By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
At first Shawn Magnuson and his friends were laughing.
Seeing the firsthand impact from Hurricane Sandy Monday evening changed the mood rather quickly.
Magnuson, a 2010 McNary High School graduate, is a junior at Nyack College in Nyack, New York. That gave Magnuson a great view of the big storm.
“We have a pretty good view of cities across the Hudson River like Winchester,” Magnuson said. “So many explosions lighting up the sky, transformers exploding everywhere. Cities there were all black. Then the city here went black. There was a constant roar of the wind.”
Initially, Magnuson said there were jokes mixed with disappointment.
“It was cool,” the 21-year-old said. “Even when we lost power, it was cool. We could hang out. When we woke up (Monday), we were disappointed. There was not much of anything. We thought the media just hyped it up. Then we found out it was hitting later in the evening. It really did deliver everything the media said would happen.
“We were laughing at first,” Magnuson added. “Then when trees started to fall and there were explosions, it started to be not as funny anymore. It’s so dark, you can hardly see. You don’t know if a tree is going to fall on you. That’s when it got serious. (Tuesday) morning, we saw so many trees downed.”
Magnuson said the power went out around 6 p.m. Monday and a number of old oak trees were uprooted.
“It was one thing after another,” he said. “The wind was just roaring. You could hear the oak trees going down one after the other. That was a little intense. All night it was hard to sleep because the wind was so loud. It was a bit uneasy. I got some sleep, but it was pretty hard for a while there.”
Magnuson’s dad, Mike Allegre of Keizer, was not overly worried, for several reasons.
“His mom and I were not concerned because we knew the path of the storm,” Allegre said. “We knew it would go south. We also know he’s a smart young man and he would do the right thing, plus the school would protect them. But you know there is always the unknown. We watched all the weather reports for hours with interest. He was fine. We got reports from Shawn all day (Monday). His school is kind of like Corban University, a small community where everyone watches out for each other. We knew if he had a problem, he had places to go.”
One place for Magnuson to go Tuesday morning was around the campus.
“My roommate and I got up around 8 and looked around,” Magnuson said. “Trees were down everywhere, across the road, power lines were down. These were huge trees. I’ve never been through anything that intense before. People here said it was far worse than Hurricane Irene (summer of 2011). It was a pretty intense experience. It was a very humbling experience.”
Also humbling has been the messages from friends back home in Keizer and other parts of Oregon.
“I have a lot of friends in Oregon texting me, saying they are praying for us,” Magnuson said. “That was pretty cool.”
Not so cool was hearing chainsaws at 5 a.m. Tuesday.
“There is a lot of clean up going on,” he said. “The crews here are amazing. They cleaned up trees off the road.”
Magnuson noted things were a bit out of the ordinary in the school cafeteria Tuesday.
“The atmosphere was a little different,” he said. “People were more surprised than shocked. No one really expected it. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves. We’ve worked so much with technology, today it’s been people just hanging out more.