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James Clayton Sattel’s RI Views: The Hurricane

Saturday, November 03, 2012


Photographer James Clayton Sattel is passionate about Rhode Island, particularly those shores, crags, and vistas of his home island: Aquidneck.

Jim, like all Rhode Islanders, has spent the last week preparing for, and living through, Hurricane Sandy as it battered and flooded Rhode Island's shores. As a photographer, part of Jim's response to Sandy was to photograph her--from the waves she sent pounding into the rocks of Newport and Portsmouth, to her rising waters in Little Compton, Tiverton, and Aquidneck.

To see more of or purchase Sattel's distinctive views, go here.

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Rising Water

Many of our beloved Rhode Island icons were threatened by Hurricane Sandy this week. While we all watched Narragansett's Coast Guard House receive the brunt blows of the storm, those of us on Aquidneck kept a watchful eye on our beloved institutions as the waters rose.

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Sign of the week

Flo's has been through this before, apparently. They had the sign all ready.

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The Monday surge

Everywhere along the coast on Monday, the rising tides threatened twice and overwhelmed in many places. Here, in Portsmouth, the waves threaten even the cars on the road.

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Private property

Hurricane Sandy paid no heed to the notion of any property being off-limits, as her surges engulfed many low-lying parts of our coastal towns. Here, in Portsmouth's Island Park, she made a bold show.

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Surfing the hurricane

Surfers are among the most intrepid athletes there are, and a hurricane coming to town is pure inspiration to them. Here are some locals catching the rising waves at Newport's First Beach.

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Mansion trees

While many of us were focusing on the surf and tides, Sandy was also taking her high winds to the many tall and stately trees on Aquidneck. Here, a downed beauty near Chateau Sur Mer.

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Mansion trees II

Another broken beauty down, this time at Hammersmith Farm. But what is old becomes new... as a new vista is opened up toward another mansion in the far distance.

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Playing cards

Tuesday brought sun and blue skies over Little Compton, which made these docks, pulled, pushed and piled up by the storm into an oddly whimsical scene. But to the many Rhode Islanders who own these precious pieces of shore life, this day was the opposite of amusing. We will be digging out and repairing for many, many days to come.

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New ponds

Driving around the shoreline on Tuesday, it seemed as though the state had "grown" hundreds of new ponds overnight. Here, in Tiverton, this peaceful bit of water in the foreground was never there before.

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It's a strange puzzle, getting around Aquidneck in the aftermath of the storm. Here, one of the main arteries to Newport's Memorial Drive is blocked by sand, mud, and other debris. Life is one big detour in Southern Rhode Island right now.

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Road blocks

"You can't get there from here," is what I heard over and over, as I tried to reach the beaches of Middletown after Sandy.

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Water and more water

It just felt like this bench, empty and marooned in the sea's overflow, summed it up. Nothing can stop the tide, and nature, when forces collide. All we can do is perch, pray, and wait for it to be over. For so many Americans both here in Rhode Island and elsewhere on the coast, it will be a long time before those waters subside.


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