Just in case you thought you might have missed some, there was no #5,#6,#7, too boring to keep whining on and on. However, last night for the first time we saw lights on the hills around our house. Ohio Edison trucks whizzed up and down our road, but as of yet we are still on the generator.
It’s a wonderful thing. The house is warm, hot showers abound we even have the dish washers running. It’s dark after 10pm though, pitch black and it’s getting cold outside. I can’t wait to see our gas bill. Running the generator 14 hours a day is like having the furnace on with the windows wide open.
Still we have a choice, and many of our neighbors do not. A lot of them have moved to hotels and left cards so we can let them know when power comes back. The ones who are still sticking it out come out of their houses dressed in thick coats and woolens. Fewer and fewer dogs are being walked up and down the street, diminishing with the rest of the population.
Current estimates put our power coming back on around Wednesday, that will be a wholesome 10 days sans electricity. I wonder how the power company handles the huge surge when the power is first turned back on? Grinder pumps churning through 40 or so gallons of waste, furnaces roaring to get 40 degree houses up to 68 and all those refrigerators suddenly kicking in. Refrigerators draw a lot of power on startup.
All this time we’ve been watching power crews stretching new lines, cutting trees and putting right our damaged infrastructure. Even in these falling temperatures these guys are at the tops of poles, hands blue from the cold, tirelessly getting us back to normal. If you’ve ever lacked faith in Union workers these sights would change your mind. It’s just abominable that we now get scurrilous rumors of “non-union” linesmen being turned away from NJ.
If you’ve heard this then let me assure you it’s not true. There are fearsome anti-union forces in the garden state and this is no doubt a product of their concoction. The truth is there are non-union workers all over the state helping us out. The Alabama crew were instructed to return by their own management when they might have had to agree to union pay scale, management, and safety precautions. Check Snopes for the details. Just more election skullduggery as it turns out. Can’t wait until tomorrow night.
Because we still have FIOS (they put loops of extra cable in their lines so if a tree goes down the cable just gets longer) we’ve been watching CNN and getting our first taste of the unremitting political ads. It’s horrendous, they even out number the pharmaceutical ads, I didn’t think that was numerically possible. Governor Romney is wasting his time in NJ, we’re very blue here. I live in one of the very few Republican dominated areas of the state, however after the President rushed in tens of millions of gallons of gasoline even we’re getting even blue-er.
From our vantage there is not much to complain about FEMA or the state and Federal government. Ok, they did postpone Halloween (somehow our candy disappeared anyway). Things seem slow but we’re actually coming back pretty fast. The question will be what will we do for next year. How do we protect hundreds of miles of shore communities? Whatever it is the project size will be mammoth. Even as far as 60 miles up the Hudson river many marinas were literally ripped off their pylons and moorings, ours included. Boats on the “hard” floated off their stands and went off on their own, or just sank. Water in the river rose up over 9 feet.
There are currently two areas of thought around toughening up the Tri-State water front. One line of thinking supports making infrastructure more resilient. Things like redesigning streets in Manhattan to funnel water and moving heating and electrical infrastructure much higher in buildings. I’ve even seen designs for new wetlands and parks located just off Manhattan to absorb storm surges. I’m not sure how that would help the shore communities, except they’ll probably demand that all new construction be raised, as it is in North Carolina.
The second line of thought involves building new barrier islands along the shore and surge dams in the harbors and rivers. This would effectively be a lot like what Holland and Denmark have done, redesign for the 10,000 year storm. That price tag scares everyone, but something needs to be done or businesses will move out. We’ll probably have to agree on a combination of both approaches.
Yet another storm is moving our way, should be here sometime Wednesday night. It’s not expected to be anything like Sandy, but it does look like it’s bringing snow.
Copyright Prentiss Gray 2012