If any of you thought the storm damage was overstated on the news, here’s where they’re at today. Two weeks later and the cleanup is still going on.

Well maybe it was played up by the TV news. They always milk a story to death. But I found another way to measure it: the number of trucks on the road carrying tree branches.

Everywhere I drive, I see trucks full of branches, or empty and returning for more. Sometimes I wonder where they are going. There is an endless stream of trucks – dumptrucks, pickups pulling trailers, double tractor-trailers. you name it, if it can be filled with branches, they’re using it. Many of them are those ones with a claw-type crane on the back where it can either fill the back of the truck or the trailer it’s pulling equally well. Most have “Disaster Relief” spray-painted on them. Almost all of them have out-of-state plates. They must follow the FEMA money anywhere.

The oddest one I saw was coming out of the Amherst Pepsi-Center across from the University of Buffalo. It looked like an old tanker that they had cut open and peeled the sides open to make a huge open cart. The round end of the tank was still there, they just propped a sheet of plywood across the top end to fill it in.

You can be driving down a perfectly clear road, with no overhanging trees, and suddenly find yourself with a branch lying in the road in front of you. Do you swerve, or run it over? They are falling off the trucks here and there at random.

They are using the parking lot in front of the Pepsi Center as a staging area to empty the trucks, then feed the branches through a chipper. They have a mound of wood chips there the size of a small city block and 15 feet high. When I saw it, it was sitting there steaming from it’s own compost-generated heat.

Millersport Highway was an odd sight. Trucks were heading south on it full of branches and going into the Pepsi Center. The empty ones were returning northbound. Meanwhile, more full trucks were heading north. Where they were coming from, I don’t know, but they go all the way up Millersport to Transit Road and all the way to just outside Lockport, where they turn west and go out towards Pendleton. I think I’ve seen them on the bypass going north too. Perhaps they are going to the Niagara County landfill?

It’s just odd that these trucks are crossing paths – full and empty – at the same time on the same road. As of today, Halloween, they are still coming non-stop with more branches!

The noon news yesterday did a piece on the cleanup. They were saying how they were making a big push in some areas to get the residential areas cleared by today so that the Trick-or-Treaters could be safe.

I guess there are some up sides to the storm damage. A lot of people are getting free firewood. Some gypsy “Disaster Relief” workers are staying employed. We should have a lifetime supply of mulch and compost. The people who get Food Stamps (they don’t actually use stamps or coupons anymore, just a plastic card like a debit card) get an extra bonus. Generator manufacturers should see another jump in sales. And the TV newscasters have an endless supply of material.

They even had a piece on some lady who was so put out because she couldn’t work for three days and thought she should get unemployment benefits for that…

Guess she never heard of a waiting week.