I thought I’d give anyone an update of events of the past week that caused so many of us to live again in the 19th century in Landaff – without power, telephone, or internet.
The storm Sunday night included heavy wind and rain. There was heavy flooding near Chandler Pond, and road damage up on Gale Chandler Road, on Allbee Road, Merrill Mountain Road, Brill Road and others. Numerous trees came down, along Pearl Lake Road and elsewhere. Road Agent Andy Brackett and his Assistant, Tom Blowey, were up and out at 3AM Monday morning, clearing trees, making sure roads were safe and assessing damage. They’ve worked all week clearing culverts, removing debris, sweeping roads, and cleaning up. We anticipate filing for FEMA Disaster Assistance to recover some of the costs, just as we did after the July 2017 storm.
Our largest impact was losing electrical power. As many of you know, Landaff’s electricity is provided by both the New Hampshire Electric Co-op (mainly the eastern and northern parts of town and along Pearl Lake Road), while Eversource (the old PSNH) supplies power along Highway 302, and up Mill Brook and Jockey Hill Roads to the center of town. I was in daily contact with both companies, and with FairPoint also. The State Homeland Security and Emergency Management Operations Center was also helpful, especially in tracking down the right people to answer questions.
The Co-op restored power Wednesday night. Eversource took longer, not bringing power back until Friday Noon. Eversource told me that they had failed to note in their mapping system that Town Hall, the Fire Station, Highway Department, and FairPoint Main Point on Cemetery Road were NOT listed as Critical Assets, which might have resulted in us getting faster repair service. That situation has now been corrected.
The Blue School got power back on Tuesday, as they were listed as a Priority Call. When an Eversource crew from Manchester, assisted by a crew from Ohio, worked Friday morning, they determined there was a major line break behind the Blue School in the woods, over Mill Brook. Once that was fixed, everything came back online.
FairPoint is a little different. Their trouble system doesn’t recognize major outage areas, they wait for individual trouble calls. They had only 20 logged for Landaff, but if you don’t have a live phone line, then it’s a little hard to report your phone is out. And their main Voice/DSL box is served by the Eversource center-of-town circuit, so when it failed, we’were dead. FairPoint did put in a generator Thursday to power the system, but it was ancient and failed overnight and couldn’t be restarted. Once the main power came back, all was good.
Without a solid communications system, it was hard to keep people informed, but people stopped me on the road, saw me in Lisbon, etc., and I tried to provide prompt information. I’m sure that there are “Lessons Learned” from this experience, such as having a standby generator helps, as well as having extra supplies and people to turn to. We rarely go this long without power, but it does help you focus on what to do next time. I’d be happy to hear from any of you about your experiences, good-and-bad, that would help us plan better.
Feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org, or at home 838-6406. Thanks for being such good citizens and neighbors! Sincerely, Pat Webb
PATRICK J WEBB, Emergency Management Director, Town of Landaff