Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene is Gone, But...

More than one million people are without power after Irene-the-Hurricane hit New York City and the metro area, and the sky and occasional wind gusts still seem threatening. Water is rising on the coasts and in rivers.
Irene means peace. What a name choice. In the end this hurricane was not as bad as predicted, though tell that to people who have been evacuated from their homes. Thankfully all is well where I am in Queens - other than a small roof leak.
I stocked up as if I would be cooped up for days, and slept through the eye of the storm. The massive maple outside my window is still there.
Winds didn't quite exceed hurricane force in NYC but did at LaGuardia (67 mph). The rivers are flooding parks in Manhattan, windows were blown out at city buildings downtown and 650 trees have been uprooted throughout the burroughs, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg just said on TV.
"Nature is dangerous. Pay attention ... Stay out from under trees," Bloomberg says. "[On bright side] three hundred fewer arrests last night. People do come together."
The mass transit chief says train yards are under water in Brooklyn, but tunnels didn't flood. Still, authorities are not restoring service until flood water is removed and gusts die down and train yards in Brooklyn can hold trains and conductors can get to work. NYC buses are likely to be added first.
There is debate now if government hyped the fury of Irene, after the Katrina disaster, a big blizzard here last year, and to streamline emergency response services. The non-stop media coverage was excessive.
Wind pulled my neighbors' small trees, which are now leaning. My neighbors were out assessing damage in a strange mist this morning, well after the eye passed. Now it's just light drops, light wind, and lots of leaves stuck to the ground. Blue sky and sun appear for a few minutes and disappear under white cloud cover.
We have had an unprecedented amount of rain in August with about 7 inches from Irene, so the tidal swells and rivers can't handle it today - you should see the footage on TV of rivers in New Jersey, and on the south coast of Long Island where the hit was harder: roofs gone, downed trees and massive waves.
Looks like the foamy ocean met the bay and the combo is flooding Montauk, out past the Hamptons on Long Island.
Services at my Manhattan church were cancelled today, trains and buses still not running - both unprecedented.
Wall Street is scheduled to open on time, Bloomberg says.
The photo above is the view from my front window at 1 pm EST. Maybe you can see the windows crossed with blue tape. People here were really scared and some grocery and drugstore shelves were empty.

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