DUBUQUE, Iowa - . Joyce Stoffel was visiting her son in lower Manhattan when Hurricane Sandy hit and flood waters swamped the neighborhood.
Stoffel,her daughter and grand-daughter spent the next five days trying to get out of the city and back home to Iowa.
Stoffel said it all started with a plan to see the tourist attractions in New York, until news came around about a likely hurricane.
Stoffel said, "The weather looked perfect. There is no rain. There is no nothing. We are not scared. "
But as the weather turned worse, Stoffel and her family decided to stay put in her son's Wall Street Apartment.
Stoffel said, "we all said to ourselves, "you know those people who won't evacuate when they are suppose to? They are crazy". We say that back here at home but we felt safe where we were. "
As the power went out and the city turned black, a different kind of reality set in.
Stoffel said, "that cell phone or that television was kind of your link to getting out of there and you couldn't just use it. That was the hardest part. "
Iowa had never felt so far away.
Stoffel said, "LaGuardia Airport was shut down, the tunnels were shut down. The buses were double booked. You couldn't get out. "
So the family embraced their extended time together.
And finally, 72 hours after they were suppose to leave New York, they found a rental car, and drove back to Dubuque.
Stoffel said, "even though we weren't hurt in any way tragically. It was a trauma and you really got the sense that people love to help one another and if they can help they are there. "