Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Surprise storm downs trees and knocks power out

A large branch fell against Hugo's on Church Street.
Plainfield's first nor'easter created havoc with downed trees and branches and power outages on Saturday afternoon. Rapidly falling heavy wet snow proved too much for many trees -- both old and young -- which had not yet dropped their foliage. (Send me your storm pix and I'll add them to the post -- be sure to give street location.)

Getting an errand out of the way about 1:00 PM before heading to St. John's on the Mountain (it really is!) in Bernardsville where friend Susan Ironside was to be installed as rector in an afternoon ceremony, I came across the large branch down across Park Avenue in the 1100-block.


Moments after I stopped for a picture, three Good Samaritans
moved this branch fallen across Park Avenue.
As I pulled over to get a picture, a large red pickup pulled in front of me and three burly men got out, walked down to the branch and heaved it out of the roadway. Waving, they then got in their truck and continued south on Park Avenue.

By the time I got to the Watchung traffic circle I realized this was not a trip to make and turned around. Thinking to go by my gas station across from Union County College at 2nd and Church, I found the street blocked by a police cruiser -- a large branch had fallen against Hugo's.

A large branch fell across Hugo's roof.
At the corner of 2nd Street, a street tree was down blocking the gas station driveway and just before that a branch had come down across a parked station wagon.

The street tree by this Church Street gas station was split in two...

...and a parked station wagon was swiped by a falling branch.

Power was out from 7th Street to Green Brook Road in North Plainfield, leaving both communities' business districts in darkness. Many stores closed, but a few remained open and sold items by light from the store windows or emergency lighting within.

By 3:00 PM most were shut down tight, except for Twin City supermarket, where customers were stocking up on necessities by the emergency lighting within the store.

As of late afternoon, I was told that over 80 calls had been logged by Plainfield's 911 call center of trees and branches down -- including reader Chris Estevez who posted a picture of the branch that came down in front of his house about 4:00 PM.

Branch falling in reader Chris Estevez' front yard pulled down wires.
Going out for the papers early Sunday morning, I came across a lone Comcast repair man in a cherrypicker reconnecting downed cables on East 6th Street behind Grace Episcopal Church. He said that a good number of Comcast lines had been pulled down and crews had been working through the night.

Lone cable guy was repairing Comcast cable on East 6th Street at 5 AM.
It was weird to get downtown and find Front Street businesses completely lit up and locked tight at 5:30 AM. Of course, they had shut up when the power went out and the light switches were in the 'on' position, meaning when the power came back on, so did the lights.

Eerily, at 5:30 AM Front Street stores were fully lit though locked tight.
Newspaper deliveries were mixed -- no papers were out at the Stop & Shop in Watchung Square Mall, where I went after the QuikCheck in North Plainfield turned out to be shut tight. My regular paper stand on West Front had the Courier and Ledger, though there were fewer hookers than usual.

On an off chance, I stopped by the convenience store at 7th and Arlington and found a New York Times -- not a usual occurrence at this store.

After getting back to the house and settling down with a cup of coffee, the lights flickered. Though we had not lost power at all throughout the storm or the night, this little hiccup took down the Internet service.

That fixed, everything seems to be just about back to normal, as I hope you and yours find the day, which promises to be bright and sunny.

Bright and sunny indeed as this mid-morning shot of my back yard today shows.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Rob said...

it was a magical sight..!! The Short Hills Mall was packed with people attempting to shop as the storm kicked into high much for being top of the food chain, at least for intelligence. ( I noticed this on the way to work..I can't just not show up )

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the pictures. Best headline photos and story photos in the state! Our local paper used to print "disaster" pictures. Maybe they think their readers see it here first.