Wow, east coasters, did you imagine you’d experience earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes all in the same week?!
Our Hurricane Irene prep started on Thursday night, when we went to Costco to get flashlights, batteries, bottled water, and some non-perishable food. All reports were telling us to prepare for a strong storm, followed by potentially a very long time without power (could be weeks), and possibly without water. Lots of people had the same idea we did, stocking up on water and camping lanterns and such, but it wasn’t really crazy there.
On Friday, a work friend and I went to the supermarket at lunch, and it was pretty busy. The store was almost out of bottled water, and the lines were pretty crazy. We started checking the weather forecast obsessively, checking the progress of the hurricane. I continued preparing for the storm by getting some things done that required electricity, like running the dishwasher and doing laundry.
Since there wasn’t really anything to do on Saturday but sit around and wait for the storm to hit us, GG and I decided to go out for lunch. While we were out, I suggested we go to Walmart, purely for entertainment value. I pictured people going crazy, fighting over the last jug of water, stuff like that. Walmart turned out to be surprisingly quiet. I’d invited people over (some people invited themselves over) in case their power went out and ours didn’t, so I figured we should stock up on a few more non-perishable snacks. I saw a coworker there, she had the same idea I did, to get more snacks. Then we went back home and watched the news, as the sky grew darker, the wind picked up, and the rain got heavier.
I did a couple other things I wanted to do while we still had electricity (vacuuming, putting laundry away). While I followed along with the storm on TV, Facebook, Twitter, and our local Patch site, I saw people mentioning various power outages. Our lights remained on. Around 11:30, they called a tornado watch for our area, which means that no tornadoes have necessarily been sighted, but conditions are right for there to be one. GG and I trooped down to the basement, until the watch was over. There actually was a tornado through our area!
Then we learned the tornado watch was actually through 5 AM. We gathered a few important items, set up a litter box for the cats, and made a little bed with a sleeping bag, pillows, and a blanket, and went to sleep on the basement floor. That was so uncomfortable. Maybe before the next tornado watch, we’ll invest in an air mattress (I want one anyway), because a cement floor is not meant to sleep on. The cats curled up next to us, though, it was cute. (And just let me add, it was almost impossible to get them down to the basement. We don’t let them down there usually, so when we tried to lure them down there, they were so confused!)
We set an alarm for 5 AM. Luckily, there were no more tornadoes, and the watch was lifted at that time, so we packed up and moved back upstairs. To get the cats back upstairs, since it was almost their regular breakfast time, I just pulled out the food to feed them. Katrina and Sacha came right up, but I had to go down and drag Ivan back upstairs. As I went to pack up the things we’d brought down with us, I noticed a small puddle in the corner near where I had a plug strip. Then we found a couple more small puddles on the other side of the basement. The smaller ones we cleaned up with a towel. The larger one was just deep enough to be able to use our small electric pump. And that was it! I think that’s an acceptable amount of water to take in, considering it was a hurricane.
So we cleaned that up, then went to bed in our bed, which was luxurious after the basement floor. Then we were rudely awakened by a phone call at 8 AM with a recorded message telling us to stay inside if we could until the early afternoon, so they could clear debris from the roads. Not that we were planning to go anywhere anyway!
I had bacon in the fridge and thought it would be nice to make some pancakes, but I knew we had no eggs, so I googled a recipe for eggless pancakes. Then when I got to the kitchen I discovered we had no flour, so I used corn meal. And our milk had gone bad, but I had half & half, so I used that plus some extra water. Despite not having three main pancake ingredients, they were actually pretty tasty. A little dry and crumbly, but good.
So overall, Irene was not too bad for us. A little water in the basement that is completely dry already, and a bunch of leaves and small branches down in the yard, but no other damage. There has been a lot of flooding around the area, so I know we lucked out. And there are many people all up and down the coast who have suffered major damage from the storm. So I wouldn’t say it was a “disappointment” by any means. We were just very lucky; it could have been much much worse.
Enough of this excitement – I’m ready to go back to work for a little peace and quiet! (Oh, but there’s quite a bit of flooding near my office… we’ll see if I can get there tomorrow! Rivers are expected to crest sometime tomorrow…)
* How many “Come on Irene” comments do you think were made regarding this storm? I think a lot.