Most Viewed Stories
East Coast storm's wrath felt locally
Forest crews sent to help with cleanup
As Hurricane Sandy battered parts of the East Coast on Monday and Tuesday, some local businesses 3,000 miles away felt the impact.
On Thursday, about 40 firefighters from two local hotshot crews who were called out to the East coast to help with relief efforts, along with three other hotshot crews from California.
At Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc. the impact was immediate.
“It definitely affected us. It took out all [of our] systems and uniformly delayed orders and shipments,” said Lee Cohen the general manager who explained that the company had a factory in New York and was also headquartered in New York.
The Superstorm destroyed homes and business with both flooding and fires. Initially, about 60 million people were without power in 8.2 million homes and businesses. By Wednesday night, that number had fallen to roughly 44 million people in 6 million households and businesses. And people everywhere scurried for a spot to charge their cell phones.
Two full days after Superstorm Sandy ripped through the Northeast, most Americans who lost power tried to make the best of a situation that was beyond their control while utilities struggled to restore electricity — a massive job they warned could last well into next week.
At least 63 died as the shape-shifting hurricane and winter storm ravaged the eastern U.S., and searchers continued looking for victims Wednesday.
Cohen estimated that as of Wednesday the company was at 80% normal. He added that the problems they experienced were what he termed “manageable.” For example their power, internet, cell phone and land line phones went out. However, they did have backup generators and, according to Cohen early, on Wednesday morning the power and the phones were back on.
“I was surprised [that the] power came back today. It really only took them 36 hours to get the power back,” stated Cohen who pointed out that the company went through Hurricane Irene last year.
The company’s operations are located in an industrial park which is located inland and the only significant factor they had to deal with was wind.
“[We had] very minor structural damage to employees homes and the buildings. The flooding was nominal or very little outside of the direct coastal regions. The only destructive factor was wind,” added Cohen who expects normal business operations to convene on Friday. The business has customers around the world.
“It affected everyone. [Our] customers are very well informed, very patient and understanding,” said Cohen.
At California Citrus Mutual, Bob Blakely the director of Industry relations, estimated that some shipments of citrus will be delayed. However, the impact would not be as big as those felt by Setton Pistachio.
“[This] time of year we don’t have a lot of volume moving. [It’s] not going to have a major impact. It would have had a bigger impact if it had come at another time when we were shipping,” said Blakely who added that the fruit that was already on the road will likely be shipped to another market.
He predicted that the storm would not affect their Thanksgiving market.
The firefighters were dispatched by the The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the East coast to help with relief efforts. Sent from Sequoia National Forest were the Fulton Hotshots and the Breckenridge Hotshots.
The crews will be deployed for a period of 14 days to a month and may help with duties like clearing downed trees so that responders can conduct rescue missions and providing support to local emergency personnel.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.