Hurricane Irene: The Response (Part 3)

Posted: Sunday September 18, 2011

The emergency response efforts following the devastating flooding left behind by Hurricane Irene seemed to be quite chaotic in organization. While there was certainly no shortage of police presence, and emergency crews appeared to be helping those in serious need, I believe the sheer scale of the flooding caught many people off guard and as a result many evacuation orders occurred to late. This resulted in many occupants becoming trapped in houses and buildings as the flood waters continued to rise. Also dozens of back roads and many major thruways we closed due to flooding, but there where no signs to redirect the traffic, resulting in gridlock and confusion. Some of the worst streets I encountered were under five or more feet of water and an oily slime covered where the water had begun to recede. In one particular neighborhood, the rising waters had caused a gas line to burst resulting in a subsequent fire, which could not be accessed by emergency officials; fortunately the residents had been evacuated prior to the inferno, but the house was not able to be saved. While out taking pictures of the flooding, I captured some images of emergency management and news crews.

A News 4 New York truck was on scene. A news team appeared to be interviewing various residents.

PSEG Trucks where all over, restoring power to areas where vehicle access was available.

One of the few streets where a detour route was posted.

Looking at the Route 23 Southbound lane in Riverdale NJ. Traffic was backed up for miles and vehicles were being diverted onto congested side stress because the highway was closed just past the traffic light pictured.

A mobile command center set up at the NJ National Guard Armory in Riverdale NJ.

A United States Army helicopter had landed at the armory parking lot. I am no expert on identifying army equipment but I believe this particular helicopter is a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk. This model of craft is primarily used as a utility helicopter, however a variant model is used by Air Force One to transport the president.

A closer look at the rear rotter blades.

As I was taking pictures of the helicopter a second craft emerged from the sky, prepared to come in for a landing. The troops were nice enough to let me stay and take pictures.

Hovering just above the ground.

Dust and gravel being kicked up.

A successful landing.

A look inside the cramped cockpit.

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