October 30, 2012


I didn't sleep well at all last night. The wind just seemed to get worse and worse and the house kept up its groaning complaints throughout. When Rob's alarm went off at 7:30, neither of us felt inclined to get up. The wind was howling, and though our power was still on, there were reports of huge outages all over. Maybe school would be cancelled?

When I looked out the window, my stomach just about hit the floor. One of our neighbor's giant pine trees had fallen over during the night, and the only things that had kept it from smashing in the roof of Rob's new Honda were a couple of utility cables strung from a street-side power pole to the north-east corner of our house. I ran downstairs and took this photo...

Rob came downstairs next and, with a little assistance holding branches away from the door, was able to move the car further into the driveway and out of harm's way. Whew! Still, those stretched cables had me worried, so I called the Oberlin Police Department (whose dispatchers were inundated with similar calls), and put our address on the list of those waiting for assistance.

While we waited, Rob searched for news from the college about any class cancellations. No luck...school's still in session...but he did find this encouraging little tidbit on a campus news website:

In the event of a downed power line: report downed lines to safety and security...or to Oberlin Police...avoid anything that may be touching downed lines, including vehicle or tree branches. If a line falls on your car, stay inside the vehicle. Take care not to touch any part of the metal frame of your vehicle. Honk the horn, roll down the window, and warn anyone who may approach of the danger. Ask someone to call the police. Do not exit the car until help arrives, unless it catches fire. To exit, open the door, but do not step out. Jump, without touching any of the metal portions of the car's exterior, to safe ground and get quickly away.

Hmm. I guess we lucked out again that we weren't electrocuted when we moved Rob's car out from under the tree. I guess the lines must have just been for the cable or phone.

It wasn't long at all before a team from the power company showed up with a cherry picker and a chainsaw to cut the lines free.

I drove Rob to work a little later and observed that though a couple side streets are flooded enough to warrant closures (presumably from overwhelmed gutters), the neighborhood's overall damage seems to be minimal. Trash cans have been blown all over, and there were a few more broken tree limbs, but things could have easily been worse. It's certainly nothing like what the east coast is dealing with. We do have a little water seeping up in the basement, but only in small puddles so far...hopefully the sump pump will do its job.

We're going to continue to feel Sandy's effects through tomorrow. Yes, that wind's still howling, the house is still making funny noises, and I'm eyeing all our giant pine trees...especially the enormous one in the front yard that towers above the roof...with a certain amount of trepidation. It's fortunate that most leaves have fallen and left deciduous branches bare enough to let the wind whistle through them without too much trouble. If this storm had come a couple weeks earlier, we might have a few more collapsed giants. And if there's one thing I'm REALLY grateful for right now, it's that I'm not out there delivering mail in this mess...knock on wood!

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