Ready for Irene

…I hope. Before:

After:

Watching NBC News, they just announced that Irene will arrive on the Jersey coast within 90 minutes and continue to gain strength.  Max windspeed in the hurricane is 81MPH with gusts of 98.  Windspeed of 70MPH expected in the city.

I’ll try to post updates, assuming the internet and power stay up.  The boredom of waiting is starting to set in, but a friend who just weathered the hurricane in North Carolina says that it was really intense.  The forecast in NYC is for 21 straight hours of tropical storm-or-worse conditions, so we’ll see.

The hurricane is setting a lot of historical records.  NYC supposedly broke its record for the wettest August as of noon today (when it really hadn’t rained all that much), MTA public transportation was completely shut down for the first time ever in response to a natural disaster, Atlantic City casinos also supposedly shut down for the first time since gambling was legalized there some 30-odd years ago.  Riveting.

The pics were meant to appear side-by-side, but they show up different on the site than in the editing box.  I’m sure you can figure out what you’re looking at.

7:54pm: Rain picking up here in Harlem.  News says Maryland is starting to get hit hard.

7:57pm: MSNBC newscaster says Irene is “packing” 81MPH winds.  The news borrows their terminology from gangsters now.

8:12pm: Fridge on the coldest setting=some coldass beer.

8:14pm: Rain coming in through the windows.  About to have to seal self off from outside world for 24 hours.  Already going crazy.

8:21pm: With the tub full of water for flushing the toilet and the apartment increasingly humid, I realize that babywipes would have been a wise purchase for the survival kit.  Rain is picking up more now, but still well within normal weather conditions.

8:34pm: The Weather Channel’s Storm Tracker is pretty cool.

8:47pm: I guess the above note about Atlantic City casinos shutting down for the first time is inaccurate–this is the third time the casinos have been shut down in their 33-year history.

8:56pm: MSNBC just announced a tornado watch for “much of NYC.”  I’m looking up the details.

9:01pm: Yup, tornado watch announced for all five boroughs until 5am Sunday…sigh.

9:08pm: WNBC just announced that the lower level of the GWB is closed to traffic as its 35MPH windspeed threshold has been reached (the upper level can stay open till 60MPH for some reason).  The news keeps talking about tropical storm conditions having reached the city, but here in harlem it’s still rain showers and not much more than a breeze.

9:15pm: Weather guy said he expects us to lose power in the city between midnight and 2am.

9:18pm: Had the news on with the volume up all day.  Going to watch IMAX: Hubble for a break while the breaking is good.  Will keep the laptop handy with the news up.

10:03pm: It’s real calm here still.  Light drizzle and breezy.

10:15pm: Gonna take one last walk around the block before the wind picks up.

11:27: Haha, Bloomberg admonished New Yorkers (can’t find a link; think I saw it on CNN at the bar) for attempting to right the city trashcans, which have been overturned and set up against walls by city workers (see pic).

"Fuck! Now where am I gonna put my trash?!?"

I saw one earlier tonight and thought, “there is no way overturning that thing is gonna stop it from getting picked up by 75MPH winds.  It’s gonna smash right through a store window.”

Anyway…

Philadelphia is now under tornado warning (significantly different from a watch, which is a much less certain status about a potential threat).

We took our walk and yay!  Harlem Tavern was open for one last round!!!

Sweet, sweet civilization.

We ordered the Come On, Irene and a Hurricane.

One last precious moment to hang out with other people who are relaxing and having a good time before being confined to my apartment for 24 hours.

In other news, the storm is really bringing out for me the amazingness (I’ve had a few drinks now, hence the narrowed vocabulary) of the modern world in which we live. Via the internet, I’m getting real-time and close to real-time information from friends in various points on the hurricane’s path. A Marine I served with in Iraq is still in the Corps and stationed in North Carolina. Irene was his first hurricane, as it will be mine, and he related via Facebook how intense it was for a full 24 hours (which has yet to commence here). It’s so nuts that the storm is between us and he’s telling me what it will be like (he is not a fan, by the way) starting in a few hours. I have another friend and former member of IVAW in DC–between the North Carolina Marine and I–communicating via text about how DC’s winds have picked up (they have gusts of 50-60 now) and his power is still on, while we’re still experiencing normal weather in NYC.

11:47pm: Oh for the love of infant baby Jesus: Power outages reported in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

I’m really not sure how that’s even possible.  There is virtually no wind here in Harlem.  How bad can it be?  I hope so, so bad that power doesn’t go out here in the city.  I grew up with power outages and I know how to handle them, but in this moment with 24 hours of hurricane ahead, it’ll just be so mind-numbing to go without all of the stimulation I’ve since come to take for granted.  Here’s hoping.

12am Midnight Sunday: The National Weather Service has issued their 31st windspeed probability table for Hurricane Irene.  Cumulatively, NYC is now looking at at 93% chance of tropical storm-force winds, a 54% chance of 50-knot winds, and a 10% chance of hurricane-force winds.  Keep in mind that these are probabilities for sustained winds–just because winds aren’t sustained hurricane force doesn’t mean we won’t have plenty of hurricane-force gusts.

12:21am: Mayor Bloomberg tonight:

It doesn’t matter if you’re in a shelter tonight, or in your home, or staying with friends or family…we’re all in this together.

12:36am: According to NY1, there’s a flash flood warning in effect for all five boroughs.  Manhattan is now the only borough with no reported power outages (I still don’t understand how that’s possible–it’s still like a regular rainy night!!).  Other parts of the city are reporting flooding in the streets.

12:48a: We’re just getting our first respectable gusts.  I’ll probably have to close the south-facing windows in a minute.

1:01am: NY1 reports that an emergency shelter in Hoboken, NJ was evacuated on account of flooding.

1:10am: Seem to have misplaced my beer somewhere.

1:16am: Still haven’t found beer.  Just closed the last window.  Already sweating balls.

NY1 reports that a tenth fatality has been reported.  No details yet.

News stations are getting a kick out of airing shots of normally packed roads and subway stations turned into ghost towns.

1:23am: Ahh, that’s where it was.  I set it down in my evacuated roommate’s room when I went to close the window that he told me he’d closed when he had, in fact, not.  Gonna get some shuteye before the windspeed forces me into the hallway and out of my well-windowed bedroom.

2:13am: It’s picking up out there now.  Going to bed.

2:21am: It’s weird.  There’s almost no wind outside the apartment right now, but the clouds are racing overhead and there’s all this white flashing in the clouds over the building to the north.  At first I thought it might be lightning, but the flashes are so regular and the light stays for so long that it doesn’t seem like that’s it.  The light suddenly went black for a second, and I was sure it must have been a transformer burning and suddenly going out–until I remember that powerlines are underground in NYC, so there are no transformers to burn.  If it’s lighting, it’s some pretty crazy lightning.

6:01am: Woke up. A bit unable to sleep due to the anxiety.  It’s really quiet still and it’s not raining.  There’s wind but it doesn’t sound like that much even though the Storm Tracker shows us inside the 74+MPH windspeed area of the storm.  Windspeed probability is 96% for 50 knots and 19% for 64 knots–huge jumps from the probabilities of last night.  It should just be a matter of time now.

6:33am: Apparently we had a tornado warning last night that was downgraded back to a watch.

11:38am: Well, the storm is well north of us now and the worst is over.  That was anticlimactic.  The winds were remarkably quiet.  There’s very little damage on the street below my window.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Sunday, 4:55pm: In addition to working desperately to get some homework done while I’m in the ever-scarcer mood, I’m going to liveblog Hurricane Sandy.  I hope this year’s carnage gives me more to write about than did Irene. […]

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