A Hurricane Sandy Report from Upstate New York

Hurricane Sandy came through Monday here in the Mid-Hudson Valley of Upstate NY. I know we got off so very easy compared to some of our friends that we know down in New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, people who were flooded up to 8 ft., and pretty much lost everything.  We are keeping them all in our thoughts and in our hearts.

Our experience here was one of intense gusty winds that howled all day and night, shook the house and made it creak like crazy.  At one point in the afternoon we heard a giant CRACK sound, and saw through a window that one of the maple trees across the yard by the road had snapped in half, each half barely connected by shreds of trunk.

Then, as I went to a different front window to get a better look, I was in for a surprise.  One of the 70ft. pine trees in the front yard was now horizontal on the ground, when it wasn’t just a few seconds ago. There was no CRACK this time, as the whole thing was simple uprooted (pines have notoriously shallow root systems for some reason). It was like it just layed down and  peacefully stretched across the yard – we didn’t hear a thing.  And we looked at each other knowing that it could have slammed down on the house had the wind taken a slightly different track.

This first photo has the downed tree from the root perspective, also showing its closeness to the house. I know that others experienced trees falling on their houses and cars, but we were still freaked out and relieved with the same intensity at this ‘near hit’. The silence of the fall was even scarier, as there was no warning at all.

This next photo shows the height of the two remaining trees next to the fallen one, to give you an idea of how tall it was.

Another picture, taken near our front porch. Had the pine gone down the other way, it could have blocked the driveway, or landed on John’s car.

And just another closeup of the roots, etc. The top of the fallen tree extends a lot farther than the image shows, but still fell a few yards short of landing on our Cable/Internet/Phone wire way in the back of the photo (can’t see it). Something else for which we were thankful.

We were without power for 2 days and a few hours. Luckily, I had decided that I was going to pre-fill some of the plastic bins we’d put outside to catch rain water, so that they didn’t blow away in the wind, because we hardly got ANY rain (and we needed stored water to flush toilets since we have well water and no power to the well pump.) Some sprinkles maybe. But had it rained, it would have softened up the ground and we would have definitely lost more trees than we did.  (You can see in the photos how surrounded by trees we are – one reason we love this area!)

So we’re mostly back to normal here, except for the horizontal tree in the front yard, the broken maple, and a lot of branches to clean up.  And still feeling the shock of the devastation to friends and strangers all along the coast, just a few hours away.

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