Aug 27 2011

Be safe, Easterners!

I hear there’s an exciting and stressful and nasty storm out your way, as Irene makes landfall. I think we need a thread for people to chat about the thrills and annoyances and reassure everyone that they haven’t been whirled up into the sky and splatted down in Oz.


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  1. 1
    Allen L.

    Hurricanes and rethugicans? I’m sticking with Alberta winters and our Tory party, less damaging and somewhat more sane. Best of luck to the eastern seaboard.

  2. 2
    Monado, FCD

    Everyone, prepare as atheists do! Get supplies, batten down the hatches, help your neighbours, and forgo the magic words in favour of heartening speech to each other.

  3. 3
    Brett McCoy

    Just started sprinkling here in Germantown, MD. I’m just sitting back and enjoying watching others try to futilely pray away the storm.

  4. 4
    Monado, FCD

    ‘Praying away the storm’ was excused by a theistic apologist because “it makes people feel better.” I’m going with the chocolate chip cookies and fat, glowing candles myself. And maybe a new sump pump in the basement.

  5. 5

    We have been getting lots of rain here in Virgina Beach (South Eastern VA), as well as some strong wind. But so far the power has remained on. The next few hours are going to be the roughest part, as the eye of the storm moves past our location.

    Thanks to Science we had ample warning that Irene was coming, and those in low lying areas were given time to evacuate.

  6. 6
    Brett McCoy

    We’ve had some pretty brutal storms in the DC area in the past few years as it is, this probably won’t be much different. We’re just better prepared this time (or at least Pepco wants us to believe this)

  7. 7
    myeck waters

    Our township overnight issued a mandatory evacuation for people in the low-lying areas. We’re at least 15 feet above sea level though, and 3 blocks from the water, so we’re staying put.

    If our power goes out, we will be living on ice cream for the first several hours. Not a bad way to sit out a storm.

  8. 8
    'Tis Himself

    I’ve already moved the stuff from outside to inside. The windows are taped, the basement has been relieved of anything which could be damaged by a small amount of flooding. A supply of water and food which doesn’t need cooking has been laid in. The daughter is emptying the dishwasher. Can anyone think of anything else that needs doing?

  9. 9
    Brett McCoy

    Thanks goodness I didn’t drink up all of my homebrew, if the local water supply gets tainted, I’ll still have something to drink!

  10. 10
    Gord O'Mitey

    Tis, BEER.

  11. 11

    It’s beginning to get dark here in Prince William in VA…wind started a while ago but it’s picking up now and it’s raining.

    My biggest worry is that tornado watch we’re under (I’m too far away from water to really worry about flooding…’cept maybe the basement…). The rain predictions for the area range from 1-8″, so I have no idea what we’re going to get.

    I have family in Hampton Roads, though, so I’m a little worried about them.

  12. 12
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Can anyone think of anything else that needs doing?

    A supply of grog and swill. Turn on your Pharyngula Lags transporter unit, as it will be incoming.

  13. 13
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Be safe, my East Coast peeps.

    God’s about to give you a tongue-lashing.

    (What? What?!?)

  14. 14
    Brett McCoy

    “As Hurricane Irene prepares to batter the East Coast, federal disaster officials have warned that Internet outages could force people to interact with other people for the first time in years. Residents are bracing themselves for the horror of awkward silences and unwanted eye contact. FEMA has advised: ‘Be prepared. Write down possible topics to talk about in advance. Sports…the weather. Remember, a conversation is basically a series of Facebook updates strung together.’”

  15. 15
    chigau (違う)

    Is your gravatar a Marshalltown?

  16. 16


    We’re just better prepared this time (or at least Pepco wants us to believe this)

    I’m sensing a bit of incredulity there. :D

    I, for one, have my doubts about PEPCO’s claims of readiness.
    They have the worst track record in the nation in terms of storm response.

  17. 17
    Brett McCoy

    I saw a recent list of the most hated companies in the US, and Pepco was #1, even after Comcast.

  18. 18

    Is your gravatar a Marshalltown?

    It is! I’ve got a sniny new one that I’m working on putting an edge on! You know, in case someone actually decides to hire me. (Or I can find somewhere to volunteer where I’m moving.)

  19. 19

    I, for one, have my doubts about PEPCO’s claims of readiness.
    They have the worst track record in the nation in terms of storm response.

    But! They still had power during the earthquake!!!!

  20. 20

    Seems to be a correlation between the increasingly insane levels of rethuglican rhetoric and the recent earthquake (keep in mind that the east coast structures are not build to earthquake standards that are required to be met on the west coast), consistent thunderstorm cells, and now a hurricane that will likely rake most of the east coast for tons of damage.

    Perhaps jebus is upset with the rethuglicans?


  21. 21

    Auntie Em? Auntie Em?

  22. 22

    God needs a GPS. This is obviously his answer to Rick Perry’s prayer for rain back in April. 4 months too late and off target by 1600 miles.

  23. 23
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Be safe, Easterners!

    Thanks, PZ. I’m far enough inland that my area isn’t going to take the brunt of the storm, but there’s flood warnings and expected wide-spread power-outages.

    I’m just about ready for this– just gotta bounce out and buy some bottled water.

    To everyone in Irene’s direct path: I hope you and your families all stay safe.

  24. 24
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Oh, and beer.

  25. 25
    Matt Penfold

    Oh, and beer.

    That was a given.

  26. 26
    Pierce R. Butler

    Has Pat Robertson mounted his Prayer Battle Station yet, so that the storm can once again by redirected harmlessly out to those icky perverts on and around Fire Island?

  27. 27
    Dhorvath, OM

    Definitely Beer.

    Here’s to forecasters that allow us to be prepared for something like this rather than having it arrive unexpected. Here’s to food that can be stored and eaten without want of cooking or refrigeration. Here’s to people helping each other out. Here’s to all the people I do know and all the people that I don’t having this as a story they can tell others about afterwords. Take care.

  28. 28
    Pierce R. Butler

    [*ahem!*] – # 16 = “… be redirected …”, please!

  29. 29
    Pierce R. Butler

    Uh, that was number 26 @ # 28 – oh, never mind.

  30. 30
    Adam Lee

    Well, we’ve hardboiled all our eggs, filled the freezer with ice, and laid in a stock of my friend’s best homebrew. I think we’re as prepared as we’re going to get. :) And, looking out my window, the rain is just starting now…

  31. 31
    RW Ahrens

    I would note:


    That is FDA’s Hurricane Checklist for safeguarding your food, drugs and so forth, including some tips about pets…

  32. 32

    @6 idragosani, I read on dcist that Pepco actually tried to lower expectations this time. Apparently, that’s already a good call. Go figure.

  33. 33
    Brett McCoy

    @puzzlecraig #32 –

    I don’t think our expectations of Pepco can get any lower :-)

  34. 34
    'Tis Himself

    Tis, BEER.

    Beer (ale actually) is a given.

  35. 35
    John D Stackpole

    I’d rather have Irene hanging around Washington than Michelle.

  36. 36
    Tony Agudo

    I’m right in the path of the damn thing(Jersey City, NJ) and I’m the only one in the house who has a single clue about how bad it’s going to get. They think it’s just gonna be like a Nor’easter, and I’m the only one who bothered to buy enough food and water to last, just in case. They think I’m panicking, but they’ll see soon enough

  37. 37

    ‘Tis Himself,

    When the storm gets close, make sure you fill any bath tubs with water, and keep a bucket handy. If the power goes out and your community relies on electric pumps to maintain water pressure you will need the water from the tubs to flush your toilets.

    Another good piece of advice I just heard this weekend: recharge all of your battery operated devices: laptop, cell phone, etc. Keep them at full charge for as long as you can.

    Hang in there and stay safe.

  38. 38

    During the New York State power cut some years ago, after being forced out of work (yippee!) the next though was PARTY! Went to buy beer. Couldn’t buy beer because the store was closed because they couldn’t work the cash registers without electricity and had no stand-in procedure. What kind of civilization is it when you can’t buy beer in a crisis? There should be a law mandating all shops that sell beer to have stand-in processing to sell it when there’s a crisis, electric or no electric.

  39. 39

    In NJ near Philly. On the porch drinking a beer 2:05pm edst. Light rain falling. Irene starting to batter Cape May but still 300 miles away. Hosting wife’s family members evacuated from Cape May Co. Got lots of booze and non perishable foods. My neighbors husband works in a nearby mall and is so busy he can’t talk on the phone. Who knew there would be a run on jeans. Krispy Kreme store had a line out the door. Storm prep recommendations on the news included “trimming your trees and hedges to make them more wind resistant.” Am I living in the bizarro world or is this just a retarded dream? Expecting power to go out rendering my sump pump inoperable. And I just finished making the basement into a family room. Can’t win em all. Band of heavy rain passing through now. My glass is almost empty. Refill time. End trans…

  40. 40
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Okey dokey, potable water and beer* have been purchased! I so got this. :P

    *Beer menu:
    Wachusett Nut Brown Ale
    Breckenridge Vanilla Porter
    Doc’s Draft Hard Pear Cider

  41. 41

    The rain has officially commenced here in Boston.

  42. 42
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    And we’ve been upgraded to a tropical storm watch, apparently. Yippee.

  43. 43
    'Tis Himself

    And we’ve been upgraded to a tropical storm watch

    We’re under a hurricane warning effective at 1410* today. Right now it’s cloudy with a slight breeze, but the outlier bands from the storm are headed this way.

    *That’s 2:10 PM for those who have trouble subtracting 12s.

  44. 44
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    We’re under a hurricane warning effective at 1410* today. Right now it’s cloudy with a slight breeze, but the outlier bands from the storm are headed this way.

    We’re still a few hours away from anything happening. It’s cloudy and humid, but the air is absolutely still.

    Stay safe, ‘Tis.

    I’ve got some odd and ends to take care of before the weather starts, so I’m bouncing up outta here.

    Hunker down, everyone!

  45. 45

    seems to be winding down here in the Raleigh area. Looks like we may get a bit more rain this afternoon.

    Rosemary flat bread is rising (cooks just as well on the grill as the oven in case the power fails), and a nice selection of belgian ale (home brew) chilling in the fridge.

    the NC coast has been hammered, but looks like the damage has been relatively “light” for this type of storm.


  46. 46

    Still waiting for it in CT. We have beer, chips and paper plates. We’ve laid up a supply of candles, canned goods and brought the Coleman campstove in from the shed. The kids have brand new coloring books that they’re not allowed to open until Irene hits.

    I’m currently backing up my computer to an external hard drive, which will go into a double layer of ziplocs and onto an upper shelf of an internal closet.

    Stay safe, folks!

  47. 47
    Randide, "Fools admire everything in an author of reputation"

    You know? When I moved to Boston, I expected to die in a Nor’Easter. Not in an earthquake or a hurricane.

    When do I officially get to chalk this up as another one of God’s failed murder attempts at me?

  48. 48
    Happy CAMPER

    Just a word from a Floridian who has gone through 6 hurricanes (so far). Taping windows does nothing but leaving a tape residue on your windows after the storm. Keep at least 1 gal. of water per person per day for at least 3 days. Expect power to go out for several days so set your refrigerator on the lowest setting and load up on ice (keeps the freezer colder longer) and resist opening the refrigerator door unless needed. With power outages the sewage lift stations will not work so be sparing on flushing the toilet and store water (the water municipal water system) may go down) so fill the tub (a clean garbage can will do to flush the toilet (porta-potties are great). Camping supplies are great for any and all emergencies! Make sure your vehicles are full of gas because without power the gas stations will be unable to pump fuel for a while. The last storm (Wilma)I went through power was out for 8 days. The back side of that storm was worse than the front side so just because you are in the eye of the storm do not think for one minute that the worst has passed.

    In my opinion hurricanes and any bad weather or disaster is the best reason I can think of for having an alternate self sustaining power source for your home like solar power.

    Be safe out there, hunker down and learn from the experience.

  49. 49
    Happy Camper

    One other point. The more rural you are the longer it will take for the power to be restored so keep supplies for AT LEAST double of what I recommended!

  50. 50

    Say, a multi floor apartment made of mostly wood is mostly safe in a category 1 storm, right? Because that is the apartment I am living in.

  51. 51

    Oh wait, it is bricks outside. Never mind.

  52. 52
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I hope you’re all safe and sound and Irene passes you without much damage.
    As for things to have: a good old radio that works with batteries (no idea how radios in mobile phones work) in case the power goes out and you want to know if there’s any advice or directives given out.

    Take care

  53. 53
    Dhorvath, OM

    What kind of bricks? Most bricks aren’t structural, they are a finish over a wooden structure.

  54. 54

    I live in the Raleigh/Durham area in central North Carolina. Although we are not in Irene’s direct path, we are feeling her. Last night, we had a ferocious thunderstorm with huge amounts of rain that lasted about 40 minutes. Right now, we have 40-50 mph winds and spotty rain, lots of flying debris, and tall trees that are being whipped around like wet pasta…150 miles from the coast and still we have company!

  55. 55
    Happy Camper

    You couldn’t pay me to live in a stick (wood frame)home. After hurricane Andrew(a cat 4) wood frame homes were turned to kindling. Even block(CBS) homes had the roofs torn off. Homestead looked like a nuclear bomb had gone off. I remember one neighborhood was leveled including all the trees except for one concrete dome home that was left undamaged. Powerful hurricanes can contain embedded tornadoes that travel at speeds of prevailing winds. I was in the Army reserve at the time and was sent to Homestead after the storm. These storms are nothing to be complacent about!

  56. 56
    Gord O'Mitey

    Randide, #47, I sent an earthquake, & a hurricane, to little avail. I was going to send a plague of frogs, but it looks like that ain’t gonna work either, at least, not in Vermont, according to this: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/quebec/vermont-issues-a-bienvenue-to-canadians/article2142646/

    If anyone is offended, I apologize in advance.

    And that doesn’t mean I’m not omniscient. It gets boring knowing everything in advance – I like a surprise, eh.

  57. 57

    Started raining here in coastal New Jersey at about 2pm. A little heavy at times so far. No wind yet. Some places on the roads that have poor drainage are already showing the strain at 3:30pm. Can’t imagine how they’ll look if we get the amount of rain forecast!

    I and my neighbors spent the morning bringing everything we could inside and nailing/lashing/chaining everything else in place. Stores pretty much empty of water, bread, cans etc.



  58. 58

    So far, in Multibore, total overcast – quite gloomy – but only drizzle and light winds.

    We are somewhat lucky. After several years of having the transformer whose circuit we are on blow up at any hint of lightning, they finally replaced it with one that seems rather robust.

    How do I know? Well, in the past, the part of the neighborhood across the street either never lost power when we did, or always got back online well before we did. Now the tables are turned, because their transformer hasn’t been replaced or upgraded or whatever.

    The longest we’ve been out of power was 36 hours just this last winter when we got something like a foot of really wet snow. I have to confess it was quite beautiful, as it stacked up most prettily on fences and trees and whatnot. When I went out to enjoy it at around midnight as it was falling, the world was silent as only a foot of snow at night can make it. Except for these ominous creaking and cracking noises coming from everywhere – tree branches groaning under the load. Every now and then there would be a big CRRRRAAAACK! as something irreversible happened – like half a tree smashing down on the wires that feed our block.

  59. 59

    Your timing was a little off, you could have sent a hurriquake. That would have been impressive.

    meanwhile, we already battened down the hatches here in central Mass.

    and nary a prayer be uttered either, arrgh

  60. 60

    Oh, and I forgot to mention – it is extremely humid, and I am really hating it. Still, I have my power bars, gallons of water, new batteries in the flashlights, and not a little beer.

    However, I can’t really recommend Hop Strike “black IPA”. I’ve been trying these things and so far they’ve all been like watery porters, almost as if they didn’t steep any grains prior to boiling the wort, perhaps hoping that the roasty darkness of the dark malt (this one claims dark rye malt, which should confer a particular flavor that I’m just not getting). Don’t get me wrong, I love the concept (I like the moniker better than “hoppy porter” which is what I was calling it before this new fad sprang up).

    Oh, and due to my other habit I also have a cigarette lighter nearby.

  61. 61

    Oh, and I’m about to go pop up an enormous amount of popcorn.

  62. 62
    Happy Camper

    For those of you drinking out there. If you are in the direct path of the worst part of the storm, please refrain. Nothing is worse than the situation heading south and are so fucked up you can’t think straight. Have a drink after.

  63. 63

    Apparently it’s the End of the World here in NYC, or so Emperor Bloomberg tells us. I suppose it will be, if Netflix goes down.

  64. 64
    Happy Camper

    Instead of letting food spoil, fire up the grill and feed your neighbors.

  65. 65

    Given the panic exhibited by Northerners during these End Times, can those of us who deal with severe weather during spring/summer every year please be allowed to complain about our 4 inches of snow this winter without being shouted down by you lot with your 6 feet?

  66. 66

    Sunny, 27C, light south breeze

    As for Irene, blame it on Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, et al — you can only release so much hot air to the atmosphere before something happens. :)


    Be safe and good luck.

  67. 67
    Happy Camper


    I blame it all on Pat Robertson.

  68. 68
    Iris Vander Pluym

    NYC checking in, from a honking fat old (1800s) brick/masonry building. Minimal rain and wind, but the sky is looking a bit…off. As in slightly greenish-yellow.

    In December of 2005 I was sufficiently freaked out by the blackout (and 9/11) to compile pretty extensive go-bags as holiday gifts for 25 family members and friends. In the past day I’ve gotten a calls/texts/emails from some of them who had to evacuate their homes thanking me for the go-bags, which was nice. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that the food, water, and chlorine tablets in them expired a couple months ago. I’m staying put, but I figure at least I can use the duck tape in my go-bag to strap my cat to myself if I absolutely have to evacuate.

    I’m not a beer person myself, but I chilled an entire case of Elena Walch pinot grigio. And I have plenty of ice if the power fails.

    @Adam Lee 30: thanks for the reminder – eggs are presently a-boiling.

    @Paul G 65: No. Absolutely not. :p

  69. 69
    onion girl, OM; social workers do it with paperwork

    The only real thing I’m sad about is that Irene forced us to cancel our Pharyngulite Smithsonian trip. We were planning to hit the Udvar-Hazy & watch Harry Potter on Imax.

    Ah, well.

    But nothing here yet in inland MD–idragosani, I’m just a little north of you!

    We’re expecting maybe an inch of rain and some strong winds.

    I have my books just in case, though. Priorities. ;)

  70. 70
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    With all this “battering” Irene is predicted to do, I hope you have all stocked up on tasty dipping sauces.

  71. 71
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Ah yes, those of you with time get some LED flashlights/lanterns. Very energy efficient on a small amount of batteries.

  72. 72

    It is possible that the bricks might not be structural. But all this building has to resist is a 80-100mph wind… Yeah, I don’t know.

  73. 73
    Happy Camper

    For those of you that have solar powered LED garden lighting they can also be brought indoors to light the home with a nice glow. Don’t use candles because of fire hazard. During a storm you can expect fire rescue to be unable to reach you for some time. I also have an inverter attached to my truck that can convert 12 volt DC to 120 volt AC at 400 watts but they make them as large a 3,000 watts but don’t drain your batteries.

  74. 74

    Nothing but a bit of wind and rain here in DC. My friends are posting about making brownies and baking cakes at their house. It makes me wish I were more domesticated.

  75. 75
    Dean Buchanan

    @onion girl and idragosani
    Looks like we’re neighbors. I’m just west of the current Hurricane Watch line in Northern Montgomery County. It’s been raining all afternoon here but the winds are not a problem (10-20mph maybe).
    I would be very surprised if we don’t lose power.
    Got the generator, the batteries and flashlights, plenty of food, water, and alcohol of various sorts.
    Maybe I won’t have to go to work on Monday!

  76. 76
    Dean Buchanan

    Hi Melody,

    Great work at CFI…

    (you are that Melody right? I mean, how many could there be in DC?)

  77. 77

    Nothing but a bit of wind and rain here in DC.

    Yeah, we’re getting rain (nothing spectacular) and wind. We did lose a piece of siding off the house, though. I have no idea when it happened. Dog is refusing to go outside…looks like I’ll have to break out the puppy pads. Word has it, the worst is going to start in an hour or so.

    My friends are posting about making brownies and baking cakes at their house.

    Or that you were at their houses so you didn’t have to do the baking, just the eating.

  78. 78
    Brett McCoy

    @875 — Dean Buchanan — where are you located? I’m at the southerly end of Germantown, going towards Darnestown.

  79. 79
    Snowshoe the Canuck

    The baking is almost as much fun as the eating and yakking afterwards. I can do without the cleanup though.

  80. 80

    Chilling in Alexandria. Just had to tell my neighbor to bring in random junk from the porch that she was “washing off in the rain”. Erm, yeah, right. The thought that a high wind could whip some of her junk off the porch and into someone’s windshield had not occurred to her. Sigh.

  81. 81

    I was living in West Palm Beach and hating myself for having swallowed my lifelong good-British-socialist principles by working as a nurse at a NOT free-and-no-questions-asked facility (JFK Lake Worth) when Hurricane Frances went through the area this same time in 2004. Blew my apartment’s 12′-wide sliding glass doors into shards and swamped the place entirely because our landlady was too tight to help us board up (we were broke but prepared to pay for the boards and do the work ourselves but the crumbling plastic and PVC surrounds of the 1970′s-installed frame made it impossible for us to do a household minimum-tools DIY job and her response was essentially “tough titty.”)

    Anyway, I survived by snuggling down in the interior bathroom with a couple of John Pilger books and a box of Cheerios but it took a week for the electricity to get back to working properly and by then I was on the plane home to Blighty with an “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I will never leave you again” to the NHS.

    It wasn’t really the Big Windy that had me leaving (I had a 1-year return aeroplane ticket that was about to run out and I wasnt prepared to waste it) but it reinforced to me just what it really was I couldn’t bear about Florida: the weather. Not just the fear/actuality of lethal hurricanes and the appalling loss they caused to those in their path (especially in the Caribbean) but – paradoxically – the horror that is a certain predictability of the day-to-day climate in Fla. It steamed and it stunk; the teatime showers never seemed to clean the air and it never ever rained in the morning. I remember waking up to yet another steamy dawn with the glutinous air gravid with decomposition and petrol fumes and thinking “What I wouldn’t give for one blowy Cornish morning.”

    But back home in King Arthur’s land, wind is still a big part of weather life. We don’t get proper hurricanes (well, maybe a couple of times a year it reaches the official definition) but we do get heavy, prolonged Atlantic gales. These are the end result of those storms that twist from West Africa across the Atlantic and then – if they don’t make landfall in the Americas – drag their bloated selves north-east to reach and dump upon their first landfall.

    So anything from thrice to ten times a year it really blows – say a relentless 45mph for about 12 hours, gusting up to 100mph at times. With lesser gusts and sustained speeds for a good while before and especially after the long big blow. In early winter they tend to come in at as night falls and you know you’re in for it until tomorrow teatime at least.

    One example of what these can do is this:

    So – anyway, a trappy way of saying ‘I know what its like.’

    Look after each other.

  82. 82

    I’m at the top of NY, 20 miles south on the NY side, where NY meets Vermont,almost in the Adirondack Park.

    We are expecting the very edge of the storm,as you can see from the picture. We have closed our pool early due to the storm.
    1-4 inches of rain, 30-40 MPH winds with gusts from 40-60 MPH.
    My son is in Penn and my daughter in MA.
    We all will be affected by the storm, my kids the worst. We live in a rural area and will be fine, they were told to expect power outages of 7-10 days

  83. 83
    Alexandra (née Audley)


    We’re expecting maybe an inch of rain and some strong winds.

    Really? That’s it? Damn.

    We’re in for 4 to 8 inches of rain with high winds. The sky has gone all wonky and the wind has picked up within the last hour or so.

    Mr Darkheart is camping. He hasn’t called me yet, which means he hasn’t left yet. If the storm doesn’t kill him, I will.

  84. 84
    David Utidjian

    Well I have been set for days:
    Booze: check
    MREs: check
    Good food: check
    Water: check
    Full tank of gas: check
    Loaded and charged up Kindle: check
    Laundry all done: check
    Good books: check
    All lawn furniture and other window seeking missiles put away in the garage: check
    Charged up flashlights and lanterns (all LED): check

    I am in Northern NJ and on high ground. We weathered Floyd back in 1999 pretty easily here. The main problem for me is going to be extended power outages. In fact, I think the main problem for everyone is going to be extensive power outages. Yes… getting flooded out is worse, but that only happens to thousands. Extensive power outages affects millions and one just can’t get anything done unless one is a low-tech farmer.

    Main storm isn’t due here for another twelve hours. Just drizzling right now.

    It is going to be bad for some people but I am hoping that it will lose its fizz quickly.

    All in all this seems to have been better handled and attended to by the authorities than Katrina was. We shall see.

  85. 85
    Dean Buchanan

    @78 idragosani

    Brookeville/Olney. My daughter lives in Germantown and attends UM.

    Society of Art Rock huh? Sounds interesting.

  86. 86

    Suggested preparation idea – (if it is not too late)- line buckets with a plastic bag for use as a toilet. If you have access to kitty litter, sawdust or dirt then add a bit every so often to keep smell down and mop up liquids. If you put many bags layered in the bucket it makes it easier to move to the next layer and also deal with bags with holes in them. Don’t allow to fill too much (I know – obvious), tie if possible and place in heavy plastic bag for disposal later. This keeps the pressure off the sewage system until electricity/water is restored. Keep hand cleanser/ soap and bowl of water near by lower chance of gastro issues.

    All the best everyone.

  87. 87

    Still waiting for the storm here in RI. It’s been raining on and off all day.

    I wonder why the far right hasn’t said that hurricanes don’t exist. There just a vention of the libril elete.

    Then you don’t have to pay up when hurricanes are wreaking havoc.

  88. 88
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Dear people in CT towns/areas that have been evacuated who won’t leave:

    Please leave. There are shelters to go to, and many accept pets. The town will help you. The mayor of East Haven is very kind and concerned about you, but people are also concerned about rescue personnel. People keep talking about their worry that the rescue workers won’t be able to get to you when it’s too late, but they’ll probably still try, risking their lives when this could have been avoided. Please evacuate. It’s the right thing to do for yourselves and others.

    Thank you,


  89. 89
    RW Ahrens

    Hi, Dean (#75)

    Rockville here. Aspen Hill, to be more precise. Raining rather desultorily here with just the occasional wind gust. Pretty boring, actually, but the weather service says for us to expect the worse from 10 pm on through sometime in the morning.

    Bathtubs full, water and other drinks stored (including wine and scotch) food ready, including the gas stove we can light with a lighter, so we won’t starve. Pepco called and said they were ready for the storm. Tree cutting crews spend all this last week in out neighborhood cutting trees (well, butchering them, actually) so hopefully, it may take longer for the power to go out.

    It’s been frustrating, the US weather service released two warnings besides the flood for our area earlier – one a hurricane advisory and the other a tropical storm warning. so which is it, guys, hurricane force winds or not?


    I’m a member of WASH, and hold monthly discussion groups at my home – see us on Meetup.com.

  90. 90

    Moderate rainfall here in Cambridge, Massachusetts. No noticeable wind yet, and no power outages or anything. I’m holed up in my dorm room with emergency rations (granola bars, Ritz crackers, bread, Diet Coke, etc.) ready to ride out the storm.

  91. 91
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    And rain has started in the Albany area of NY.

    Mr Darkheart can’t get home fast enough. :/

  92. 92

    Hi Melody,

    Great work at CFI…

    (you are that Melody right? I mean, how many could there be in DC?)

    That’s me. Thanks!

  93. 93

    Oh, Audley, I hope Mr. D. gets home soon or you hear that he’s found somewhere to stay for the duration of the storm! :(

  94. 94
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Sigh, not that hurricanes aren’t significant weather events, as the worst thunderstorm in Dah YooPee was a remnant from a hurricane, but you get all this time to prepare. The Midwest weather tends to be faster and more localized. A thunderstorm, a supercell in minutes, boom, 80+ mph winds, with significant tree damage and power outages, and then gone within a few minutes, except for a clean up. Hope the ComEd guys help you on the East coast out…

  95. 95
    Lynna, OM

    My daughter lives in Battery Park City. She evacuated to a friend’s apartment earlier today.

    Interesting tidbits:

    - Cabbies knew Battery Park City was being evacuated so getting a cab was easy. It was an army of cab drivers that aided the evacuation.

    - Early this morning the river was high and swelling ominously next to Battery Park, but there were no breakers. You could feel Hurricane Irene pushing all that water up the Hudson.

    - Looking upriver, one could see all the boats headed up the Hudson, looking for shelter. It was impressive to see the tall ships headed upriver.

    - In small New York apartments with one large window, there’s no place to safely stash one’s stuff.

    - Rain and hail in NYC so far.

  96. 96
    Brett McCoy

    @89 (rwahrens) — Hey, cool been meaning to meetup with more local skeptics, atheists and humanists. Heading over to your website right nows…

  97. 97

    I hope all you guys are ok. I lived in Taiwan for five years and we got typhoons every summer, several of them ususally. But for that very reason things were set up to cope and the worst thing was that the electricity went out and the A/C stopped working. The power was always back in a day or two. Actually the worst thing was the noise, unbelievably loud with endless crashing and banging. The flooding was a nuisance too.

    I was just curious to know why eggs need to be boiled? They don’t go off that fast, you can leave an egg out of the fridge for a few weeks with no problem, assuming it’s reasonably fresh in the first place.

    Good luck.

  98. 98

    Audley, hope it takes awhile for the rain to build up until Mr. Audley is home. Central state NY still clear; we’re not supposed to get it until about 2am or so.

  99. 99
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Thanks. I just checked the weather map and it looks like there are several bands of heavy rain that are moving through ahead of the storm proper, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that he’ll get home safe and soon.

  100. 100
    Alexandra (née Audley)


    Audley, hope it takes awhile for the rain to build up until Mr. Audley is home. Central state NY still clear; we’re not supposed to get it until about 2am or so.

    Thanks for that update! That makes me feel a little better.

    And Mr Darkheart should be walking through the door any minute now.

  101. 101

    And Mr Darkheart should be walking through the door any minute now.


    Things have suddenly gotten very quiet here…

  102. 102

    Yay for any minute now!

    *watches virtual door impatiently*

    I just read that Riker’s Island, where there is a prison, isn’t being evacuated. Even though it’s an island and all. Why? Because they never made a plan for how to evacuate it if needed. So suck it, prisoners! You’re disposable. Seriously, some things make me want the apes to take over because maybe they’d do it better.

  103. 103
    chigau (0_0)

    Cooking the eggs now saves you the trouble of not being able to cook them later.

  104. 104
    John D Stackpole

    Aren’t any of you folks “scientists” that take, yu-know, “measurements’?

    Roughly 2 inches in the raingage in my backyard (PG County, just south of DC) since it began raining in earnest (and in PG County) at about noon. Wet but not overwhelming, so far.

  105. 105
    chigau (0_0)


    So suck it, prisoners! You’re disposable.

    They are also in a concrete bunker (I think).
    They may be safer than anyone else.

  106. 106
    chigau (0_0)

    John D Stackpole @104
    Did you have a point?

  107. 107

    We had about 10 minutes of rain a couple of hours ago, and now nothing. It’s supposed to really ‘hit’ around midnight, so we’ll see. Thanks for the well wishes.

  108. 108
    RW Ahrens

    idragosani (#96)

    Cool! the numbers have been growing, so be sure to RSVP, so we have a good idea of how many will show up. Heck, if we get enough, we may have to start looking for some outside venue!

  109. 109

    Good luck to all.

    Hope it’s not too scary – if you do get blown downunder to Australia (Aus, not Oz) I’ve got a spare bedroom you can use…

  110. 110
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Mr Darkheart is home!

  111. 111

    So far, in North Central Baltimore (almost to the city line, almost right in the middle), indistinguishable from any other eight hours of light rain and light wind, although both rain and wind are slowly picking up.

    BTW, it’s not Pertwee, it’s Hartnell. Indeed, the very first story arc, An Unearthly Child, which I had never seen before. Quite like it, actually.

  112. 112

    Mr Darkheart is home!


  113. 113
    chigau (667)

    re Mr. Audley

  114. 114

    Indeed, the very first story arc, An Unearthly Child, which I had never seen before. Quite like it, actually.

    The AV Club has done some good reviews of classic Who. Here’s An Unearthly Child

  115. 115

    @68: doh! Well, tough, because I still will. Also, nice wine choice for Armageddon.

  116. 116
    Alexandra (née Audley)


  117. 117
    Dean Buchanan

    @rwahrens #89

    Joined the WASH meetup…

    which is textually ironic on this day really

  118. 118
    Markita Lynda, admirer of roadkill

    Remember to stay away from the windows and any spot overhung by a tree — if possible. Good luck, all! Stay cozy.

  119. 119
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Today, I was on a train excursion. We had breezes and clouds. And the clouds were incredible. At least three layers, all moving at different speeds. On the drive home, the same. The clouds in storms like this are amazing.

    We are expecting 2 to 6 inches of rain (much more will fall east of WB) and about 14 hours of 25 to 40 mph sustained winds (with much higher gusts). We have already cancelled the train rides for Sunday at the park. But, as of right now, I still have to work on Friday. Er, Sunday to all of you calendarists.

    Be safe. Be sober. Be dry. Be safe.

  120. 120

    Just from looking at the storm track at NYTand Google, I think Multibore will get a perhaps slightly more intense version of Wilkes/Barre Ogvorbis weather, essentially getting grazed rather than taking a flesh wound.

  121. 121
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    storm music

  122. 122

    Happy Camper gives good advice. The community barbecue is just what happened in my neighborhood after Isabel. I myself have a grill, a bag of briquettes, and a bag of chunk.

  123. 123
    RW Ahrens


    Cool, the more the merrier!

  124. 124

    Washington declared a state of emergency. Days earlier, buildings had been evacuated after an earthquake rattled the D.C. area. (AP News)

    A quake of calamity, followed by a tempest of tribulation.

    The Almighty is on the warpath!

    That kid never should’ve questioned Rick Perry about evolution.

    Oh, it probably also has something to do with gays wanting to marry.

    (Of course, these events could be the products of natural forces — with a sound, scientific explanation — and have nothing to do with ancient myths. But that’s just crazy talk!)

  125. 125

    But Happy Camper is not the only one who gives good advice.

    If, by 2:00 a.m. or so (whenever Irene is paralleling Baltimore), nothing is untoward, I will just end up sleeping upstairs.

  126. 126

    Hello from central Connecticut! Part of the reason I moved to New England was to avoid hurricanes. I lived for a couple years with my parents in central Florida (on the eastern side) and went through Hurricane Wilma when she hit as a category 3. I never wanted to do that again. Luckily, Irene will be much diminished when she hits here, but now I’m a homeowner and it’s actually much scarier!

  127. 127

    I think we need a thread for people to chat about the thrills and annoyances and reassure everyone that they haven’t been whirled up into the sky and splatted down in Oz.

    I must point out PZM’s error.

    Hurricanes are the things that cause innocent people and gangsters to be trapped in hotels, with ensuing melodrama.

    Tornadoes are the things that cause vivid hallucinations (in widescreen technicolor).

  128. 128
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Looked up the predicted path of Irene since the Redhead’s BFF just moved to the Poconos. Looks like a graze to me, whereas her cousin on Long Island is in deep doo-doo.

  129. 129

    OK, wind definitely picking up, lightning and thunder and pouring rain.

  130. 130

    The Almighty is on the warpath!

    That kid never should’ve questioned Rick Perry about evolution.

    Oh, it probably also has something to do with gays wanting to marry.

    I think TET a couple of iterations ago made it quite clear what’s happening here: “Det är bögarnas fel”

  131. 131

    Well, power’s in and out over Staten Island NY. I’ve still got power, but my friends have had it going on and off. The wind and rain is starting to pick up over here as well. It’s getting interesting!

  132. 132
    Crudely Wrott

    Hello. Checking in from the New Hampshire seacoast region. Here in Exeter it began to rain gently at about five this afternoon. It has been on and off since. *It’s quarter to midnight now*

    No wind yet, wait, I’ll go out and check — Nope. No wind now. Forecasters (what is it that they throw?) say that the winds should be picking up by slowly overnight and lasting throughout tomorrow. We are in for gale force winds with near hurricane gusts.

    Some time later tonight I’m moving my van out from under the tall pines alongside Youngest Brother’s house and into the middle of a parking lot nearby. I sure don’t need a branch or whole tree on top of it just now.

    Having been through several storms along the Gulf Coast and one right here in the Granite State (Carol, 1955. Stole my tricycle, it did, and I’m still pissed off), my worry quotient has been dropping all day long. We will end up picking up the pieces and getting on with life. with the chorus of, “Well, it could have been a lot worse”.

    If I stay awake I’ll give ya’ll an update later.

  133. 133
    'Tis Himself

    We’ve still got ‘trons running through the wires. How long that’ll continue is anyone’s guess. We’re no longer just getting outliers any more. The wind is 20 kts gusting to 40 kts. The barometric pressure is 29.66 in (1004.39 millibars) and dropping rapidly.

  134. 134
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    It’s getting bad.

    Hang in there, ‘Tis.

  135. 135
    'Tis Himself

    You too, SC.

  136. 136
    Rawnaeris, Lulu Cthulhu

    Good luck all you East Coasters. Stay safe and I hope ya’ll aren’t without power for too long.

  137. 137
    Crudely Wrott

    Wow. I mean, Son o’ Mother of Dog! this is a big storm.

    North to South it now reaches from Montreal, Canada to North Carolina. West to East, from Akron, Ohio to at least St. Johns, Newfoundland!

    Lots of heavy rain in PA, NJ, DE, MD, CT, RI and MA.

    It’s just after one AM here in SE NH and just now there is now wind at all and the rain has abated, just drops falling from trees and eaves. Eerie. Portentous. The good thing is that the temperature has dropped into the tolerable seventies. (Why anyone would want the air any hotter than seventy five degrees escapes me. Maybe some people just like sweating without moving. Oh, well.)

    My brother, smart fellow that he is, has a generator and gas at the ready should they be needed. At least we can keep the beer cold.

    My sincere hopes for safe tomorrows for all of you getting hammered now; we here will no doubt have to hunker down before long.

    More to come . . .

  138. 138

    Still wet here. The ‘rents are without power, and I just got off the phone with them, convincing them that it made no sense at this hour to send the youngest brother out to the shed to get the generator to hook up. Fortunately, they have LED lanterns and cereal, so I think they’ll be fine until morning, even if my father can’t watch old movies. :D

  139. 139

    Good luck.

  140. 140
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Tis, Bill, SC. . .I hope you’re all doing OK. Nothing has started here in northern Vermont, and we won’t likely get it as bad as you all. Please do check in with us, as you can, so we know you’re OK.

  141. 141
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    (I’m kicking myself that I didn’t think to say this before): Any Pharyngulites flooded out of their homes can come stay with me if you can get to Vermont. Email is spokesgay at gee mail dot com.

  142. 142
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    (I’m kicking myself that I didn’t think to say this before): Any Pharyngulites flooded out of their homes can come stay with me if you can get to Vermont.

    Oh, sure – now you say. :P

    I’m all alone! (I actually have people nearby, but it’s raining like mad. It’s getting a little freaky, and I’m not even at the coast like ‘Tis…)

  143. 143
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    I know, right, SC? It hasn’t started here yet, of course. But seriously, if you need a place to get away to, my guest room is yours. Though we’re supposed to get wind and flooding tomorrow, I’m sure it won’t be as bad as for those on the coast. I’ve got plenty of canned goods and candles. :)

  144. 144

    So they’ve suspended public transport in New York because it’s like, raining ?

    Good on you Josh, and stay safe everyone !

  145. 145
    Crudely Wrott

    Five to three in the morning. After a half-hour respite the rain has begun again. A soaking rain, not hard. Still no real wind although at the surface the air is definitely moving east to west as the north side of the storm moves through the area.

    I hear and see that some places are in the throes of the storm and that we haven’t really begun to experience Irene’s power in my neighborhood. Tomorrow will be a different story, I’ve no doubt.

    Eyelids getting heavy . . . nephew in next room being quiet.

  146. 146
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    So they’ve suspended public transport in New York because it’s like, raining ?


    Don’t you have a date, dipshit? :P

  147. 147

    And the clouds were incredible. At least three layers, all moving at different speeds.

    I once saw the bottom layer moving in the opposite direction of the top layer. Cumulus moving to the right, cirrus to the left. No idea if this happens often or not. Haven’t seen it since.


    Heavy showers yesterday. I have no rain gauge out (I think that is what John D Stackpole was getting at / interested in), but it sure looked like a hell of a lot (or is that ‘helluvalot’?).

    Then again, I’m in Western Europe.


    So just stay safe, all. Good night, and good luck.

  148. 148
    SC (Salty Current), OM


  149. 149
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    But seriously, if you need a place to get away to, my guest room is yours.

    You’re so sweet.

  150. 150
    Crudely Wrott

    Four thirty AM. Nothing dramatic. Wind keeps rising and falling, rain in fits and starts.

    Soon to bed to wake to worse.

    There is that deep, closely held excitement . . .

  151. 151

    Rain in New York City
    Sticking out your tongue at God, or tasting the rain? You decide.

  152. 152

    I only have one thing to add to all the good advice above: even a near miss from a natural disaster can be fucking stressful. Take care of your mental health in the days following.

    Stay safe everyone.

  153. 153
    'Tis Himself

    Here in my corner of southeastern Connecticut we still have power and we still have internet connections. The eye of Irene is near New York City.

    Winds from the east 35 kts gusting to 55 kts. Barometric pressure 29.22 inches/989.5 millibars. Heavy rain.

  154. 154
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Well, Irene decided to come for a visit sometime after I went to bed last night.

    I still have power, but there are sections of the city that don’t. One of our suburbs (which is on the Mohawk river) has started to flood and trees are down all over the place.

    We’re not supposed to get the worst of it until about 2:00* this afternoon.

    *Or 1400, if you’re ‘Tis. :P

  155. 155
    Randide, "Fools admire everything in an author of reputation"

    [1940sVoice] Dateline Walpole, Mass. [/1940sVoice]

    Not going to pretend that “Pffft, this is nothing,” but as of now it’s a very nice rain storm. The winds are gusting fairly decently, but in my unofficial capacity, I would just call this a “heavy downpour.”

    That doesn’t bring any level of comfort to the ex-tree in the backyard or to the blood pressure level of my car. Looked like the car tried to catch the tree before it fell, but luckily it was just all leaves and branches. Probably some scratches, but no real damage.

    Hope everyone else is safe.

  156. 156
    Brett McCoy

    I am happy to report that we lost power for 2 hours last night, the only inconvenience was it happened right in the middle of watching an episode of Mythbusters (dammit!). The cats, of course, didn’t seem to mind and, for some reason, thought I was walking around the house with a flashlight just to feed them. And no prayers were needed!

    Hopefully we will finish watching Mythbusters this morning. I need to find out what happens!

  157. 157
    myeck waters

    Made it through the new Dr. Who, went to bed, fell asleep around 11pm and slept like a rock up to 8am. First decent night’s sleep in a week.

    The worst part of the storm was having to walk into the rain to convince our dog to step out and take a leak. What a wimp!

  158. 158
    Ava, Oporornis maledetta

    Rorschach, shutting down the trains is more because of the high winds, leading to (a) downed trees across above-ground tracks and (b) loss of power to subway system with tens of thousand of people underground–not good.

  159. 159
    'Tis Himself

    It’s stopped raining here, although it’s still windy. We lost power momentarily a couple of times but never for more than a minute.

    Winds from the south-southeast at 35 kts gusting to 45 kts. Barometric pressure 29.06 inches/984.0 millibars.

    We’ve only had one problem. Cranking the refrigerator up to high seems to have done something to it. The freezer part is working fine, the refrigerator part isn’t refrigerating.

  160. 160
    Ava, Oporornis maledetta

    Wind getting severe in Boston. Time to get out the Red Cross crank-up radio.

  161. 161
    'Tis Himself

    Irene has now exited southern New England and is being exported to Canada. No need to thank us, Canadians, sharing is what being a neighbo(u)r is all about.

  162. 162
    onion girl, OM; social workers do it with paperwork

    Well, Irene came and went with just a whimper here–we lost power at some point during the night, but it was back on this morning. Best wishes to everyone still in Irene’s path.

    And all the local DC/MD/VA folks checking in here, a group of us get together every month/every other month for Smithsonian trips & other events. Email me if you’re interested in joining us: oniongirlsays at google mail dot com.

  163. 163

    Baltimore seems to have made it through. Scathed, but through.

    Just after my prior missive, the power went out. Came back on after ten seconds, but I thought it best to just shut down at that point.

    Took a morning walk through the neighborhood. At least six big trees down – one resting against a neighbor’s house several houses up the hill from us. Around that corner a magnificent specimen down across the street. Four other big trees seen either across the street on across lawns. One crushed car.

    Up the other side of the hill,one tree had fallen across power lines, pulling a whole row of poles off vertical.

    Power is spotty. We had power most of the time (had another several-second glitch a couple hours after the one that I first mentioned) but whole swathes of the neighborhood are without it. Traffic lights are mostly out.

  164. 164
    Dean Buchanan

    Power just returned and the sky is beautiful and blue with puffy white clouds. The neighbors and I were out cleaning up leaves, the kids are playing, no one’s home is damaged.
    Happy Happy.

  165. 165
    myeck waters

    The local Asian takeout place is open and delivering, but Home Depot is closed, which is a bit of a drag because I’ve got about an inch of water in my cellar and my supplemental pump isn’t working.

  166. 166

    Central New York – haven’t had winds above about 25 mph, but constant rain since the wee hours of the morning and several creeks/rivers are flooding, some to the point of evacuating residents alongside.

  167. 167

    ‘Tis @ 59
    If you have a side by side refrigerator, there is a device at the top of the common wall called the damper door. When the refrigerator side of the unit call for “cold”, it opens and a small fan blows air from the freezer compartment into the frig side. Possibly the door or the fan have accumulated enough frost to cause them to stick. You might try using a hair dryer to warm the freezer side of the damper door. It might work — no guarantees.

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