Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene By Various Cousins

Christi's house last May--notice the wonderful old tree out front.

Christi's tree today

Pat and Glenn’s weekend began with the plan to drive Alison, their daughter, down to DC with MUCH of her stuff—Ali has a new apartment and a new job there. But, Hurricane Irene compacted that schedule.

We drove down Thursday and drove back Friday, with much of New Jersey driving north with us, as many of them were under mandatory evacuation. It was not the most relaxed trip home.
Saturday, we decided our boat in Maine should come out, so we again fed the cats extra food and drove north.

Meanwhile, in southern New Jersey near the coast, Tom was keeping us in the ‘Irene Loop’:
“It's just after 6 pm on Friday. Christine has driven off with her cats to her parents' house in central Jersey. She was under a mandatory evacuation order, so she tidied up the house, unplugged the computer, and went.

I am a bit further inland and have decided to experience the hurricane right here in Absecon. Neighbors on both sides have a gone (one to Buffalo, another to Cape Cod if you can believe that). The county to the south, Cape May, is under a mandatory evacuation. So are coastal areas of my county, Atlantic as well as Atlantic City. The casinos will be closed as of noon tomorrow,
only the third time since they opened that they have shut down.

I have cleared all movable items out of the yard. Closed the windows and await the storm. It should start to show signs around noon tomorrow; we expect the worst of it after midnight, then it will be gone by noon Sunday.
So they say.

I missed the local earthquake. Everyone else in the area felt the shaking -- it woke Christi up -- but I was driving from School to Christi's so I missed it. I guess Irene will be my big adventure.

Don't worry. I've got plenty of supplies. I can handle quite a while without power (during the day I have several thousand books to read, if I so choose). I'll try to keep you up to date.

Much love from South Jersey,

It's 9:45 AM Saturday morning. Gentle rain started about a half hour ago (it's been over cast since dawn). I've completed my last preparations -- pulling the air conditioner from the living room window (it was on a shaky base), closing windows, etc. Looks like this will last until sometime early tomorrow afternoon.

Wish me luck. I have my reading material picked out."

While Sister-in-law Rose was making sure Tom had all the necessary supplies on hand, Brother Chris was being helpful, in his own way:

“ahoy storm approaching by port bow. reef the foresails and batten the hatches. I hope you are reading sea novels

Tom writes back: “It's 4:15 PM and raining pretty good. The wind is not ferocious, but it's starting to blow. I have begun my final preparations.

First, I have taken Sue's advice and filled the bathtub with water. I'm not sure my plug holds a good seal, so this is a test, but if it does, I'll have water galore (Sue tells me it's to help flush the toilet once the electricity goes). I told her that's what the back door is for (some of the time).

I have also begun my cooking preparations. While I am happy enough eating cold beans and buns (I do know where the hand can-opener is), I thought I'd cook some short cake and also red beans and rice. Both will keep well enough. So, tonight we'll have peach shortcake and rice and beans. We because the cats like short cake.

I was just in the bed room -- figure I needed to find my jack knife before the storm hits -- but the rain woke me up. I hope you are all safe and snug. Atlantic City is a ghost town (so the TV tells me). Very unusual for the last weekend in August.

Much love from a moist South Jersey,”

Tim writes from Syracuse: “Keep those stories coming Ol' windybags. Great adventure.
Dry Tim “

Tom writes a quick email and then his power goes out. He follows up:
“Power went off as I was writing it. It just now came back on. Wanted to get it to you. It's 9:41 now. The storm is moving slow. The eye won't be here till 3 or 4, which is a couple hours later than originally forecast. That means the storm will blow hard till probably noon or later tomorrow.

Got a call from Ted Lochner. He asked me whether I had a canoe. All is fine up his way at the moment.

We've got bands of very heavy rain. Horizontal for 10 or 15 minutes, then quiet, then it starts again. There are tornado warnings around, but none very close. The wind is not too bad.

The kitties have had their short cake -- I have too -- I got to light the candles and my iPad is a good source of entertainment when all else fails. Thanks to my land line I can still phone. All is fine here. I'll update you if I can. If not, I'll see you on the other side (of the storm).

PS. The seal in the bathtub held, so plenty of water.”

Tom writes again later that night, under the heading of ‘Good Night Irene’:

“10: 17.
I don't mean to inundate you (pun intended), but wow, this is getting exciting. Lots of flooding -- the Schukyll river in Phila is expected to crest at a level not seen since 1869. Interruptions on tv stations for tornadoes (none close to me yet). My local tv station has been knocked out. I may sleep in the basement. It's still dry and safe. (Where is that sleeping bag?)

Bands of very very heavy rain followed by dry, but the wind is picking up. Whee!

I'll send this out before I lose power again.

Much love,


PS. About that subject line -- just wanted to use that one. Irene isn't going anywhere for a bit.”

Now, I am not sure HOW many people remember the folk song ‘Good Night Irene’ but apparently Tom did—way to go!

Chuck Lochner, no doubt thinking of the rising flood waters, emailed Tom: “If you decide to sleep in the basement, be sure to sleep on an AIR mattress.”

On Sunday, Tom tells us:
“Gentle rain with stiff breezes persist, but I believe the worst of the storm is over. The news says we'll get more rain as the final bands work their way through from 10 am through noon, but it's mostly the aftermath we need to deal with now. I don't see any big branches down in the yard (lots and lots of leaves though).

The cats are antsy -- they want food and to go outside, so they are back to normal.

Philadelphia has lots of flooding. We probably do to, but the local channel is still out, so I'm not
sure of the situation. I think I'll head back to bed for a bit -- still haven't found that jack knife. Thanks for listening.

Sorry New York City -- this is your problem now.”

His last report is about Christi’s house—“Christine lost a big old maple right in front of her house. Lucky it fell parallel with the road. Her house was build around the civil war, and I bet the tree was about as old. It was probably 6 feet in diameter, with much of the top gone from previous storms. It was a shrubby old thing, although we liked it very much. Turns out the main trunk was quite rotten and it just uprooted taking out Christine's electrical.

Guess we'll be planting a new tree in the Fall.”

So, that is it for Hurricane Irene on the Cousin’s front. In DC, Alison said they had high winds, but no problems.

Hope everyone has a safe and fun last few days of August!


Sue Kinsella said...

Glad everyone was okay. What a welcome for Ali to her new home!

As we see from the devastation in Vermont and the Catskills, the end of the hurricane was not the end of the damage. It's shocking when Nature makes it clear we're not in charge. It's easy to forget, when we live in cities, that we're part of Nature, too, and "the environment" is all around us, not on the other side of the freeways. I feel so sorry for all those who suffered damage, and am grateful for all those who did not.

Pat said...

I can see from the news reports that Quechee, VT got hit hard. It has a wonderful covered bridge that we love--I think it is either gone, or almost gone now.

Quechee is very near where Ali went to college, so we often stayed there when we visited her.

Hope they all recover as soon as is possible.

Sue Kinsella said...

I was worried about Dorothy Maffei because I could see from maps that she's near some of the worst devastation in the Catskills and she has a creek running right behind her house. So I sent her an email and left a phone message. Got this email from her tonight:

"I am ok as is my house and my store so I am very thankful. My little town is devastated though and we are all working night and day to clean up and praying that we don't lose too many buildings and businesses....Send lots of good thoughts - we need them.

I'm so glad she's okay, but can imagine how difficult it still must be to have your neighborhood and town in such crisis!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Sorry, Tom, I forgot you were right in the line of fire from Irene, too. I kept thinking about Dorothy. At any rate, I'm so glad you weathered the storm safely, and that Dorothy didn't suffer property damage. Yet it has to be devastating to see the damage all around. Stay safe.