karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
[personal profile] karnerblue
It's weird to be the one worried about instead of the one doing the worrying. And yet, here we were, the region blanketed in floodwaters and power outages, with the national news covering us and the Internet worrying about us. As it turned out, the downstaters, even though they got Hurricane Irene and we got Tropical Storm Ireme, got the better end of the deal, it would appear. Their damage doesn't look too bad. Ours, well, it was a mess.

I ran around Friday trying to batten down the hatches, picking up emergency nonperishables and jugs of water, filling every empty container in the house with either drinking water or regular tap water, making sure I had a flashlight with batteries, a radio with batteries, candles and a lighter, a charged phone and a charged camera battery (though I didn't think to charge the DS until Sunday morning). Saturday, I had to work, but we made sure to move all of our outdoor plants and furniture in, just in case. The storm was supposed to hit us early Sunday morning.

And hit it did. It was loud, raging winds and driving rain, so loud that it kept waking me up as I tried to get some sleep before what was bound to be a really long day. Around 8:15 a.m., we heard three really loud cracks, branches snapping off outside our window, and at that point, we gave up on sleep and jumped in the shower, so we could squeeze in one last shower before possibly losing water (and filling up the bathtub, again, just in case).

We scurried around getting showered, and then we scurried around some more making breakfast, again thinking that this might be our last hot meal for a while, let's try to cram in one last cooked breakfast. And then... we waited. And we read books. And we listened to the radio, hearing the litany of business closures and road closures and updates as the storm came through downstate, hearing about people being cut off, evacuated, stranded and rescued by helicopter in a couple of small Catskills towns.

And the storm raged outside all through the morning and into the afternoon, howling winds, driving rain. And then... it started to let up a bit. It started to pass around 3ish, and we still had power, and we didn't see any flooding outside, just a few fallen branches, though we heard that the road leading to our place was closed due to flooding.

By this point, I was getting stir-crazy. Funny, I thought a day in would be nice and relaxing, but I ended up getting cabin fever from being stuck inside all day. First, I went out on the balcony, just to be outside, even if only by a couple of steps. Then, I started agitating for a walk -- c'mon, it's only sprinkling now, let's go see the flooded road! Somehow, the plan snowballed, and we ended up not only walking up to see the flooding but also walking to Chipotle for dinner, then to Hannaford to buy groceries (amazing that they were both still open, but they were). It was a long, damp walk, and it was still windy and drizzly, but it was nice to get out of the house and get some exercise. After that, we mustered the courage to boot up the computer, just to check in and see how everyone else was going, and we saw the huge swaths of people without power on National Grid's map, including almost the whole town, except us. Lucky us.

Actually, the worst part around here wasn't Sunday, though there were a ton of power outages and closed (debris-filled or flooded) roads. No, the worst part was yesterday, Monday, when all of that water started to drain down, down into the rivers and streams, which quickly spilled over their banks and into everywhere, submerging Jumpin' Jack's in Scotia, rising over the patio at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Troy, filling streets and businesses and homes, and closing down roads and bridges all over, so that trying to get anywhere at all took hours of detours. On top of that, a barge broke loose on the Mohawk and threatened to wipe out the Twin Bridges and the Route 9 bridge, so both were closed for a while, until they could corral the wayward barge. That could've been an even worse disaster, if those bridges were taken out. But as it was, yesterday was a mess, a certifiable disaster, all over the region.

There was even word that a dam in Vischer Ferry might give, prompting a call encouraging people to evacuate and laying out details for where to go. The call also included a plea to stop calling Town Hall asking when the power would be on again -- they still didn't know. The town supervisor's message sounded frazzled, and I imagined that evacuees and officials alike were probably really stressed out. Those who can, do, and those who can't, bake, so I made two batches of cookies and took them over, one to Town Hall and one to the evacuation center (where, it turns out, not very many people were evacuating). I figured that if you're in a sucky situation, well, cookies make everything at least a little bit better. (In a similar vein, after two days of wall-to-wall crazy at the office, including reporters returning with tales of interviewing while standing in feet of mud and one who apparently looked for sources in a canoe, I brought in treats today. I figured we could use them, too.)

Today, at least the water's starting to recede a bit, and it looks like most people have their power back. I drove over the Mohawk on my way to work, and it was really, really high and the color of chocolate -- it made me think of Willy Wonka, of the stream that August Gloop drowned in. As for the damage, who knows. It's gonna be a difficult cleanup out there. I just hope that everything can be dried out and fixed up.
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karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)

July 2012

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