of being caught up in Hurricane Sandy.
Paul Coxon and wife Lara were in the city for just one day when the huge storm struck America's east coast, causing huge damage and flooding, and knocking out power for millions of people.
The social care communications worker for Warwickshire County Council even had a near miss when a large flying piece of aluminium landed just feet away from where he was stood outside smoking.
Mr Coxon said he did not have to be evacuated from his Manhattan hotel and stayed there during the worst of the storm to avoid the danger.
Writing from New York as the storm hit, he said: "Just got back from Battery Park. Wow, it's insane right now. Very high winds and torrential rains. Had to turn back in the end as conditions were too dangerous.
"There is a crane badly damaged in Midtown so just waiting to see if we are to be evacuated. It all feels rather real now."
After the worst had passed, he added: "We weren't evacuated last night, but lost power a few times. Midtown Manhattan is okay, but there remains a risk of flying debris.
"Last night a large piece of metal blew over one of the buildings adjacent to our hotel and landed feet from where I was smoking. It was a bit scary. We stayed in the hotel the whole night."
Since the storm Mr Coxon and his wife have walked around parts of New York, where he described seeing heavy damage and some shops open by candelight in what he called a 'totally sobering' experience.
"We walked back to the hotel in total silence, lost in thoughts. New York city is a weird place to be right now," he said.
"It's a little scary and disappointing as we're here for Lara's birthday."
The couple were due to fly home tomorrow (Friday), but this now looks unlikely as the city and the country prepares to try and recover from the chaos wrought by Hurricane Sandy.
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