Fostering curiosity in kids (and their parents) since 2011

“Mommyo, what did Hurricane Sandy do to Norwood?”

Photo: Shala Howell

In my last post, I said Caterpickles would be on hiatus this week to prepare for and cope with the results of Hurricane Sandy.

But after passing several fallen trees on our way to school yesterday, The Five-Year-Old asked if she could post a special report detailing the impacts of Hurricane Sandy on our area.

Which is why yesterday afternoon we drove around Dedham, Norwood, Walpole, and Westwood to see how our part of Massachusetts fared.

Waiting out the storm

First, let’s start with some background. Our area is about 340 miles away from where Hurricane Sandy made landfall (she landed just south of Atlantic City, New Jersey).  Given our distance from the coast and elevation (our house is 190 feet above sea level), our greatest concerns were wind and the potential for flooding if we received lots of rain.

As anyone who spent Monday glued to their TV and/or favorite weather website knows by now, we were fortunate in two ways. One, we were on the dry side of the storm. Only 1.84 inches of rain fell at Norwood Memorial Airport. Second, we were far enough away from the center of Sandy that our local area only received tropical storm force winds.

As a result, waiting out the storm from inside our house was remarkably like waiting out a blizzard. Our lights flickered on and off a few times, but the power stayed on, for which we are extremely grateful.

What we found in our backyard

When we wandered out to inspect the backyard after Sandy left town, we found lots of leaves and twigs. And this guy.

Photo: Shala Howell

We are extremely grateful that as far as we know, he missed the house. That could have been trouble.

We also found a limb weighing down what the fire department tells us is a phone line, not a power line.

Photo: Shala Howell

Photo: Shala Howell

And a battered section of fence behind our shed.

Overall, not too bad.

How our neighborhood animals fared

All of the sparrows we saw yesterday looked wet and bedraggled. As did the falcon I spotted by the library. (He flew off before I could get a picture.) We haven’t seen any geese, which frankly seems rather odd.

Elvis. (Photo: Michael Howell)

Elvis, the wild rabbit who lives in our backyard, came out last night for a quick visit. He’s either done a  better job keeping up with his grooming than the local sparrow population, or just wasn’t as interested in splashing around in puddles yesterday.

What we found around town

The sidewalks around town are covered with leaves and twigs.

Photo: The Five-Year-Old Howell

So are the streets.

Photo: The Five-Year-Old

There are branches down around nearly every house we walked by and here and there you’ll see a fallen tree.

Tree down at 47 Walpole Street in Norwood. (Photo: Shala Howell)

But really not much news around town, which is exactly what we’d hoped would happen.

What we found when we visited the bunnies in Dedham

Most of the Dedham Public Art Project Bunnies were taken to shelter before the storm. But five of them weren’t, so naturally The Five-Year-Old and I wanted to know how they’d fared.

Townie’s scratch (it’s the tiny white spot to the right of the stripe). (Photo: Shala Howell, Townie (c) 2012 Marietta Apollonio)

Townie has a slight scratch on one ear. But Lady Bugs Bunny, Bunny in the Clouds, the Spiral Bunny, and Not So Silent Spring appear to be just fine.

(Note: While we hopped out of the car to inspect Townie, the Spiral Bunny and Not So Silent Spring in person, we contented ourselves with drive-by inspections on the other two.)

How Bird Park in Walpole fared

The weekend before Sandy arrived, we went to a pumpkin carving festival at Francis William Bird Park in Walpole, so naturally The Five-Year-Old wanted to see how Bird Park had weathered the storm. There we found two really impressive downed trees…

Tree down behind the new children’s playground at Bird Park. (Photo: Shala Howell)

Tree down by what I’m told the locals used call the old swimming pond at Bird Park. (Photo: Shala Howell)

some fallen branches…

Photo: The Five-Year-Old

a gorgeous mushroom…

Photo: Shala Howell

and lots and lots of leaves.

The Bottom Line

We were very lucky, but millions of others weren’t. The Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Save the Children, and others are mobilizing to provide disaster relief to the folks in New York, New Jersey, coastal Massachusetts, and other areas hit hard by the storm. Here’s how you can help.

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