Hurricane Irene in My Town

We expected the rain and wind from Hurricane Irene to continue throughout most Sunday. But by 8 AM, the rain and wind subsided and we started seeing people walking by.

The power had just gone out and with nothing to do except listen to Peanut screeching on and off for one reason or another, Soso and I decided to go for a walk ourselves. We put on our rain boots and grabbed an umbrella.

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This is the road that leads to our downtown.  Just 1.5 blocks away from our house and right next to the river, we expected some flooding.  We didn’t expect that the entire roadway would be blocked off due to the high level of water.

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To give you some perspective, Soso is standing on the retaining wall that’s at least 2.5 – 3 feet high from the street.

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Oh my, can you see the current?

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Water level up to the fire hydrant, this is no joke.  I realized that the water may be reaching the first floor of the houses.

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Sure enough, here’s another view of the same flooded street flooded.  See the bluish greenish garage? See the water level reaching the porch?

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There were still people in the houses and because they didn’t leave during the mandatory evacuation, they were stranded. The only way to get to them would be by boats.

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Same road taken from another area.  This road runs parallel to the river.  We found out later that the dikes had broken and that’s why the water was so high.

We tried to see if there was any way to get to our downtown, but we kept getting blocked.  This is actually the end of the same road from the above photos.

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That church was just reconstructed. The aqua blue house next to the church? Just had a major renovation done and new paint job. A huge tree on their property also fell, but I couldn’t see if it hit the house.  I really hope not.

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Every where we turned, there was a fallen tree or water blocking our way.

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Right on someone’s car. Ouch, but not as bad as the ones that landed on people’s houses.

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It seemed like we would never be able to get out, but we finally got to Baker Family by going through another town.

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I had gotten a little worried because Baker Mom hadn’t texted me back in a while. Because of the broken dikes, the river overflowed past the usual flood zones.  Baker Dad had to move his car onto the lawn and put some barricade to the garage for fear of rising water. Thankfully, the water receded before reaching the garage/basement.

Unfortunately not everyone got lucky.  The homes close to the river got 2 -3 feet of water into their first floor.  Even the ones further away, with the power outage and failed sump pumps, they got water in their basements.

By Monday, people had started removing their ruined furnishings. I took a photo a street lined with piles of damaged stuff, but I decided not to post.  It’s just too sad and I wouldn’t want someone posting photos my tragedy on the internet.

With no power by late Sunday afternoon, we decided to head to my father-in-law’s house. We kept getting blocked. All the local roads out of our town were closed.

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The parkway, too.

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Just unreal.

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We finally made it to my father-in-laws by taking a circular route, through two neighboring towns. We didn’t realize until much later that not only the roads leading to downtown, but downtown itself was flooded.  Check out these links:

http://photos.nj.com/4644/gallery/hurricane_irene_in_cranford/index.html

http://cranford.patch.com/articles/update-525-pm-mayor-calls-irene-worst-storm-in-history

Seeing is believing.  By Tuesday, I was able to drive through downtown and I would never have known how high the water was in downtown if not for the photos.

I just heard back from another friend who lives near the river.  Her first floor is ruined and she anticipates being out of the house for months.  I just can’t imagine.  I continue to pray for all the flood victims.

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