U.S Out of Vermont

Wagner described to me what had happened when Hurricane Irene hit Hancock in 2011. The White River rose, swept away entire homes, and disinterred the corpses in nearby cemeteries. A wall of water out of the mountains shredded Route 100, leaving 20-foot canyons, isolating the village. National Guard helicopters were slow to arrive. The Federal Emergency Management Agency was nowhere to be seen. The residents held potluck dinners and planning sessions by candlelight, deputized a leadership, heaved pebbles and gravel in backhoes to begin the repair of the roads—they had no permits to do so—and sent emissaries on foot to outlier settlements, checking on the old and the infirm. Rick Gottesman, who lives with Kathleen Byrne at her inn and who told me he was a “quiet secessionist,” wrote about Irene in an e-mail:

“There was palpable pride in the town and its people and a distinct we-ain’t-waitin’-for-no-gubmint attitude. With rivers bursting with water, forests full of firewood, abundant gardens and most of all each other, we could have easily continued for several more weeks and longer.”
Christopher Ketcham writing in The American Prospect

After the storm

I fell behind in posting my images for my Project 52. Time to catch up.

It’s the morning after Hurrican Sandy. The air is cold. I’ve never heard such quiet inside and outside the house. We are still without power. It seems the AT&T cell tower has gone offline. My phone has a no service sign. It’s still dark in the house, but I’m well-rested and can’t sleep anymore. Shaan is up as well. Time to make the coffee. Are we in the eye of the storm, or is it over?

A large tree has fallen across River Road ( near Blue Spring Road ). The tree has brought down the power lines. I’m not sure if these are the lines supplying power to our neighbourhood.

After Sandy

Hurricane Sandy disrupted our electrical and cellular services for several days. During this time, I ventured out, capturing photographs and chronicling my experiences.

Hurricane Sandy knocked out our electrical and cellular services for a few days. I drove around taking photos and wrote in my journal. This is a partial dump from that journal.

Day One

It's the morning after the storm. The air is cold. I've never heard such quiet inside and outside the house. We are still without power. It seems the AT&T cell tower has gone offline. My phone has a no service sign. It's still dark in the house but I'm well rested and can't sleep anymore. Shaan is up as well. Time to make the coffee. Are we in the eye of the storm or is it really over?

Hoover Avenue · 30 October 2012 · Nikon D40 · 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6

Power is still out. I drove around the neighbourhood to assess the situation. There are a lot of trees down in Rocky Hill. I had a chat with one of the emergency crews members working on cutting up a tree on Crescent Avenue. I told him about the large tree that had fallen across River Road ( near Blue Spring Road ). The tree had brought down the power lines. I'm not sure if these are the lines supplying power to our neighbourhood. His priority was clearing the trees that had no power lines.

There were a few more large trees down on Washington Avenue. I could see the stumps of trees that were cut down during Irene. Sad. Some of these trees have been around since colonial times.

58 Princeton Avenue - Rocky Hill, NJ. · 30 October 2012 · Nikon D40 · 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6

I tried accessing Rocky Hill via 206 and Washington Avenue. There was another crew cutting branches off another tree. No access via that route. There were a few more large trees down on Washington Avenue. I could see the stumps of trees that were cut down during Irene. Sad. Some of these trees have been around since colonial times.

A row of trees provided privacy for the residents of Princeton Village (Blue Spring Road and Princeton Avenue). Not anymore.

Princeton Village · 30 October 2012 · Nikon D40 · 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6

Rocky Hill was like an island. No way in or out by car. Montgomery Road was impassable. A tree had come down on a power line. I did not feel safe driving through.

There seemed to be no way into Rocky Hill from Skillman (Montgomery Township). A fallen tree ( or branches from a tree) blocked access from Washington Street and Princeton Avenue was blocked as well. I drove down Montgomery Road but stopped when I came across a fallen tree on the power lines in one lane of the road. Rocky Hill had become an island.

A fallen tree ( or branches from a tree) blocked access from Washington Street and Princeton Avenue was blocked as well. I drove down Montgomery Road but stopped when I came across a fallen tree on the power lines in one lane of the road. Rocky Hill had become an island.

30 October 2012 · Nikon D40 · 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6

Power is still out. I drove around the neighborhood to assess the situation. There are a lot of trees down in Rocky Hill. I had a chat with one of the emergency crews members working on cutting up a tree on Crescent Avenue. I told him about the large tree that had fallen across River Road ( near Blue Spring Road ). The tree had brought down the power lines. I’m not sure if these are the lines supplying power to our neighborhood.

518 was closed at 206 so I drove up to Orchard Road. I was hoping to get to my sister-in-law's home. They live on Sunset Avenue. The traffic lights were out but crossing 206 was easy. The road was mostly empty. Orchard Road was closed. Another tree, another power line. I continued up 206 to Sunset Avenue. The traffic lights are working but badly damaged. I dodged under a few power lines but made it to their home. They have power but the cable is out. A large tree came down but luckily missed the house. The Verizon cell tower is working so they loaned me a cell phone. We still have no cell signal.

30 October 2012 · Nikon D40 · 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6

Rocky Hill Fire Dept cutting a tree and removing debris from Crescent Avenue. We've walked by the homes on Princeton Avenue and enjoyed the beautiful blossoms on the trees. The home behind the branches has lost all it's trees. It looks so bare; so naked.

After updating them on our status and the situation in the rest of the town I headed home. I noticed that the traffic lights are still out south of Orchard Road but the Shoprite has power. Time to go check on the in-laws.

Day Two

We are still without power. I woke up to a much cooler home. Our thermostat says the temperature is around 62 F. It feels a lot cooler. Thankfully we have a gas fireplace. I'm hoping it can warm up the first floor a bit and that the electricity will come back soon.

The interior of the fridge is warming up and the ice in the freezer has melted. Most likely we will return to my sisters-in-law and spend some more time there. We were there last night to recharge our phones and battery systems. Kiran stayed over some have to pick her up anyway.

We took most of our cooked food there yesterday and had a feast. They have power but Comcast is down. No entertainment or information options except for cell phones. My other sister-in-law has no power either.

In the Spring we walked by the homes on Princeton Avenue and enjoyed the beautiful blossoms on the trees. No more. This home on Princeton Avenue and Crescent has lost all it\'s trees. It looks so bare; so naked.

30 October 2012 · Apple iPhone 5 ·

The AT&T cell tower is still not operating correctly. I get one or two signal bars but neither calls nor texts will go through. I'm not getting a 4G or 3G or even EDGE data signal. We are in an information island.

I can deal with the loss of electricity but be being disconnected from my world - from the network - is really bothering me.

I'm using my iPad to journal and edit photos. The iPad and a few good apps have kept me company. I'm using the Day One app to write my thoughts over the last few days. It's a simple markdown text editor but I can attach a photo and location information. It works.

I can't use my iMac and Adobe Lightroom but Snapseed has become my goto photo editing app this week. The limited functionality of Snapseed is just what I want now. I'm using the auto correct, tune and crop function the most. The results are good enough for posting later. I also have iPhoto, photoforge2 and Photoshop apps installed but I haven't felt the need to use those. I've got time so maybe I'll play around with those later.

30 October 2012 · Apple iPhone 5 ·

I've read all but two of the forty or so articles I had saved in Pocket. All the articles were downloaded into the app cache before the power went out. I've also read all the articles in Marco Arment's new project, the Magazine. Reading at night before going to bed has been a pleasurable experience.

We have been going to bed each night around 9 PM. We have no late night TV to seduce us away from sleep. The night is dark and quiet; no street lights here or in the distance and no HVAC to produce white noise. We get up when our bodies and minds are rested which for me is between 6:45 and 7:15 AM.

Day Three

We are still without power. I woke up to a much cooler home. Our thermostat says the temperature is around 62 F. It feels a lot cooler. Thankfully we have a gas fireplace. I'm hoping it can warm up the first floor a bit and that the electricity will come back soon.

The interior of the fridge is warming up and the ice in the freezer has melted. Most likely we will return to my sisters-in-law and spend some more time there. We were there last night to recharge our phones and battery systems. Kiran stayed over some have to pick her up anyway.

We took most of our cooked food there yesterday and had a feast. They have power but Comcast is down. No entertainment or information options except for cell phones. My other sister-in-law has no power either.

The AT&T cell tower is still not operating correctly. I get one or two signal bars but neither calls nor texts will go through. I'm not getting a 4G or 3G or even EDGE data signal. We are in an information island.

I can deal with the loss of electricity but be disconnected from my world - from the network - is really bothering me.

I'm using my iPad to journal and edit photos. The iPad and a few good apps have kept me company. I'm using the Day One app to write my thoughts over the last few days. It's a simple markdown text editor but I can attach a photo and location information. It works.

I can't use my iMac and Adobe Lightroom but Snapseed has been goto photo editing app this week. The limited functionality of Snapseed is just what I want right now. I'm using the auto correct, tune and crop function the most. The results are good enough for posting later. I also have iPhoto, photoforge2 and Photoshop apps installed but I haven't felt the need to use those. I've got time so maybe I'll play around with those later.

I've read all but two of the 30 or so articles I had saved in Pocket. All the articles were downloaded into the app cache before the power went out. I've also read all the articles in Marco Arment's new project, the Magazine. Reading at night before going to bed has been a pleasurable experience.

We have been going to be each night around 9 PM. We have no late night TV to seduce us away from sleep. The night is dark and quiet; no street lights here or in the distance and no HVAC to produce white noise. We get up when our bodies and minds are rested which for me is between 6:45 and 7:15 AM.

WItherspoon Street and Wiggins Street, Princeton Borough · 31 October 2012 · Apple iPhone 5 ·

We drove into Princeton this morning just before noon. We had had some success receiving a cellular signal from the highest point in our neighbourhood but we were only able to chat for a few minutes. I drove down Mount Lucas thinking about how lucky we were. Large trees had fallen on homes and lawns and I could see the remains of trees that had been cut to clear the road. I encountered very little traffic and even found parking on the street.

WItherspoon Street, Princeton Borough · 31 October 2012 · Apple iPhone 5 ·

Walking through Princeton was a bit surreal. Although I could see that a storm had blown through the town, busy shoppers and pedestrians made it seem like it was any other day in Princeton. There was a line waiting to get into PJ's Pancake House and students crisscrossed Washington Road.

We headed down Nassau Street toward Witherspoon Street. Vanderventer was partly closed. A small tree had fallen across the roadway. All the shops appeared to have electricity but some were closed for business. Triumph Brewery was closed. A shame. I wanted a good brew.

We continued down Nassau Street toward Palmer Square. The Kiosk was closed and so was Winberie's. Thomas Sweet was open and so was Olsson's. We chatted with the owner for a bit. Some of the stores had electricity and others did not. He didn't seem to know why. We bought a small wedge of a very delicious Swiss cheese and headed around toward Spring Street to the Princeton Public Library.

Albert Hines Plaza was packed and people were coming and going from the library. Before the power went out I remembered seeing a post that the library would provide charging stations if they had power.

WItherspoon Street near Green Street, Princeton Borough · 31 October 2012 · Apple iPhone 5 ·

When we turned to look up Witherspoon Street toward Paul Robeson I noticed a police car and yellow tape. Of course, we had to investigate. Wow!. A large tree -- few trees -- had fallen onto a utility pole which fell onto a home. The tree had been ripped right out of the ground along with a chunk of sidewalk.

Nassau Street, Princeton · 31 October 2012 · Apple iPhone 5 ·

The wind had snapped another utility pole on Green Street which also pulled down part of the street light. I don't think these residents will have power back soon. Shaan wanted bread so we stopped at the Terra Momo Bread Company. We also stopped at Small World for a latte and coffee. We had cheese, fresh bread and coffee.

31 October 2012 · Apple iPhone 5 ·