Friday, July 21, 2006

Reflections on the Day in Our Partly-Paralyzed City

Reflections on the Day in Our Partly-Paralyzed City

Yes, I'm back! I thought I'd briefly remark on some of the dramatic storm damage I saw between Wednesday night and this morning.

We had family in town, so we were planning to take the day off yesterday anyway.

Wednesday night, we rode out the storm at Duff's restaurant on Euclid, although many trees were downed in the immediate vicinity.

As we drove east on Lindell/Olive and south on Jefferson, many many trees were downed and most traffic signals and street lights were out. Nobody had put out stop signs yet, so it was quite chaotic and rather scary.

We were quite lucky to still have power, although we have a very small room a/c unit that barely cools our bedroom, so it's not exactly luxurious. One disadvantage of the high ceilings in our 1890s two-family.

Across the street from us, and for blocks eastward, there is still no power. Last night we gave out some of our remaining freezer pops to kids across the street.

By the light of day, we saw along Cherokee many of the Bartlett Pear trees toppled. Some traffic lights were still working, thankfully, and the Walgreens @ Grand & Gravois was open. But trying to find a place to eat was not easy. We went west on Chippewa, but both the IHOP west of Hampton and BreadCo at Lansdowne were packed, no parking spaces left (and probably no seats inside either!). We even tried the McDonald's on Big Bend at Deer Creek Center, but that was out of power.

So we ended up spending most of the day at Saint Louis Galleria, where it was nice and cool inside. We were the first people to get in the door at California Pizza Kitchen at 11 am. Within 20 minutes, the place was full.

Later we saw the long lines at the Galleria BreadCo and all the food court outlets (except Ben & Jerry's) and felt quite fortunate indeed!

Eventually, we headed back towards our house, but getting gas was a chore. The BP at Clayton/Skinker was closed, as were all the stations at Manchester/McCausland and Southwest/McCausland, and the Phillips at Jamieson/Fyler and the BP on Chippewa just east of Watson. Finally, we found an open station at the Conoco JumpStop, on Chippewa near Lindenwood Place.

After getting to our house and checking on things, we headed north. Our family members visiting were staying with my mother-in-law and her husband in Dellwood, and they have no electricity. Most traffic signals were out of commission up that way, and most stores, gas stations, and restaurants closed. Traffic on all the main roads was a mess. Halls Ferry from Chambers to I-270 was very congested.

We ended up eating dinner way out at the Bob Evans next to Saint Louis Mills. We had a few minutes of waiting to be seated. Because of the boil order in North County, they didn't have water, soda, or juice to drink. I started off with chocolate milk ... and later changed to warm, strong iced tea. But by the end of our meal, they had run out of ice!

For some reason, we then spent several hours roaming the very cold, very huge, very brightly-colored Saint Louis Mills outlet mall. Not my favorite place, I admit. But it was plenty cooool inside.

Eventually, we headed back to their darkened house, and then back south to home. It's really bizarre how some blocks have power, and some sections of I-70 have street lights, but most don't.

As I said, we never lost power, but we did have branches laying on our power lines for a while. I called UE early in the morning, and by the evening the branches had been cut down (maybe not by then, but probably so). Also, across the alley on Nebraska, somebody's car parked in the backyard had two trees fall onto it, but it seemed to escape relatively unscathed.

Heading out early this morning to walk the dogs and try to beat the heat, I surveyed the neighborhood more.

The pocket park at Nebraska @ Utah has several trees down.

On the 3200 block of Michigan, a 100-year-old street tree lies totally uprooted against two houses, both of which lost a lot of bricks from the cornice line area. One was vacant, the other occupied -- and the occupied one sustained more damage, including a broken window or two.

Most dramatic is the building at the NW corner of Gravois @ Nebraska, near QuikTrip (which remains closed). There, a large rooftop billboard and its support structure was toppled, knocking many bricks off the cornices of the building, and digging several deep holes in the roof.

That's a ten-unit apartment building, sort of renovated in 2004 I think, and until then fully occupied. It has now been condemned.

Compared to many folks, particularly the elderly and those with disabilites, our storm-related problems have been very, very minor.

We have been fortunate, indeed!

Others - many of whom have lesser financial and family resources than us - were not so lucky.

1 comment:

Michael Allen said...

Things have been very bad for us. Glad to learn that you are doing well.