Hello to everyone from hurricane-ravaged Richmond, VA...
Seems like forever since I've been here. *Anyone notice I was gone? *No? *lol *[img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img] * I have been without power for the last week and in fact still have no power at home. *[img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif[/img] * *cry!* *Our office just opened back up yesterday, so I can use the office computer for a bit.
Well, as Cynic has mentioned, Isabel tore through Richmond last Thursday with a devastating vengeance. *The damage here is unbelievable and sickening. *Its been declared a federal disaster area..and there is no other word to describe it. *I lost power at 5:10 p.m. and haven't seen it since. *Izzy peaked about 10-11 p.m. with hurricane-force winds and torrential rains. *There were some scary moments! *By morning she had waned and left in her wake no power, no streetlights, no traffic signals, roads blocked with trees and limbs EVERYWHERE, all businesses closed, flooding in some areas...and more homes crushed by trees than you could count. *[img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif[/img]
I did a short drive out on Friday and could have cried...I couldn't count how many homes I saw crushed by trees and that was just within a mile of two of my house. *There were trees in the streets, trees in yards, trees on, in or through *homes (beautiful OLD homes), trees on garages, trees on top of cars, trees tilting, trees snapped in half; power and phone lines down everywhere. *I woke about 4 a.m. Fri. morning to the sound of firemen chainsawing a tree out of the road in front of my house. *For days there were the constant sounds of survey planes, helicopters, ambulances and firetrucks. *And chain saws!
The aftermath has been hard. *The city has been stripped of essentials...batteries, flashlights, candles, coolers, ice, battery-run radios, generators and bottled water--none to be found anywhere. *The water was been contaminated and undrinkable...you weren't even to brush your teeth with it. *(They just lifted the water advisory yesterday). *Ice has become more valuable than gold--and there was none to be found. *After 4-5 days, stores were starting to get thousands of pounds of ice trucked in from New York and other states but it would be gone within 20 minutes. *Like the caveman and his torch hunting the wooly mammoth, people took their wallets and went in search of...ICE. *Store to store..."Do you have ice?...No."...and on the search goes. *I drove to Charlottesville for 2 small bags of ice. *Still ice remains the hot commodity.
When you drive down the street, all you can say is "ohmigod" at all the downed trees, especially the ones that fell on houses...some homes with 2-3 trees on them. *It is truly shocking and gut wrenching. *Tree service and crane companies are backlogged scores of pages with waiting lists. *Many, many people are homeless...now refugees living in hotels for the moment while they figure out what to do. *So many people lost everything they had. *My heart breaks for them. *[img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif[/img] * For myself, while I am cranky about the lack of power, I am still lucky. *My house suffered some minor damage and there are tons of limbs, sticks and debris to be cleaned up (which will take a while! ), but overall I came out in good shape. *Many neighbors were not so lucky.
The first couple of nights afterwards, driving was a horror--totally dark...no streetlights, no traffic signals. *You'd find yourself driving into hanging limbs and trees because you couldn't see them in the pitch dark; also zipping through intersections that you didn't see. *Very scary. *Its improved some now but many street lights and signals still aren't restored, so you have to be very careful.
Oddly enough...after all this...an F1 category tornado (112MPH) popped up at 6 a.m. Monday morning roaring only 5 blocks away from my house! * [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif[/img] *And once again, the roads near my house had more trees and newly restored power lines down again. *Some businesses and homes were smashed. *Power out again to residents who had JUST gotten it back. *That was a blow! (no pun intended! ) * [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/confused.gif[/img]
Power was out to 1.8 million people in VA. *It is very slowly getting restored but still more than half million without (like me! ). *Electricity is one of those things you take for granted all too much. *If you think its inconvenient to be out for a few hours, try days on end... *I have been totally incommunicato for news (including local news when they are making important announcements like "dont drink the water!"), no lights, no fridge, no washing machine or dryer, no blow dryer, no iron, no music, TV or computer. *Many other people have either no water or no hot water and must hunt down friends and family for showers and laundry.
I've heard it will take 5 months to get things here back to normal. *It will take a long long time to get all the trees removed and debris hauled away (I hope they make good use of all the wood). * My street, a beautiful tree-lined avenue, is heaped with mountains of limbs, tree trunks and stumps along the sides and in the median. *Some areas the sidewalks and streets are impassable still with trees...or torn up by tearing tree roots.
A week out from the hurricane...Richmond is still trying to cope with it all and recover but with a long ways to go. *Grocery stores are hurting as people can't buy food (no fridges); but hardware stores, ice companies, repair places and restaurants are booming. *Disaster for one is boon for others.
I hate to see the night come. *It brings hours of sitting in the darkness with a candle. *[img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif[/img] *The telephone is my link to the world. *If I am very lucky, I may find power when I get home from work...but I've heard anywhere from Monday to Oct. 14th. *So who knows. *[img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/confused.gif[/img] *I am very worried about my indoor CPs as they have been without lights for a week. *The lack of electricity gets wearing after a while...
I hope others in Izzy's path faired well. *And my thanks go out to all the firemen/women, city crews, ambulance workers and policemen/women who have worked tirelessly 24 hours a day to help restore the city to something workable.
And one last comment. *Disasters like this also bring out the good in humanity. *Neighbors are helping neighbors, friends are helping friends and families are helping family. *There have been many generous offerings of refuge, shower and laundry facilities, food and ice; some people have even run electric cords to other homes to share electricity. *My neighbor brought me a "doggie bag" of food on Saturday because I told her I spent and hour and a half searching unsucessfully for food Friday nite. *My other neighbor has offered me ice and I in return bought ice for her when I scored big on 8 bags of ice (wooohooo! ).
Be kind to your friends and neighbors because you never know when you may need their kindness yourself.
Dang...3 more hours of light left. *[img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/confused.gif[/img]
Hopefully soon I will be back in the swing of things. *[img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img]