[Photo Gallery] Timber! Belmont's Trees, Wires are Irene's Main Casualties
With the storm petering out at 2 p.m., departments were kept busy with calls of lost power and downed trees.
With as many trees as residents, it should be expected that a tropical storm such as Irene even skirting by Belmont would leave a number of the town's arbor population damaged or toppled.
And throughout the late morning and into the afternoon, the town reverberated with the loud "crack" of limbs and branches separating from their hosts, falling onto electrical lines, disrupting power for customers to the town's light utility for anywhere between 15 minutes to several hours.
Irene's winds created the most havoc in town as the town's brooks and ponds were well within their banks in the early afternoon.
"Tons of calls," had been coming into the Belmont Police station as of 11:30 a.m., according to the officer on call, with the overwhelming majority concerning falling trees and branches and the associated downed communication and electrical wires.
When asked for locations of the damaged, the response was simple and to the point.
"Try any street."
A trip through town found major thoroughfares including Concord Road, School Street and several places on Common Street blocked by large branches and, in one case, a tree.
Side streets were also affected including Goden, Scott, York – which was blocked off with police tape – while you couldn't get onto Somerset Street from Concord Avenue due to a tree lying across the gravel road.
Chester Road hit hardest
But it was clear to see that of all the town roadways, Chester Road between Oakley Road and Common Street was the one most heavily impacted by Irene. Along this one stretch, seven trees or large branches fell or broke off making travel on the road impossible.
"Right before noon, we heard a loud 'bang'," said one Chester Road resident.
"Then one right after the other. Bang, bang bang."
It was then that the lights went out along the street.
At the corners of Oakley Road and down the street at Carleton Road, trees were blown over onto houses. Further up towards Common, a huge branch broke off and fell on electrical wires. The branch's weight not only pushed down the wires, but bent the nearby utility pole.
When Department of Public Work crews freed the branch from the location, the wires and pole sprung back into place.
According to Light Department personnel at several locations, spot outages were reported throughout the town, caused by wires and branches coming together. Yet in the majority of cases, the power was off for only a short period of time.
Belmont's Rob Sheppard was one of those customers, twitting when his lights came back on before noon, "Yay! Sweet, sweet, delicious electricity is back! Those 15 minutes or so were hell. Let's never fight again."
By 2 p.m., as the winds dropped off, the gusts diminished and the rain turned into a drizzle, residents began walking the streets, heading to stores and some to the high school football field.