23 September 2011

Hurricane Irene

The local weatherman just said that it is going to rain today.  It rained yesterday.  If there is one thing we do not need, it's more rain.  

We have a well - an old dug well & our water source is the small stream that surrounds our property on 3 sides.  When there is no rain the stream dries up and in really bad years our well dries up too.  Fortunately it rarely gets that bad but I have always vowed not to complain about rain when it comes. But this year that vow is being seriously tested.  Upstate NY was really hit hard by Hurricane Irene  on August 28th.  It's rare for the East Coast to get hit by a hurricane.  For days before Irene reached the U.S. there were constant warnings for coastal areas and NYC - upstate NY was supposed to get heavy rain & some local flooding but there was no call for extraordinary preparation.  As it turned out the hurricane had other plans.  The rain came early that Sunday morning & it was relentless throughout the day.  We had already had a very wet summer so the ground was saturated - rivers and creeks started flooding early in the day.  As I say, we are surrounded by a stream but we never gave it a thought because it has never flooded the land near the house - the house sits on the high point of the property and my husband (Dan) who has lived here all of his 60 years has never seen the stream come close to the house.  Late in the day we looked out and saw that the stream was indeed flooding into the backyard.

The bridge in the center of this photo is usually down a small decline (and is usually 8 feet above the water) but here it is floating on the water as it spreads into the yard.  We were incredibly lucky because not long after we saw the water rising, the rain stopped.  After taking this picture I went back in the house.  Just as Dan & I were doing a little happy dance to celebrate our good luck, the power went out.  The wind and rain had finally taken its toll on a local power station and thousands lost power.  We didn't get power back for almost 3 days.  The morning after the storm we went out to assess our damage.

The bridge had fallen back down but it was no longer attached to anything. Here is Blackie confused to find that his path to the back trails is broken. There is another bridge at the back of the property - that too is gone so we have no access to the back trails.  Sad, but we still have access to the field trails & our daily rambling continues.

All in all we were incredibly lucky - just some inconvenience.  So many people in our area have lost their homes completely.  Many have not even found their homes let alone any of their belongings.  Some still have buildings but what wasn't swept away is beyond salvaging due to water and mud damage. It's been almost a month and clean-up continues and families are homeless. No, we definitely don't need more rain - but according to the weatherman we will be getting more - maybe every day for another week.

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