Tag Archives: Devastation

Update on Long Trail and Alchemist Breweries

31 Aug

As my previous post mentioned, Vermont breweries were hit hard during the flooding in the aftermath of Irene. Here’s an update from some of the most affected breweries.

1. Long Trail Brewing: Initial photos from Long Trail looked pretty dire. This was a photo posted to their Facebook page shortly after the flooding.

Though the flood waters surrounded the brewery, apparently very little water actually got inside to the equipment. Employees returned to work and began cleaning up the site the next day. This is the view two days after the first picture was taken.

The brewery’s Facebook page described the parking lot as a “sight for sore eyes” but employees worked to clean it up and visitor center opened to the public on Tuesday. Another bit of good news: the deck, which is quite close to the water, remained intact and secured to the rest of the complex.

Even more impressive: the brewery held an open breakfast for members of the community on August 31 and has been helping with relief efforts to the stranded communities of Stockbridge and Rochester. Job well done, Long Trail. You guys are truly amazing.

The company also posted videos of their equipment hard at work on Facebook. The brewery is back open for business!

2. The Alchemist Pub & Brewery: On Sunday evening, August 28, a devastating “once in a generation flood” swept through Waterbury, VT and “ruined” The Alchemist Pub. The pub announced the tragic news on Twitter:

As more information has become available, the situation has not improved for the pub. In an update published to the pub’s site, the extent of the devastation is apparent.

 At one point in the middle of the night, pretty much half the town was under around 10′ of raging, muddy water, with the river officially cresting at 20′.  Not only was the basement completely full, but the dining room and kitchen were also about hip deep.

Even worse, more than 100 homes in the Waterbury area have been partially or completely devastated. Here’s one view of the damage to the building itself.

One bit of good news from this. The Alchemist’s cannery will open as planned on Friday, September 2. Please support them if you’re able.

When I was a student at Middlebury, I completed the Vermont Brewery Passport. Though everyone at all of the breweries was kind and enthusiastic, the people at the Alchemist were truly remarkable. Unbelievably kind, welcoming and warm. Plus, they made delicious, delicious beer. I want nothing more than to see them get back on their feet. This is the type of local business we should all want to support.

Thankfully, that seems to be exactly what they’re doing. They plan to rebuild and come back stronger. Can’t wait.

3. Flat Street Brew Pub: Sadly, this Brattleboro establishment seems to have been devastated in the flooding. According to a message on their Facebook page, “the damage is devastating. We are not sure after today’s damage assessment, when we might be able to reopen.”

According to an article in the Brattleboro Reformer, “water smashed furniture to pieces and deposited slimy mud on the floor.” That same article quoted a manager saying he was concerned about the pub’s ability to reopen.

Truly heartbreaking to hear. I wish them all the best and hope they’re able to get back on their feet.

Videos of “Catastrophic” Flooding in Vermont

29 Aug

As someone who had the privilege to attend school in Middlebury, Vermont for four years, I have been deeply saddened and horrified to see the videos coming out of the state today. There have already been 39 confirmed deaths from Hurricane Irene and more than 5.5 million people lost power from North Carolina to Maine. Nowhere has the damage been worse than Vermont though.

There are currently 15 towns in Vermont and New York that have been cut off by the flooding. Damages from the storm could top $7 billion and Vermont officials seriously considered flooding the capital, Montpelier, to save a nearby dam. Officials confirmed that two people died in the waters.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin appeared on Democracy Now! to talk about the unprecedented nature of the storm in Vermont. He said “we are still under siege” from the storm and called the flooding “catastrophic.”

This is the second major disaster as a result of storms. We had storms this spring that flooded our downtowns and put us through many of the same exercises that we’re going through right now. We didn’t used to get weather patterns like this in Vermont. The point is, we in the colder states are going to see the results of climate change first.

Here are some of the most shocking videos posted online. This video shows the normally calm and tranquil little stream in Brattleboro, Vermont turned into a torrent of water. I was there just a couple of months ago.

This video shows a bridge in Rockingham, Vermont being swept away by the water. The covered bridge dated back to 1870.

This video shows the amount of flooding in Grafton. Bridges are being washed out and the town remains out of contact from the rest of the world. According to the video, the rushing water is usually a “tranquil stream.”

Here an empty car is swept down the river in Bennington, Vermont.

This is the view in Chester, Vermont.

This video shows the devastation at the Grafton Cheese Company. Thankfully, the company reports everyone is safe and the cows are okay.

Devastating news from the breweries in the state as well. A photo of Long Trail Brewery completely underwater was posted, though apparently the situation is not completely dire.

The same cannot be said for The Alchemist Pub & Brewery, which was destroyed in the flooding in Waterbury. Having been to The Alchemist, they are truly wonderful people who make amazing beer. I hope this closing is only temporary.

The Flat Street Brew Pub in Brattleboro also appeared to be completely flooded yesterday. No word on the scale of damage. Our thoughts are with Vermont in this difficult time. Consider a donation to the Red Cross.

Terrifying Footage of Joplin Tornado

23 May

A tornado nearly three quarters of a mile wide ravished the city of Joplin, Missouri and killed 89 people. The tornado touched down around 6 p.m. on May 22 and cut a four-mile path of destruction, severely damaging an area hospital and destroying hundreds of homes in the surrounding area. There were 68 reported tornadoes over the weekend throughout the country.

Two storm chasers appear to have captured one of the only videos of the storm, as it strikes the town. Jeff and Kathryn Piotrowski of TornadoVideos.net uploaded this clip to YouTube shortly after the storm first touched down. It also shows them driving through the town of Joplin shortly after the storm, and gives a sense of the utter destruction there.

This image shows the damage to the area hospital. Thankfully, staff members were able to move patients into the hallways before the tornado struck.

This video actually gives a sense of what it was like to take cover as the storm passed overhead. There isn’t much video, but the audio is horrifying to hear. Hats off to the brave people who kept everyone calm.

A helicopter flew over the town and attempted to chronicle the devastation.

Residents survey the damage of their neighborhood after the disaster.

Finally, this eerie video shows the town after the tornado. The devastation is overwhelming.

Videos and Pictures of Japan Disaster (UPDATED)

12 Mar

The whole world’s hearts are heavy today for the people of Japan who endured one of the strongest natural disasters ever March11-12. The earthquake measured 8.9 on the Richter scale, which is the largest quake to hit that region in 1200 years. A NASA scientist determined the quake will actually speed the earth’s rotation by 1.6 microseconds. Close to 10,000 people are reported missing in one northern town in the path of the tsunami that struck shortly after the quake. One person was killed in California after being swept into the ocean while filming the tsunami there.

Update 3/13: Incredible video has emerged of the destruction in Iwaki City. The landscape appears to be completely devastated with few signs of life.

A sea of car emerges from the ruins of the tsunami. (via National Geographic)

Dramatic video as the tsunami arrives and begins devastating the area. Not clear where this was filmed.

This person seems to have been relatively close to the ground when the tsunami arrived. Just horrifying.

The New York Times has a detailed look at several cities in Northeastern Japan before and after the earthquake.

The town of Minamisanriku may have lost more than 10,000 people in tsunami, some reports suggest. The BBC brings shocking video of the town before and after the quake.

A sea of damage from Kamaishi. (via)

Smoke and damage in Natori city, which is located close to the quake’s epicenter. (via)

Originally posted 3/12: This map shows the energy created by the quake:

This is perhaps the most shocking of all the videos. It comes from inside the Sendai airport as the tsunami waves rush by. Horrifying to see.

A wave of water swarms around the Sendai airport.

In these images, we see the moment the tsunami comes ashore.

Cars and houses are thrown aside as the huge wave makes its way ashore.

Here, a helicopter circles above as the tsunami comes ashore, taking out everything in its path.

Absolute devastation in Kesennuma shortly after the tsunamis arrived.

This video was shot in Sendai, right by the center of the quake. It’s horrifying and watch as a woman is almost hit with a TV close to her desk. The people in it seem paralyzed, and many remain standing inexplicably.

This picture shows the damage caused to a road and house in Sukagawa City, close to the epicenter of the quake.

Filmed in Tokyo, this video shows the moment the quake struck from a supermarket. What I find so alarming is that the employees actually go to shelves and try to save a few items from toppling. In doing so, they placed themselves at risk of being struck with falling items.

This video comes from the city of Miyako, which is close to the epicenter of the quake. It shows buildings ripped from their foundations and water pouring through the town.

Thousands of people were stranded in Tokyo’s Disneyland where parts of the parking lot liquified and prevented guests from leaving.

If you would like to help, please see here for a list of organizations that would welcome your donations.

Primer on the Christchurch Earthquake

24 Feb

New Zealand is still reeling from a devastating Earthquake that struck Christchurch, the second largest city in the country. At least 76 people were killed in the disaster, and more than 230 remain missing today. More than 120 of those missing may be buried under one building downtown.

Was this the first earthquake in Christchurch? Hardly. There was actually a more powerful one that struck the city in September 2010. That one measured 7.1 on the Richter scale.  That earthquake caused moderate damage but did not result in any serious injuries, let alone any deaths.

Why was this one so much worse? This most recent earthquake measured 6.3 on the Richter scale. Even though Tuesday’s earthquake was 10 times less powerful than the one in September, it caused much more damage because of its location. The recent earthquake was centered less than 6 miles from the center of town, while September’s occurred more than 24 miles away. The most recent quake occurred three miles from the surface, while the past quake occurred at twice that distance. This quake’s proximity made the tremor much more intense in Christchurch and shook the buildings with devastating effects.

Any good news? There’s some. Google quickly set up a message board where people could post descriptions of missing people. Several reunions have been made possible through the service. Additionally, rescuers have successfully removed people from buildings alive. One triumphant photo is particularly striking…

Two men rescued from a building in Christchurch

Are there any videos of the Earthquake itself? Yes, several videos have emerged. Two are below.

Is there something really puzzling? I think so. Take a look at this video, also taken shortly after the earthquake struck. As you’ll see, makeshift ambulances are taking people to hospitals. However, take a look at the scenery in the video. It appears that the area in the video is relatively intact. Other videos show similar things. I don’t understand why certain areas of the city were devastated, but others seemed left unaffected.

Other noteworthy pictures? These pictures showcase the devastation in Christchurch.

Christchurch's central cathedral in ruins

Devastation to Christchurch's central cathedral


The Cathedral Before the Earthquake

The Cathedral before the earthquake

Woman Pulled From Christchurch's Rubble

Rescuers pull a woman from the rubble in Christchurch

ruins of the Pyne Gould Guinness building

The Pyne Gould Guinness building lies in ruins

Aerial Devastation of Christchurch

The view from above in Christchurch