Notes from the Hurricane Irene weekend...
* We had overnight guests on Saturday when our friends Stephan and Joi and their daughter Shelby were among the many Long Islanders faced with the mandatory evacuation of their homes. They had gotten a reservation at a motel that, once they arrived, they described as "sketchy at best." Prepared to go to one of the numerous shelters opened up around the island, they called Laurie who said, "Come here. We'll have a barbecue." (We didn't have a barbecue; Stephan insisted on treating us to dinner, so we had Chinese takeout instead.)
On Sunday, after the brunt of the storm had passed, they decided they wanted to head home. A call to the police department resulted in a response that their street was under four feet of water. But then Joi spoke to a neighbor who had not evacuated, who walked over to their house and reported back that there was no water at all. So they headed home; their house was dry, albeit without electricity.
* One of the two big maple trees in front of our next door neighbor's house was blown over by the wind. It fell across the street and came to rest on the power lines... which sagged substantially but did not snap. In the late afternoon, a crew arrived to cut the tree apart. They did it quickly and efficiently and without the power ever going out.
We were amazed by the number of people who came -- on foot and in cars -- to take photos of the tree. A couple of particularly foolish ones chose to climb onto the tree to have their picture taken, despite warnings that it was resting on live wires.
* Chuck and Rebecca weathered the storm with evacuee guests as well, their close friend Dave and his sister Mai. Meanwhile, Sammi and her housemate Vanessa had left their home in Virginia about two hours ahead of a mandatory evacuation being announced and had a very nice weekend in the Shenandoah Valley -- a perfect example of making lemonade out of life's lemons. They got home this afternoon to find the flood waters receded (with no damage to the house) and electric power restored.
* Meantime, the Long Island Power Authority continues to deal with power outages all over LI. The total was about 475,000 customers (that's homes and businesses, not people) without power at the peak yesterday. It was at about 371,000 when I checked it recently, one-third of their total customers.
Though we did not lose power this time, we have in past storms (including one occasion when our block was in the dark while the houses directly behind us were fine), so I can certainly sympathize with those people still waiting for it to be restored. And it is very frustrating to have no definitive answer about when it will happen.
Still, venting in a venomous rage on the LIPA website, as some folks have done, is not going to make anything happen any faster. One poster carries on because he read on someone's blog that they drove past a LIPA truck where the crew was sitting and eating; apparently, these men and women should not be allowed a meal break until all the power is restored. (It is interesting to note that, despite the lack of electricity, these disgruntled folks have managed to post some incredibly long diatribes.)
So now the storm has gone and we will await the next "disaster" on Mother Nature's agenda. Locusts, perhaps?