Monday, August 29, 2011

Bye Hurricane Irene...

We are glad Irene is gone now.  A map from NY Times showing rainfalls and the track of the storm.

I can't get to work today, the bridges across Millstone River are all flooded. I wouldn't go to work anyway, we have enough to deal with here at home.

After Hurricane Irene
A giant tree down in our backyard.

After Hurricane Irene
Actually two trees, but the second one is leaning out over the road and hanging on the telephone, cable TV and internet wires.  I guess the township will come and clean that up, we can't.  If the wires break, then the tree will fall down in the road (which is closed right now, but people that live along the drive drive by carefully). Both trees were uprooted in the storm and stood outside our fence but fell onto our property. It is kind of crazy how trees can stand upright at all when a 25 m tall tree with a 1 m thick trunk has such as small root system. The powerline was under this tree too, but PSEG fixed that yesterday (see below).

Clean the floor in the basement, full of soil and dirt from the flooding.  The soil here was soaked after giant rains previous in the week so just a few hours after it started raining, we had water flowing into our higher-level older part of the basement and when it was the worst we had 2 inches around our furnace.  But no major damage to machines and other basement things that we know of yet.

 After Hurricane Irene
By 2.30 in the morning we had 4 siphon lines sucking water out of the basement using long garden hoses, and we are lucky we have a door out to a lower part of the garden where the water can go, all by itself using the amazing thing called gravity. But it took us hours to get the hoses going, it is more complicated than you might think when you have no pumps and have to manually suck or push water through 100 feet or rubber hose to get it going. It rained until around noon yesterday, and by then the wind came on stronger too.  I am so glad I bought 2 more hoses (the last ones in the store) two days before the storm.  It is always good to have an extra 100 feet (30 m) of heavy-duty garden hose.

The kids were amazing (thanks AREA and LA), being out in the dark helping us with hoses, keeping their spirits up despite thunder, darkness, water-filled boots, mud, wet clothes, and just general despair at times. PP was a hero too of course, he saved the basement by having the battery backup for the sump pump going. And our friends BV times two, were great. Thanks all of you.

People died here in the state, mostly from driving into deep water in rain and darkness and being swept away.  Why are people out driving when it is so bad?  And then when they get rescued, they risk the rescuers' lives.  People are sometimes so incredibly unprepared and stupid. Do not get into your car when the weather is bad... it is very simple. Some people seem to think that nature is not more powerful than society, but they are so wrong.

After Hurricane Irene
Here comes the new powerline! This time our power company PSEG was amazingly good! Heroic! When I first called in our power outage the calling center said we would get power back on September 4, next Sunday, which would have been VERY BAD (that is more than a week).  And then the tree fell, and I called that in, and a few hours later three giant PSEG trucks were here to restore the power and sure, by 5 PM yesterday it was back!  Yipee.  Showers, hot water, sump pumps, computers, and even the internet (through cable) was back!

After Hurricane Irene
Uprooted tomato and pepper plants. Sunflowers to the right have seen better days.

After Hurricane Irene
Our driveway after the storm. Those ruts are about a foot deep.  Unfortunately all the water from the neighboring horse fields drains down into the corner opposite our driveway and a large amount of it then goes straight into our driveway and then into our basement...  this has to be fixed!

It was really strange (and nice) to wake up this morning to a clear blue sky, lots of sunshine, and no wind.  Low nice temperatures and only 41% humidity.  Perfect for washing and drying all those clothes, rags, towels, etc. that are still wet from the storm. 

One neighbor has a tree down over their hot water tub house (which didn't break the glass window on the roof, amazing), another had 4 trees down over their driveway, and our driveway is totally destroyed by rushing water.  Oh well, but taken all into account, we did OK, nobody is hurt, the basement is relatively dry, and others had it and still have it much, much worse. Some people have lost everything, had to be rescued from their houses in the dark, buildings collapsed in Philadelphia, and many cars are under water.  So, we are doing fine, relatively speaking. Oh yes, we are terribly sore in our muscles from the basement work, but that is OK too.  Most workplaces are closed, the trains are not running (Trenton train station tracks are under 1 m of water), and the big university has postponed the start of classes with one day, to Thursday.  In Vermont they have unprecedented flooding and some of our favorite places there are under water. So it is not over yet.

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