As I shared yesterday:
[…] With most hurricane power outages you can find something, usually a tree, that has actually severed the top power line on a neighborhood grid. If the tree is massive, with or without taking down the pole, the tree has to be removed first. If the power company has to remove a tree before they can restore power to an ordinary residential neighborhood, they drop the priority to “some later time”, and move on to quicker repairs… Ergo most of those without power, end Day #3 (September 13), will not see power until their rotation on the tree removal list comes up; sometime around the end of the month (two weeks away), or later.
A case in point. Check this one out:
You can click on that image to make it massive.
[I uploaded the image in full massive size in case someone has any idea how to tackle it without a crane.]
This Australian Pine has a primary trunk circumference around 9-10 feet’ +/-
About 50 homes impacted when this pine came down and is party cradled by the lower utility cable which didn’t break (cable, internet, tv line), and party held up by a tree on the lot behind it. There is also still a partial attachment at the trunk split (which makes it even sketchy to evaluate close quarters). It’s a thick tree. Precariously balanced.
Power company timeline on something this scale is two weeks (+/-). The teeter-totter aspect to how this is balanced (party on tree split, cradled by cable, and party on other tree) makes it really precarious. The darned thing is “floating”. Take too much weight off the branches (normal approach) and the trunk weight could then drop it like a catapult.
The professional recommendation was to rent a heavy crane and sling before even touching it. Any weight guesstimates would be just that… the tree is saturated w/ water.
Next up is a more successful endeavor where a line connecting more than 150 homes is now cleared. Check out the root system to understand the scale of this effort. Four chainsaws X six straight hours each, just to clear enough room for power crew. Two new poles needed (hopefully Friday).
This tree was so heavy it actually crushed the power pole on the right side of the picture and the pole on the left side is cracked and also needs to be replaced.
Taking down this single tree by hand and clearing the power lines will hopefully shorten power outage by two weeks for 150 homes.
Last pic: the homeowner. One of the most respectful, decent, responsible and hardworking mid-twenty-year-olds you will ever meet. Yesterday, while scouting for best sites for our efforts (then door knocking), I introduced him to his neighbor. Today they worked side-by-side as if best friends for life. Really solid people. Whatever needed to be done, tear down fence etc., to get-r-done. It’s neighborhood sweat equity, but it will pay massive dividends for years after Irma.
There are tremendous challenges in front of a great deal of really good decent people. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the scope of the challenge and allow the sheer enormity of it to drown you. Don’t let it. Every day, every hour, every minute… the goal is the same; just one step. Don’t look at what cannot be solved, look at what can.
♦ Fuel is becoming more available. Approximately 1 in ten stations now has gas; that’s a major improvement. Because we can find fuel easier, we are able to help keep people’s generators filled, and also trade them full cans for empties. [Initially, I get funny looks on those offers]. Last two nights I’ve ended the evening near the interstate filling empty cans.
It seems like there’s a strategy to keep the gas stations on the primary exits into the impact zone filled as a top priority. Whoever came up with that plan was super common-sense smart. An explanation might have been on the news, not sure – haven’t watched TV in a week.
However, just as common sense – it’s smart logic. As people come back from their evacuation places and take their exit into SWFL, THOSE interstate exit stations have fuel. They have lines, but they have fuel.
This allows the returning inbound residents to fill up their gas tank before going to the house. That approach takes the pressure off the gas stations inside the impact zone.
The returning masses were thick coming South on I-75 again today. However, new this time is many of them carrying back fuel in jerry cans. Very common occurrence today, to see this.
Again, people are responding with common sense solutions – many are bringing their recovery supplies with them, rather than counting on supplies being available.