Hurricane Irene Now a Memory

On August 28, 2011 · 3 Comments

Hurricane Irene has now made it past the Washington, DC area. We have one last rain band that needs to work its way through and then we’re supposed to have clear skies by noon. I’ve been up since 5:00 am, partially because I’m an early riser, partially because I couldn’t sleep much for the obvious reasons. I’ve noticed the volume of rain and the ferocity of the wind steadily decreasing in the last four hours.

Light Damage from Hurricane Irene

I conducted a quick check of the neighborhood before anyone else awoke, when the new dawn first revealed any damage. It’s not too bad all things considered. Hurricane Isabel in 2003 was much worse for us here. I saw a few trees down on the ground, although many less than I expected. Of course small debris is scattered everywhere. I’m sure we’ll all have a bit of a chore this afternoon as we pick up the piles of twigs, leaves and branches. I’ll also have to unload the garage which we stuffed to the brim with patio furniture, garbage cans, outdoor toys like the basketball hoop, and anything else that we thought might go flying on the winds last night. I’ll also need to figure out what to do with our street sign that I found on our road this morning, having blown from its pole.

Trees Down from Hurricane Irene

And the winds sure did howl! I slept very restlessly from about midnight to three a.m., as the gusts buffeted walls and rattled windows. The whole family slept down in the basement just to make sure we were safe, which is what one does when one’s house is surrounded by 100+ year old oak trees. We do have an arborist examine the health of the trees every couple of years when we get the deadwood pruned. However, even though we keep them in good shape, I’d rather have a couple of floors between their massive girth and our fragile bodies should one decide to topple. Even from our protected cocoon I could still hear the winds wrapping themselves around our home. I could see trees swaying violently when I couldn’t sleep and I ventured upstairs out of a morbid sense of curiosity.

The electricity never went off. The news reporters are warning that it may still happen with the saturated ground and the gusts that will last for several more hours, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed. I’m surprised though. Our local power company is reporting 119 thousand customers without power in our area this morning. That we are not included within those statistic quite simply confounds me. This is an older neighborhood with large trees and above-ground electrical wires. It’s not unusual for the power to go off in a mild thunderstorm, much less something as nasty as this. I have no idea how we got away with this lucky stroke, and with Internet access to boot, so I’ll keep my mouth shut and hope the streak continues.

Wind, rain, a little superficial damage in my little corner of the world, and that’s about it. Even the Sunday newspaper was waiting on the lawn. That’s just crazy. Our delivery guy will get a better tip at Christmas this year.

My thoughts now turn everyone further up the coast. We got only a glancing blow from Hurricane Irene here in Northern Virginia. I can’t image what the people in New York are about to go through. Lots of Twelve Mile Circle readers live in New York so please let us know when it’s over and you’re safe. It was pretty bad even with our "light" version of the event.


On August 28, 2011 · 3 Comments

3 Responses to “Hurricane Irene Now a Memory”

  1. Phil Sites says:

    It didn’t rock our Bethesda neighborhood as bad as I expected. I was still driving home on 270 down from Frederick between 9-9:45 p.m. and the rain and wind got bad but not to the point where I felt I had to pull over. The wind did seem to pick up during the night though and left our apartment without power for about 24 hours, came back on sometime this morning…

  2. Bill Harris says:

    We, too, survived relatively unscathed- just some flooding in the basement. Like you, we are surround by mature tress, although in our case they are tulip poplars, which are very fragile. I was pleasantly surprised that we did not lose our power; I tell myself it is because I had started preparing three days ago by making extra ice.

    The DW works for a subsidiary of PEPCO and she has had to work three straight 12-hour days supporting the customer service call center. About 200,00 outages reported in the DelMarVa peninsula at the peak of the storm, so they have been busy.

    One tidbit from the storm that surprised me- this is only the third time in recorded history that a hurricane came ashore in New Jersey (even though it was just a short landing). Looking a map, one would think that it would have been more of a target for these storms.

  3. Craig says:

    Well, we also came out fine just down the road here from you, which for Northern Virginia is always surprising, but I have reports from friends and relatives up and down the coast from Richmond to New Hampshire, who won’t be seeing power for days, if at all this week. 🙁

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