Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hurricane Journal: The Day After

When I awakened on the morning of October 30, the rain had stopped and the winds were gone.  Unlike the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, which dawned sunny and spectacular, this day was cloudy and grey.  It was cool outside, with temps just in the 50s.  JT was still asleep but I went outside to look up and down the street.  My neighbors were there and we compared notes.  Tree branches were down everywhere; like me, my neighbors were without power.  In the next few hours, I would discover that there was no power in our town and not in nearby towns either.  I called the utility company to report the outage and the automated system informed me that my electricity would be restored by Monday, November 5th.  In hindsight, that was my first inkling that the storm had been massive, though I glossed over the fact at the time.  When we had lost power in Irene, they had warned us it would be gone for 5 days and we were restored in 3.  Surely this wouldn't be worse?

I came inside to a functioning gas stove and the ability to make coffee.  While the water boiled, I grabbed the bags of ice I had earlier stored in the freezer, and moved food from my fridge to the ice chest, which I stored on my front porch.  What I couldn't save, I threw out.  I saved the ice cream for JT's breakfast.  When he got up, I let him eat it from the carton, an indulgence he is always asking for but receives only in the aftermath of hurricanes.  We took a walk around town and began to get a sense of the extent of the damage.  There were downed trees and tree branches everywhere, so much so that sights like these could be seen in too many front yards to count.

Larger trees and power poles also came down, including more than a half dozen on one of the main streets out of our town.  This picture is from a distance because there were power lines down for a length of two blocks and I didn't want my 12 year old anywhere near them.

One block north of my street, an enormous tree came down.  You can see the root ball in this photo.  This tree took out a fence and a garage, but missed the houses it stood between.

Farther down the same street, another tree crushed a car.

I'm not sure that there is any way to really explain the volume of the trees that fell in my town, let alone the way things looked in the aftermath.  In some instances, like this one two blocks west of me, houses were damaged (there is a flattened dormer window under that tree).

By the time JT and I returned home from our first post-hurricane outing, we were sobered by what we had seen.  We felt incredibly lucky.  Our messy front porch and one bent piece of trim were nothing to worry about compared to what other folks had experienced.

Later that day, we set to work tuning in our hand-crank radio so that we could get some news and information about the rest of our area.  That's a story for another day.

1 comment:

Nichole said...

We are so glad you are safe!