Thursday, September 1, 2011


August 29, 2011

So all those news reports you've been hearing nationally? The ones about Hurricane Irene and her wrath up the East Coast? Well, that headed right for moi and the fam.

I can't say I was too pleased with her visit. She couldn't have come at a more inconvenient time. (I guess no hurricane is convenient) You see, I am still at the parents house. And my parents are at a dude ranch in the Midwest, where they have been since last week. (They're supposed to return on Tuesday) So...That means it's been just me for the majority of the week. At first, I wasn't too alarmed when I first began hearing of the hurricane's projected path. Our weather forecasters are kind of dramatic. (I don't know if yours are) I figured there would be a lot of rain and some wind, and I would have a tropical storm party for 1. I began realizing how wrong I was a few days ago. As each forecast became more ominous then the last one, Brother decided he was going to stay with me, and I decided to pick up (and dig out) supplies:

The day before the storm hit, I stocked up on about $150 bucks worth of groceries, including canned food (every official I listened to said enough for 5 days). Then I bought tape to use on the windows, filled my tank with gas, and took some mullah out of the ATM, just in case. I pulled in all the plants, and put all the patio furniture indoors. The day of, I cooked meals ahead of the storm, vacuumed and did laundry. I packed a "to go" bag, just in case I had to leave my parents apartment. (I was so not liking that stream in back of us at the moment) Then I moved boxes around the basement onto higher areas, just in case the basement filled with water. I was beat by the time my brother came over, but I still wanted to make a hot meal, so I cooked dinner too. Afterword, Brother told me he would clean up, then I went to bed to take a nap. I couldn't sleep though. As the wind began picking up, the texts on my phone started pouring in. Various friends and family checking in on us, asking how we were. I reassured them all we were fine.

Too keyed up to close my eyes, I joined Brother in the living room. At first we were silent, nervously watching television and eyeing the darkening skies, until our neighbors broke the ice. Upstairs, they decided they weren't going to let Irene get in the way of their party. Or rather, perhaps they partied because of Irene. The louder the storm got, the louder they did too, including blasting music and even jumping up and down.

"I wish we had a case of beer or something," I joked. "We could have joined them." Brother laughed. "Hey, we have food!" Then he added: "I like listening to them, they take my mind off things." I agreed. We decided to remain low key, but we began chatting about other things besides the wind and rain outside, and switched the television away from the scary weather reports to mindless MTV. The lights soon began to flicker. 
"AWWWWWW!!!!" said the party upstairs. 
The lights returned.
On any normal day, this would have caused me to be annoyed at best. (I love my sleep) But I didn't think we would be sleeping regardless of a party, so I smiled instead. Around midnight, I said good night to Brother and did my best to settle down and turn in. I noticed the windows in the room I'd been staying in were rattling like crazy and debated on whether I should stay there. In the end, I decided I liked my bed too much. Against by better judgement, I booted up Mac and began updating this blog when I heard a loud electrical noise, almost like a brief explosion. Then the lights disappeared for good. Man, I hate the dark. And despite growing up on the edge of tornado alley, I hate storms too. Indeed, me no likey.

We had a battery operated modem, but it turned out that wasn't working properly anyway, so the Internet was out too. And since our modem is also connected to our phone line, that meant our phones were out as well. No power=no lights, Internet or phone? Yup. It was definitely time to hit the hay. 

Surprisingly, I slept for a good four hours until the wind woke me up again. The storm was much stronger. At that point, Brother was putting batteries in a radio and trying to listen to the weather. Tornadoes had begun forming around the area. Luckily, none ventured to our neighborhood. I was still worried about the stream in back of us though. I could hear the rush of the water in the ravine, an unfamiliar sound. Irene was supposed to arrive in our area by 8am Sunday morning, but it was clear she was about to make an entrance much earlier then that. Kevin went downstairs to check the sub pump in the furnished basement. I gathered up breakfast for both of us while listening to every one's stories of flooding on the radio. 

The New York area is surrounded by nine bodies of water. This means that even a cat 2 storm is dangerous for the area, even inland. I knew there was no way Kevin would make it to work. He knew too. He'd called out before I awoke. Turns out Brother stayed up all night for me. What a good twin he is. As the wind and rain intensified, I pulled out my laptop and we watched movies until the eye of the hurricane passed over us. Then we peaked outside.
"Huh," Kevin said. "I didn't even know that tree fell." I looked to my right. A big trunk was now stretched across the ravine and the neighbor's yard. Neither did I.

When the storm was over, we tentatively ventured outside to check for damage. Three transformers blew (the explosion I'd heard the night before), and lots of branches. I didn't see immediate damage from outside my doorstep. I had no idea how much destruction was just ten minutes away. 

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