By Jo Galante
OK, here’s the mass email update.
This is one of the most wicked storms to hit the Catskill Mountain region. Overall, we were extremely lucky even if we whined about the inconveniences which paled in comparison. Phoenicia is a blanket of mud with its major bridges washed away – new bridges just recently reconstructed!
But happy to report, tree cutters are arriving from both ends of our road and we got trees off the power lines – especially the one tree that was hanging over the road.
People who live across creeks accessed by their own private bridges are up the creek without a paddle. (Sorry, need some levity.) Their bridges are a goner.
Prattsville in upper Eastern Catskills is history. Completely wiped out. Windham, the ski resort, also took extreme hits. Many of the roads across the region are washed away including ones by me in Saugerties. Extreme navigation is now a prerequisite for getting to even the most routine local places.
“Bewilderment” is the best word to describe what many are feeling. A hurricane is supposed to be over the ocean. We got heavy rains. Then sunshine and we all sighed. Then the winds came through and we were toast. We had a huge tree just miss our shop; another huge tree was hanging over the pulled lines. One more is ready to fall and the place is just a mess.
Some flooding in the basement. And the creek inched the closest to our house that we’ve seen in 35 years! And please, who doesn’t believe in extreme weather changes!
Oh, earthquakes too, and one or two dams near here are “compromised.”
National Guard is up in the mountains, and communities are pulling together. We’re all neighbors. Maybe we need more catastrophes to straighten out the mess we’re in. (Oh, come on, did you think I wouldn’t make this political?)
Have no idea on the final outcome for the most drastic areas. Money is short is what we’re being told although Guv Cuomo is promising money won’t be an issue.
So I’m at the Saugerties library and not sure when I’ll once again be in touch; probably not until after Labor Day.
We’re safe – and send thanks to good friends and neighbors – and really not much worse for wear and tear. Just a bit tossed about. Now we’re definitely installing a huge generator.
Oh, quick and final great story about a little town, Lexington, that could and did defy government bullshit. They were completely cut off due to washed-out bridge. Neighbors put in a temporary bridge only to have the state Department of Transportation tell them they couldn’t use it. They told the bureaucrats to f**k off. DOT still said can’t use the bridge. The townspeople came out armed – no kidding. (You have to know Lexington, a true Catskill Mountain town!) They joined hands and stood their ground. The bureaucrats backed off after Cuomo sent in the state police to say the locals could use the bridge they built themselves. The bureaucrats left! Here’s one for the little people.
Most, if not all, of Saugerties finally has power, phone and internet service. I believe most of Woodstock too. Been trying to reach a dear friend in West Shokan and cannot get through. I think they were more impacted by the storm than I was. However, it’s still a challenge to drive along once favored and familiar roads. Some roads are washed out or badly damaged.
We had thunder and of course, I’m sure, that put people on edge. So far just a few drops. Oh, the roadsides and the creeks are overwhelmed with debris such as giant trees that have come down and whatever else got caught up in the flooding. Each time we drive somewhere we see more and more damage and it just keeps astonishing us.
Stoll Road is a small community of fairly tight-knit neighbors including many weekenders. Full-timers look out for their houses when they are away. Email has made it golden to send updates.
We showered at a friend down the road who had a generator and was very generous in inviting some of us over for showers, a little bit of TV and good food. A few of us went out to dinner and to watch the Giants game, which lightened the mood.
Neighbors are everything. And, when the sweet lineman from Kansas gave me a power update, I didn’t think, blue state or red state. At this point, we were all fellow Americans coming together. Tree cutters from Pennsylvania told us how glad they are to have jobs but that it’s tough on their families. They are away most of the time. One young fellow talked proudly of his 5-year old son starting kindergarten.
Thanks, everyone, for your messages of concern.
Over and out for now.