03:01AM, Friday 02 November 2012
Inspector Pete Dalton, responsible for the Windsor and Ascot area, was in New York when Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast of America this week.
There are reports that the death toll after the superstorm stands at 90 and the country is still reeling from its impact.
Speaking to the Express today, Inspector Dalton said it happened as he was on the last stop of his three-stage tour of the US with his partner and her son. The family had already visited Savannah in Georgia and San Francisco.
"We arrived in New York on Saturday, by which point news of the storm was already breaking. It had been front-page news since the Thursday before, and a state of national emergency was declared on the Sunday," he said.
Despite this, Mr Dalton said he was determined to go ahead with the scheduled stop at the city. "A couple of years ago, a snowstorm prevented us from visiting, so we were certain that we wanted to see New York this time.
"At first, we were able to visit the popular tourist attractions, and it all seemed pretty normal. But by Sunday night, the subways were closed, buses were cancelled, and the NYPD [New York Police Department] were called in to work.”
The Neighbourhood Police Inspector specialises in commanding major incidents and said he was 'absolutely fascinated' by the way the American services acted. “The biggest response I’ve ever organised was after the Ufton Nervet rail crash, when we had 30 to 40 emergency services vehicles. In New York there were hundreds everywhere you looked.”
Mr Dalton explained that on Monday, he was walking down Park Avenue when windows were 'popping'.
"Glass was falling from skyscrapers around my ears, light bulbs were bursting, and the suspended traffic signs were swinging wildly."
“By the next day, the wind had gone and the rain had stopped, and it was like a ghost-town, full of tourists with nothing to do and nowhere to go – everywhere was shut.”
He said it was hard work getting to the airport on Halloween night, with a 25-minute journey taking two and a half hours partly due to the traffic lights being out. He said once there, though, it was surprisingly easy.
“There were only 200 people at the airport where normally there’d be tens of thousands and our 2315 Virgin plane wasn’t cancelled so we were on the last flight out on Wednesday.”
“Looking back at the city, a third of it still flooded and without power, it was a little eerie,” he concluded.
"But it was amazing to be watching history unfold, first-hand."
Inspector Dalton is due to return back to work as normal from Monday.