Venice Comes To Front Street
by Allan Appel | Oct 29, 2012 9:09 am
Posted to: Fair Haven, Superstorm Sandy
As we followed orders to abandon Fair Haven, my neighbors and I had this final view of our waterfront homes: sand bags and duct tape.
The city has declared Front Street one of the mandatory evacuation areas as Hurricane Sandy pummels its way north toward our state. We must leave our homes for safer ground this morning.
Firefighters visited us at Front Street’s Oyster Cove condominiums Sunday night. They knocked on doors and politely asked us to go to higher ground beginning at 8:30 a.m. Monday.
The firefighter at my door—suspecting he was speaking with a reporter?—even apologized for the spelling mistake in the urgent and rushed flyer explaining the “Mandatrory Evacuation.”
Before leaving, we methodically duct taped the joints of our garages, then tarped them over, applying another layer of duct tape, in expectation of the first surge at 11:30 this morning. Front Street is one of the several riverine and low-lying areas where the city has mandated that residents evacuate
One longtime Oyster Cover with a background in construction said she had talked to someone familiar with FEMA recommendations. She learned that duct tape is recommended. The sounds of ripping tape competed with the winds Sunday night.
After the taping and the duct taping came sand bags.
Some Oyster Covers had booked hotel rooms in advance of the storm. Others were staying with relatives. Some moved their cars to higher ground on Lewis or Chatham streets. I found a friend who generously agreed to pick me up Monday morning and take me to the shelter of East Rock.
My neighbors and I knew this was no joke. During the tidal surge of Tropical Storm Irene last year, the water rushed over the seawall and along the condominums’ asphalt pathway. Three feet of water flowed into the low-lying garages and crawl spaces.
Longtime Front Streeter Joe Fargeorge took advantage of a technique used by people in Venice to live with the acqua alta, or high water. He screwed pieces of plywood to his fence, then secured them to the pavement with super-strong blue tape.
As darkness fell Sunday night, volunteer workers at the condominiums drilled and hammered long two by fours at the top of the pilings in the hope of keeping the docks from floating away when Sandy causes the water to rise.
After that, the prayers.
After that, evacuation.
Tags: Hurricane Sandy, Fair Haven, diary
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I hope you are safe.
I like the prep work on the garage doors. I will try that next time.