Monday, October 31, 2011

A Real Manic Monday Markup 10/31/11...

...And the World is getting short shrift today.

The Feds:

The October Snow Bomb that pulverized the Northeast hit hardest in Massachusetts and Connecticut.  However its destruction was widespread encompassing New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and other states.  The New York Times reports 9 deaths including one in Springfield.  For Connecticut the storm was worse than Hurricane Irene and by any measure Connecticut Light & Power is saying a week or more until electricity is restored far worse than Massachusetts estimates.

Something about Herman Cain and sexual harassment.  He won't be the nominee and we've got bigger fish to fry right now.

Also it appears that Occupy Oakland will go through its general strike planned for this Wednesday and well prepared with signage.  It is unclear what this will look like exactly, but it will almost certainly include an epic-sized march.  The strike was called after an Iraq War Veteran, Scott Olsen, was injured, likely by a police projectile such as a tear gas canister, that fractured his skull.  Olsen, who cannot speak at the moment, is nevertheless expected to make a full recovery and seemingly appreciates the global outpouring of support he has received.

The State of Things:

Gov. Deval Patrick urged patience from residents who are without power as the state and utility companies try to restore some semblance of normality.  Power outages have affected MBTA commuter rail services and Amtrak service between Springfield and New Haven which remains out of service.

City Slickers:

Springfield, while receiving a second punch to the gut after June's tornado has weathered the storm better than most.  The urban areas of the city between downtown and the "X" in Forest Park retain power albeit spottily along the side streets.  Starbucks on Columbus Avenue was a virtual refugee camp for those craving coffee and Internet Access.  For a comparison, no more than 71% of the city ever lost power.  All neighbors lost between 90 and 100% power including Longmeadow and East Longmeadow.

Mayor Domenic Sarno announced that school would be canceled all this week in Springfield.  He also said that more crews were coming in to clear downed trees and restore power throughout the city.  Will this further burnish the mayor's image ahead of next week's election or could the widespread frustration and lengthy repair timetables serve as an October surprise?

More Storm Stories:

As of this writing the following major locations have restored power:
Riverdale Road Shops
Basketball Hall of Fame and environs
Holyoke Mall
Memorial Drive in Chicopee
Westfield Shops Area
Many Grocery Stores are open, but are not selling refrigerated goods or accepting cash.  

As for power outages, while West Springfield has gone to 73% without power from 90% yesterday, Springfield has ticked only slightly down to 69% 66%.  Monson Longmeadow, Wilbraham and East Longmeadow remain in the stone age more or less while Agawam and Ludlow have 86% without power.  Westfield and Holyoke have municipal utilities complicating accurate reporting, but Westfield has seen progress.  Some percentages may be inaccurate due to long load times on WMECO's outage map.  However, WMECO does seem to be more on their toes than CL&P, their Connecticut sister power company.  Both are owned by Northeast Utilities.  The Boston Globe has a useful map too.  National Grid and WMECO has maps, too, if they are working correctly.  Check @WGELD on Twitter for Westfield updates.

The tweet below also shows the most update on power from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.  It looks like WMECO, the dominant Springfield area utility will dip below 150,000 without power today.

Twitter Chatter:

One of good things about Twitter is its short missives, whether from actual reporters or individuals on the street, can be tweeted or retweeted easily to disseminate information quickly.  Today's tweet prize exemplifies this perfectly.  Erik Gallant, a reporter for the Republican based in Northampton offered a short burst of tweets today that offered followers a clue on where to get gas and where traffic backups are.  Check out @egallant (and his other Masslive colleagues) for other useful updates like this one.


We would also like to hat tip the Massachusetts Emergency Management for providing hourly updates on the number of customers without power.  Not as informative as a city by city updates, but useful in terms of getting a handle on the scale of repairs and rate of restoration.

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