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.
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.
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.