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Sunday, 28 August 2011


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Like a great many hurricanes, this one wasn't the end of the world for everyone in its path. I just hope people don't get jaded and refuse to leave when a Cat 3 comes screaming up the coast. Been through one of those.

I had to laugh when during the around-the-clock TV coverage, the guy in the studio asked the guy in the street what kind of damage he had seen. He reached down and picked up an inside-out umbrella. Oh, the horror.

That happens a lot here--the news goes crazy over a snowstorm that's coming and then...it snows. And when it's over you're like, well, it snowed.

Never hurts to err on the side of caution, however, and I'm sure some people are suffering. I hope everyone gets off as lightly as possible.

My mom in Boston says there are lots of little branches down; evidently my brother in Providence has a big branch down (but not on the house) and no power.


Here in Easton CT we were about dead center. Lotsa rain and BIG winds, but didn't lose power. I was checking in to Mike's travel adventures at the peak.

Thank you Mike. Our power was out from 9:40 last night until 4:30 this afternoon. We live in Sewell, NJ. They say we got 13.2 inches of rain and I believe it. Coming out the other end of a storm like this feels good. The sun is shining brightly, the power is back and we're all safe.


For the first time that I can remember, our side of the neighborhood did not lose power. I kept waiting patiently for it to happen, but luck was with us this time ... maybe because we were prepared? We did have severe flooding in low lying neighborhoods and a beachfront tornado, but all-in-all we were lucky. Edgar Casey built his Center for Enlightenment here for a reason; sure hope he continues to be right:) But, as they say, "location, location, location." Meant everything in this neck of the woods for this storm.

Al Benas
Virginia Beach, VA

Evwn up here in Montreal there are almost 100,000 homes without electricity -- including mine. Lots of trees down, and even reports of some windows popping out of an office tower downtown (nobody hurt).


In Western Massachusetts (Amherst), we had rain and wind, power out for 2.5 hours and cable (i.e. telephone, TV and internet) out for 8 hours. One of the main streets flooded due to an overflowing stream and some small trees down. Just north of us in Brattleboro VT, lots of serious flooding. See the car floating down the river at http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/27/latest-updates-on-hurricane-irene-2/#dramatic-video-of-vermont-flooding


Well, unfortunately, Irene was literally the end of the road for 18+ people ... so, sometimes, I'm OK with the hyperbolic weather folks.

Thanks Mike.

In NYC the biggest problem seems to be that they turned off the subway for the first time ever, and there seems to be some difficulty turning it back on, which means lots of people can't get to work, so lots of other stuff isn't happening.

In my part of Brooklyn, in the past year we have had a tornado, an earthquake, and this hurricane. All with pretty minor damage although the tornado precipitated some pretty bizarre incidents involving fast moving trees. We had a huge snowstorm which caused more damage with collapsed buildings etc. You expect snow in Brooklyn. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes not so much.

We are wondering whether to expect frogs or locusts next. Actually all the cicadas got blown out of the trees last night , so I'm going to have to go with frogs.

Is it only me or is there something really wrong with him feeling the need to say something like that?

Like the other day over here... It'd been 40-50 Centigrades in the sun for days on end. And suddenly the minister of health felt the need to say we had to avoid going out in the midday sun. (Yeah, even the Englishmen. :))

And perhaps we should also turn our thoughts to the Far East where Typhoon Nanmadol, which has been of a similar size to Irene, hit the Philippines and Taiwan in the last couple of days killing people, destroying homes and flooding the land. This storm and its impact barely registered in the western media which says a lot about them, and perhaps us as well.

We were "missed" by Irene, to the tune of power being out from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm and massive beach erosion.

"This storm and its impact barely registered in the western media which says a lot about them, and perhaps us as well."

Jeremy T,
I would argue that what it says is that it's farther away. You've heard the expression "all news is local"?

When a stranger got murdered in my alley, the event made a lasting impression on me. Strangers murdered randomly in Mumbai, or Istanbul, say, naturally do not register on my consciousness. This doesn't mean I'm callous or evil.


Quite a bit of the news story today on Irene seems to be "wasn't as bad as predicted." And that's both false, and dangerous (it tends to teach people to belittle the advance warnings, which is stupid; 20+ deaths so far even in this storm that didn't do the worst things it might have).

(It wasn't as bad as the worst outcomes they talked about as possible; but it was in the range they talked about.)

Don't you think that's an inevitable psychological effect of an approaching danger vs. one that has passed? Uncertainty about what's going to happen feeds our fear and dread. When the turmoil passes and the wind dies down and the sun comes out, it's much easier to be sanguine about the storm.

It might still be legitimate to criticize the storyline adopted by the media, of course. They really do get a little carried away by the echo effect of storylines these days.


As Yogi said (or might have said), "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future." I think it's good we prepared for the worst. Had we not, there surely would have been more dead and injured.

As it stands, 20 are dead (latest count) and damage is in the double digit billions, one of the costliest storms ever. I can only imagine the griping if this had been downplayed in advance.

Maryland still has 470,000 people without power. I just got mine back after 35 hours. All in all, minimal grief compared to natural disasters elsewhere, and no comparison of course to those families suffering human loss in this storm.

Certainly the relief at danger past makes everything rosier. And the weather tends to be very good after this sort of storm.

But there's a big difference between "Glad we got through that okay, and that it wasn't even worse!" and "Irene doesn't live up to hype", I t hink.

We got hit hard here in Vermont.

I got a call from my friends last night. They said they were leaving their house and the river was coming.

I was able to get to them with 4wd this morning before they closed the road; their house is totally destroyed. Mud inside up to 4 inches with the water line about 4 feet up. An entire wall was ripped out and three sides of the foundation were destroyed.

They just finished renovating the house. Now they have nothing.

Irene may not have been as bad as some thought, but it was much worse for others.

It really puts things in perspective.

I've got some photos from this morning on my blog.

In much of NYC, transit was up and running in time for today's morning rush. Metro-North was down, making it rough or impossible for people coming in from the Northern suburbs in Westchester and Connecticut. Some buses were detoured, and trains were less frequent than normal at first, but I actually had a slightly faster commute than I typically do, taking a bus to a subway. Normally it would be about an hour. My co-workers coming from farther out had a harder time getting in, and by tomorrow, everything should be pretty much back to normal.

I'd say they made the right call to shut it down, protect the system, and make it easier to pump out the stations where they expected flooding.

Well, due to the extended power outage caused by Hurricane Irene, with power having just recently been restored, I missed the short-lived sale of Ctein's work.

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