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Home » Stories, True and Otherwise

Irene-y Days And Sundays Always Etc.: Hurricane Open Thread

Submitted by on August 26, 2011 – 9:59 PM124 Comments

I just spent an hour playing cards on our new backyard deck with Mr. S and Gen. All quiet on the Brooklyn front, except for one romantically desperate cricket who didn’t get the memo. “Um: CHIRP!” “Hurricane, bro. Try again Monday.”

The air is feeling too still, though…so if you’re freaking out, freaking out that you’re not freaked out enough, think the city of New York is being a giant collective baby, or just need to share an awesome “good night, Irene” pun you thought up, we’re here all weekend. Well, hopefully. Con Ed might think differently, but fuck ’em, we’ve got candles and Modelo.

Got power? Check in and share how it’s going, your favorite satellite maps or canned-food casserole recipes, the scale model of the Louvre you made out of Aquafina pallets, how your honeymoon got evacuated WTF, whatever.

And take care of yourselves, Nation.




  • Elisa says:

    Good luck to everyone on the east coast! I’ve been watching the Weather Channel for like two hours. What’s with the guys hanging out at the beach? Do they WANT to win a Darwin Award?

  • PollyQ says:

    Best wishes to the easterners from Northern California. I rode out a couple of hurricanes in MA (Gloria & Bob) with no problem — hope everything goes as smoothly for you all.

  • Jeanne says:

    My grandfather drove to a beach in Rhode Island to watch Hurricane Bertha when it hit back in ’96. Apparently, surviving the 1938 New England Hurricane as a teenager merely whet his appetite for hurricane-related carnage.

    Meanwhile, I wish the freaking storm would just hit us already. I’ve been having to listen to all these reports all week and I’m so tired of it.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    I wish the freaking storm would just hit us already

    SRSLY. I feel like we’ve been bracing for it since before I got home. Hit already, let’s get on with it.

  • Angela says:

    “I drove Three Thousand Miles and all I got was a lousy hurricane, and it wasn’t even in a glass”
    Srsly. Take Care!

  • rayvyn2k says:

    Former longtime Florida resident and survivor of Hurricane Andrew here.

    Glad to see news reports about local governments being proactive about shutting down, evacuating, etc. Glad they are taking it seriously. Unlike some of the Twits on Twitter who say things like “too soon?”. Those would be the same folks who would criticize afterwards that it wasn’t soon enough.

    Please heed the warnings. Even if you don’t get the worst of it, you’ll have an awesome story to tell your kids and grandkids. In this case, it looks like it’s going to be the water, not the wind, that will be the biggest problem since it’s a big ass, slow moving storm.

    East coast, take care of yourselves and each other.

  • Schlinkaboo says:

    “Goodnight, Irene” – anyone else reminded of Real World Seattle?

  • Jenn says:

    @Schlinkaboo: You’ll enjoy this.

  • Kate says:

    A brand-new New Yorker here, with a question about news coverage. Of the local news shows on the major networks, anyone got any “news we trust” recommendations? I’m kind of leaning toward the gang on News 4, if only because they seem to have sort of an encouraging Our Reporters Actually Look Like Real People and Also Are Older Than 25-thing going, but for all I know they’re all dumber than a box of hair. Any stations with a reputation for good reporting? Bad reporting? Laughably biased or alarmist reporting?

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    NY1 is good, if you have Time Warner Cable (you can use the website if you don’t subscribe). Some amateurishness at times but generally good, and in a situation like this I find they’re more on top of updates than the nets.

  • Bo says:

    Philly signing in here. I too am glad there were serious and early-enough-to-be-heeded proactive warnings/orders from the mayors of NY and Philly and the governor of NJ. I think the fact that we are not “over” hurricanes means more people will actually heed the warnings, thus hopefully preventing loss of life.

    My expected water delivery did not materialize. So I dug out old containers I used to make Crystal Light in and filled them with filtered water.

    My sister in California emailed me that she’s worried because I have too many windows (I live in an old factory loft). I find the concern kind of sweet and heart-warming. But I’m not taping the windows.

    Good luck to everyone hunkered down (most overused disaster phrase ever). May your power stay on and your water stay potable!

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    I’ve now seen various NOAA reps cited in three different places saying that all taping does is get adhesive gunge on your windows — no appreciable preventive effect as far as shattering goes.

  • Jackie D says:

    My favorite tip: Fill the bathtub with water so you can bucket flush if need be.

    Really worried about shut-ins and elderly. I feel lucky to have gotten my basics today – stores in my Zone A/B neighborhood were picked over tonight, no water at all.

  • Bo says:

    Thanks, Sars! No taping then.

    My favorite tip was one I hadn’t heard until yesterday from a friend in Barbados. Turn your freezer and fridge to their coldest settings so that if your power does go out, they’ll start out colder and keep things cold longer.

    And not that any of us have pools. But if you do, put all the lawn/pool/deck furniture in the pool so it won’t blow away. Then you just fish it out after the storm.

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    The west coast sends best wishes! Hold on tight, everybody.

  • Bea says:

    South Jersey here! I’m only freaking out a little; we’re pretty prepared. I had to go on a quest to find a gas station that had, you know, GAS. The Wawa guys tipped me off that a Gulf station about a mile away was “still operational.” I headed over and they did have gas (regular, even!) and were willing to sell it to me. It was almost a complete breakdown of social controls. I felt like Margaret Mead. (Anyone in the area who wants to know where that magical gas station is…LET ME KNOW.)

    I’m hoping to get some knitting done and to get into reading “The Magicians.”

    Good luck everyone!

  • LP says:

    @rayvyn2k Another Andrew survivor here! August 24th, 1992 – it was a major event of my childhood and I always remember the anniversary. There was some pretty bad damage to our house, though thankfully it didn’t collapse like thousands of others. We had to go without power or clean water for almost three weeks. My friends and I all got headlice. Everyone just called it “the hurricane” for years and years, through dozens of other ones, because it changed Miami so drastically.
    I had a t-shirt that said “When Brian Norcross speaks, everyone listens.” (remember him?)

    I really do not feel alarmed about this wussy Irene, except for the fact that we’re all trapped at home until the MTA is up again. Meantime, the roommates and I will be holding a Bananagrams tournament.

  • Suzanne says:

    @Bo – Philly! holla! I was JUST able to snag tickets for the 1:05 rescheduled game tomorrow! My brother and I plan on drinking lots of beer and pretending not to notice the cloud cover, ever increasing.

    On a serious note, and on topic: thanks for the thread, Sars. And thanks for the advice and good wishes – especially the former, and most especially from those who go through hurricanes on a regular basis. I speak as a Midwest transplant to the East Coast, one whose only experience w/ hurricanes has been through TV coverage. It’s weird: I chortle at (what I perceive to be) my new city’s epic mismanagement of snowstorms and blizzards … but this? Has me really, *really* wigged.

    Finally: any Philly people who might want to cook stuff on a gas stove – if the power goes out – hit me up in Center City.

  • Suzanne says:


    I (dream of) Rene-y.

    Sorry for the double post, but: PUNS.

  • JeniMull says:

    More good wishes from the West Coast! Stay safe, Nation.

  • Cat_slave says:

    I was just reading the news and immediately thought of you. Am keeping my fingers crossed over here, and hope everything will go well. The waiting is always hard.

  • Deanna says:

    Definitely fill your bathtub and your washer if you have one. If you can, put a few buckets out (secure them so they don’t get blown around) to collect rainwater. You can use that to flush instead of your bathwater in case the power outages outlast the rain. Learned that one in Hurricane Bob. And if you have bottled water, freeze a bunch of bottles to put in the refrigerator to help keep things a little cooler.

    And don’t run out of beer. I cannot stress that enough. In college we got snowed in for 48 hours with naught but a bottle of Arbor Mist. It was a bad situation.

  • JH says:

    Good luck to all of you in the U.S. We’re bracing for it here, too, in eastern Canada.

    A little late for a public service announcement given how close it is to hitting, but if there’s still time to go out and try to find supplies don’t forget to factor your furry friends in to the extra food/water/supplies equation and have an evacuation plan for them as well.

    Everyone stay safe and take care of your neighbours. Also, good point raised by Jackie D when it comes to shut-ins and the elderly. If you have neighbours that are physically limited in any way, please please please check in to see if they need anything.

    Good luck to the eastern U.S. seaboard and please wish us luck up here in Canada too! I was in Halifax, NS for Hurricane Juan and have hoped ever since I wouldn’t have to do the whole hurricane thing again but it looks like this one may be a go.

  • Angela says:

    There’s always the for the less talking head, more actual info approach.

  • Liz says:

    In Wilmington, DE here and I woke up to heavy fog, but no rain yet this morning. Heading to my friend’s bridal shower outside Camden, NJ this morning then up to Westfield, NJ to hang with my brother while the storm blows through. This may end up being the shortest bridal shower on record…

  • Krissa says:

    DC area here – where we’ll get lots of wind and rain, and probable coastal flooding. I’m holing up with my kitties and pups in our second-story condo and hoping for the best.

    They are currently covering what to do if your car catches on fire. This is a danger I had not considered in a hurricane.

    Best of luck to everyone further up (and further down) the coast!

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Pretty quiet here so far. Planes are still coming down the chute to LGA, cicadas humming, people getting bagels. The air is really not moving at all yet.

  • Heather C. says:

    Quiet here (yet a bit spooky) in Arlington, VA, where the library is open till noon! I’m here! Go get some books to read by candlelight.

    Also, hoping my four-year-old’s birthday party can still go on tomorrow. If not, we’ll have a half-sheet dinosaur cake to consume amongst 2 little guys and 3 adults. Is this bad or good?

  • cet says:

    From another Canadian east-coaster,

    This gorgeous summer morning is such a sham. Let’s get this show on the road.
    To pass the time, I’ve replaced “Eileen” and have been singing “Come on, Irene” all morning.

    Take care, everyone!

  • Bo says:

    I think your cicada has a cousin here. And I never get them (being on the fifth floor.

    Suzanne, I’m in Old City. But I think I have enough room temp food to last me a few days if necessary. Thanks for the thought, though.

    I realize this isn’t a “big” hurricane. And people who go through them all the time may think this is all an overreaction. But with the 12″ of rain we had last week and the 21 hours of soaking rain we’re expecting, even without sustained heavy winds we’d be in flooding trouble. And with the heavy winds? Well, those trees, even the big old ones, seem to fall pretty easy when the ground is this wet. Even a nor’easter can cause real problems and this will be so much worse.

    Still, being prepared, because it isn’t our typical gig, may (I think will) save lives. And that’s worth the angst.

    Am going out this morning just so I’ve been out and about a bit. Think it will help avoid the cabin fever from enforced inside living tomorrow.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Light rain here. The mayor says it will hit as Category 1.

  • Suzanne says:

    @Bo – word. I plan to walk down to the Schuylkill on Monday (weather & sidewalks permitting), just to see how high it’s running.

    @Sars – no rain in Philly yet. The sky is completely opaque, though, and the wind is picking up.

  • c8h10n4o2 says:

    The New York Times is giving unlimited free access to their online storm coverage, and they have a new Twitter feed to spread storm info from up and down the coast rapidly. Stay safe, everyone!

  • attica says:

    I saw a great tip on tv yesterday, which I’m about to implement. Fill a bunch of ziplock bags (no matter the size) with water, but not all the way full, so as to make them bendy. Then start cramming them into the open spaces in your fridge’s freezer. Basically, replace all the air pockets with ziplock-water pockets. If they freeze before power goes out, good, if not, not bad.

    They will keep the ambient temp of the whole appliance as low as possible while power is out.

    Of course, one needs to keep the fridge doors shut while without power. Doing this minimizes meltage and spoilage.

  • Katie F says:

    Light rain and some wind in Baltimore. I ended up purchasing bottled water from the liquor store last night, which was surprisingly empty. They were doing a Hurricane special…every six pack of beer you bought got you 50 cents off a 2 liter jug of water. I am now well provisioned.

  • kategm says:

    So I’m outside Philly and here are my wishes for the hurricane. Dear Lord, please don’t:
    1. drop a tree on our house– unless it takes out the kitchen or some other room that my mom wants to redecorate
    2. set fire to the house via lightning or downed power wires
    3. If the power must go out and the basement sump pump fail, please restrict flooding to the basement level only
    4. Try not to drop a tree on my car (known as Blue Bandit).

    Otherwise, be safe, everyone!

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Friend of a friend of the Nation is stuck in TX; her cats are alone in Astoria. Anyone looking for neighborly gold stars, please check in here — I’ll help coordinate if I can.

  • Hi there Sarah– my friend Melissa Whalen is willing to go feed the cats (she lives in Astoria). However, she’s out right now making last minute preparations. You can email her at whalen.melissa02 at to make arrangements.

    I hope that helps!!

  • nsfinch says:

    Hi, all. I retweeted the retweet about the cats in Astoria. The original tweeter was author @maureenjohnson here:!/maureenjohnson. I immediately thought of the Tomato Nation, but I actually know nothing about the situation at hand, OOPS.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Thanks for the info, @Joanne and @nsfinch — Joanne, if you can let the fantastic Melissa know that Maureen may contact her, that would be great (I would facilitate the intros, but I don’t know, um, anyone involved here? Hee).

  • Cij says:

    I still can’t believe they stopped all the public transportation. I mean, the subways run even on New Year’s Day- the day that barely anyone goes outside because they’re all sleeping in and/or nursing hangovers.

    Stay safe everyone- especially those who aren’t going to evacuate- especially those in the rockaways or fire island etc. etc.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    And if they told you to evacuate, and you’re able, please just go, and bitch about it later.

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    Hugs to the Astoria kitties, Canada, and the Bahamas, which apparently had to take some real chin music to the tune of flooding and property damage. A lot of people to keeep in our prayers.

  • Kelly says:

    Hope y’all are OK through this. I kind of wish this had headed to TX, we are desperate for the rain. I’ve kind of forgotten what rain looks like by now.

  • rayvyn2k says:

    @LP–Of course I remember Brian “The Hero of Andrew” Norcross! In fact, I watched him last night on The Weather Channel during their prime time show.

    I remember during the worst of Andrew–when the channel 4 team was hunkered down in their studio bunker because the storm was raging around them, and even if you didn’t have TV because of losing your electricity–you still got the updates from the radio. I will never forget how he helped a woman and her family survive by talking to her on the phone when the roof had been torn off of her home and she and her kids were huddled in a closet as the house was being blown to smithereens around them. (“Get to your safe room, NOW!”)

    Unfortunately, most of the folks in Country Walk didn’t have a safe anywhere in their house because of the shoddy construction…

    My kids don’t remember much about Hurricane Andrew, either, except for the whole camping out in the living room adventure.

    I was lucky, my power was restored after only 12 hours–my sister, not so much. Several huge, old, cypress trees were blown over in her neighborhood–so she and her son stayed with us for the two weeks it took to get their power back.

    @All, re: taping windows–The reason people tape their windows is not to stop them from breaking–it’s to stop the explosion of glass from becoming projectiles into your home when they DO break. There is so much debris blown around during a hurricane–even a Cat 1–that windows are shattered. If you aren’t going to tape, then put something in front of them on the inside. During Andrew, I used the box springs from our mattresses.

    Take care of yourselves and each other. You’re in for an exciting adventure–hopefully not too scary.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    The reason people tape their windows is not to stop them from breaking–it’s to stop the explosion of glass from becoming projectiles into your home when they DO break

    Right — but the NOAA guy said that it doesn’t do much good for that, either. Plywood, box spring, or staying away from the windows are the best solutions.

  • Kristina says:

    DC here, and it’s raining and windy out, but other than that, not much. I got to drive to Dulles at lunchtime because my poor alcoholic aunt who does not like to travel is supposed to fly to Germany tonight. And BA’s all, the flight’s delayed a half hour! Never mind the fact that said flight is supposed to leave at 10pm. And their phones are down and the website won’t let her even check in. So that’s our stupid little drama. Other than that, we’ve got German raviolis (maultaschen) and a wine fridge, so lord knows I’m fine. So long as I don’t have to go out to Dulles again.

    First an earthquake, and now this. I’m so glad I moved here…last weekend.

  • missbanshee says:

    Checking in from Morristown NJ here – nothing happening here except the Fat Bastard (Christie) yapping on Channel 2.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    “Get in ma belleh! …Wait, don’t, ma belleh is Zone A!”

    After a cloudburst earlier, crazy humid here but otherwise quiet.

  • Bo says:

    @attica, what a great tip! Implementing immediately!

    Heavy rain at noon. Then that blanketing humidity that says impending tropical storm to me. Now just steady rain.

    People have asked me if there is panicking. No, there’s no panic. Because leaders led, people for the most part followed, and whatever comes maybe peeps will lose stuff but hopefully we won’t lose peeps.

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