Sandy strands San Diegans on East Coast

SAN DIEGO - Many San Diegans remain on edge as they wait to hear from loved ones who were in the path of superstorm Sandy.

Antonia Arellano has been on glued to her Facebook page in a desperate panic as she waits to hear from her daughter, Flor, who lives in Staten Island, N.Y.

"What do I do when we are so far away?" Arellano said.

Arellano, whose only way of communicating with her daughter has been through social media, said, "She says, 'Mommy, I was almost hit by a tree.'"

Flor, a Ph.D. student, is among the 8 million people without power, and she also has a dead cellphone. Her mother had a sleepless night at her El Cajon home.

"I don't want to get emotional, but I am worried even though I know everything is OK, that it seems like she's safe," Arellano said.

Pacific Beach native Sofia Clift flew out to Manhattan for a wedding, but she is now trapped in the city that has been paralyzed by Sandy's wrath. She said she is hoping to fly home on Thursday, but there are no guarantees.

"I just felt a lot for the city, they've gone through a lot … it's just very eye-opening," Clift told 10News.

While Clift is trying to fly out of the chaos, two workers from the local Red Cross chapter are trying to get in.

One of the workers, Teri Klemchuk, made it to Delaware and is now making her way into New Jersey.

Klemchuk told City News Service by phone that, as a California native, it was her first hurricane.

"It was very windy," Klemchuk said about the weather conditions when the storm hit. "The rain didn't feel too hard, but the wind, combined with the rain, it was very hard."

Klemchuk said the howl of the wind and pounding of the rain could be heard during the night inside a Red Cross shelter at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes, Del., where about 200 people spent the night.

"You don't know what to expect," Klemchuk said. She hastened to add that the agency was careful in selecting shelter locations, and that they were safe.

According to Courtney Pendleton of the San Diego chapter of the Red Cross, 11,000 people spent Monday night in 300 shelters in the northeast.

Prospective relief workers are standing by in San Diego while the Red Cross calls in help from closer to the damaged zone.

"We've got folks on deck who should leave later this week," Pendleton said.

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