Sometimes you think that you’ve managed to squeak past the surprises that Mother Nature plans on throwing at you. When I left for a vacation in Alaska last month I landed to a flurry of emails and text messages asking if I was OK after the surprising earthquake that was felt through my part of the country. While I was gone hurricanes ravaged the East Coast, and friends who checked up on my homes let me know that they were both OK (I split my time between a house near Philadelphia and a place in the mountains of PA).
On arrival back home this week I had planned to settle in then head back to my mountain home to work on a few projects and enjoy the semi-solitude it offers. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans for me. It seemed that my home in rural NE Pennsylvania was basically inaccessible. Every major access route was flooded out, and most of the back roads were closed. The surrounding counties were in declared emergency mode, with only government and emergency personnel allowed to be driving on the few streets that were still usable. Phone lines were up, but there have been rolling brownouts and blackouts as the local power companies struggle to deal with downed power lines that were unreachable or submerged.
For most of my neighbors, this is more of an annoyance than anything else. Being a mile from the river and about 500 feet higher meant that our homes weren’t flooding (not that there are that many homes in our little valley) and the creek that runs through the hollow hadn’t flooded any more than normal, leaving the two roads intact. Of course, once you were off those roads, there weren’t too many places to go. One of my neighbors, with a lifted Jeep he uses as an off-road toy, spent six hours driving the 20 miles to pick up his wife from work in the County seat a few nights back. And it’s gotten worse since then.