Garden Diary - August 2011

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Sunday, 28 August 2011
Hurricane Irene, The Aftermath

There was certainly ample advance warning. News alerts of a monster storm the size of California slowly travelling up the eastern seaboard, impacting 55 million people. Mandatory evacuations along the Jersey shore and low lying areas of New York City. New York City subways closed. I filled jugs with potable water, about 16 quart yogurt containers that went into the big freezer to help keep it cold, buckets for flushing toilets. The generator got a "rehersal run" last week when the power was out for 5 hours in a non-hurricane-related storm.

In retrospect we got off easy. Power went out about midnight. Paul went into the basement to check it out and one corner was damp. He opened the sliding door about 6 inches so the deepest any water could get would be sill level. Power came back on. Power went out again - and stayed out for about 18 hours, coming back on about 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Basement did take on water. Internet out, and still out 6 days later.

The little intermittent, summer-dry drainage creek along the side
of our property was torrential, and had rearranged its channel,
shoving loose rock out of its way and against the banks.

Our neighbor's sheep pasture was flooded. This time, the storm surge took out the fence as well.
Perhaps that's why he has Finn×Dorset sheep. Someone saw a great blue heron standing in the water.

The Nishisackwick Creek that gives our road its name was flowing scary fast, eating away chunks of its banks.

Another neighbor's bridge remained intact and on its supports, surprising when you see
what the creek rammed into it. Their driveway took more damage and is no longer
connected to the bridge at either end. Good thing they'd evacuated to her parents
house, along with both girls, their cat, and a Guinea pig one of the girls was caring for.


Altogether Hurricane Irene dumped just over 8 inches of rain on BelleWood Gardens in about 24 hours.
We drove into Frenchtown to see how the town made out.


The first sign of something interesting was water bubbling up out of a manhole cover on Route 12, just outside of town.

Rescue boat on trailer, the local volunteer fire company was prepared.

Numerous roads were flooded and impassable.

The local police force (I believe there are 2 full time and 2 part time officers) were set up by the river.

That's the Delaware River, a major watercourse that drains a goodly area. While the bridge connecting
New Jersey and Pennsylvania was intact it was not very useful as River Road on the other side was closed
both up- and downstream. The river had not yet crested and even so was spreading over its banks.

As example the picnic table. Normally well away from the river it is now partially submerged.

And the police somehow managed to wrestle this fuel oil tank out of the river. "Empty?" I asked.
"No," was the answer, "about 200 gallons sloshing around inside." Altogether too exciting.

However all in all I think we got off easy. Noone that I know was hurt. Trees down across the road but not on a house.
Most people on our road have generators. The damaged driveways can be repaired with a backhoe. Too exciting, yes.
But other areas are much more severely impacted - people killed, homes flooded, electricity still out. No complaints here.

UPDATE:Saturday, 3 September 2011

Our power went out this morning, about 8:00 a.m. Paul drove around to see what happened. Good news!
There were JCP&L trucks, down Creek Road where the big tree had fallen across the road on Sunday
damaging the wires. The tree had been cut, clearing the road but that didn't restore the power until
the crews got here. And by 10:30 a.m. today everyone on the road had electricity and Internet. Yay!

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