On Wednesday, I fled my apartment.
My devices were all but drained so I was down in the car, trying to restore them, when I heard the updated reports.
-More than 1m customers still without power, just in NJ alone.
-Roughly 1/4 of cell towers from DC to Boston are knocked out. Hence the virtually no signal.
-About half of the remaining towers are running off generators. Which are running low on fuel now, and could run out of fuel before normal power can be restored.
-Some water treatment centers are in a similar situation. (Voluntary restriction of water use is recommended. Not that anyone without hot water is probably using much of it. But still. Water, last I checked, is an essential of life.)
-They can’t easily get any more fuel for either water treatment or communications, though, because between shortages in some areas and the lack of power almost everywhere, gas is in high demand and short supply.
From an infrastructure standpoint, it’s a nightmare. Not for lack of efforts; the state is implementing policies to relieve what they can, the utilities are working their collective butts off to get things back to normal, and volunteers from all over the country have come to help.
Anyway, all of that convinced me to go elsewhere. Specifically to another part of the state. My parents have power. A hot shower, working phone and lights – things so easy to take for granted when we have them – sound like a little slice of heaven after days without.
And then the other stories came in. Towns underwater. Areas on fire, and no way to get to them to fight it. People killed (surprisingly few so far, but without reliable communications much is still unknown).
The stories go on and on.
With travel restrictions lifted, I headed to my parents’ place, as I said. And once I left my neighborhood, it was already apparent how protected I’d been that terrible, terrifying night. Trees sheered off, snapped like mere twigs, or ripped up by the roots. My building lost siding in a few places, but another a few blocks away had the brick face torn off the entire side of the building.
And still, for all the damage we did sustain, for all we may not get power back for days to come, we are the lucky ones. No outbreaks of fire, no storm surge, no broken dams flooding quiet towns.
My heart goes out to all those who have lost so much, or who anxiously await news of what or whether they have lost.
These are not easy days. May the living God be our comfort and our peace.