Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Once in 500 Years Flood -- Hurricane Irene and Photos of Deerfield

It seems that Manhattan managed quite well during and after Hurricane or "Tropical Storm" Irene. My 92 year old uncle, who lives in mid-Manhattan, and who has survived two World Wars and saw the towers crumble on 9/11, called me today to check on us in western MA. He said that the subways are running in NYC and he has been back to work (what an amazing generation his is) and was disappointed that Lincoln Center canceled its performances this past weekend because of Hurricane Irene.

Western Massachusetts and Vermont continue to feel the impact of Irene with many towns in the latter completely isolated due to flooded roads and downtowns. Power is still out in parts and bridges have been closed and await inspection, if they are not destroyed.

Amherst made it through relatively unscathed. We lost two trees in our front yard and so did some neighbors but the flooding in neighboring towns has been horrendous.

Yesterday, after taking detours to get to work at Deerfield Academy, where my daughter is working as a tour guide this summer, the scenes of flooding were horrific.

Above I have posted some photos of areas of Deerfield Academy in Old Deerfield one day after Irene hit this past Sunday.

Amazingly, there was even a group of National Guardsmen with a Humvee guarding a road off of Old Deerfield, which leads to farmland. Disaster recovery experts were at work plus even families at the Bement School had to be evacuated as well as several ones at Deerfield Academy (even by boat).

A UMass Amherst geoscientist, Professor David F. Boutt, who is an expert on this part of very historic Massachusetts, said that what happened is a once in hundreds of years event.

Tough to see so much of the beautiful landscape under water as well as the farms with corn and potatoes and pumpkins.

We wish all those affected by Irene a timely recovery.

In addition, even the Deerfield Inn suffered flooding and will be closed for several weeks (and this is a busy time with the schools in the area opening up and with the leaf-peepers soon to arrive).

More photos of Deerfield under water can be accessed here.

This morning we received the press release below from Historic Deerfield.

Flooding from Hurricane Irene Causes Museum, Inn Closings

Historic Deerfield Plans to Reopen on Thursday, Sept. 1;

Deerfield Inn and Champney's Restaurant & Tavern Closed

Due to extreme flooding from Hurrricane Irene, Historic Deerfield is closed to the public through Wednesday, August 31, 2011. The museum plans to reopen on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.-although three historic houses at the flooded north end will likely remain closed. The Deerfield Inn and Champney's Restaurant & Tavern will be closed indefinitely.

"This kind of severe flooding is rare in Deerfield," said Philip Zea, President of Historic Deerfield. "Luckily our advance preparations on Friday and Saturday helped ensure that the museum houses and collections remained safe."

Not so fortunate was the Deerfield Inn, which sustained major flood damage to the first floor of its annex and to the basement of the main building. It may be several days before the waters recede enough to allow investigators to gain access to these spaces to assess the damage and begin the process of rebuilding. In the meantime, guests have been relocated and reservations are being cancelled for the next two

"Our goal is to reopen the Inn as quickly as possible," said Susan Martinelli, Vice President for Busiess Affairs at Historic Deerfield. "We will not know the full extent of the project until the investigation is completed."

"Aside from the Deerfield Inn, we had water fill the cellars of three buildings," added Zea. "But rivers keep old habits and the Deerfield River has flooded for ten thousand years when the Connecticut refuses to take her water. That's why these fields are so fertile."

Historic Deerfield (www.historic-deerfield.org) plans to reopen on Thursday, Sept. 1, for tours from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information about Historic Deerfield please call 413-775-7214. For more information on the Deerfield Inn and Champney's Restaurant & Tavern, please call 413-774-5587.

Click here for some helpful hints, from scientists, on how to deal with flooded homes!