irene: deluge

we didn’t really know what to expect on the sunday that irene came our way. my boss texted the people who were scheduled to work that day (hilariously, almost all of the young and single people in the office – team “no one will miss you if you get swept into the river and die”) and told us to bring food and extra clothes, which was a suggestion i laughed at a little. extra clothes would have been great once the rain soaked through my first set, though. really.

at first it just seemed like it was going to be a big rain storm and that was it. hanover is a stop on the appalachian trail, so there was a shelter open for thruhikers and a nice family brought them food. the reporter and i stopped by there in the morning before things got ugly, thinking, oh, this will be a nice vignette to report on for this silly hurricane bullshit.

yeah. didn’t make the paper.
once it became clear that things were getting serious we stopped playing around in shelters and really got out there. it was pouring, mark was soaked, i was soaked, my mkii was soaked (gotta love that sort-of weatherproofing), but it didn’t matter because everything was going to shit.

that used to be a lush green front yard, and a driveway. the pavement in front of this house is beginning to wash out and the NHDOT workers there are trying to redirect the flow of water. it’s still raining.

downtown canaan was flooded, but it was a slow, seeping flood – not like what we would see later. there were two insane guys inside the canaan house of pizza trying to keep water from getting in the restaurant with towels and mops and a water pump – one of them came over to look out at the rising water level and boom. i was really bummed that we wouldnt’t be able to get his name – wading across that shit would have been impossible – but then we just called the delivery line. this guy picked up. he’s the owner.
still raining.

everyone takes this flood picture, but you have to. what else are you going to do? seeing a main street like this totally underwater is unbelievable. of course you take the picture.

kind of an iteration of the same idea as above, except for that water is where that guy’s backyard used to be. that is his house, to his left, and he is guiding his dog away from the water rushing up his driveway. it kind of looks like the water is chasing them. still raining. at this point my camera is giving me error messages every two frames and things are looking rather grim for vermont.

the quechee covered bridge being overwhelmed by floodwater. patrick understands why this picture is so shocking – that bridge is probably 40 ft high. i wish i had a better vantage point to shoot this from, but the police (pictured) were keeping people at a very far distance from this sucker. we understood why in a few minutes – the smell of propane was suddenly very distinct in the air and tanks of the stuff were floating down the river, knocking into shit. dead river propane co., up the river, had been taken out by flood and their supply was bobbing in the water like marshmallows. and the cops hustled everyone out of there very quickly.

it’s just incredible how a day can go from lighthearted, how-bad-can-this-really-get? to “holy shit horrifying” in a matter of hours. to me, it was shocking. i can’t really imagine how the people whose homes were suddenly inundated felt.


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