By Sue Botos
Hurricane Sandy has offered up more tricks than treats as the storm has caused massive power outages, uprooted huge trees, closed schools and businesses, and postponed
Halloween festivities throughout the area.
After the storm howled through Monday night, Rocky River residents, and those from surrounding communities without power gathered in still-lighted places, such as Panera Bread on Center Ridge Road, where folks swapped storm stories, and ordered their morning coffee, unable to brew their morning jolt at home. People recharged all types of wireless devices, and took advange of wi-fi for internet access.
Resident Nora Walsh, bringing home warm drinks to her family, commented that while her home was without power, the neighbors were still alight.
It was this randomness of the outages that seemed most frustrating. A drive along Lake Road in Rocky River revealed outages as far as Elmwood Drive, then power to the Bay Village line, where it went dark again.
Along Detroit Road, storefronts were dark from Wooster to Wright Avenue, but the next block was powered. In open stores, such as Lowe’s at Westgate, shoppers scrabbled for survival supplies such as bottled water and firewood. Anyone looking size D batteries was out of luck. A sign on the darkened window of Ace Hardware on Detroit boasted that they had batteries
Some intersections became a game of “chicken” as darkened traffic lights caused drivers to brush up on the rules for a 4-way-stop.
Much of the power loss was due to downed power lines. Throughout the city, huge trees looked like they had been pulled out of the ground by the roots. Resident Eileen Franko awoke to find a tree crashed across her car in her driveway. Another giant lay across Beachcliff Blvd near Rocky River Park.
A huge pine tree lay in the parking lot of Rocky River Park, where some people were trying to make the best of the situation. A row of cars lined up against the park’s closed gates to view and snap pictures of the ocean-worthy waves pounding the shore. Some even braved the elements, going around the fence to get a closer look. The scene was the same at Bradstreet’s Landing, and any other spot with a lake view.
Schools and special events were called off, including Bearden’s 64 cent burger promotion which was to mark the landmark restaurant’s 64th anniversary.
But it could be worse, accoring to Rocky River Wastewater Plant supervisor Jeff Harrington. He said that when he reported to work at 9 p.m. on Monday, things were running smoothly despite the loss of the main Lake Road power source. Then at 2:30 a.m., the back-up power failed.
“We got the generator going at the headworks building, and the chemical (control) was OK,”commented Harrington. He said power was restored at 4:13 a.m. “My thought was that this would not be possible,” commented Harrington regarding the recovery.
Harrington said that the worst of the storm hit nearby Lake Road. The treatment plant, he said, sustained broken windows, a shattered door and some roof damage.
One of the worst incidents of the evening and early morning, according to Harrington, was the nearly 2 hour power loss to the plant’s main pump station, which made it necessary for 3 million gallons of primarily treated water to be sent into Lake Erie.
“Our Lake Road auxiliary station had no power either (for that time period),” Stated Harrington, adding that, as a result, 219,000 gallons of untreated wastewater was routed into the lake.
Harrington said he expected the peak flow for the plant, during the storm, will surpass the Feb. 28 high of 81 million gallons over 24 hours.
“Considering everything that has happened, we’re happy the power is on,” he stated.