As our group gathered to film for our weather feature project last week, during the final week of October, the leaves were at their peak and Fall was in the air. As we continued filming into the weekend, things took a drastic turn as Winter snuck up on New England (a difficult thing to do).
We then geared our project to document the sudden shift. We wanted to know about students both on and off campus who were affected by the calamity. We thought it was important to include the before and after effects of another example of New England’s crazy weather.
The early storm blasted previous snow levels out of the water as close to two feet of snow fell onto much of New England. The early storm produced heavy, wet snow that fell at rapid speeds onto trees that still had many of their leaves. The weight of both the leaves and snow was too much for trees to bear. Thousands of trees across from Pennsylvania to Maine fell, knocking over power lines and devastating the area.
The result was a Halloween without electricity which we will certainly remember.
As the snow fell on Saturday evening, group member Katie-Rose De Candia took out her camera at home to document the historic storm. We used this footage, Winter’s whiteness, as B roll for our video project. This is a stark contrast from the B roll we had filmed earlier in the week, a squirrel foraging for nuts amongst multi-covered leaves in the green grass.
And the shock of it all showed clearly in the interviews we obtained from Umass students. They told stories about downed trees and power lines, electrical light shows, Halloween festivities gone awry, and multiple-day stretches without heat and electricity.
We weren’t ready for the snow, and usually snow preparation is what New Englanders do best. We put up snow fences and “winterize” our homes. We gather wood for fireplaces and prepare for Winter’s veracity. We hadn’t yet done any of those things.
“I didn’t even have my boots, yet,” as student Nate White pointed out.
And the lack of power made it difficult for us to actually film the storm. Luckily, De Candia’s home in the Berkshires maintained power throughout the storm, so she was able to utilize the technology at hand to capture the weather.
The timeliness of the project created a situation in which we found ourselves documenting historic weather amidst the most sudden shift between Fall and Winter New England has ever seen. Almost a week later, many remain without power. Slumber parties have become the norm this week on campus, as power-out off-campus student occupy the campus center and homes of students with restored power. The infrastructure has called out for reinforcements from all over the country. Massachusetts, Connecticut, and 13 counties in New York filed state of emergencies. The Red Cross has shown up to support the area by setting up a shelter in nearby Northampton. It is a storm that people will speak of for years to come.
Click here to view the project.