Roots ripped out of the ground as a large oak tree fell toward Olga Raymond's front door. With it came a power line.
Raymond had just left her one-story home in Mansfield, Connecticut. Neighbors told CNN affiliate CTNOW that a smaller pine tree had already snapped off onto Raymond's roof, startling her. She had a flashlight in hand and was on her way to a neighbor's house when the bigger tree crashed down.
The 90-year-old woman -- a "spirited" bowler and grandmother of four -- was killed instantly.
Across the Northeast, more stories such as Raymond's are being reported. Another tree, another town, another broken home.
And the death toll from Superstorm Sandy climbs.
Sandy battered the coast with 90-mph winds, leaving at least 165 dead from Haiti to Canada. More than 95 were killed in the United States. Many of the victims were believed to be safely holed up in their homes.
"When Mother Nature sends her wrath your way, we're at her mercy, and so all we can do is stay prayerful and do the best that we can," Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford told CNN.
'This is our friend'
Friends of Angela Dresch, 13, were walking along a tattered road in Tottenville on New York's Staten Island when they spotted a photo lying among some debris. They rushed to give it to their pastor, the Rev. Francis Dias.
"They picked it up and showed it to me and said 'This is our friend, Angela,' " Dias said. "It had floated from the house onto the road."
Angela was one of the first victims of Superstorm Sandy identified on Staten Island. The teen's body was found not too far from her home early Tuesday after a surge of water demolished her family's house on the edge of the borough's south shore, according to SILive.com.
Neighbors told SILive.com that the family had evacuated from Irene last year and were robbed. This time, they decided to stay behind.
George Dresch was reported missing shortly after the storm passed through. His body was discovered late Wednesday blocks from his house, according to SILive.com. His wife, Patricia, was found earlier in the week and transported to the hospital, where she is reportedly in stable condition.
The Dreschs were dedicated parishioners at Our Lady Help of Christians Church, Dias said. Patricia Dresch is the secretary to the religious education program's coordinator.
"Patricia has served our community for over 20 years as a dutiful and faithful catechist," Dias said. "The parishioners -- both parents and students -- love her and respect her very much."
George Dresch was always at the church helping out, Dias said, whether it was for the education program or the Christmas pageant. Support has been pouring in for his wife as she struggles to recover and deal with the loss of her husband and youngest child.
Angela's friends have set up a memorial page for her on Facebook. "Her classmates are devastated," Dias said.
"Can't sleep, dying inside knowing that this nightmare is the reality we have to face," the page's admin Giovanna Cocuzza posted. "I know you're up there Ang, please help us get through this. We love you and miss you so much. Why did you have to go?"
Shortly before her younger brother was killed, Ashley Robson was weathering Superstorm Sandy like many others in New York.
"Collecting rain that is coming through the roof #thankssady (sic) #couldbedoingsomethingsomuchbetter," the teen tweeted at 5:52 p.m. Monday.
Less than two hours later, Michael Robson, 13, and his friend Jack Baumler, 11, were killed by a 100-foot oak tree that crashed into the family room where they were seeking shelter.
The small suburban town of North Salem is now in mourning.
"Waking up this morning and realizing it wasn't just a bad dream. ... My love prayers go out to both families #ripjackandmichael," Camilla Fay tweeted Tuesday.
"My heart is breaking a thousand times over," Talyah Fae posted.