Waiting For Hurricane Irene — Still Shaky From The Earthquake

A cropped image of Hurricane Irene making land...
The last Irene, 1999....Image via Wikipedia

Is it a good thing or a bad thing that we live atop one of the highest hills in our area? That our top-floor balcony faces northwest and the hurricane heading toward us — with projected local winds on Sunday of 90 miles per hour — is coming from the southeast?

As some of you know, Hurricane Irene, heading north as I write this up the Atlantic coast of the U.S., is larger than Europe.


I wish I could make a jaunty joke about baguettes or gondolas but the very idea of something so powerful headed our way is a little scary.

So we have:

removed everything from our balcony

garaged (and gassed) our car

acquired a pile of cash in case we lose power and ATMs don’t work

stocked up on bottled water, tinned food, ice, batteries and our battery-powered radio

We’re debating taping our windows, but not sure what good, if anything, that would do. As a news photographer, Jose has covered five hurricanes, so he knows what to expect and how bad the aftermath can be. I’ve only seen them on television.

New York has had an apocalyptic week — I was at home working, on the phone with Jose at 1:51 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday, when a 4.8 magnitude earthquake in Mineral, Virginia — very far from where we live — shook my chair, desk and all the objects atop the cabinet beside me. We live on the 6th. floor of an apartment building and as I felt the room move, had a severe case of cognitive dissonance: It can’t be an earthquake. We don’t have those in New York.

But it was. This is a week of never-before-this moments.

Tomorrow — in an unprecedented move — all New York area public transit will be shut down. As some of you know, millions of commuters come into Manhattan each week driving through tunnels from the outer boroughs and New Jersey. Now they are a potential death trap, and therefore closed.

My first earthquake and hurricane in one week?

Are you kidding me?

7 thoughts on “Waiting For Hurricane Irene — Still Shaky From The Earthquake

  1. You’ll manage. Knowing you, in style! Once the novelty’s worn off I find natural disasters more of a nuisance than anything. Which is not to downplay honest-to-goodness tragedy, just get you into a true survivor’s mindset. You’ve got a lot of people out West keeping you in their thoughts and sending pleas into the ether on your behalf. Batten down the hatches and good luck.

  2. Thanks! Makes me think I should do something Auntie Mame-ish…wear a boa, perhaps!? 🙂

    I’ll write more if/when we still have power and wi-fi connection allowing me to do so.

    We lost power a few times in the winter of 2010 and it was really nasty: we had to pay for hotel twice as we also lost heat and it was extremely painful on my hip (then) to deal with even going down six flights of stairs. If we lose power for days, I dread having to climb up them.

  3. Sit back and enjoy the ride. Be safe, and let us know how it feels. I have only twice been in big storms. Once on the east coast of the UK, about 85/86, when we had no power for weeks and the roads where blocked with trees. Villages got together for communal cooking over wood fuelled BBQ’s and everyone told tales of the destruction seen everywhere. The second time in the South Atlantic, the Falkland Islands. On top of a mountain, with nothing but wind and noise for over 6 hours as the storm passed over. We went to do checks outside and roped ourselves down to move about in threes. A stunning meeting with the forces of nature. And in the silence of its passing, stepping out into bright snow covered land was surreal.

    Hope all goes well.


  4. I couldn’t believe hearing about the earthquake and how far it affected. And now, this with the hurricane is very crazy too. Where I live our weather is very up/down but we don’t get a lot of things besides stupid weather. Be sure to take care, have lots of candles, and flashlights, and be safe!

    1. Thanks….we have plenty of candles, flashlights, batteries, bottled water, food…Hopefully we’ll be fine. I am more worried about friends with large houses that can suffer serious marriage.

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