Thursday, December 18, 2008


The following are photos from the recent ice storm, of December 11 and 12th, that effected Central New England. These photos are from Newcomb Road area of Westminster, Massachusetts. Pictures really don't do justice to what things looked and sounded like Friday morning. Early Friday morning I was driving home from Keene, NH, but it wasn't until I reached Westminster untill I realized just how bad things were.
Rte 2A in Westminster

I got past this leaning tree, but a dead end was just a little further down the road, actually..several dead ends. I couldn't get home, after trying four different routes, so I stopped by my cousin's house at the end of the street. She'd been up since mid-night listening to trees (not branches) breaking. Fortunately none hit her home.

Driving was a bit like playing a "real live' video game...a branch here, a tree there and wires wires everywhere.

Near downtown Westminster

Near Westminster Center
Apparently the undertaker was not using his hammock, seriously this is an undertakers yard.

A typical scene, tree limbs on wires.

The traffic lights (the last working traffic light I'd seen was in Keene, NH) were not working and signs were obstructed, most drivers on the road were patient and curtious....except for a few people, when one moron cut another off, at the only opened gas station in Fitchburg. But, Dunkin Dounuts was more crowed than the gas station.

A Holly Shrub

My cousin Susan and I began to walk Newcomb Road toward my place and her brother's house, to assess the damage. An earlier try sent us back as branches (and tree tops) were still falling, so we took a drive through Leominster, Fitchburg, a bit of Lunenburg (there was similar destruction everwhere we traveled). At this point (above photo) her nephew had already done some chainsaw work (on Newcomb Road), while wearing a snowmobile helmet, until he "hit the big wood".
Susan moves branches farther along Newcomb Road, while Tom takes photos, "don't miss the ones behind you"! The over turned trees were pushed aside Saturday night with heavy machinery.

This was the scene on Barthrick Road, that is a road?

More of the same on Barthrick. There was a sighting of a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher back in May 1970 (Worcester County Bird list, Robert C. Bradbury 1991) seen on the adjacent property. One of VERY few (perhaps 2) ever reported in Worcester County.
This crew was only clearing "power lines". Helecopters would fly over the wires, noting where damage or leaning trees where, radio a flat bed truck which would haul in a log skidder (this with a 70' boom) to make repairs or remove trees and/or branches. These guys had worked 19 hours on Friday, more of the same Saturday...Sunday...etc...etc. They were making good overtime pay, and EARNING every penny of it! This crew was from Orange and Belchertown, areas just missed by this storms wrath. Crews from across the country have been brought in to assist local crews.

Unfortunately, many businesses were, and still are, shut down due to power if the economy is bad enough now something like this!
The cutting crew removes a "leaner" from the nearby power line.

Late Friday morning I snapped this photo and I kid you not, 30 seconds later I spotted an adult Bald Eagle, moving north, just over the tree tops. One would imagine it was a restless night for forest dwelling birds.
Another icey eagle

This ornamental held up nicely, and look great in the sun.

The branches supporting the crown of this tree colapsed, makes you wonder how the apple orchards faired?

If you look carefully you can see "hardly" a tree escaped damage in this area, those spruces did ok. Spruces did much better than White Pines in holding up the heavy ice.

The night scenery was spectacular, these photos were from out the french door, my point and shoot camera does not nearly capture the night-time beauty.... here they are any way.

Sunday night the temps warmed and the ice fell.

Nice scenery at Round Meadow Pond.

These Cedar Waxwings (part of a flock of 65), and a few robins, found some Winter Berry near the above spillway.

American Goldfinches "hit" the black oil sunflower seed hard.

This Hairy Woodpecker takes a "wack" at the ice covered suet feeder and made it to pay-dirt!.
Upper left hand coner of the feeder shows the work of the hairy Woodpecker (above).
This Downy Woodpecker waited until I broke the ice coating off the suet to show.
Its December 18th today and I just got power back a few hours ago, many homes and businesses still do not have power restored and may not for several more days.


Sheila Carroll said...

Tom, your photos make me realize how lucky we were in Worcester. Glad you made it through the storm okay....Sheila

Tom Pirro said...

Hi Sheila,
There still people, up this way, still with out power. The 2 feet of snow we got this past weekend must have slowed the work crews down. Though, a local new paper quoted an out of state worker, on the ice snow situation. He said. "its still better than alligators and Mosquitoes"! I guess it can always be worst!