Bye-Bye Irene


This weekend was about Irene.  I live in Southeastern PA, about 45 minutes from Center City, Philadelphia.  We had been hearing about Hurricane Irene for days.  She was predicted to hit our area Sunday night.  Friday was my normal day off, and I decided to head to the grocery store and do my weekly shopping before the craziness started.  I chuckled a little bit as every single shopping cart had a case or 2 of bottled water.  I didn’t buy any, not expecting to need it.  I assumed that people were getting caught up in the media hype of the impending hurricane and refused to cave to the insanity.

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As the day wore on and I started to watch the news, I began to wonder how bad things were going to be.  That night we headed to Costco after dinner to pick up a couple of items.  We usually go on the weekend but again were trying to beat major crowds anticipated on Saturday.  We usually buy our bread at Costco, and I was shocked at how little bread was left.  It was only Friday night!  Again, we saw people scrambling for bottled water.  We wavered on whether to buy some or not (you may know how I feel about bottled water) and ended up throwing a case on our shopping cart.  After that, the craziness of preparing for this hurricane grabbed us too.

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We steadily watched the news on Saturday, canceled plans for Saturday night and spent the afternoon getting ready.  The reality was that we, like everybody else we knew, had no idea what was going to happen.  After the wettest month on record, we were forecasted to get 5-10 inches of rain and lots and lots of wind.  That much rain in an already saturated ground was not something that we had experienced, and we decided to prepare for the worst.  Steve spent the afternoon clearing our deck, redirecting our gutters away from our house, making our generator accessible and covering our window wells with plywood (Lowe’s was out of those plastic covers).  While the kids napped, we worked on the basement.  We moved things to higher ground just in case we flooded.  Steve even rigged up a little platform to elevate the treadmill.  I would have been very upset to lose the treadmill.  I filled our bathtub, bottles for Skylar for the next day and sippy cups for Gavin, and got out the flashlights.  Then we waited.

The rain started in the afternoon and as Irene got closer, the rain got harder and the wind got stronger.   We watched the news, and I got more nervous.  I had naively thought that we would secure our deck furniture and then go to bed and wake up in the morning and she would be gone.  She was forecasted to hit us between midnight and 6am, but the rain started falling a lot earlier than midnight.   Around 9pm, Steve showed me a leak around the seal where our sewer pipe exits our house in the basement.  It literally looked like a water fountain.  It spouted into our French drain, and we were worried what the additional rain would do to that leak.  We checked on it a couple of times before we went to bed where we watched more news and in time to get even more frightened with a tornado warning.  I finally fell asleep only to wake up later to a roaring sound in the distance.  My first thought was a tornado.  They always say that they sound like a freight train coming.  After a couple of minutes, I realized that it was just the fire house whistle.  Steve got up a couple of times to check on the basement.   It was a very restless night with the rain and the wind. 

By morning, the worst was done and the aftermath was minor in our area.  Our power was still on, and we had no flooding in our basement.  The leak slowed to a seep by late morning.   The window well under our deck did flood and we found some water on the floor but nothing serious.  Our sump pump has been running non-stop, but we are dry.  The wind held strong all day.  We watched the news some more and saw some awful pictures of flooding.  I saw even worse ones on Facebook.  We were lucky compared others, but I couldn’t help wonder if we got caught up in the news hype of the hurricane.  Did we over prepare?  Did I worry too much?  Maybe and probably.  That’s what the news will do to you, but I guess it is better to be safer than sorry.

By 8pm, the kids were in bed and we went outside to repopulate our deck and return the rest of our house to normal.  The wind was gone and the sky was clear.  It was hard to believe what the previous 36 hours had been looking up at that clear sky.  After an earthquake and a hurricane in one week, hopefully, we’ll have calmer weather in our future.

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