Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Into the storm's second week

As we head into the storm and its aftermath's second week, there has been a great deal of progress on repairing and restoring power.

As of this writing one household remains out in Ripton.  Nearby, two households are offline in Middlebury (two more than yesterday), while twenty are still out in Lincoln.  Across the state 351 homes are in the dark, with about half of them in Underhill.

Repairs are just about complete, according to Vermont Mountain Power.

Repair costs look to be very large.  It cost the Vermont Transportation Agency about $2 million to clear roads over the past week, according to the Burlington Free Press.  The VTA also notes that
after the storms began Tuesday, crews plowed or treated roads for more than 120 hours continuously, covering 185,000 lane miles. Agency crews used 12,600 tons of salt and 230,000 gallons of brine.
Total cost might exceed that of Tropical Storm Irene, and even 1998's massive ice storm.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Riptonites in the Rutland Herald

The Rutland Herald profiles several Riptonites and their storm experiences.
The Middlebury and Ripton areas, Poultney and Royalton were the towns hit hardest by the storm, which doesn’t necessarily mean that those towns experienced the most snowfall. It’s measured by how many individual breaks and damage are done to the lines.

One week after the storm

It's one week after the storm.  How do things stand?

According to the latest GMP data, two households remain without power in Ripton.  GMP's media director commented on Twitter that "[R]ipton was one of the hardest hit areas".

Green Mountain Power crews are still out there, working hard.

Two vehicles on Pearl Lee Road.

Elsewhere, 43 are out of power in neighboring Lincoln (and with 12 separate problems, the highest number of problems in the state).  Down the mountain, Middlebury seems to be fine.1046 homes across Vermont are still out:

This blogger's power came back on Sunday afternoon... only to blow out Sunday evening, frying many appliances.  GMP got us back online around midnight.

How are you doing, friends and neighbors?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Day six of the storm

We're coming up on one week after the storm, and while there's been some progress, power outages remain.  Green Mountain Power tree and line crews continue to work.

25 Ripton households remain without power, as are 41 in Lincoln.  I can't find any outages in Middlebury.  Across the state of Vermont, 1240 homes are still in the dark:

This has been quite a storm.
Best wishes to everyone still offline.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Day five of the storm and aftermath: progress yet continued outages

Today is the fifth day of this storm and its bitter aftermath.  Many Riptonites are still without power, and trees continue to fall onto power lines.

As of this writing, 171 Ripton households are still out of power.  Nine Middlebury households and a whopping 317 Linconites are also offline, according to the Green Mountain Power outage site.

The Ripton Fire Department is opening up as a shelter this afternoon, starting at 3 pm.
Please come if you're cold, need a shower, or just want the company of other Riptonites.

Elsewhere in Vermont, thousands are still in the dark.  6,385 homes are out of power across the state:

Green Mountain Power crews are still at work.  Governor Shumlin toured several hard-hit towns by helicopter.

As always, stay safe and warm, friends and neighbors.  Come visit the Fire Department shelter this afternoon and evening.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Day four of the storm: some progress, continued woe

Today is the fourth day of this season's first major storm.  There are signs of progress, but also problems persisting.

Tree branches and entire trees sag under the weight of ice and snow.  Sometimes they fall, toppling lines, or leaning heavily on the cables.  For example, here's a tree down on a line a few yards from the Lucky 7 spring:

Here's what it looks like from underneath:
Do not do this.

Sometimes it takes several days for these trees and tree limbs to fall.  Green Mountain Power crews seem to be revisiting the same areas, as new problems hit ones previously repaired.

As of this writing, 8 separate problems currently knock 293 Riptonites offline.  Nearby, 20 problems keep 84 Middlebury homes in the dark, while 46 problems block 233 Lincoln households from the electrical grid and 9 incidents do the same for 159 in Leicester.

Elsewhere, more than 10,000 Vermont customers remain without power, as of this writing.
Green Mountain Power now says damage is comparable to what we endured during Tropical Storm Irene.  And things could take through Sunday night to resolve.

Please take care, friends and neighbors.  Stay warm and safe.

On a personal note, I'll update this blog as I can, until the crisis is over.  There's neither electricity nor phone at my house, so I've been writing these posts from whichever town I can get to.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The storm enters day 3; many without power

We've been clobbered, friends.  Ripton entered the third day of this storm, with power remaining out for some of us still after two days of snow, sleet, and ice.  Twenty Ripton households are offline, caused by five separate outages, as of this writing, according to Green Mountain Power.  211 homes are out in Lincoln, which is the source of some Ripton electricity.  Down the hill, 695 Middlebury houses are off.

For those who do have power, they might be offline, as Fairpoint suffered its own outage today.

Meanwhile, Green Mountain Power teams have been on the job continuously, but fresh outages keep occurring.  That's because of overloaded trees, bent down by ice and snow, breaking a day or two after the initial onslaught.

Much of the state is suffering, with 22,746 homes still without power:

Estimates of how many Vermonter households were knocked out range from 50,000 to 70,000.

Here's an astonishing fact, pointing to just how severe this storm has been and remains:
“We do prepare for the worst, and then we found out we needed to get even more crews. We have more crews operating in the state of Vermont in this event than we did during Hurricane Irene,” [Mary Powell, the president and CEO of Green Mountain Power] said. (emphases added)
Stay safe and warm, friends and neighbors.  Watch out for downed power lines.  Drive carefully.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tonight's storm is doing its stuff

The snow is coming down tonight, along with sleet. The storm seems to be taking down power all over the state:

So stay warm and safe, friends and neighbors!

Monday, December 1, 2014

9-11 went down on Friday, but is back up now

Vermont's 9-11 emergency phone service went offline this past Friday afternoon and evening.
During the 5.75 hour partial outage, 45 people attempted calls to 911, according to data from FairPoint.
...It is not clear whether any individuals in emergencies were affected by the blocked calls.
What happened?  According to FairPoint,
"this outage was caused by a rare occurrence of the winter storm and a hardware failure, which impacted callers in the State of Vermont unable to place calls, including calls to 911. "
They fixed it quickly:
"Temporary re-routes were made [Friday] night, allowing for interim service; followed by permanent re-routes allowing for full restoration last night. The network in Vermont is working well now and has been since last night as of 8:45 PM.”
What do you do when 911 doesn't work?

(photo by Derek Kaczmarczyk)