The wind started about 10 pm Thursday night, just as we lost power. We went to bed, but could not sleep as the wind howled and rain lashed the house. The house shook, trees fell with a crash and a thud. Each time we cringed, hoping a tree would not fall on the house. Gusts of wind swirled around the house; one blew open a window above our bed that we had not latched shut. Sometime around 1:00 am we drifted off to the sleep as the Nor'easter moved off-shore and the winds died down.
We woke Friday morning, hearing a neighbor's generator. His basement floods during rainstorms that knock out power. He must run the generator to keep the sump pump running non-stop. During the December 2008 ice storm, when we lost power for three days, we finally bought a generator. We found one at a Home Depot in southern Massachusetts, more than 100 miles away, just as the power returned. So, this time we were ready, sort of. We forgot to get gas for the generator. By 9:00 am we were driving to find gas, along with everyone else. The lines to the gas pumps were long.
Someone reported a gust of 91 mph in Portsmouth. As we walked around the neighborhood, and remembered the sound of the wind during the night, we knew that the wind was fierce. Large, live white pines - some two feet in diameter -- were uprooted and lying on the ground. Some fell harmlessly in the woods, many took down powerlines, at least one hit the front of a house up the road, breaking two windows. They must have been terrified when it happened, a tree crashing against their house during a ferocious midnight storm. Utility poles snapped. This just from the power of wind and water. There was no ice, no wet snow. Temperatures were above freezing.
The damage and power outage is widespread -- more than 300,000 of us without power in New Hampshire. Most people are prepared now, after a growing number of intensive storms during the last few years. By mid-day Friday we could hear a chorus of generators. Neighbors were helping neighbors clear fallen trees and making runs to the gas station to get more gas for the generators. Town crews were busy clearing fallen debris.
Today is day two without power. Fallen trees still lie across some lines in our neighborhood. We expect to be without power for a few more days. A local bakery in a neighboring town has free Internet access, good coffee, tasty bagels, and comfortable chairs -- a nice place to write this blog. Here are a few photos from the aftermath of the February 25, 2010 storm.