Tuesday, August 30, 2011

come on, Irene

I know, I know.
it's Eileen. 
I can't help it... it's stuck in my head and it just so happened to work with our lovely little hurricane.

so, here's my recap on that nasty bitch that hit the east coast over the weekend.

first, let me make this clear: I was scared. I've never experienced a hurricane before, and even though Irene was set to be a mere CAT 1, my mind immediately reverted to the tales of Isabel, which hit in 2003 (which, by the way, was lessened to a tropical storm by the time it hit Maryland, yet still completely flooded Baltimore and Annapolis and caused more then $800 million in damages) and left my town under water.

now... if I didn't own a home a mile away from the Chesapeake Bay, there's a good chance I wouldn't have been worried. if I didn't live on a peninsula, I probably would have brushed it off as "just a little rain and wind." but the fact of the matter is that I DO live on a peninsula in the Bay, and there is only one way in and out of my town, and I live on a crawlspace that is prone to flooding with more than 6 hours of steady rainfall. so yeah, I was freaked.

oh. in case you think I'm exaggerating... this is where I live:

when the severity of the storm became clear through weather reports on Thursday, I made the decision that being TOO prepared was better than not being prepared enough. so after work on Friday, we went over to Home Depot (along with the rest of the citizens of Maryland in it's entirety) to look for sand bags to place around our doorways. no such luck. so we then headed home to prepare the house by rounding up candles and flashlights. I also packed an overnight bag for us, in the case that we did get flash flooding and had to evacuate quickly.

the next morning we woke to grey eerie looking skies. I woke up before Sean did (must have been the anxiety, I'm sure), and took care of some exterior things, like moving the loose trash cans to the garage and cleaning up anything that would blow around in the wind. one of our neighbors stopped by and told us that he wasn't planning on sandbagging, and informed me that it would take a 9' storm surge for the Bay water to reach our house, which was a HUGE relief. he said that the one thing he was worried about was the tree situation, since the winds of 50mph+ would be strong enough to knock them onto his house. thankfully, we only have one tree near our house, and it faces the garage and not the main part of our home.

we took what we knew would be our last hot showers, and because we still knew that there was a very real possibility of being without power for a week, we took our chances and drove up to the store to get some supplies, even though we knew it'd be a madhouse. we picked up some water bottles, a few games and a deck of cards, and nonperishable food items to get us through. after filling the truck with gas and taking out some cash (for if we needed to go to the store and their credit card machines were down), we headed back home to hunker down for the storm.

I put our packed bag and some cat food out in the truck in case we needed to leave. I filled the bathtub with water to flush the toilet when we lost electricity, and then we parked ourselves on the couch and watched the coverage of the storm on the news. the storm ended up taking a slight turn east, which was great for us, but not so great for those north or east of us. the rain started at about 11AM and the winds began really picking up around 2-3PM in our area. we watched the storm progress throughout the day/evening and the power flickered on and off for a few hours. just as we finished eating our grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner at 7:30, we lost power for good.

we already had our head flashlights and candles ready, so we promptly got to work with an intense game of Phase 10, followed by a game of rummy, and some devouring of Little Debbie cupcakes. the winds got stronger, which was pretty scary to hear once the sun went down and it was pitch black outside. before it got dark, we did see that our neighbor's tree was knocked over before the brunt of the storm even hit us. around 10ish, we laid in bed and read for a while... Sean fell asleep first, but I was too riled up to sleep, especially knowing that the worst of the storm wasn't expected to hit us until about midnight. I finally fell asleep around 1 after a thorough checking around the house, discovering that we had no trees or flooding yet.

terrible cell phone self portrait. 

I woke up a couple times throughout the night listening to the wind whipping around the house and the sound of the rain, but overall I slept through pretty well. I woke up right as the sun was coming up and walked around the house to make sure there were no damages. looking out the windows, I could just see branches and leaves everywhere, and a only little standing water, which was a relief. after walking around outside, I realized how lucky we were. not one branch hit our home, and although our crawlspace flooded with about 12" of water (which was expected), we were very fortunate in that it didn't make it's way into the house or the garage.

we opened all our windows on Sunday to keep the house ventilated and drove around the see what kind of damage other areas suffered. right down our street, there was a HUGE pile of trees sitting on a power line, so we knew the source of our power outage. luckily the main roads were clear, but there were several smaller back roads that were closed due to flooding and downed trees/wire. after having lunch, we went to my brother's house to pick up a generator for the fridge. my only concern about losing power was having our food spoil. after we got that all hooked up, we headed over to my dad's house (who, amazingly, didn't lose power at ALL) to take hot showers and have dinner with family.

having no electricity has not made Bear feel different at all. he's still doing mostly this. 

we finally got our power back this morning around 3AM, and I feel lucky that we even got it back that soon. there are still thousands of people without electricity right now, and hundreds that are dealing with insurance claims and damages to their homes. BGE is estimating that mostly everyone in our area will be restored power by Saturday. compared to the photos I've seen of the northeast, we made out pretty well. I'm grateful that we were as prepared as we were and that we remained safe.

sheesh. I know, that was really long, but I really wanted to make sure I documented our Irene experience thoroughly in order to remember it. it's a shame that it occurred at night, or I'd have pictures to show everyone. even though Irene was not as forceful as the weathermen predicted she would be, she still did a LOT of damage!

ANYWAY. did you experience Irene's wrath at all?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you weren't kidding when you said you were prepared. Those head lights are awesome! We put sand bags in front of our doors but in the end we didn't need them. Our power went out around 11ish on Saturday night and came back on around 7ish last night. We passed the time by watching DVDs on my laptop and portable dvd player (until they died) and then played monopoly by candle light. We put all our food in a big cooler with a shit ton of ice and luckily it lasted the two days without power. The meat did thaw out but I read on the USDA's website that it is ok to refreeze meat that thawed out in a refrigerator...which I figured was the same as a cooler (since the meat was still ice cold when I took it out of the cooler yesterday.)Anyways...glad you guys made it through okay and you've got your power back!

    Ps: My cats weren't phased by the storm either. They slept through the whole thing!


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