T.J. the Vermonter here, safe and sound, but slack jawed at what has happened to my town and surrounding areas.
Every east coast resident now has a Hurricane Irene story-here's an abbreviated version of mine:
Went to Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania this weekend for a number of reasons. By Saturday afternoon, most of these reasons had been accomplished or cancelled. Effects of the hurricane caused the usual power outages, flooding etc. in many of our friends and families homes, so we (mostly Champ, that winner of a guy!) pushed up our sleeves to help out.
Safely chose to stay in town until Sunday morning. Took back roads to get on highway. Saw a full rainbow as we entered New Jersey and took it as a good luck omen. We were wrong. Entertained Bear with the numerous emergency trucks and equipment we passed. Explained why water was gushing off the rocks on the side of the road as well as why we were not getting off at our usual exit by I787 and 87 "because there is a missing part of the road, honey". Heard updated reports on the radio that all was not well in highway land, that towns in Vermont were being devastated and Champ's inservice was cancelled for the next day. Headed BACK to Pennsylvania to weather the night.
Left Monday for Vermont. Took new and creative routes to get home thus tacking on a FEW hours to our drive. Found our home safe and sound with power and no flooding. Said a large prayer of gratitude. Heard Champ's school is closed until further notice, began to check on friends locally...
and this is where my story ends and begins.
I thought what we had seen over the weekend was destructive, but it did not prepare me for what I see has happened to Vermont. My community consists mainly of Londonderry, Weston, Peru, Bondville and Jamaica. Our surrounding areas are Manchester, Rutland and Brattleboro. I hear Vermont has become famous with some of these names even on the national news, but seeing this first hand, I really wish they weren't in the limelight.
I will stop here because the rest gets depressing and startling and there's really no need to emphasis that. I see a lot of good here, a lot of people helping people and it reminds me that
picture credit: paramount theater
VPR gallery of photos
(since as much as I love to take pictures, I can't bring myself to take any right now for posting)