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Springfield residents play beat the clock with Hurricane Irene

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — With the onset of Hurricane Irene the Pioneer Valley continues to prepare for weathers version of the Daily Double.

Friday many local residents were playing beat the clock, trying to put the finishing touches on the damage done by the June 1st tornado. 

That old adage, ‘the calm before the storm’, well Friday was one of the nicest days of the year, but in less than 36 hours it’s forecasted to be one of the worst days of the year.

And all the while the sights and sounds of recovery echoed all over Greater Springfield.  It was much needed progress as the area prepares for it’s second major weather event of the season.

Dumpsters loaded with debris were being hauled away.  Roofers were busy attempting to get things nailed down.  And that sea of blue tarps we see dotting our area neighborhoods.  Many of them could be coming to a neighborhood near you.

On Derryfield Street in Springfield’s East Forest park neighborhood, the guys from C.J. Pohner Home Improvement were putting the finishing touches on their rebuilding project.  While sorry for all the damage done to people’s houses, Pohner was grateful for all the work the bad weather has provided.

“It’s been one after another,” said C.J. Pohner, owner of C.J. Pohner Home Improvement.    “It would have been nice if they were further apart seasonally.”

“You make hay while the sun shines, and that’s the nature of this business.  It’s a pearl for us for the simple reason that business was slow at the beginning of the year, but with these two weather events anybody worth their weight in salt is out working right now.  That’s the silver lining in this cloud.”

Over on Judith Street we caught up with Wayne Powers who was delivering his own brand of sweat equity Friday morning.

Wayne’s yard was full of building materials ready to get his house rebuilt.  But Irene has put his weekend plans on hold.

“I’ve got all my materials now to build,” said Powers.   “But I’m nervous to build because this thing might rip it down before I even get it braced up.”

“I’ve got a feeling all these tarps are going to end up all over the neighborhood.  There’s a lot of trash still laying around, everybody’s got piles.  If these things get flying, I don’t know”

Jim Graham also lives on Judith Street in Springfield.  His home is well on its way to being completed.  “I’m just worried about a lot of the construction debris that’s all over the place becoming a flying projectile and going through the windows.  

Obviously we’ve got a bunch of people around here that have new windows.  The last thing they want to do is go through that again.  They’d have to replace windows smashed because of the wind.”

If Jim Graham’s name sounds familiar it’s because we’ve all been following his progress through news reports.  His house took a direct hit from the June 1st tornado.  We were there when he put up the first wall on his new house.

A lot of love and attention went into his home repair project.  His daughter Jennifer is very excited about her big new room.  And now with all those sparkling new windows, a hurricane is on its way.

“It’s nerve racking because my wife is all shook up about it.  She wants me to board up all the windows.  Look, if it happens, it happens.  You can’t control the weather.”

“I think we’re going to go to somebody else’s house this weekend.  I don’t think we’re going to stay in our trailer, especially if they’re talking about 66 mile per hour winds.  I don’t want to be in that.”


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