Monday, August 29, 2011

Damage widespread from Irene

Above top: Hydro Quebec was kept busy yesterday on L'Ile Perrot as trees toppled power lines resulting in thousands without power. Bottom: North Carolina highway 12 through Rodanthe on Hatteras Island. I feel just terrible for these Outer Banks communities I love so much.

Hurricane Irene will go down as a multi-billion dollar storm after she slammed the east coast this weekend from the North Carolina to Quebec resulting in 21 fatalities including one each in Vermont and Quebec. The storm produced record flash flooding up and down the coast but especially in Vermont where this may be the worst storm on record. Most rivers, streams and lakes were turned into massive torrents yesterday after 200mm of rain fell in about 12 hours. The same is true in upstate New York, the Adirondacks and Catskills where some communities have become isolated by flooding, and several rescues have taken place.

Above: Major flooding in Waterbury, Vermont

Irene is a rather disorganized, windy area of showers this morning over Atlantic Canada. In 2 days the storm managed to wipe out my vacation playground of Hatteras Island, tearing Highway 12 to shreds in numerous places, far worse than Hurricane Isabel in 2003, as well as damaging properties and infrastructure. The storm than marched into New England and flooded out most of central and southern Vermont, including Main Street in Waterbury (above) where I was two weekends ago. Finally the storm lashed southern Quebec with all her remaining energy dumping between 60-165mm of rain on the province, 58mm at my home. Irene also produced strong winds up to 110km/h in Quebec City and 90km/h in Montreal, that toppled trees onto power lines. My home has been without power for over 15 hours now. Hydro was by at about 1am this morning, but the damage to the line and transformer is quite significant and they needed daylight and likely a chainsaw to work on it.

I have so much more information to share but I am going to take a breather now. It was a busy weekend which ended with a 400 km drive to Ontario in the torrential rain and wind yesterday.

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