Friday, September 9, 2011

Miss Irene

Miss Irene was a nasty one.  Here is our story of the crabby ole lady visiting our house.  We returned home from OBX just as Irene was hitting there in NC.  We immediately went to the store (at 11:30 pm) to fill the fridge that we left fairly empty before vacation.  The stores were practically empty...well, if you were looking for water, bread, soda and beer.  Lucky for us, we weren't really.  So we grabbed some basics and made it home.  Saturday morning we had to quickly prep the house for the storm.  Neighbors, who had already prepped their houses came to help us, which was super nice.  Ty noticed a rain gutter that was clogged right before we left...on the top floor.  So he and Joe took turns climbing the creakity ladder to get to the third floor.  I thought for sure he would fall to his death, so I took a picture.
 Later on Saturday the rain started to come.  It came, and came, and came.  Seriously, through the night we could see rivers flowing down our street.  We woke up Sunday to more rain.  Our house was holding up really well with a pretty dry basement.  So we started to check on our neighbors.  They weren't so lucky.  Most of them had water in their basements and a lot of it.  Tyler took his wet vac up and started helping a neighbor keep the water out.  We heard from people at church, many also had water in their basements.  Some had lost power and so they couldn't even get the water out.  So Sunday morning the Kearl house soon turned into a daycare.  Two of the families in our neighborhood had water in their basements so we brought their kids to our house to hopefully relieve the stress.  By this point we had a couple cracks in the foundation in our basement that were beading water, but we put a towel over it and were good to go.  Here are most of the kids, having a dance party in my front room.
Before 2 of the kids came over the rain had finally stopped and my friend told me she was going to let her kids play outside for a bit since they were restless.  I told her I didn't feel comfortable with that since the wind was still pretty strong out there so to just send her kids over here.  Not 15 minutes later we heard the loudest crack.  We looked out the window to see this.
This view is from our yard to our neighbors house.  This tree was probably 100 feet tall.  It took out three trees on it's way down.  Sad for us it took out a beautiful tree of ours that has gorgeous blossoms in the spring.  It basically has one branch left standing, so it will likely die.  It also fell onto their unfinished fence...minor setback on that job.
Not too long after the first tree fell, we heard another crack.  This time across the street.  It is hard to tell in the picture below, but the tree on the right had a couple huge branches break and get blown into the tree on the left.  They were stuck in the tree.
What we didn't realize is that it was also stuck on the power line.  So I am talking to my mom on the phone, explaining to her that we are all fine, when suddenly I see flames (small flames, but flames nonetheless) in the tree.  So I had to call the ole 911 and let them know.
The neighbors all gathered around to wait for the firetruck.  By this time the winds had died down and weather was very mild.
I had a really hard time getting a picture that justified the flames, but you can at least see fire in this one below.
A police car came.
A firetruck came.
And another firetruck came.  It was quite the show.
They informed us that the power line would soon blow and then it would be a live wire so we should stay clear and we would lose power.  So we waited, enjoyed our last bit of power, made cheese dip, grabbed the chips and headed for our porch to watch it burn.  Our neighbors grabbed drinks and joined us for the show.  Soon, just as they predicted "BOOM".  And we went dark.

Firemen came back.  Told us it could be weeks until we get power...haha...silly firemen.  Then they made us prisoners in our own homes, they taped us in with yellow tape, reminding us that the wire across the road was indeed live and would kill us if we got near.  Yay!  Kids, we don't get to leave the house for 2 more weeks!!! 
Mr Pete, drinking his morning coffee, confined to his front porch.  But alas, the firemen were wrong, we had power withing a few days.  It wasn't all that bad until 6:30 when it got dark and we got bored.
So that was our relationship with miss irene.  Unfortunately, being without TV, I assumed it was about the same for most people around us.  That was until Saturday morning when we found out that our church service would be cancelled except for a 30 min. meeting, which we attended in work clothes so we could all spend the rest of the day in areas that had complete devastation.  President Obama flew into a town called Patterson which is about 20 minutes from us and within the boundaries of our church group (stake).  This was very close to where we were heading to serve.  So we put on our bright yellow helping hands shirts and headed to help.
The first neighborhood we went to were nicer homes and had a lot of damage, however, as the day went on and we were moved closer to the river where water was just descending (a week after the storm) conditions were horrible.  It was amazing to see a group of 10 people go into a house and clear everything and gut it (drywall and all) in a 45 minute span.  This is something that would have taken the individuals days or weeks.  There was unbelievable mold and mildew.  The smells were horrific.  The people who only a week before had called these houses their homes were completely devastated.  It was sad to see.  The next day was labor day and a lot of men went out to help again. 
This week we again had serious rain.  Bad news for many of these people.  Our weekend is the same, Saturday and Sunday we will go help these people that live so close to us completely devastated while we start our first week of school like it's no big deal.  I am sad for them.  I am sad for the complete towns that are condemned in Upstate NY.  It is very eye opening to see a disaster first hand.  It is humbling.  I am happy I can help, though little it may be.


Hayley said...

holy smokes! we don't get hurricanes in california...just remember that :)
(however, i guess earthquakes are no good either)

what an experience though. so glad you & your home are safe & able to help your neighbors. keep us posted!

Tyler said...

This old news now, but I just now caught the post. That's so cool...about the Mormon helping hands bit. It's awesome to see what hundreds of hard working people can do when they work together, isn't it?