Hurricane Irene and the East Coast

Following up on my earthquake post, I wanted to write about the hurricane that came along just days afterward.  I’ve written posts and shared photos on weather events in the past; for instance, the big snowfall last winter.  So, although belated, here’s one more weather-related post for now.  I’m starting off with something of historical significance that Hurricane Irene stirred mentions of throughout live reports.

Hearing mention several times of the 1893 storm during The Weather Channel’s coverage of Hurricane Irene reminded me of this photo I took.  I had just noticed the grave for the first time a year or two ago, with it’s ship anchor detail.  Interested in maritime themes myself, it stirred my curiosity.  The grave stone stated that it was a ship captain who was lost at sea.  What I found out later was that it was during another major storm that eventually hit the northeast.  At the time I found that out, it was something I hadn’t expected in the way of maritime history tied to my area; a ship captain lost at sea during a terrible storm.

I found this out through a Google search, and here’s where my potential career should be historian…local finds prompting research.  Anyway, I typed in the ship captain’s name and what info I could read off the grave stone.  One of the search results was a NY Times archive, showing up as “Article 1 — No Title” and had “query.nytimes.com” as the beginning of the link provided.  I would have simply added the link directly, except I’m not sure about the rights to re-use the article.  So, I figured I’d tell how I found the info, for anyone interested in maritime history.  Clicking the blue button that says ‘view full article’ will open up the article in a small-print PDF file.  Anyway, it gave me some info I was looking for on the ship captain buried at a local cemetery.  For a little history on the storm itself, there is a story on Victoriana.

As far as Hurricane Irene goes, my family and I were very concerned for the Outer Banks since we have relatives living there.  Storms like Irene are reasons why the Serendipity Beach House was recently moved.  It gained fans as the house featured in the movie “Nights in Rodanthe,” prior to its move.  The maritime town of Annapolis came to mind as Hurricane Irene coverage went on.  On a visit to Annapolis over the summer, I snapped the next photo, as it indicated the town’s concern regarding storms and flooding.  In one store-front window, I saw a framed photo on display showing an overhead view of Hurricane Isabel’s flooding aftermath in Annapolis.

The storm’s impact on New York City was also of great concern, based on what was predicted.  The city’s evacuation efforts were top notch, from the reports I saw via The Weather Channel.

The evening of Friday, Aug. 26 brought one more chance to go out shopping for food and other storm-related supplies.  I was worried about any lengthy loss of power.  Rain started to fall while heading back to the car with everything.

The scariest moments for me as Hurricane Irene reached Philly and the surrounding areas were the tornado warnings.  They seemed to be all over…Delaware, New Jersey, nearby counties and our own in Pennsylvania…even close together in time.  I’ve seen plenty of alerts this past summer, each one seeming more and more a close call.  This time was no different, because for the first time I saw certain information on my TV screen along with the tornado warnings themselves.  These two things were:

  • the phrase “tornado may already be on the ground”
  • specific instructions on what to do, where to take cover

These scrolled along the bottom of the screen as local Hurricane Irene coverage continued.  To make matters worse, the tornado warnings for my area happened to be at night.  Of course, daytime is bad enough regarding tornado watches and warnings.  I really can’t imagine dealing with severe storms before the technology of these weather alert systems.

I had one tornado experience back in high school.  It began while riding the bus along route 252 southbound on the way home.  One kid who was listening to his headphones repeated to everyone else that a guy on the radio said we were going to have a hurricane.  Of course, that kid just used the wrong word.  So I knew he meant “tornado.”  As our bus continued along the same road, the rain and wind picked up.  The sky was pale except for one area of darkness from sky to ground maybe one or two miles away.  When I first saw it, I had to look toward the back of the bus and through the last passenger window on the right side.  For those not familiar with route 252, it does curve and wind a little bit.  Yet even taking the road’s curves into consideration, the area of darkness quickly caught up so that it was visible directly through the windows across from my seat on the left side of the bus.  The rain was blowing nearly horizontal by the time we got stuck in stand-still traffic on the Springton Reservoir.  I had been eyeing the dark area of sky the whole time, wondering, “Is that what I think it is?”  That, especially after hearing what the one kid repeated and witnessing the wild wind and rain.  I couldn’t see the funnel cloud in great detail, due to the heavy rain.  But when I finally got home, I heard confirmation of a tornado in the area I looked toward from my bus.

There is a record online of an F1 tornado in my county in Sept. ‘93 and another F1 tornado in April ’94.

On the way to campus for the first day of classes this semester, I encountered one detour.  That was in the Media, Pa. area.  Later on in my commute, I saw a three-foot-wide tree trunk on its side in someone’s yard.  A much thinner tree, still standing, had a branch that was snapped with part of it seeming to hang by a thread.  I also saw one house with a lot of repairs being done to the roof.  On the final stretch of road before reaching campus, I saw a badly leaning telephone pole.

In closing, I just have to say that I am thinking of those places hardest hit along the coast through New England.  I hope things will get better soon for everyone affected by such impacts of the storm.

About caroldwyer

A freelance photographer and blogger, I'm also a non-traditional graduate of Cabrini College with a B.A. in communication, minor in English and concentration in film studies. As a student, I was a staff writer, photographer and copy editor for the Loquitur. In my final semester, I assisted in promoting campus literary events for Woodcrest Literary Magazine. I love travel, historic places, nature, wildlife and the arts. I hope to be involved in some way with one of those areas throughout my media career. Currently, I'm pursuing my M.F.A. in creative writing and publishing. Read my film blog at http://cdwyerfilminspired.wordpress.com - and my literary blog at http://cdwyerbookishgrad.wordpress.com
This entry was posted in Beach Houses, History, Maritime, Outer Banks, Philadelphia, Ships, Storms, Weather and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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