powerlines and pseudoephedrine
Monday, September 5 2011
A powerful storm blew through last night, knocking out our power at 2am and frightening Eleanor just like Tropical Storm Irene, though with a lot more thunder and lightning. As expected, the power was still out when we got up this morning. I went around the house to look for fresh damage and noted that a large White Pine near the northeast corner of the house has snapped off about 15 feet above the ground and fallen, luckily toward the Northeast (away from the house). It actually brushed the utility pole from which power is sent underground to our house, leaving a few tufts of pine needles stuck to the pole and wire, though it didn't appear to cause any damage. Gretchen called Central Hudson to report our outage and learned that last night's storm had caused extensive damage in Hurley, Kingston, and Lake Katrine.
Late this morning Gretchen drove down to Manhattan to meet up with a friend who had flown in from Santa Cruz, leaving me alone with the dogs and cats in the power outage. Vaguely bored by the renewed blackout, I spritzed myself with mosquito repellent (Skin-so-SoftTM) and began walking down Dug Hill Road without the dogs to see if I could get a handle on how long the blackout would last.
I didn't get very far before my downhill neighbor drove up. He told me lightning had struck his house last night and a tree had come down on his powerline. He asked if I had an extension ladder he could borrow, so I ran back to the house and strapped my ladder to the roof of my Subaru and drove over. But by the time I arrived, some guys from Central Hudson had scared up a ladder and were working at getting his powerline fixed. I'd expected to see a smoking hole in his roof, but nothing appeared to have actually hit the house. The pole carrying electricity down through his roof had been bent off, but that was a job for Central Hudson.
Since I was out and about anyway in the Subaru (with Eleanor but not Sally), I decided to drive down to the bottom of Dug Hill Road. The line looked good all the way down, though at the intersection with Hurley Mountain Road there were several bucket trucks and guys with hardhats. It looked like things were under control and we'd be getting power again soon. I the drive back up the hill, I salvaged a couple large pieces of well-seasoned oak or chestnut.
The power came back on at noon while I was out cleaning in the garage. I heard the freezer turn on and then I knew. So ended up being a great day for pseudoephedrine and television.
Meanwhile Ray and Nancy had experienced another prolonged cable outage and only momentary power outage. I'm still perplexed by the fact that Verizon DSL, though somewhat flaky in the rain, is far more resistant to the damaging effects of falling trees than the local electric gird. It probably has something to do with the fact that powerlines are higher on the pole and thus the first to be hit by falling trees. But that doesn't explain why Ray and Nancy's cable lines be even more vulnerable than their powerlines, since they tend to run at about the same level as phone lines.
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