Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Sandy Blast

 I'm at sis-in-law Liz's on afternoon of Saturday, November 3rd as I write this.  She has had power for the last 2 days.  Not so for me tho.  I'll be going home to my not-so-warm house again tonight.  They say that power might not be restored for another 9 days yet.

Anyway, just for comparison sake, the above photo is what the middle of my backyard looked like just last Saturday.  Below is what it looked like by Tuesday morning:

Taking a look over the fence, we see what neighbor Tony Trafficante lost:
 It hit his fence, but not - thank God - his house.

 Meanwhile, back on my side, I had some chain-sawing to do.  Not much of a spindly little tree, but enough to keep me busy for awhile.

"The Giving Tree"


 Rooted not too firmly.

 The "new" backyard.  Compare it to the first photo, above.

 Meanwhile, out front - across the street - a tree in the yard behind neighbor Rocky's place came down putting a sizable sag in the line.
 London Bridge is Falling Down.  The sagging line that everyone had to drive under to get further into the development.

 Neighbors Suzanne and Pete lost one in their front yard. Pete also took a direct hit on the windshield of his Jeep, from a branch off of a curbside tree.  Safelite came the very next day, tho, and repaired it right there in the street.

 Taking a spin around the block on Tuesday afternoon, enroute to Ruthann's I came across this "tree growing in the middle of the street."

 Here it is "close-up". . .  just around the corner from me, on Essex St.

 Turning the corner from Essex on to Renssaelaer, the road that exits my development onto Commack Rd. But there's even more trees down - 3 biggies - within the one block yet to go to reach Commack Rd.

 Swerving around "tree number one" within that stretch.

 Tree number two, dead ahead.  I was so swerving so much by now that I missed getting a photo of that 3rd one, which was one of the biggest of them all.

 Made it to Ruthie's and she was chit-chatting with neighbor Brian, having cleared away a lot of limbs with the help of one of her other neighbors.  I stayed awhile and helped saw up a bit more of what still remains.  Tree had come down across her driveway and if she'd parked her car in its "NORMAL" place in the driveway it would've become a piece of scrap metal.

 Back home again.  That sagging line in the street is now 'flagged.'  Kinda small flags, tho, don'tcha think?

 Town of Smithtown tree-trimming crew at work on that tree on Thursday.  They say that the linesmen will be back "in a few days" to reconnect the wires.

 Suz and Pete brought in an even _bigger_ RV to supply more power.  They left the first one in the driveway running too.  I owe them big-time.

 Another shot of the tree down in front of Suz and Pete's. . . .  after Fire Department trimmed the branches that were hanging onto the street.

Heavy-hauler. The town crew brought the tractor-trailer along to haul away any tree trunks or bigger limbs.

I lost electricity last Sunday at 1pm. I immediately switched to a generator in my neightbor's RV camper she had parked in her driveway ("Hey Bob, throw me an orange extension cord and I'll give you some power.") So I ran the 'fridge a lamp and Internet, cable TV and home land-line phone until they crapped out on me by Monday morning. Am still without the power, but using the RV generator have fridge and light. I heat up my food on the stove (gas) and closing the doors to all of the rooms in the house other than the kitchen and living room it keeps me warm enough. I plug an electric blanket into the generator extension cord at night, too. Temps at night have been in the high 30s at night.

Trees down all over the neighborhood. . . . lots of them _huge_ and torn out by the _roots_, but  I only lost one small tree - as you can see abovre - (about 20 feet tall) which I cut up myself using my small chain saw.

In the past 6 days I've only seen _one_ utility truck go thru the neighborhood, and he didn't even slow down. They say it could take up to 2 weeks for everyone to get power back. They're concentrating efforts on the south shore, where whole neighborhoods were destroyed. "100,000 homes devastated," according to yesterday's Newsday front page.

Right now I'm visiting sis-in-law Liz in Bergenfield, NJ for the day. The drive over here via Long Island Expressway and Cross Bronx Expressway went _very_ smoothly. The reason for that is the fact that everyone is conserving gasoline by keeping their cars off the road. There are more cars lined up at gas stations than _on_ the road! Half the gas stations are closed because without electricity the pumps to power the gas pumps don't work.  The lines at gas stations are up to a mile long and the waits have gone to 8 hours in some instances - no exaggeration. Here in New Jersey they have National Guardsmen helping line up the cars at the gas stations. . . . And I'm sure they're helping prevent the fistfights that they say were happening in the lines earlier in the week. I'm lucky that I have a Toyota Prius hybrid and smart that I gassed her up last Saturday. . . . I'm down only a tenth of a tank, even after driving over here to NJ.

On the drive over here we passed four long convoys of utility trucks from out-of-state heading eastward. I could only make out the name of one of the companies - Sumter Utilities, which I think must be from South Carolina. There already are linemen here from as far away as California - a couple of whom had their photos in this morning's Newsday as they were up it the cherry-picker buckets working.

And now the bad news: They're predicting a Nor'Easter for Wednesday and Thursday of next week with winds of about 50mph. The fun is only just beginning!

I feel lucky and blessed, tho, considering the homes totally destroyed and the lives lost not so far away from here.  Good to have good neighbors, friends and family at times like this.

1 comment:

  1. Hang in there, Dad. I really hope you have power restored before next weekend, and please keep an eye out for hanging branches around or near the house.

    We were "lucky" that we only lost power for 4 days up here, but on night 3, it dipped down to 40°F outside, and it wasn't much warmer in the house with no electric to power the furnace. Power went out at 4:15pm Monday as I was taking the last hot shower before the lights and cable were restored on Thursday - we had started considering going to the shelter in town just before the electric was restored.

    Plenty of downed trees in the neighborhood, one on a house around the corner from us, and 2 across the road next to each other on Boretz (opposite end of street); the whole 5-6 block radius became a maze for navigating around, and cell phone signal was poor at best on those first 2 days.

    Friends down on Long Island, in NYC, along the CT shore and in the northwest corner of CT, and over in NJ on the shore - and in parts of PA too - have also reported in that they are all safe, but one pair of friends lost a house in NJ, another SCAdian in NYC said his basement was flooded to the rafters, and others in NJ are not leaving their houses because generators are being stolen out of peoples yards. Likewise, I heard gas rationing is going on in Long Island, not just in NJ.

    If the situation hasn't improved by next weekend, and if we can get across on the ferry, please let us know what we can bring over for you on Saturday night. Meanwhile, I'll keep my fingers crossed that eventually the lights come back on for you and the rest of the neighborhood as the disaster zones are cleared up along the shoreline. Bad time of year for storms, and as you said - this is only the start.

    I think the next step on our end is to start looking into the cost of solar batteries, until we're able to afford a generator. And please thank your neighbors for us, for helping keep you warm and powered up when you're not out and about.

    Be safe, everyone.