WILLIAMSTOWN -- Tropical Storm Irene's devastation of the Mohawk Trail and The Spruces Mobile Home Park are among the stories chronicled in a recently published book about the storm's impact on the tri-state area.
"Good Night Irene," which was published in June by Surry Cottage Books in Keene, N.H., devotes a chapter to the August 2011 storm's impact on this area. It includes interviews with Spruces resident Carol Zingarelli and Robin Lenz, coordinator for Higher Ground, the nonprofit formed to help displaced residents of The Spruces following the storm.
On Sunday, one of the book's three authors, Craig Brandon, was at The Williams Inn to speak about the book and the storm that was its inspiration. Brandon is also the founder of Surry Cottage Books.
Brandon said that between himself and co-authors Nicole Garman and Michael Ryan, they talked to 300 people and borrowed several photos to accompany the stories.
Most of the stories at their core were the same in that the water came up, the water went down, and then things had to be fixed, he said.
"What we did was pick what we felt were the most interesting stories," he said.
Besides being project editor, Brandon said his contribution to the book focused on collecting stories and reports from the towns along the Mohawk Trail, from Greenfield to Williamstown as well as Brattleboro, Vt., and Wilmington, Vt., he said.
The other communities the book covers are
Brandon said when he came into Williamstown in January to gather information for the book, he was told to see Lenz by some townspeople. Lenz took him over to The Spruces, where he had the opportunity to see the park and talk to people who were there, he said.
"It was a lucky find," he said.
He described the book as a "huge journalism article" that brought together the experiences of three areas during and after Tropical Storm Irene. The book is meant to fit in between the media reports that came out in the days and weeks following the storm, and a book that will likely be written by someone in five to seven years looking back at Irene, he said.
"There is a niche in between that a book like this can help fill," he said.
He became aware of that market following Surry Cottage Books' publishing of "The Weight of the Ice: The Northeast Ice Storm of 2008," which was written by Dave Eisenstadter, he said. The book, which was published in late 2009, documented the December 2008 with the stories of people who lived through it.
During the Sunday presentation, Brandon gave summaries of some of the stories in the book and shared statistical and logistical information about Tropical Storm Irene, which was the seventh most destructive hurricane in the history of the United States.
In addition, he presented a list of suggestions that could help communities better prepare for the next big storm. Those suggestions included redefining floodplains, building better bridges, increasing the size of culverts to handle flash flooding, relocating emergency centers out of floodplains, changing standards for trailer parks and establishing early warning alerts.
"We came across so many cases of people just getting out in time. Many times it was because of firefighter or someone else being persistent," he said.
"Good Night Irene" is available for purchase locally at Water Street Books at 26 Water St.
To reach Meghan Foley, email email@example.com.