Sunday, November 27, 2011

Winter Storm Alfred Part 2

I think the universe does not want me to update my blog this fall. I've been busy with massive amounts of overtime and lost access for over a week due to a freak October storm. I was FINALLY getting ready to update two weeks ago...when I came down with pneumonia. Of course, it took about four days to figure out this wasn't the usual common cold, one more to go to my doctor and make him a bit suspicious, and yet another for him to send me straight for a chest x-ray when he found that I hadn't improved when I called to update him the next morning. All I can say is that antibiotics are wonderful...except when you are allergic to them, like the first one that was prescribed. Ok, the azithromycin it was's just that I didn't like breaking out in hives. The doxycycline that they gave me after it is wonderful too, and I haven't had any odd reactions to it yet. I'm finally to the point where sitting in front of the computer for an hour does not totally exhaust me.

So without further ado, here is one of the posts that has been sitting in the queue.

Chandler and I took a walk around the neighborhood during the mid-afternoon on the Sunday after Winter Storm Alfred. A lot of the snow had melted down to a soggy two inches of slushy white, and we found that our yard had escaped with light damage, compared to other parts of the neighborhood.

This was the scene a few houses down the street from us. The maples in this front yard took more of a beating than the one in our back yard. Large branches had broken off and littered the lawn.

This was the scene in our street looking up toward our house. The road is half blocked by a large branch. Actually, that was the falling branch that convinced me to abort Chandler's walk the previous afternoon. There had been too much risk of getting hit, considering that the entire walking route is overhung by trees.

When we got to the end of the street, I discovered why our power had died at about 9 pm the previous night. The most immediate clue was this insulator hanging off a power line twenty feet up in the air in somebody's front yard.

You see, the insulator had been totally ripped off its telephone pole. Ours is a dead end street that buds off a main road, and at 9 pm the previous night the top of an oak had fallen on the power lines just up the hill from our street, snapping two of them and ripping the third totally off the next pole. As the road curves when it gets to our street, the insulator was left dangling between the two poles that the wires were still attached to. Here is a photo of that pole with the wires broken and missing.

The oaks took a hard hit during the storm. This poor house had a branch big enough to be its own tree fall on it. The homeowner later told me that some of their roof beams seemed to be slightly cracked.

The mess was everyplace. This is a view of the elementary school's driveway and parking lot. A large section of maple rests on the school's power lines.

Here is another photo from the school's parking lot. I don't think those branches have a handicapped permit!

Downed branches were everywhere.

Many trees were essentially destroyed by the storm. This is a photo of the house that belongs to the parents of my best friend from high school. Shannon was shocked when I posted this photo on Facebook. She'd recently moved to Tarrytown, NY from Northhampton, MA, and had totally missed out on the fury of this particular storm. Sorry Shannon, your parent's place illustrated the destruction very well.

...although I am sorry that that evergreen that I think I recall you getting as a tiny seedling during high school did not survive the storm. :(

What was most surreal was to walk around and see all the Halloween decorations. I felt like I was walking through some movie set where Christmas had gotten revenge on Jack Skellington. As it turned out, Halloween ended up pretty much being cancelled, because of the hazardous conditions.

Not only were trees down everyplace, but wires were tangled up within them. I spent much of the walk picking my way around downed wires, and many streets were closed. Here is a view of Buttonball Lane. That big tree on the right has taken down a tangle of lines. It may look like there is a track for tires on the left, but there are wires down there. I ended up skirting around the telephone pole on the far left.

The fall colors were still lovely, despite the circumstances. I adore sugar maples.

This was the biggest problem in the neighborhood. A downed pole. Apparently earlier in the day the homeowners had cleared the huge branches that had taken the pole down; either a very daring or foolish task, but it was a moot point by the time Chandler and I walked by, wary of the downed lines. That "splinter" sticking up in the lower left is the remainder of the base of the pole.

For the pole to come down, a very strong support cable had to snap. Here is Chan posing for me by the broken off cable.

The problem continued up the rest of the block, with downed power lines hovering above the street. They marked them with yellow hazard tape.

Here's another one of those slightly jarring seasonal decoration photos.

One homeowner had an innovative solution to be sure that the power company was aware of a difficulty. Unfortunately, it took most of a week for crews to get to our neighborhood.

Ok, there's one post down. That means I just need to get the photos of Chandler's birthday hike posted and I'll be caught up.

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