Taken TODAY. A full week after “Storm Alfred”. That’s a suburban street you’re looking at folks. The dirt path on the left is where people drove around the downed tree for days (ruining those poor folk’s lawn) until the town tossed up those barricades. Wish they’d dealt with the tree instead!
Greetings, from a still (kind of) powerless home in Connecticut.
I’ve been able to obtain the use of a generator for now, and amazingly, even though I don’t have electricity, my internet still works. So, powered by gasoline, here I am. In a warm house with one room operational, powered via heavy-duty extension chords.
The picture above is actually the end of my impassable street. No, I’m not a hillbilly, I actually live in a pretty commercialized suburban town. If I hit the lights just right, I’m within two minutes drive of a handful of malls, tons of restaurants, gas stations, etc. But due to the massive scale of the devastation here in CT, the fallen tree at the end of my street still hasn’t been addressed, and who knows when it will be.
I’ve lived in Connecticut my entire life, and this is the most devastating storm I’ve ever seen. Not in terms of snowfall, actually. In terms of snow, “Alfred” probably wouldn’t even crack the top twenty. But due to the fact that it came so early, “Alfred” was enormously destructive.
You see, the trees still had their leaves.
“Alfred” – at least in my part of the State – only dropped about 6 inches of snow. 8 tops. But as anyone who lives in wintry areas can tell you, not all snow is created equal. Sometimes you get the light, fluffy, cotton stuff, and sometimes you get the freshly poured cement. The snow that “Alfred” delivered was definitely the latter, and when it caught up in the canopy of leaves and accumulated, the weight was too much for the trees to bear.
I spent Saturday night wondering if I would make it through the night alive. The power had gone out hours earlier, and with no sound and no light you couldn’t help but hear every cracking branch, every falling tree. Thankfully the two Housecrushers in my front yard withstood the storm. This tree (pictured to the right) out back didn’t fare so well. Thankfully it fell parallel to the house and not on it.
The rest of the street, and the state as a whole didn’t fare as well. I woke up to several downed lines, and neighbors houses that had significant limbs down on them, and one with a tree down on it. Thankfully, neither incurred any damage.
We were all out of power though. And heat. And cell phone service. I got in my car and drove south in order to find a spot to grab some coffee and upload my Sunday post, and that’s when I realized how bad it was. Town after town after town completely blacked out. I drove all the way down to Newington and stopped at six or seven towns along the way… all blacked out.
My sister needed to find a hotel room for her family to stay in, so we drove north into Mass. On the way, we stopped in to a local Stop and Shop which was open and running on generator power. It was like something you’d see out of a post apocalyptic movie. Dimly lit. Shelves empty, yet really crowded… people jockeying to get at the canned goods. It was crazy.
Massachusetts didn’t prove to be much better at first. Half of Springfield was down for the count, and I saw my first “Oh my god, thank God I have gas so I don’t have to sit through that” gas line. I heard stories that people were waiting like two or three hours in line for gas. My phone had no signal at all, even in Mass. Thankfully, my sister’s did, and they were able to find themselves a room for the week. When my cell phone DID return to working, sometime on day 3, I saw an article on CNN that said 2.4 million people in the Northeast were out of power.
I roughed it out at home for three whole days, going to sleep shortly after it got dark, catching up on my backlog of Comics via candlelight. Work was cancelled for two days (and day one of the aftermath wasn’t even a workday!). When we finally did return to work, we all had to take up temporary residence at another location, as our offices were still without power. When I went to sleep those first few nights, I was bundled up like Randy in “A Christmas Story”. I literally went to sleep on Monday night wearing a knit cap, a scarf and gloves.
On Tuesday night I caved and started sleeping at my Mother’s house. She has a wood burning stove and her house was nice and toasty warm. One of her neighbors was also kind enough to run her an extension cord off of their generator so she had some lights, and we could make coffee. I stayed there for four nights, until we got the generator hooked up over here and the heat back on. Thanks Mom.
CL&P (Connecticut Light and Power) still has an enormous task ahead of them. They essentially had to rewire the entire State. The last estimate I heard was that 350,000 people in CT still had no power, and 55% of my town is still out.
I have no idea when I’ll be fully functioning again. For now, it seems like I have enough functionality to start blogging again. (WHEW!) So I’m going to give it a go. Bear with me if my posting schedule isn’t quite up to snuff (“Now Showing on Cable = Blank TV Screen”), but I’ll have some content to put up. I’m looking forward to getting back some sense of normalcy here after a week of sheer bs!
At least we have that police tape up now!