Hurricane Sandy has been downgraded, but it left at least 39 people dead and more than 8 million people without power.
Monday night, as media and weather reports talked about the increasing speed and intensity of Hurricane Sandy as it moved up the coast toward New York, Gary and Ann Weckwerth of Sioux Falls kept thinking of their daughter who lives just a few blocks from Times Square.
Twenty-five-year-old Paige Weckwerth is a Sioux Falls native living in Manhattan. Her 4th floor apartment lost power last night hours before the hurricane made landfall. Her mother, Ann Parker Weckwerth, says Paige had her laptop and cell phones fully charged, expecting the outage.
"She said, 'I'm okay. I'm doing alright,' and she had her computer and the glow from her computer. I said, 'Why don't you turn in early?' And she could hear the winds howling," Parker Weckwerth said.
Most of Manhattan is still without power. The subways are shut down. The mayor is calling it a devastating storm, possibly the worst the city has ever experienced. Parker Weckwerth spoke with her daughter Tuesday morning and she was going to try to hail a cab to a friend's house, 37 blocks away, where there was power so she could recharge all of her batteries.
"She is now on the streets. She made her way through the hall in the dark and went down the stairs because the elevator wasn't working and now she is out on the streets," Parker Weckwerth said.
Parker Weckwirth says Paige has always been fearless and excited by the big city.
"She's from South Dakota so she knows about storms and she certainly knows about high winds," Parker Weckwerth said.
The Sioux Falls mother says as she looks back at Monday night's events, her daughter's calm demeanor and resourceful nature might have provided her with the most comfort.
"You know, I look back at the texts and we're asking all these questions and the responses were, 'I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm fine.' So, I think she'll be fine," Parker Weckwerth said.
Paige Weckwerth doesn't know when power will be restored at her apartment or when she might return to work.
Officials say it's going to take a few days to get everyone back online.