Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Dennis: Menace 2 Society

Everything I post about Hurricane Dennis later turns out to be wrong.

Saturday, I reported that the thunderstorms that struck Atlanta that afternoon were the first impacts of the hurricane. Wrong. After the downpour stopped, the weather settled back down for 24 or so hours until Dennis actually did arrive Sunday night.

Late Sunday evening, I lost electricity, but on Monday morning I reported (from the office) that despite the power loss, the impact of the storm wasn't that great. Wrong. When I got home Monday night, the electricity was still out, and I realized by the backed up traffic on the side streets and the not-too-distant sounds of chain saws that some trees had fallen across the neighborhood roads. I walked around the corner and saw the tree above completely blocking off the adjacent street. Worse, it did major damage to a neighbor's house, as you can see.

The tree had survived Tropical Storms Arlene and Cindy this year. It survived last January's ice storm. Last year, it weathered Hurricanes Bonnie, Charlie, Jeanne and even big, bad Ivan. But Dennis did it in.

But trees had fallen not only around the corner, but all over the neighborhood. One had fallen right across Collier Road, a main artery in this neighborhood, completely disrupting traffic (including access to Piedmont Hospital). Another had fallen about a block away in another neighbor's yard (no damage to houses, fortunately). Crews were out trying to remove the branches and limbs so that the power company could come through the restore the lines (that's what I saw yesterday morning), but it was apparent that major tree damage had taken down a lot of power lines in the 'hood.

Traffic was terrible driving to the Zen Center (it had power). Coming home, after dark, I saw that other whole neighborhoods were without lights. Electricity was out all along LaVista Drive, and through the Briarcliff neighborhood. But when I got back home, though, my lights were back on - the tree around the corner had finally been cleared, and I guess that allowed Georgia Power to restore juice to at least my block.

Tonight, I went to a meeting of the community association where we discussed, among the other news and events in our neighborhood, all the details of the storm damage.

So, my post yesterday stating that Dennis was a near-miss understated the actual damage it had wrought. A man even died over in Decatur, an intown community, when a tree fell over his bedroom and crushed him as he slept Sunday night (I wonder if he knew what hit him).

Two tropical storms and one hurricane, and one currently brewing out in the Caribbean, all before the All-Star Game. It's gonna be a long, wet summer. Still have doubts about global warming?

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