Irma Recovery Day #3: Trees and Power Lines…

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.

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205 Responses to Irma Recovery Day #3: Trees and Power Lines…

  1. fleporeblog says:

    I am happy to announce that my wife, daughter, dog 🐶 and pig 🐷 are back in our home since the electricity has been restored. They are also both happy that the Duval County School Board decided to have schools remain closed for the rest of the week. They cleaned the fridge and freezer completely out and went shopping 🛒 this evening. They decided to send me a copy of the bill that I will be paying 😏

    Liked by 63 people

  2. Fe says:

    Sure sounds like the recovery is going very well. I’ll keep praying over the gas shortages and that you will continue to stay healthy and unhurt while doing God’s work. Bless your heart SD, you are truly a kind and thoughtful human being. There will be extra jewels in your crown when you get to heaven. 😊

    Liked by 28 people

  3. NJF says:

    Thanks for the update. Happy to see the progress.

    The pics you posted look like my neighborhood did after sandy.

    We were really, really low on priority list. Big line hit the power line which run along the back properties and then fed underground to our houses. One massive tree, took out our block which has only 6 houses. Waited nearly 3 weeks.

    God speed SD and to everyone your crew is helping.

    Liked by 13 people

  4. ALEX says:

    Great Job on everything. When they mention 6-8 million or whatever it is without power it is easy to just go about our day far away…Incredible power in that Hurricane. I’m glad the President is visiting tomorrow…These threads are inspiring..Best of Luck…

    Liked by 12 people

  5. NJF says:

    Feel good story.

    Liked by 41 people

  6. zephyrbreeze says:

    Thanks for that detailed update. It reminds me of the story my friend told me about hiking the continental divide when she was 7 months pregnant. The worst part was how badly her knees hurt hiking down the mountain. To encourage her, her husband reminded her:

    Every step you take today, is a step you don’t have to take tomorrow.

    Somewhat of an encouraging thought, and it helped her. It helps me.

    Liked by 13 people

  7. wheatietoo says:

    Oh man, that Australian Pine is a monster.
    And of course it would blow over right across some power lines.
    That’s like…one of Murphy’s Laws, isn’t it.

    Maybe the power company can do a ‘work around’ and just create some temporary lines for now?
    They do that here in OK, when there is a bugaboo like that, that will take a long time to clean up.

    Hope you’re getting some rest in between all this grueling work, Sundance.

    Thanks for giving us an update on how it’s going.
    Continued prayers for your safety.
    I’m so glad you’re okay.

    Liked by 20 people

    • Dave says:

      Down here in South Florida, the Australian pine leads the list of “invasive” trees that the local governments years back told residents to begin removing from their properties. We were given so many years to do the job, while those trees on public lands started to be removed immediately. Never heard another word on it. Aus. pines were brought here on purpose to “help absorb all the swampy lands” that would later become housing developments. Who knew they would spread out of control? Root systems don’t run deep, so they’re easily toppled. We had to evacuate from Irma like all the others. No damage to house, but lost some trees that blew down AWAY from house! Got power back yesterday. Good job, FPL! Worst aspect of coming home was traffic lights out. Should be treated like a four-way stop, but some folks apparently didn’t get the memo, and some intersections turned into mini demolition derbies! Shout out to all law enforcement on good job of keeping us safe. Did hear the police sirens for a couple of nights during the dusk-to-dawn curfew. Hope all Treepers in Irma’s path were spared!

      Liked by 9 people

  8. Troublemaker10 says:

    Taking that tree down mangled and twisted with the power lines looks so dangerous. Everyone helping with clean-up please stay safe.

    Liked by 8 people

  9. Sharon says:

    What an effective report – and the photos are indeed worth a thousand words each. So glad to hear from you regularly, SD.

    Liked by 23 people

  10. ATP says:

    You have either Stihl or Husky.
    And a Griffin pimped up by Boeing might well be the solution to the disastrous F35.
    Sometime Euro wins.

    Like

    • WSB says:

      Wireless power transfer and other technologies need to be seriously studied. Because we know that trees and power lines do not mix well.

      Solve this issue and just think of all of the positive effects on life and productivity.

      Florida and Texas should be Ground Zero for a smart rebuild.

      Liked by 1 person

      • And that’s one of my big criticisms of rebuilding in these storm-prone areas: 99% of the people say they want everything exactly as it was before, and the drown out the few voices who say (quite rightly, in my mind) “since we have to rebuild anyway, let’s do it smarter so we’re less likely to have (serious) problems in the future.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • WSB says:

          It’s high time to review all planning aspects after this type of event. I assume that there will be a task force with real meat on the bone to study Southern FL.

          Like

    • Gary says:

      It’s coming, you already see it in infant form i.e. proximity phone chargers. It was actually a vision of Tesla’s (the man, not the b/s car maker)

      Liked by 3 people

  11. Alison says:

    Impossible was just your starting point, Sundance 😊

    You and your reports represent thousands who run toward a problem/danger/threat, and we are all grateful & proud to belong to the same great nation as you.

    A commenter on another thread asked some great q’s about how refueling was prioritized. While we don’t know who/what/where that planning occurs, your positive remark about the locales that now have gas gives me assurance that knowledgeable folks are in decision-making roles.

    Thank you, as ever. Get some rest!

    Liked by 18 people

    • About 16 years ago, Hurricane Elvis (Straight line winds of 100MPH) hit parts of Memphis TN. Two trees the size of in this story fell on our house. Luckily the brick wall held the tree from totally crushing the house.
      I have never forgotten the friends who showed up with chain saws to help crear the brances that we could handle ourselves. It took cranes to remove the trunks and large limbs revealing a full sized van that was crushed to 18 inches high and a full size Bronco that was crushed into a triangle. We saw a 24 inch limb in our attic that was behind a wall only two feet from where my younger son had been sleeping. At least with a hurrican you get some notice. This straight line wind hit at 6:30 in the morning with no tornado sirens etc. Praise God.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. not2worryluv says:

    When is President Trump going to St. Thomas?

    The people are desperate there and at the mercy of a corrupt Government.

    Did you know the Governor Mapp chooses to live at the Ritz Carlton on St. Thomas rather than the Governors house at the expense of the Virgin Islanders and USTaxpayer?

    $200 Million Dollars in the VI Government Disaster Fund has gone missing?

    All Government employed are largely related to Local VI Senators and paid outrageous salaries? Yesterday all Government employees (who are furnished with cars paid for by the VI all got fueled up while the population struggling for fuel were told no Petro available? Then bragged about to others going without!

    This Government has been corrupt for ever and no one has the guts to do a thing about it less they be marked by the politicians as revel rousers!

    Governor Mapp took care of prisoners first. One prisoner died during the Hurricane and Mapp immediately sent mental health professions to counsel them the. Transported them to St. Croix to nice safe facilities.

    He then assures the population if during the hurricane they lost their food stamps not to worry! No on had power and he’s giving a pressed about prisoners and food stamps!

    St. John was hit harder than St. Thomas and looting and robberies were occurring while the police did nothing!

    We need to help the VI but in no way should we give the money to the VI Government. This should all be done by the Feds and the rebuilding should be handled like a real estate redevelopment transaction! Also the cruise ship lines should contribute to the cost of rebuilding. Their bread and butter is the Caribbean destinations.

    Drain the Swamp in the U.S. Virgin Islands!

    Liked by 14 people

    • carrierh says:

      Not2, please email Pres. Trump about all this because we know he will get it rectified pronto. whitehouse.gov/contact#page or potus45@wh.com Pres. Trump wants us to communicate with him and, if you have noticed, he is getting rougher in what he says in order to get things done NOW. First time we have the ability to communicate with a president and I take advantage of it.

      Liked by 12 people

    • joninmd22 says:

      They don’t call it St. Trauma for nothing

      Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      not2worryluv having lived in STX I absolutely agree with you .

      Inept Fed-gvt messing about caused a huge percentage of the problems there and fed-gvt will have to clean it up. Example. Building high rise “projects” like John F. Kennedy in Estate Richmond to warehouse people are dens of drugs and gangs just like Chicago, for example.

      While I hate to involve the feds the ONLY way I can see that mess being cleaned up is the dismissal of the entire elected officialdom and a federal administrator put in place.

      Like

  13. sunnydaze says:

    Lost internet and TV for a few hours again today.

    Was hesitating on putting a lot of the stuff back in it’s right place cuz I’m looking at that stupid Jose and wondering what his plans are.

    But finally folded and I guess I’ll move everything……..and then move it again next week if I have to.

    aaaaargh!

    Liked by 15 people

  14. carrierh says:

    Well, in CA they are supposed to be underground but usually are not. Never could understand, however, why they always put lines so close to trees so am glad our lines are not close to our big Washingtonian palm or other tree. What we do get a lot is a pole falling over which I find odd since I grew up in the Mid-West and the poles never ever fell over, not even in winter. Work quality ain’t the same any more. So glad things are looking better and better for all in these conditions whether in Texas, Florida, Georgia, and sad that the islands are truly suffering, especially the English islands as people are complaining of no food, no anything. Ditto our American islands. I also know due to high waves and wind, it has not been easy to get a ship to the islands so hopefully this will be resolved now.

    Liked by 5 people

    • lubyankafh says:

      It wouldn’t surprise me that the water table is close enough to the ground surface that they can’t take the power lines underground.
      I know one of the Texas flooded counties is 70 miles from G.O.M. and the ‘high altitude point is something like 15 feet above “Mean Sea Level”

      In my mind at least, Florida is like that 160 miles across and 600 miles or more
      north from “the Keys”.

      Both Florida and Galveston County in Texas are noted for lots of interesting things, but
      people could make hilarious jokes about Mountain Climbing and Downhill Skiing there.

      🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • JoAnn Leichliter says:

      I know whst you mean about power poles. I rarely see one down in Nebrasks, unless we have a tornado. It may be that the rain from a hurricane saturates the soil so much, so far down, that the high winds can take one down… Or maybe we are just lucky.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. sunnydaze says:

    So glad the Power Lines in my neighborhood are buried. We have a lot of big trees down, but no scenes like the ones in the pics here.

    Really glad to hear about the smart Gas Distribution. And that there IS gas to be distributed!

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Curry Worsham says:

    Lucky people to have you knock on their door!

    Liked by 9 people

    • scott467 says:

      This is an amazing song. Such a simple thing, but if you are in the right mood or frame of mind the first time you hear it, it can blow you away 🙂

      Here is the story of how this song came to be, and almost didn’t.

      …………………………………………..
      Classic Tracks: Bruddah Iz “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World”
      http://www.mixonline.com/news/profiles/classic-tracks-bruddah-iz-somewhere-over-rainbowwhat-wonderful-world/366248

      “The story of this month’s “Classic Track” begins on a night in 1988, with an engineer named Milan Bertosa. The Chicago native had been active in Windy City recording for a number of years—based out of Tanglewood Recording, among other studios—but by 1987 he was looking for a change of pace. So he and a partner packed up their equipment and moved to Hawaii and opened what immediately became a top facility in the state, Audio Resources Honolulu. Bertosa had only been in Hawaii a few months when he got a fateful telephone call one night:”]

      “I’d just finished this hellish session with a girl group, recording one syllable at a time for hours, and I’m wrapping cables when the phone rings. It’s 3:30 in the morning and all I want to do is go home, but there’s this jacked-up client who I’ve been doing some work with saying, ‘I’m at this club called Sparky’s with this guy named Israel Kaloka-loka-loka-loka-loka’—I had no idea what the name was—‘and he wants to come and do a demo right now.’ I’m like, ‘I’d be happy to record him; call me tomorrow.’ He says, ‘No, no!’ and then he puts Iz on the phone, and he’s got this soft voice and he’s really polite and really sweet, kind of the embodiment of what a nice Hawaiian person is like. I finally say, ‘Okay, you’ve got 15 minutes to get here. When you get here, you’ve got a half-hour and then it’ll be 4:30 (am) and I’m done.’

      “So he shows up—biggest human being I’ve ever met. And we record the songs ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ and ‘What a Wonderful World,’ just Iz and his uke, two mics, one take. Beautiful. The other song he recorded that night was called ‘White Sandy Beach’ and he overdubbed another uke, so that was three tracks.

      “I recorded dry to 2-inch 24-track tape on an MCI JH-24 or JH-16, through the studio’s Harrison MR4. The mics were Neumann KM84s, one on uke about a foot above the instrument, up the neck a little [so it wasn’t pointing directly at the sound hole and picking up what Bertosa calls the ukulele’s characteristic “bark note”], one on vox. Mic pre’s were in the Harrison MR4. EQ was minimal—maybe a light boost above 10k, highpass to get rid of unnecessary subs and most likely a small dip around 400 Hz on the uke mic. I may have used a UREI LA-4 on the vocal mic going to tape. I mixed the next morning using a blue Orban stereo compressor with an Idle function that kept the breaths from being sucked up too much. Reverb was courtesy of a Klark-Teknik DN780, which was a great digital box.” Bertosa mixed to both ¼-inch analog and Sony 2500 DAT, “and then the 2-inch tape was wiped—after all, it was just a demo! Doh!,” he says with a laugh. “I believe that the version that went to mastering [years later] was the DAT.

      The tape sat in Audio Resources’ storage library for five years before it was used. In the meantime, Iz launched his solo career (while still maintaining ties with the Makaha Sons for a while) with an eclectic 1990 album called Ka ’Ano’i, which actually included a version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World,” but done in a fully produced “Jawaiian” style—a blend of reggae and Hawaiian that has long been extremely popular in the Islands.

      It wasn’t until 1992, when Iz went into Audio Resources with Bertosa and Mountain Apple Records producer Jon De Mello to make a second album—Facing Future—that the idea surfaced to use the old demo recording, as is. The medley’s beauty lay in its simplicity: Iz’s soaring tenor sounds vulnerable yet optimistic; the recording is intimate—you can even hear the light clicking of Iz’s fingernails on the ukulele’s strings and soundboard. At the top of the song he quietly dedicates the tune to Hawaiian folk music legend (and sometime member of the Sons of Hawaii) Gabby Pahinui.

      Released in 1993, Facing Future was an immediate smash in Hawaii, with several different tunes from the disc dominating the local airwaves for months, including the “Rainbow/Wonderful World” medley, a tune associated with the Makaha Sons called “Hawaii ’78,” and Iz’s wonderful Jawaiian take (via Toots Hibbert’s reggae version) on John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Road,” which has “west Makaha” substituting for “West Virginia.”

      Alas, Iz’s soaring weight eventually killed him—he died of heart failure in 1997 at age 37. However, as occasionally happens, death was just the beginning for what has become a superstar career. He was already lionized in Hawaii, and then, slowly but surely, his music started spreading eastward. “Rainbow/Wonderful World” was used in a national TV commercial for eToys, and then was picked up for the soundtracks of Meet Joe Black (1998) and Finding Forrester (2000), and later appeared prominently on a key episode of the hit TV series ER and in the soundtrack for the romantic comedy movie 50 First Dates (2004). Soon it became a top-selling digital track, which led to its re-release as a single and more TV and commercial uses.

      Not bad for a 15-minute session. “After that 15 minutes,” says Bertosa, who has worked on recent albums with uke phenom Jake Shimabukuro. “I was thinking, ‘This is what I’m supposed to be doing for a living; not that other stuff, one syllable at a time.”
      …………………………………………..

      .

      Here is the 5:05 unedited version, without any crowd noise, the original solo acoustic version, one chance, one opportunity, one take, recorded late one night in 1988.

      Enjoy 🙂

      Liked by 8 people

      • treehouseron says:

        Love me some Braddah Iz! I like “White Sandy Beach of Hawaii” even better.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Guy-Blanc Déploré says:

        Dozens of thumbs-up!!!!
        Facing Future is pretty much the main soundtrack for me when running around on the pontoon in summer.

        Liked by 2 people

      • First time I heard this song and heard of this artist was on the ER episode when the doctor died. I never watched that show, and don’t know how I came to watch that episode but tears were streaming down my face. I think my husband was hooked on the show at the time and that’s how I saw it.

        That visual, while hearing Iz’s beautiful voice just cut right to my heart

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nikki/Chico says:

        Love it Scott! Thank you so much for posting it.
        My story with this song started when my first son was 18 months old and traveling with my husband and myself up to the Keewenaw in the UP so spend time with his Mom, Dad, and three maternal aunts (one, Aunt Sylvie owned the farm we visited). It’s a 5 hour drive to Mackinaw City in the lower peninsula and once you cross the mackinaw bridge it is an additional 6 hours to where we were going up by calumet. My son, Peter had His fisher price radio toy in the back seat (one of an assortment, long drive) and that little toy played “over the rainbow”. Turns out we drove through a heavy rain but once we got past it and the rain was dwindling a rainbow 🌈 was in the sky (Wonderful Blessed Lord). The other story is my second son, Geoffrey was honored to play the trumpet solo of this song his final marching band program in his senior year in high school. He did not have an easy road of it as the band director tapped someone else initially but the wonderful man who was assisting on the field that year moved Geoff up to the solo. Geoff was in band his sophomore thru senior years.

        Peter also was in marching band, percussion. Peter was fortunate to have excellent band direction and support during his time and was fortunate to attend two state competitions.

        So, whew sorry for the run-on but that’s just a portion of the reason I love this song and love this rendition.

        Thanks again
        God bless

        Like

    • TeaforAll says:

      Love this song by Izzy 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  17. Blue Ridge Mts Va. says:

    The mangled up tree mess reminded me of June 2012 Derecho. But that wasn’t anything like this devastation. Took a few days for Dominion power to come and cut up the massive Sugar maple tree section that took out my power line. The tree was brought down by a lightning strike.

    Sundance you are doing a fabulous job. It seems like you are also knitting neighborhood together getting people who are not cut off from their gadgets, to connect with each other in a common goal of getting themselves back to “nermal.” Continued prayers for you and your crew.

    Liked by 11 people

  18. Beverly says:

    Well, the power linemen have a theme song. 😉

    Liked by 18 people

  19. andyocoregon says:

    I think the power line workers deserve a lot of praise for traveling to Texas and Florida from all over the country to take on the extremely dangerous job of restoring electricity to all the homes and businesses. I cannot imagine trying to untangle high voltage electrical feeder lines from downed tree branches. The downed trees themselves can be very dangerous to remove. And of course everyone who has no electricity wants it restored as soon as possible. The pressure is on those people and I hope they are financially rewarded big time for their willingness to help the victims recover.

    Liked by 8 people

  20. starfcker says:

    Power back on today, at home and the office. SWEET. Was able to pass on my generators and leftover gas to friends and neighbors not quite as fortunate (sucks to be the family one house away from the newly restored power, major bummer) people were cheering like they were at the superbowl when the lights went on. As soon as it got dark, out came the fireworks. The local cops call my neighborhood Beruit for our astonishingly excessive fireworks on New Year and the 4th of July, it goes on for hours, they block off the streets. Power back on, just as good. Not quite sure who has all my chainsaws and gas cans, I marked them with my phone number in sharpie, they should work their way back in a few days. Sat down for a good lunch, realized I hadn’t eaten a proper meal in 4 days. Took tonight off, my evacuees are all back, nice to just chill for a couple of hours. Headed to Naples and Tampa to do some clean up for friends and family Friday, But a light day tomorrow will be great for my mortal frame. Sundance, be careful, don’t kill yourself, you’ryou’re going to be busy for awhile. Hats off to anybody doing their part, no matter how small it might seem, it helps.

    Liked by 32 people

  21. A2 says:

    I have said this many times here. I live in a typhoon alley. Approximately, 15 a year. Had three in a row (Cat 5 on your scale) in August and now two more coming up. In 35 years I have never been without power.

    The US needs to ‘underground’ those power lines. I know there are pros and cons (the cons are mostly expense). A mixed system would work. If anyone did a real cost benefit analysis of the true costs during a storm like this and ones past my money is on undergrounding those lines. Technology has advanced and the life time scale of buried wires has increased exponentially beyond the 25-30 year mark.

    I saw traffic signals strung across roads on wires in the Florida pictures. Unbelievable.

    I hope the infrastructural bill that President Trump is developing will include a rational plan to encourage this for areas that frequently experience storms, whether snow and ice, tornadoes, hurricanes and so on.

    Liked by 5 people

    • sunnydaze says:

      Where do you live, A2?

      Yeah, we need more buried lines. It’s stupid to keep replacing lines every year, just cuz wind blew the trees down. Happened All.The.Time. in WA. State. Ridiculous.

      Liked by 3 people

      • A2 says:

        In highly populated areas buried power lines and optical cables would obviate the problems householders have during these storms. I could go on about adequate storm drains also. Just common sense.

        They could in a mixed system keep the ugly, but cheaper to repair transformers above ground over unpopulated segments, and bury the lines in populated cities and towns.

        The years of refusal to address these natural occurring weather events, due to the ‘costs’ or lack of political will (the old sweep it under the rug until the next time) is criminally negligent to the common good.

        I live in…..

        Liked by 1 person

        • Paco Loco says:

          The power and light companies will not pay to underground the utility lines because of the high costs involved. They claim that they would have to drastically raise rates. The only way they will is if there’s a federal mandate and funds. I spent many years trying to get Hawaiian Electric Co. to underground lines in Kailua on windward Oahu. The whole process became political and nothing ever happened. Many homes in Hawaii now have solar PV and can store power in batteries (Tesla Power Wall). Keeping solar panels secured to the rooftop in a Hurricane is a challenge. Oahu hasn’t been hit in many years and when it comes it will be a real test of the reliability of solar PV.

          Like

      • wtd says:

        Here in the northeast, utility companies come out to trim trees and branches away from power lines every year. Once trimmed, these once majestic trees are lop sided and vulnerable to high winds which can take them down. After a major snow event, the tree trimmers are called out again to take down any additional limbs which may present threat to utility lines.
        The cost of these trimming expeditions add up over the years. It seems to me the cost of burying utility lines would be cost effective in short order when compared to repetitive trimmings and all its related costs for crew/property insurance, equipment and maintenance.

        Like

    • wheatietoo says:

      I think there are several factors that prevent burying the lines…but it is definitely something to strive for, wherever possible.

      Bedrock is a problem.
      Some areas have solid rock just beneath the topsoil.
      Seismic activity is also a problem.
      Could cause frequent breaks in the lines.

      Cost is also a big factor…some rural communities just don’t have the funds to do it.
      In a lot of urban areas though, the lines are buried before they start building the houses.

      My area has buried lines and we are grateful for it too.
      It was one of those housing divisions that had the foresight to bury all the utility lines before construction began…and that was nearly 40 years ago.

      I think that low-lying areas that are prone to flooding are also areas where burying the lines is problematic.
      Even encased in PVC pipe, some leakage could occur into the cables.

      Liked by 2 people

      • A2 says:

        Yes as I have indicated, there are geographic and other technical issues to take into account and many of them are related to costs, not benefits. A mixed system is a stopgap. However the problems you cite, such as flooding areas are now not a problem. I live in a flooding area. Technology has advanced. It can be done, safely.

        A cost benefit analysis should be done. Over time, and the billions of dollars spent to restore power to affected areas. This could guide the recommendations locally and federally.

        For people who experience the outages and lost communications, their livelihood and homes destroyed, the costs to them as taxpayers who cannot rely on their infrastructure that they are paying for over the years, should be a wake up call.

        Liked by 2 people

        • amwick says:

          UG primary is really time consuming to fix. An overhead primary problem may be repaired in a matter of hours, an ug primary fault may take days. The most reliable electric system is an ug network. Cities have networks…. rural areas are mostly radial, they are fortunate if they have switching options, or even better, automated loops. In Georgia I live on a radial system. My neighborhood is underground, but the primary power line supplying it is overhead.. That is typical. I am happy the primary was overhead. I saw the problem myself and told the power company. You cannot see UG.

          Like

          • WSB says:

            Whether a wireless system or other technology can be perfected or not, I still believe insulated modular sidewalk systems could be considered where underground is not feasible, i.e. low lying territory.

            Like

            • amwick says:

              Still the problem is locating faults, and restoration. Safety is a huge issue…

              Liked by 1 person

              • WSB says:

                So true, but better than this relic of a system!

                Like

              • Cuppa Covfefe says:

                Why not use TDRs and other variants/tools that are used for locating network and fiber outages? They can locate faults pretty accurately.

                Here in Germany most of the lines are buried, particularly in the cities (of course). The high-voltage feeders are sometimes up on pylons, but just about everything else is underground. There is talk of a north-south power backbone (the north has all off the “pixie-dust” power, i.e. solar and wind, whereas the south has most of the heavy industry and other production (think Mercedes, Porsche, BMW, etc.)) which we need because Merkel killed nuclear. There are arguments about where the line will run, but putting it underground is a priority, and said to be do-able.

                Despite large storms, flooding, lightning, etc. in the 35 years I’ve been here there have been only a couple of power failures, one of which was caused by a lightning strike on a very high voltage overhead line. As nuclear is getting shut off, they’re starting to make noise about brownout-type events (possibly) but that’s really a political problem. Will be interesting to see what happens after next week’s election on that…

                Like

                • amwick says:

                  I was in many different departments of the power company… I am retired now. It is possible that technology has made improvements.. but fault finding was never something you could rush.

                  Like

  22. Grandma Covfefe says:

    Thank You, Sundance, for reporting back today and giving us a mini course in Sundance University called “Dangers of Tree Trimming.”. I was hoping we’d have a longer fall break from our ‘classes’ from you 😉 But this one was good to read up on. I hope there’s no ‘quiz’ on this one, or else I’ll have to make another doctor appt.

    But do take care of yourself. A rested body, happy tummy, and sharp mind prevents injuries. God Bless You for doing the Lord’s work, reaching out to people for all the right reasons and solutions and unifying them–all good and warm fuzzies is happening. The Lord is smiling.

    We all will be looking for you tomorror for more reports (or another Sundance class?)

    We Love You. God Bless You.

    Liked by 8 people

  23. treehouseron says:

    My brother and I were talking about this yesterday.

    When an area has been flooded, I had two questions.

    1. Does the power company have to check all the transformer boxes before turning power back on, to make sure none of their equipment is under water?

    2. When a house floods… what keeps the electrocution rate so low? You’d think once the water got up to the breaker box if the house still had power it would electrocute anything near it…. yet we never hear about this happening (I’m sure it does, just not widespread).

    Liked by 1 person

    • wheatietoo says:

      1. Yes. They have to check each grid section before turning it back on.

      2. Most power companies shut down the grid sections that are flooding…to prevent electrocutions.

      But when flooding is happening fast, they sometimes don’t get the shutdowns done fast enough.
      Sadly, there was an electrocution death in Houston when a young man went back into his house for the family Cat.

      Liked by 3 people

      • treehouseron says:

        That makes sense, thanks. That’s what we were thinking but didn’t know one way or the other… Frankly if I were in a flood I would be terrified of being Electrocuted, the water wouldn’t bother me (unless it was fast moving) but the idea that electricity anywhere could fry you would freak me out.

        I think another thing people don’t think about that haven’t been in a flood is it’s not necessarily clean water, it’s got sewage in it and everything else.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Plain Jane says:

      Breakers trip.

      Liked by 3 people

  24. Sylvia Avery says:

    I’m so encouraged to hear you have some gas today. Today, FOX was reporting on the lack of fuel (first time I’d heard it mentioned) and the heat and shortage of ice and water.

    May tomorrow be even better. Stay safe.

    Liked by 5 people

    • starfcker says:

      A buddy of mine called today, he rode out the cat 5 hit on St. Bart. His house is still in one piece. Poured concrete did it’s job. He said the place is destroyed. Don’t know what kind of phone he called out on, the island was flattened, can’t imagine the cell towers work. He and I were texting as the storm hit. I went looking for some video, found this, gives you a good idea of what the place looked like immediately afterwards. We got so lucky in Florida. https://youtu.be/K7A8q_vj-S4

      Liked by 4 people

  25. That tree is the very definition of a WIDOWMAKER.

    Save your bride from widow-ship and talk the utility into laying a temporary workaround line, as wheatie mentioned above!

    Liked by 7 people

  26. scott467 says:

    [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’ +/-

    ______________

    If it was just me and the boys, we’d get ‘r done. Just climb up on a ladder, drill a hole near the center-mass of the fallen tree, put a stick of dynamite in the hole, and let her rip. Preferably before all the people get back to the neighborhood.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    😉

    Liked by 5 people

  27. andi lee says:

    Liked by 2 people

  28. andi lee says:

    Shiner, Texas. Population 2,070. Home to Texas oldest brewery.

    ~ ❤ ~

    Liked by 5 people

  29. xyzlatin says:

    I have been a bit puzzled as to the references to “Australia Pine” trees as have never heard of them in Australia. Turns out they are Casuarinas. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081031213814.htm

    Liked by 4 people

  30. Timber King says:

    Sundance, that tree is well beyond the capabilities of anyone other than professional foresters. I would even avoid removing the trees around the base as they could be stabilizing the trunk above the break. The last thing you want is for the trunk to shift off the stump. Remember, your safety and that of your team is number one.
    Keep up the good work and thanks for reporting on what has happened and the recovery efforts.

    Liked by 3 people

  31. chiefworm says:

    SD. You may be able to work the Australian Pine without a crane but a bucket truck or other stable lift is a necessity. The power lines appear to be off the transformer in the photo meaning the lower line is most likely just cable and phone. You can start by freeing the pine from its base and see if the top wants to rotate any further toward the ground. If the trunk rotates up, cut the trunk into sections just shy of the cable lines then undercut the section resting on the cable about a foot past the fulcrum. Work this last cut from underneath so that the stored energy in the cable doesn’t rebound and rip off an arm. Obviously, don’t let anyone under the load as it hangs onto the cable and be prepared for gravity to take its effect once freed. This last part is by and far the most dangerous. When trees are hung up they will do strange things when set free. Good luck and PLEASE stay safe.

    Liked by 4 people

    • amwick says:

      This.
      Part of the problem in general is that phone and even TV/cable companies use power company poles for their equipment. I am pretty sure that pine was not on a power line.. I looked at the picture, and the primary and secondary there ended on the transformer pole.. So the power company would not even take the time to clear it.. .not their problem.

      The lines on the tippy top may be primary, the middle lines may be secondary, there may be a second ground, the lower lines are often phone or cable tv. It is complicated.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. GW says:

    Sundance,
    The crane is indeed the way to go to safely tackle that monster. It’s weight must be safely supported near its center of mass to prevent injury to workers. I would suggest contacting every crane company in the state and see if they can send one to it. You might get lucky even if there aren’t any based in your vicinity – there may be some already dispatched To your area that could make a diversion.

    Absent a crane, the other solution is to assemble cribbing to support the weight in a minimum of three locations. One near the fracture of trunk to prevent it from dropping should the remainder of the break come apart. The second near or somewhat behind its present (estimated) center of mass, and the third out around the final 1/4-1/3 from the tip. Cribbing is typically 4×4 lumber, sometimes heavier. Unfortunately you probably need a tractor-trailer loadfull in order to do the job. I do not consider this to be a practical alternative, and if a crane is only two weeks (+/-) you’re better off waiting (I’d consider this method only if the wait were a month or more and I could get the lumber).
    Best of luck, and let us know how you make out with it.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. waltherppk says:

    Boat trailers of the tilt-trailer type can be “jack-knifed” using their own winch to use as an improvised tripod that has substantial enough load capacity to support a tree trunk from underneath. The tongue jack might have to be remounted and moved so that the hitch end of the tongue rolls on that jack wheel and doesn’t dig a trough into the ground as the tripod is winched to raise. The back part of the trailer where the tail lights would be can be skidded on scraps of plywood or sheet metal to slide if it tries to gouge the ground to make positioning difficult. A gin pole can be lashed across the center rollers on the tripod too if that would be handy for hoisting a sling, or a man with a chainsaw.
    Fence stretcher “come-alongs” and ropes and tackle blocks “contributed” by sailboats would be useful items for various rigging chores. Everybody needs to watch their salt intake and get plenty of it along with plenty of liquids working out in the heat and avoid the worst work if possible from noon to four, stay out of the direct sun, extended siesta time.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. ATP says:

    If the power is off the line you can attack it any way you choose……even by dropping the line with an angle grinder. If the line is live stay away. The world of incompetent desk “authorities” should always be overridden by competent people using common sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Jefff says:

    Supporting the weight of the massive trunk prior to selective surgical limbing of branches among the power lines is the problem at hand . Seems you have a crew although none is shown in the photos ( identity issues indeed ) .

    What about using the fence posts to create a support structure for the trunk . Are they in concrete ? Is the homeowner willing to sacrifice the fence posts ?

    It seems as the tree is still close enough to the trunk of those other trees to use them as support as well . The stringers on the fence section could be nailed or lashed horizontally to support one end of the trunk .

    Another treeper mentioned boat wenches . GREAT IDEA !! Your judgement on the scene would decide if someone could secure two at the top of the pine tree and or even the utility pole to at least secure the trunk . One cable to the base of the trunk and another where the branches are entangled in the wires .

    An important element would be a tail hook lines to secure the tree or utility pole much like is done on the discovery channel Axe men . The physics is to have all the weight transfer downward on the utility pole or tree in the lift or even just securing the trunk from dropping during limbing . That is a lot of weight and a timber expert could give a rough estimate of that .

    That Trunk as DEAD WEIGHT is much better than in motion !! inertia will take down the power lines all the way . Good luck . Get your best McGuiver on as you’ve already shown a talent for !!

    Liked by 4 people

  36. waltherppk says:

    Many towing and wrecker service vehicles also have winches and short boom cranes that could be retasked to assist in tree removal when they are not being used for their usual work as wreckers.

    Liked by 5 people

  37. @sundance:

    Not always feasible, but you can create temporary “scaffolding” using other cut down trees, to support the bulk of the critical tree.

    Then once supported (think single pole under, one to either side, and when strapped together like a small teepee, you have a point of support that won’t move)… You can work to trim and begin alleviating stress points.

    Liked by 4 people

    • waltherppk says:

      Two sturdy poles can have a slack multiple rope strand saddle tied across their upper ends and can be tilted into place from underneath a leaning tree, to brace the tree like a bipod, like an improvised A-frame, and if the horizontal of the “A” is pulled together, with the bottoms of the legs skidded on the ground, it will actually lift whatever load is slung across the tops of the two poles. Rope rigging has been used since the stone age to move massively heavy objects, and is a lost art. Think about the problem scenario as if it was a scale model using dowels and string like it was engineering an ingenious (and harmless) toy model, as an exercise for your mind to work out the problem. Then scale up what makes sense for the model to fit the real world problem, so the string becomes rope and the sticks become timbers or other structurally adequate columns. Where compression loading causes deflections, limit it with rope stays, and or bracing. Even a two by four has a lot of straight line compression strength, but if you get a bow in it, then it will snap like a toothpick where the lateral deflection allowed that to happen.

      Liked by 1 person

  38. jbrickley says:

    Some random thoughts on technology and smart thinking that could really kickstart recovery.

    – Communications is key. What if the National Guard could deliver mobile cell tower trucks to stand up a first responders network quickly? Filtered data so it can’t be used for entertainment. Priority on text and specific apps being used by first responders, volunteers. Generators and fuel included. Add more trucks whose purpose is to provide charging stations for mobile devices.

    – a FEMA coordinated set of smartphone Apps not government sponsored but coordinated. Take GasBuddy as an example. A FEMA, I’m OK app. A GIT’R Done app where volunteers can see a list of needed tasks and can accept a task then mark it completed. The ability of residents to post needs. Some volunteers to moderate the tasks and prioritize them. Post infrastructure problems like blocked roads, downed power lines, fire, etc.

    – Many average people can and will volunteer but they don’t know what needs doing and what is important first.

    A lot can be done to improve the immediate post crisis coordination of first responders and volunteers and residents helping residents.

    Yes, the human factor and face to face works but like Sundance is experiencing. People don’t know their neighbors. Not like they used to anyway. His spirit is inspiring but it can be taken to a whole other level. Take what we know about social media, location GPS, and the ability for efficient data collection and communications and remarkable things become possible. The key being power and comms then community.

    First responders would get a virtual ToDo list in their immediate area. Multiple people who don’t know each other meet up with the needed gear to tackle that tree. Folks with chainsaws, a guy with a crane another with a cherry picker, another with a set of block and tackle, etc. The lineman get a work order stating the tree was removed.

    This is only scratching the surface. A homeowner who prepared and wants to help gets a list of families in close proximity and what their needs are. Hungry kids get MRE’s dropped off, etc.

    Liked by 6 people

    • georgiafl says:

      Excellent ideas.

      Like

    • skeinster says:

      “– Many average people can and will volunteer but they don’t know what needs doing and what is important first.”

      This x 1000. It has been my experience in assistance situations that people will be incredibly generous and helpful, if directed. As long as the directors know what THEY”RE doing ; ) Alas, we don’t all have Sundance on hand…

      Like

  39. Rita R says:

    I’m from Central Illinois. Our local power coop took a big crew with trucks and equipment to Florida to help with the task of getting the power back on for everyone. Currently helping some friends put together a crew that will be taking their tree cutting equipment and bucket truck to Central Florida at the end of next week. Lots of fundraisers are going on. That’s what deplorable rural Americans do. Best wishes to all as this recovery goes forward

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Patriot1783 says:

    I remember the day our neighborhoods power came on @10 days after Hurricane Sandy. All the furnaces turned on at same time and puffs of white smoke appeared in the now calm sky. We all looked at each other like huh, when was a new pope elected? 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  41. bluegirl says:

    Slow and steady………. making progress. Amazing to hear how dedicated warriors are in the trenches, boots on the ground, pounding the pavement to lessen the suffering of so many. YOU sir are truly an inspiration!!!!!!!! May God continue to bless you Sundance.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. georgiafl says:

    Liked by 1 person

  43. This a really cool photo of the Florida keys in HIGH resolution from an article talking about media hype. Yes damage no question but looks around an area you might know not really that bad compared to the Caribbean .

    https://storms.ngs.noaa.gov/storms/irma/index.html

    Liked by 1 person

  44. IfThenElse says:

    Per the discussion on underground – I went to High School in Pella, IA where these are made. In testing their equipment they basically drilled the entire town where requested.

    This unit is obviously very large. Some drills can drill a relatively large diameter “tunnel” for cables under the Missouri River if necessary.

    Things have indeed changed a lot in the field of drilling.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Paul Murphy says:

    No crane probably means that you don’t have access to a front loader either, right? Any of the larger wheel loaders could take the weight while you cut the stump,. attach a tow vehicle (a one ton wrecker or larger) to the stump and pull it safely out of the way then shift the trunk while lowering it.

    it is possible to do this kind of thing entirely by hand but it means building a scafold and lots of high risk work – definitely not worth it today.

    Like

  46. I know some?many still without power/cell service, but have we done a roll call? I feel we are still missing people from before Irma to now. Maybe I have missed some posts?? Has everyone reported in or been heard from? We were getting many Wolverine firsthand reports of incoming Irma. I don’t want to miss anyone now. ❤️❤️🇺🇸🇺🇸

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laura says:

      As of yesterday, someone reported these people still MIA: Sedanka, Howie, Smiley, Justfactplz, Tatonka Woman, R2, MW, MM, Maggie MooWoo, etc.

      Note, I do not know who the “etc.” would be. Perhaps others can help by adding to the list!!!

      Liked by 2 people

      • DS says:

        Yes, I have been scanning the comments of Sundance’s articles to see if Howie and Sedanka have posted anything. I’m guessing Howie doesn’t have power, but am worried about Sedanka — he was in poor spirits as the storm was nearing…

        Liked by 1 person

  47. Micharl says:

    Why are power lines not buried in Florida?
    Too wet?

    Like

  48. Michael says:

    All snakes are poisonous, all firearms are loaded, and all wire is hot until absolutely proved otherwise.

    Beyond any doubt there are people with a little ability but no sense who will get the bright idea to connect their generator to house wiring – and some will not make a clean disconnect from the drop to the house. This can energize or back-feed “dead” lines and quite possibly kill someone outside the house. A downed power line being back-fed could even energize a wire fence, or roofing metal and zap someone. If you suspect someone is doing this for heaven sake make they sure the pull the meter. Flipping the main breaker may not provide a clean break. To do this correctly requires a properly installed transfer switch.

    If anyone doubts me I’ll be happy to provide you photos of my scars and burned up electricians tools.

    Were I on scene I would make sure everyone working would have a non-contact voltage detector on their person at all times.

    Liked by 2 people

  49. MIKE says:

    This suggestion is only meant to inspire, as I can’t determine the precariousness of the tree’s situation; and is offered with many caveats. 1) that is a ‘garbage tree’, I can tell by the pith. It will be brittle. 2) if there is a live power line, walk away until the power is cut off. NOT WORTH IT.
    Ok, maybe remove a section of wooden fence and back up a medium duty dump truck class 4 with 8T hoist body or larger, under the trunk side of the wire. Peg it to the dump body so it can’t roll. If the hoist bed can ‘lift’ the trunk, severe the trunk from the base. Once you have control of the trunk(being pegged or anchored to the dump body), it may be just enough unknown variable removed to engage the crown side of the tree. Remember, short bars on your saws are preferable. No rollmatic tips, square cut sawteeth. I did ground work and ran an 038 with a 16″ bar, and could out cut most, 2 or 3 to 1, in brush or log sectioning on the ground. My saw is over 30 years old and still cuts like a demon. Good luck my friend.

    Like

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