Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Storm (February 23rd to February 27, 2010)

Starting Tuesday, February 23rd, snow started falling in our area. Finn's school was closed that day and the rest of the week. By Thursday, February 25th, snow started falling a lot faster. Finn and his friends started playing outdoors.

Finn sits in the cave that he, David, Gray, and Emily built.

Looking through the tunnel.

Gray yanks David out by his feet.
Just before I got Jennifer from the train I took a few pictures.

Jennifer, as we got home.

Shortly after we walked in the door, the power went out. Lola investigates a flashlight. I was able to make dinner by lighting the stove burners with matches.

Not content to sit in the dark after dinner, I decided to go for a ride back to the train station, which is on the river, to take photos. Before I left, I took this shot of the street we live on.

This is the train platform at Beacon station.
The hill down to the train station.

I waited for this train to arrive to shoot it. It stopped on the tracks and did not leave for half an hour.

The forward end of the train.

The train as it arrives from the north.

The dock to the ferry that takes you to Newburgh.
When I was taking these pictures, Cara called me around 9pm and said the power was back on. So, I went home. Pulling into the driveway, I got stuck and it took my neighbor Flip and his daughter Susan to help me get free again.

Cara helped me clear the driveway in anticipation of there being a lot more in the morning, when I would have to clear out a path and get Jenn to the train. She was ecstatic, playing in the snow and pelting the house with snowballs. Jenn and I went to bed, Cara stayed up to play video games because she was wired with adrenaline.

All three of us saw blue and green flashes that we believe were the power lines arcing. About 12:30 a.m. Friday, I woke and the power was off again. I warned Jenn to set her alarm on her phone, and we went back to sleep. When we got up to start our day at 5:30 in the morning, the power was still off. I checked the train schedules and weather reports with my cell phone. Jenn showered with candles downstairs - we still had hot water as the hot water heater requires no electricity.

I went out side to shovel so the car could get out.

Ready for work, Jenn stepped outside and snapped a shot or two with her cell phone. At least 12" had fallen overnight.

I carved a path to the car, where Cara left it at the end of the driveway the night before.

Jenn posing before we leave for the train.

A payloader runs ahead of us on the way to the station. It went to DIA Beacon, an art museum.

An Amtrak waited at the station. They never stop there, so you know something is wrong when they are there.

When we drove to the station we went to the riverside, where we always go. On a normal day, Jenn goes under the tracks then up between them to the platform to board the train. That route was blocked off because the wet snow flooded the tunnel. You can't tell too well but I threw a snowball into about 6 inches of water to demonstrate that there is water there. I drove Jenn around to the other side of the station, where she can take stairs over the tracks to get to the platform. I went back to the riverside to take some more pictures.

On the hill that leads away from the riverside of the station, a Smart car was buried since the night before.
I then drove home, knowing Jenn was safely on her way to NY.

A tree across Rombout Street, which runs parallel to ours.

A tree down on Main street.

A tree down near DIA Beacon.

Our dogwood bows under the weight.

I was low on gasoline so I went to the only station that appeared open and operating. I filled the tank and went home. Power did not appear to be coming on any time soon. The power company advised us to seek shelter elsewhere if we lacked heat (which we did). I set a few pots on the stove to boil water to keep the house tolerable. That got the temp back to 70F from 62F. I bagged snow from outside and set bags in the refrigerator and chest freezer.

As I cleared the driveway I saw my next door neighbor and asked how they were. They had generators and wood stoves, and they were bailing their sump by hand. She advised me to do the same. When I went to check on it, it was indeed full, almost to the basement floor. I bailed it out.

When I was done with that, Cara and I prepared to go to NY. We packed up the bird, but left the cat. Her boyfriend joined us and we headed south on Rte 9D to the Bear Mountain Bridge. Only a mile or so from the bridge in Garrison, a tree was across the road, but on the shoulder there was a gap that some were driving under on the shoulder. The ruts were very deep and we decided it was a bad idea to try. We turned around and went to Rte 403, then Rte 9, to Peekskill and turned North on route 6 to the Bear Mountain Bridge and we made it to the Palisades Parkway on the other side of the river. That highway was largely clear but some spots had a lane closed due to a downed tree. We cross the Hudson again on the George Washington Bridge, got to Jenn's hotel, and called it a day. We had a decent dinner, bowled at the Port Authority, then went to sleep in warmth.

The next day I decided to go home for fear that the basement would be flooded and the cat frozen. Cara stayed behind to help Jenn at the hotel, and Vinnie went to Beacon with me.

I got home and found that the basement was not flooded - the sump had filled again, but did not overflow. The cat was alive, and the house had only dropped to 52F. The snow in the chest freezer did not melt at all, so I knew the entire contents were at most 32F. The snow in the refrigerator melted, so I knew some things in there had to go, but it wasn't a total loss. Relieved, I sent messages to Jenn that I would bail it, warm up the house, feed the cat, then return to NY.

I set pots boiling on the stove again and soon the house was warming up. I had to light the burners with matches, again. I decided to take a little break in the kitchen and gather my thoughts when I heard clicking. I looked at the stove, where the noise was coming from and realized that it was the burner ignition making the noise. I was puzzled. Then I saw that the clock was blinking and the power was back. I did not have to bail the sump again because that started right up.

Sure the power was on for good, I told the girls and they decided to come home. We avoided total disaster for a change. It was exhausting for all of us. I missed work entirely on Friday.

Sunday After the Storm

Looking down the streetOur backyard. The neighbor's arbor vitae are bent over our fence, and our dogwood lost a small limb.

Our house.

Images from around town.