Posts tagged Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene- Less and More

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In the end, I did more damage to our yard than Irene.

After losing power at 9AM Sunday morning, we just had it come back on about half-an-hour ago. I was in the middle of making a comment to the Wife when we both heard an electronic beep and then the house roared back to life. The furnace fired, toilets started running as the water pump kicked on, the refrigerator and freezer compressors fired up, we had light. It was more than a little shocking since, after talking with folks around town, it was starting to sound like it might not happen until later in the week. I’m still wondering if it might only be temporary.

The last I saw, Irene was tracking further west and weakening faster than the early predictions indicated. I think that trend might have accelerated as I’d guess we had wind gusts some where in the 50’s with sustained winds around 30 at the peak of the storm. The rain also pretty much ended around noon on Sunday.

Not that I’m complaining. I’m glad I experienced it because it gives me something to go on for the next time.

The kids ended up managing just fine. They actually got kind of bored with the whole thing and started asking wondering why it wasn’t worse and when it would be done. Explaining that it’s a good thing that it wasn’t worse by telling them just how much worse it could have been had the desired effect. Unfortunately, we were equally anxious for it all to end, so there was no satisfaction there.

As far as damage goes, it was pretty much mild to non-existent. Downed limbs and the like with a couple of spots around town where trees came down on power lines. I saw one tree that hand landed on someone’s deck when it fell, but that was it.

We barely lost any food either. Just a couple of things from our refrigerator freezer. Although, if the power outage had lasted longer, the toll would’ve climbed substantially I’d wager.

In our yard, we basically had limbs and a few larger branches. I pulled out the chainsaw to chop of one of the branches to make it easier to deal with. Once I had the chainsaw in my hands, I decided now was as good a time as any to take care of some other problem shrubberies. That ended up taking longer than cleaning up the stuff from Irene.

But I’m OK with that.

Not As Bad As Expected

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The winds started up around 2AM this morning, as well as heavier rain. Even so, it hasn’t been too bad. Looking at the radar images, Irene is further to our West than the original forecast. Irene is already a minimal Cat 1 hurricane and she hasn’t reached New York yet, so she’s going to be a lot weaker than expected as well. That’s all to the good.

The state is basically shutdown. Towns have closed roads all over and I-95 and the Merritt Parkway are closed. Frankly, I can’t imagine why people would be out driving in this weather, but there’s always some yahoo somewhere I guess. The state has further imposed a tractor trailer ban. The state has about 250,000 power outages at this point and that will likely continue to increase. School has been cancelled for tomorrow pretty much all over.

The worst is yet to come, but I’m more optimistic than before for us getting through this with minimal damage. The sustained winds haven’t been bad so far, the gusts have been pretty good, probably into the 40 mph range. One tree has sustained damage to its top, with most of it’s leaves stripped. Other than that, no damage to speak of.

The kids slept through the night. Getting them to bed was the hardest part, but the fact that the brunt of the storm hadn’t arrived meant there wasn’t anything to actively feed their anxiety, so they slept well. The lass finally came down as I’m typing, as did the boy. One good thing about the timing is that the worst of the storm will hit during daylight hours, so this won’t be some faceless nemesis in the dark for them to deal with. They’ll be able to watch it come and go. With a little luck, watching it go will reinforce to them that bad times do, in fact, come to and end.

The Waiting Begins

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A little different from yesterday, huh? A mere 24 hours later and suddenly it doesn’t look so great. Though still, it could just be another cloudy day.

I flipped the picnic table over so wind couldn’t get under it and lift it while the umbrella is now in the garage and the chairs are under the deck, also upside down. All the plants are in the garage or the house. The grill has been moved into the alcove area between our garage and the house, along with some deck chairs.

We’ve pretty much done everything we can at this stage. The best news we’ve heard so far is that Irene has already “weakened” to a Cat 1 storm. The not so good news is that’s how she’s expected to remain until she hits Connecticut sometime in the early AM tomorrow. It’s all a matter of “How fast?” and “Where?” at this point.

We’ve had a little sprinkling at this point, but nothing intense. That’ll change, no doubt. The Wife was out a bit this morning and said that, even though everything was picked over, there was no mad rush. I observed the same yesterday. So, even though the news stories are all about the madness before the storm, let it be said that in north-eastern CT we calmly went about our business of getting ready. No panic, no fuss, no muss.

For now, all there is to do is wait.

The Calm Before the Storm

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That picture was taken around noon time today and the day has not deteriorated at all since. It’s hard to believe we’ll be in the middle of a hurricane in another 36 hours. Tomorrow morning is supposed to be the same with conditions worsening as Irene bears down on us.

Looking at a day like today, it’s easy to understand how, 50 years ago, people could be caught completely flat footed. Even if people were to hear about a big hurricane, who’d think that it was going to make it all the way up here into the Northeast? Hurricane modeling and so forth gives us a big advantage nowadays.

For those curious, we’re solidly in the purple area of this graphic I captured off of The Weather Channel’s site:

In fact, I’ve seen path projections that would take Irene directly over us, but the majority of the projections place her out to the West of Hartford. We thought about packing up and heading out, but based on the track and the projected impact area there’s no where to go. Even to the north of us, amazingly, is expected to get a pretty good licking from Irene.

I’ve never experienced a hurricane, so I have no reference point for what to expect. My biggest concern are those trees in the 1st picture. That’s our Southern sky, so that’s where all the wind and rain will be coming from. Those trees are probably 70 to 80 feet tall, and they’re parked about 30 feet or so from the house. The math there isn’t hard. Since I can’t cut them down at this point, I’ve at least prepped my chainsaw for some work in the event the worst happens.

As far as other preparations, we’ve got flashlights, canned goods and propane for cooking. Additionally, we’ll be filling tubs as well as pitchers with water and turning our freezers and fridges to max sometime early tomorrow afternoon. We don’t lose power often out here (not even last Winter during the 2 big snow storms), but I’ll be very surprised if we don’t lose power. We don’t have a generator, but we’ll make the most of it.

We’ll also be, essentially, cleaning off our deck and front porch. Plants, chairs, umbrellas, picnic tables all will get relocated to minimize the chance they get picked up and deposited somewhere. Even though the wind predictions have diminished, best not to take any chances with stuff getting airborne. That’s the main chore to be done at this point.

We’re prepared to ride tomorrow night out in our basement, if need be. We’ll treat it like a camp out to try and keep the kids from getting too freaked out. They may well be the biggest challenge as they both don’t care for extreme weather. The boy in particular. I’ll need a lot of patience.

The timing is the strangest element to this storm, for me. Tomorrow we’ve got a birthday party to attend and then on Monday school starts for the kids. That’ll be a helluva end-to-the-Summer-start-of-school.

Record setting snow in the Winter; tornadoes this Spring; and now a hurricane in the Summer. Wonder when the locusts are gonna show?

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