Monday, August 29, 2011

Irene Knocks Out Trees, Power Across South Shore

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Douglas Avenue resident Lucy Nugent knows exactly why her electricity has been out since 1 p.m. Sunday.
Nugent was on the second floor of her home at 14 Douglas Avenue sewing when a large, and old tree (pictured at top) was knocked over, taking down electrical lines with it during a wind surge as Tropical Storm Irene roared up the East Coast, leaving more than 700,000 customers in Massachusetts without electricity during the height of the storm Sunday, Aug. 28.
“There was a thud…and a noise like a muffled crash and then the lights, and everything went off,” Nugent said.
Nugent said being without power has been “no big deal,” and expects, and hopes, her electricity will be restored by nightfall.
Surrounded by Winter Street and Howard Street, Nugent said areas all around Douglas have electricity, but Douglas seems to be on its own.
“We must be on some type of grid of its own,” Nugent said.
As of about 11:45 a.m. today, National Grid reported more than 77,000 power outages in Plymouth County, including more than 27,000 in Brockton, 6,500 in Pembroke, nearly 5,700 in Scituate, and nearly 10,000 more in East Bridgewater and Bridgewater.
Hayward Street, on the West Bridgewater border, was closed to traffic as crews worked to clear utility lines of trees and restore electrical service to the area. (Pictured at right)
By the time Irene reached Massachusetts it had been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm and although she did not reach the destructive force felt during Hurricane Bob in 1991, and Gloria in 1985, it has been reported Irene is responsible for 18 deaths along her path and severe flooding in coastal areas including Long Island and Cape Cod, and surging, deadly rivers in Vermont.
From Virginia to Maine, residents are taking stock of the storm the National Weather Service estimated cut a swatch more than 300 miles outward from its center.
Logan Airport in Boston canceled more than 15,000 flights and Amtrak canceled service on most of the East Coast and as of this afternoon, Amtrak service is still not at full-capacity.
During the height of the storm, sheets of rain pummeled the South Shore as wind wildly whipped trees and shrubs.
Blue Hills Weather Observatory reported winds up to 81 mph. Gusts averaged 40 to 60 mph throughout the day.
Birute Silvia, a Keith Avenue extension resident, sweeps sticks, twigs and leaves that have been left on her driveway.
She is concentrating on the small debris, because the more than 30-foot tree that came crashing down from her neighbor’s yard has bisected her backyard and crushed numerous shrubs, plants and decorations in her award-winning gardens.
(Pictured at right)
Like thousands of others, Silvia, 72, said she is learning the steps she now has to take to contact her homeowner’s insurance and figure out who is responsible to pay for the damage to her garden from her neighbor’s tree.
“It is what it is,” Silvia said.

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