Powerless in Red Bank (Updated 11:03am)
West side residents primarily impacted by outages in the borough.
Update 11:03: Power has been restored to Evergreen Terrace Apartments.
Update: According to Jersey Central Power and Light's website, more than 3,700 customers in Red Bank are without power as of 10:30am Tuesday morning.
By early Sunday afternoon the worst of Hurricane Irene had passed the Red Bank area, having swirled up to New England as a downgraded tropical storm. And though the Navesink River had flooded, once the waters receded hours later it seemed as though the borough had been spared from the worst the storm had to offer.
It must have come as a surprise to many residents of the west side of the borough when, at around 5 p.m. Sunday, after the rain had stopped and high winds were no longer present, the power went out.
According to Jersey Central Power and Light, nearly 5,000 customers in Red Bank are currently without power as of 3 p.m. Though that total likely includes several nearby Middletown neighborhoods, several blocks in the area of Dr. James Parker Boulevard in Red Bank remain without power.
A blown transformer is being blamed for the outages.
Included in the impacted area are the Evergreen Terrace Apartments, a senior living complex managed by the Red Bank Housing Authority. Though the complex is not an assisted living facility, officials with the authority said some of the older residents, and those with health concerns, were evacuated following Sunday’s outages as a precaution.
As for when the power will come back on, well, that’s anyone’s guess. JCP and L is reporting that in Monmouth County alone, more than 130,000 customers are without power. Officials are saying that restoration of power could take several days in many cases.
“They have no idea when the power will come back,” Housing Authority Assistant Director Brenda Terry said Monday. “They hope to have us back up, some time. Whatever that means.”
With the power out, authority personnel have gone door to door in the apartment complex to make sure everyone is safe, Terry said. Luckily, Monday’s beautiful weather – sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80’s – has made living without power less of a burden, she said.
Taking a stroll near the complex, resident Beatrice Powell said she was all prepared for the hurricane, having stocked up on candles and batteries. With the storm having passed Sunday, however, she said she was surprised that the power had gone out.
“We thought we was out of it and all of a sudden, boom, the power goes out,” she said. “I’m watching the television yesterday, watching the news about the storm passing, and saying ‘thank you lord,’ and just then the power goes out.”
The 74 year old isn’t looking forward to the prospect of spending a few days without power, Powell said, but she, like many of her neighbors, prepared for the worst by buying water and stocking up on food.
It’s far from ideal, but she said she’ll survive.
Nearby, Norma Rogers was raking leaves from her driveway left behind by the hurricane’s high winds. Like those living in Evergreen Terrace, she’s without power. Though completely totals aren’t known, at least six blocks are without power in Red Bank, though the west side’s main thoroughfare, Shrewsbury Avenue, does currently have power.
Though it’s an inconvenience, Rogers said there’s always a positive way to look at situations like these.
“It’s not as bad as it could be. I’m sure a lot of people have had a lot more trouble than us,” the 55 year old said. “It gave us some time with out family that we don’t get to spend normally because we’re all so busy.
“If you dwell on the negative, if you only see that your lights aren’t working, of course it’s going to be bad for you.”