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Hurricane Sandy Causes “Failure To Communicate”

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(Photo credit MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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Gary Nelson has been a member of the CBS4 News team since Septem...
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MIAMI (CBS4) – As viewers in South Florida watch worrisome images from the Hurricane Sandy storm zone, many worry about friends and loved ones that might be there, and have reached out to try to learn how they did through the storm. It hasn’t been easy to connect.

Randi Perez, who works at CBS4, was worried sick about her mother in New York.

“My mother lives in Brooklyn, she’s 85 years old and she lives by herself,” Perez said.

Perez began trying to call her mother early Monday evening.

“The cell phones weren’t going through. The landlines weren’t going through,” Perez said. “I called all night and all morning.”

This reporter experienced a similar problem trying to reach good friends in Princeton, New Jersey. Calls to their cell phones went straight to voice mail, as did calls to their home phone. There was no response to email, Facebook or Twitter postings.

Spero Canton, a spokesperson for Comcast Communications in South Florida, said his company has been impacted on multiple levels.

“My boss is stuck in New York. He’s trying to get out now,” said Canton, chuckling.

Canton said the primary reason many communications systems aren’t working is the lack of electrical power. Most cell phones, landlines and internet service require power in order to function.

Even if the lights are on at your home or business, your phone and internet might be out if the tower or hub serving you is down.

“You might have power in your area,” said Canton, “But if the hub site is dark that means you’re not getting any type of internet or video or telephone.”

He added that communications should come on quickly as power is restored. Crews from all over the country have flooded the storm zone to get the power going again.

Randi Perez, worried about her elderly mom in Brooklyn, was able to breathe a sigh of relief late Tuesday morning.

“She picked up on the landline.” Perez said. “Thank God.”

Her mom still doesn’t have heat, though, which could be a problem. Fortunately, while the weather is nippy, low temperatures in New York are forecast to remain above 40 degrees at least through Friday.

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