Our Hurricane Irene Damage

Posted by on August 29, 2011

Well we made it through Irene relatively unscathed, although many of our other town residents that are not as highly elevated as us didn’t fare nearly as well. There is a fair amount of flooding in our town. As to be expected, we have a few downed trees in the yard, but nothing to the extent of the damage this video shows. There has been quite a bit of the damage and destruction around town. Many of the roads in this video, lead to our home. In fact, all of the roads that do lead to us had been, or are still blocked by downed trees. I ventured out today (monday) to go to town and still had to take a maze of backroads, drive under downed power lines and trees, just to get to the main road.

I stayed up until about 7:30 am on Sunday morning, until I ended up crashing on the couch. We had some good amounts of rain, that have caused some issues, but the winds weren’t that bad. We have a small weather station here and had sustained winds through most of the night in the 10-16MPH range, with a high of 25.7MPH. Not too bad given the original strength of this storm, but as we’re ~35 miles inland, the winds did die down as they hit us.

The winds were strong enough to blow around our Shelter Logic garage where I store some the riding mower, snowblower, misc stuff and a large air compressor … I did some cleanup in there today, but the compressor is too large and heavy to move without a couple of extra bodies, so that will have to wait for another day.

We didn’t lose power for more than a few quick blips .. at least not yet. As can be seen in the photos, there are a lot of trees down in the neighborhood and the roads up to where we are, so we might see some outages while the trees are cleared away.

Our biggest, and most concerning issue is with water intrusion coming in through our outside electrical meter. As we’re far back from the road, we have a fairly large transformer on a pad near the back of our yard. Well whoever designed the layout – the location of the transformer and pad, the route that the pipe takes to the house and the poor drainage really needs a SLAP! I woke up on Sunday to water gushing out of the bottom of the meter box.

The knockouts had already been removed from the bottom of the box the meter is attached to, but that wasn’t nearly enough to stop the water from pushing it’s way into the house … and getting up under the DuPont Laminate Floor Tiles we have on the lower level. Uuggh now that mean pulling out the washer and dryer, and pulling up the tiles from two rooms to make sure that the underfloor gets dry and doesn’t develop mold.

In addition to the pipe that brings the wires from the pad to the house, there is also a drainage pipe that should drain any water collecting up there, but as I found out, it wasn’t really doing its job too well. Part of it is, to me, poor design as the drainage pipe is at a higher elevation than the pipe that comes to the house, and – probably more my own fault than anyone else’s – the pipe was a bit clogged. It was shedding some water, but not nearly enough. We have a lot of yard critters around here and between them and the lawn mowing, the pipe was clogged a couple of feet in.

I ended up snaking it out and a few feet in I cleared a blockage and instantly got some rushing water. This was good news … now at least it was taking that water away from the house and into the yard. To help with the mass flow of water out of the pipe, I also dug up the ground near the end of the pipe. Time for a design here. I think that I’ll dig this out a little “cleaner” and fill it with stone so that it acts as sort of a drywell.

We’ve also seen some driveway and street side damage with the amounts of rain that we received. There is quite a bit of stone from our driveway that is now at the bottom, and some of the areas where our property meets the road has been washed away. The damage to our road only a few hundred feet to our west is pretty severe … the edge of one of the lanes has washed, and broken away, and right now, that direction is our ONLY way out of the house, as all other paths are still blocked by trees.

Oh well, not much I can do but get back to cleaning up our yard and wait for the crews to deal with everything else.

Here’s some photos of our damage, and the immediate surrounding area … thanks to my brother Mike for supplying some of these.

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