February 27, 2010

Derry in the Dark: Storm knocks out power to 89 percent of town

Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY – Joe and Nancy Carter heard trees crashing outside their home on English Range Road late Thursday night. By morning, there was no way out, with a tree blocking not only their street, but their own driveway.
     “I called my daughter, and she came and got us,” said Nancy Carter, getting ready to order breakfast at the Derry Diner at about 10 a.m. with her husband, Joe, daughter, Stacy Wright, and granddaughters, Kailyn and Teagan.
     “I live nearby, so I was able to get close to their street,” said Wright. “After breakfast, I'll take them back home.”
     The Carters, left without power from the storm, already knew the drill, having made it through similar circumstances during the 2008 ice storm.
      “We have one tank of gas left for our Coleman stove, and we have a grill,” said Nancy Carter. “We also have a wood stove, so we're not too worried. There are plenty of people out there who are worse off than us.”
    Derry Diner owner Ralph Donovan said he found out early in the morning that the town's other diner, MaryAnn's on Broadway, was without power. Again.
     “It's not fair. They didn't have power during the ice storm and we did. It should be our turn to be without power,” said Donovan, who was filled to capacity at 84, with customers waiting.
     “We'll be serving breakfast only, till 3. We gotta go with what we have, and today, we have breakfast,” Donovan said.
     Debbie Mangano was filling up two gas cans at the Mobil at the rotary. “Gotta get home and gas up the generator,” she said. “I know from the ice storm that it could be days.”
     Ditto that, said Daniel Hagan, getting 10 gallons of gas for his generator at home.
     “I'm also getting beer and cigarettes,” Hagan said. “Hey, at least there's gas this time. Last time around, it was hard to find.”
     John Hill said the ride from his home in Chester to the Mobil station took patience and knowledge of back roads.
     “I couldn't get to Raymond, and even though I made it to Sandown, Route 102 was closed halfway down,” said Hill, filling four red gas cans for his generator. “I think we learned from last year's storm that you can't count on PSNH and you can't count on the governor to clean up the trees.”
     By morning Gov. John Lynch had declared a state of emergency following the overnight rain storm featuring heavy winds that felled trees and power lines, and dumped several inches of rain resulting in flood watches in communities surrounding the state's many rivers and lakes.
     Residents looking for coffee and Internet connections filled the Coffee Factory throughout the day, sharing tables with strangers as they surfed the Web checking email and getting updates on the storm.
     Bob Spiegelman of Londonderry said he had already book a hotel suite in Manchester for the weekend.
     “We were seven or eight days without power last time,” Spiegelman said. He found an efficiency condo with a refrigerator, so he could pack up his perishables in a cooler and enjoy the comforts of home.
     “As soon as I heard there were so many people without power, I called to book a room. If it turns out to be more than a few days, we'll probably stay with friends. But for now we will have lights, food, Internet – sure, it will get old after a few days, but I'm not one to suffer,” Spiegelman said.

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