Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day Five

"Look for me at first light on the fifth day. At dawn, look to the East." -- Gandalf the White, Middle Earth

Was that Gandalf or a utility crew in a white truck? A little past first light this morning, four white utility trucks lined up along Camp Lee Road, the linemen in their buckets were re-attaching electric lines. The lines along this road are our connection to the grid. This was a good sign -- they appeared on the fifth day, close to dawn, and the sun was visible in the East. The sun too was missing since the storm last Thursday night.

I heard the continuing drone of generators on my reconnaissance walk around the neighborhood this morning. Yesterday, compact and quiet Honda generators sprouted at the base of utility poles. I did not learn until later in the afternoon when I caught up with a Comcast worker that these were their generators. They powered up their cable lines within each neighborhood that was off the electrical grid. We recently bundled our television, phone, and Internet service through Comcast, so it was nice to see them return service, even before the electric grid was restored. With our own generator running I can now post my blog, get email, view the Web -- all from home.

And the guys in the white trucks are getting closer. Our utility -- Public Service of New Hampshire or PSNH -- has promised power by the end of the day. Around the corner, town crews are repairing a washed out road. One aspect of this storm's aftermath that is different from the December '08 ice storm is the daytime temperature. Although gray skies have lingered, daytime temps have risen into the 40s. In 2008, the daytime temperatures remained below freezing. That was good for keeping food frozen, but chilled houses that were without woodstoves or generators. We were in that boat back then. The Yamaha Homelite 5700 watt generator from Home Depot that we bought at the tail end of the ice storm is humming along, keeping the systems running just fine. It is efficient but noisy. As much as I look forward to the return of normal power, a return to silent mornings with just the birds singing will be even more welcome.

With the help of many, the power grid is nearing full restoration. Clean-up will continue for many more days as town crews remove pine debris strewn along every road. The Governor toured Newmarket yesterday. He promised help to the town and homeowners who now have giant pines uprooted and lying prostrate across their lawns.

Here are a few pictures from today's wanderings around the neighborhood.

The power of water continues to amaze.
With the wind came rain;
combined with melting snow it caused major road flooding.
A part of Grant Road around the corner from us always floods.......

 and then washes out.
This is the stretch the town crew is working on as I write.

Crews, some from other states, erected new poles,
replacing those that snapped or cracked.
The poles stand tall and bare,
waiting for the linemen to switch over the lines

The lineman and their white utility trucks on Camp Lee Road,
our connection to the power grid.

A homeowner on Bald Hill Road
neatly stacked the large pines that fell across his lawn.
He felt fortunate - his neighbor's house was hit by a falling white pine.
The front windows of the house were smashed during the storm.


In other parts of town, not that far away, trees fell directly on houses and decks and cars, shingles were blown off roofs. We feel fortunate that none of these things happened to us. We do look askance at the remaining tall white pines that grow near our house......wondering if they will stand tall through many more storms.

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