Tropical Storm Irene: How to Help or Get Help

Flooding of the Westfield River caused a portion of Cummington Road to collapse in West Chesterfield, MA. This is just one example of the widespread road damage in the region caused by flooding during Tropical Storm Irene on Sunday, August 28th, 2011. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Megan McDonough of Colrain, MA writes:

Hi all –

It seems hard to believe that it was nearly two weeks ago that Tropical Storm Irene blew up the east coast.  Some people went out the next day and said “what was all the fuss about?” and others said, “Will my life ever be the same? I’ve never seen the water so high …”

Some families have lost everything.  Houses washed down creeks that became roaring rivers.  Homes flooded and damaged with mud.  Farmers with crops lost.  Towns with endless roads to repair.

I know it seems strange each day I’ve driven to work this week – slowing down to avoid the places in the road that have collapsed into the river, watching the national guard humvee’s gather at the town hall, wondering if the road will be closed because of repair construction, thankful that the power’s back on and the well pump working – but then getting into town and everything is completely normal.  As those of us continue with our lives un-interrupted, let’s not forget to help our neighbors struggling to recover.

Please spread the word.


Post-Irene Updates: Relief, Travel & Schools

Nan’s Post-Hurricane Irene Report

Post-Hurricane Irene Report

So I went down to Shelburne Falls to see all the looters. Big shopping baskets full of well-made crafts being pushed up the hills, disappearing into random houses – but there weren’t any. And I thought, “BOY, these people DO NOT know ANYTHING about hurricanes!”

The only person I saw get in trouble was a guy who walked across the iron bridge when it was blocked off. The cop kind of acted like he had stolen the bridge – he was darn sarcastic in his questioning about why the man thought he was better than anyone else and could walk across the roped-off bridge, but even then the mocked pedestrian was quiet and respectful in his answers. He didn’t shoot anyone, didn’t scream or do anything that would actually get him arrested. I don’t know about this place. Before the next hurricane I’m going to have to whip you guys into hurricane shape!

And so you can now add to your list of things not to trust:

  1. Creeks
  2. Hurricane forecasters who tell you EXACTLY what is going to happen! Because THEY DON’T KNOW! Hurricanes are capricious as creeks and, when you are looking for wind, they’ll turn a creek into a bulldozer. When a cataclysm is forecast for New York City, they’ll tiptoe past that and move an innocent quilt shop that never hurt anyone to the brink of a dam just for fun.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nan’s Hurricane Irene Report Update

Hurricane Irene Report Update

You know how much I love going overboard, well, you know this Cajun music festival we’re having on Thursday, September 1st with Joel Savoy and David Greely? Well, I just wanted you to get the full effect of the whole Louisiana atmosphere in late August, so we’re bringing this hurricane up to flavor the experience!

But I would also like to say that if a hurricane takes out this house over August 28th and 29th, then I am just going to avoid August 28ths and 9ths from here on out.

So I’m still not whooped up, but I am paying attention and you know, the great thing about hurricanes is that you don’t freeze to death when the power goes out, unlike in an ice storm.

Doug Field of the Ashfield Select Board just called a meeting to talk about what he knows and here’s what he got today in a 12:30pm conference call with FEMA and MEMA: (And remember, it’s their job to prepare you for the worst scenario, so here that is.)

  • Where: The whole state will be affected. The eye is expected to fall between Worcester and Boston. We’re on the west side, which is always the worst side of a hurricane. (We try to always do things right!)
  • When: Beginning late Saturday night, lasting all day Sunday.
  • Rain: They expect 5 – 12 inches of rain. Possibility of flooding, but Doug and Tom Poissant opened the dam on Ashfield Lake so that it could go down and be ready to refill.
  • Wind: with winds 60 – 80 mph. After the eye passes over the winds could go from 70 – 90 mph. A possibility of tornados.
  • How big: It should land in Connecticut as a Category 2 hurricane, and by the time it reaches here it should weaken to a Category 1 or a Tropical Storm.
  • And so: Gov. Patrick has already declared the state in a State of Emergency as of 1pm today, and has requested people not travel after 6pm on Saturday night. And that’s a good idea, since we don’t have to evacuate.

The Ashfield Fire Station will be open as a command center and they are looking to have Sanderson Academy open as a shelter, if need be.

But the thing you really might have to worry about is flying stuff – big stuff. Read the rest of this entry »

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