Strange day – August 5: loss of power, THEN the flood

Elberon Place, which is about eight blocks from our house, and Hackett Boulevard, not much farther in a different direction, were particularly hard hit by the flooding, as was downtown.

Hackett Blvd, Albany, 5 Aug 2014
Hackett Blvd, Albany, 5 Aug 2014

Monday night, sometime around 9:45 p.m., I’m watching recorded television when the power goes out, just for a fraction of a second, but enough to make the sound of the air conditioner go off, then surge back on. A couple of minutes later, the power flickers again, less noticeably.

I go to bed, but it’s nocturus interruptus – see the upcoming 8/11 post. Go to work, tired. The Wife calls me on her cellphone to tell me the power’s out at the house – as it turns out for somewhere between three and five hours – because of some electrical cable problem in the area.

After work, I was going to go to the barbershop, but I hear rumbles of thunder, so I attach the bike first to one bus, then another, and hightail it home. And a good thing, too.

I’ve lived in Albany for 35 years. It has rained more than 2.6 inches (6.6 cm) before in a sustained event. But I have no recollection of ever seeing it all come down in an HOUR, plus wind, hail, lightning. Water from our front lawn poured out onto the street so fast that I think anyone walking out there would have been knocked down.

Check out photos HERE and HERE. Elberon Place, which is about eight blocks from our house, and Hackett Boulevard, not much farther in a different direction, were particularly hard hit, as was downtown., and suburban Latham. Some folks lost power, but we did not a second time.

Yet other nearby cities and towns, such as Schenectady, got NOTHING. I heard several stories of spouses calling to say, “You’d better stay where you are during this storm,” and the other person responds, “What ARE you talking about?” It was a very narrow band of very nasty weather that also uprooted some trees.

New York State found a $4.2 billion surplus in this year’s budget recently. I agree that a good chunk of it ought to address the aging infrastructure of our cities.
“Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy directed that flags on county buildings be flown at half-staff for 30 days in honor of Guilderland native Maj. General Harold J. Greene who died in the line of duty in Afghanistan on August 5, 2014.” State buildings will do likewise for a period. Greene, who went to college at RPI in nearby Troy, was the highest-ranking American officer to die in a combat zone since the Vietnam war.

The general’s father, who is 85 or so, was interviewed on a local news station – he still lives in Albany County – but he did not want to be shown on camera, so they showed his hands, holding an unlit cigarette, then his sneakers. It made for very odd television.


Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

5 thoughts on “Strange day – August 5: loss of power, THEN the flood”

  1. One of the places I lived with my sister got hit in a similar way a few weeks ago. Some apartments had water waist high in them. The university had a full scale waterfall on the stairs. Lots of cleanup, lots of damage, but most of the residents handled it well, helping to bail water and taking in those who were displaced by the flash flooding.

    I’m glad that you made it home safely. *hug*

  2. The really epic numbers always seem to be confined to smallish areas. On 5/31/13, a day I figured a tornado was going to take me out, the weather station at OKC’s Will Rogers Airport reported 5.64 inches of rain, most of which fell over a two-hour period. Guthrie, twenty miles to the north, got less than half an inch.

  3. We had one of those storms a few weeks ago. Power went out for about 6 hours and 60mph wind. Mother Nature’s temper tantrum.

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