Mother Nature 2 – Humans 0 (Part 2)

…ah yes, Hurricane Irene.  What a tale to tell this is.  If you ask The Man Thing, it was a huge disappointment as hurricanes go.  We both remember being in the midst of Hurricane Isabel that came through the area in 2003 when our youngest was just shy of 6 months old at the time.  It was the hurricane that buried our town car in the mud up to the doors and took us two days to get dug out.

Personally, I think Irene packed a hell of a punch too – and found it just more than a bit ironic that we also had an earthquake and a hurricane in 2003 as well – just like we did this year.  I wonder if that is any indication of what we have to look forward to in another 8 years?

I had been doing all that I could for the past week to prepare for the onslaught of Irene – no matter how bad it got – I was going to make sure that we were as prepared as we could be.  All the blankets were washed and at the ready, flashlights dug out from underneath dressers and beds and stocked with fresh batteries.  Water bottled and ready to go, bathtub filled with water, just in case it was needed.  Food we could eat without power was at the ready, and the truck was filled with gas.  It wasn’t everything we should have – but it would get us through for a few days if necessary.  We were hoping that it would not come to that.

Friday I started watching the Weather Channel religiously.  If the guys wanted to watch something else, fine.  I went in the bedroom and watched it there.  I was not about to let this thing sneak up on ME.

When we woke up Saturday morning (I was up around 8am) it was already raining and the wind had picked up some – nothing major, similar to a regular thunderstorm.  The Man Thing woke up shortly afterwards and just barely had time to go through his morning routine before there was a page for emergency maintenance.  Off he went into the rain and the wind and came home about an hour later.  Apparently someone else had the same thought (to fill the bathtub with water for a “just in case” moment) but didn’t turn it off before it overflowed into the apartment below them.

A few minutes after, there was a knock on the door and it was his cousin who lives three buildings down from us.  A tree had fallen in front of the 7205 building and was laying on three cars that were left in the front row of the parking lot.

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I took this image from our front steps as it was pouring down rain.  This is how it looked yesterday morning before the crews were able to come out and get it out of the parking lot.  Thankfully the residents were able to pull their vehicles out from underneath it with minimal damage.

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There were additional calls about leaks here and there, but with the hurricane bearing down on us, there was not much that emergency maintenance could do in the thick of things.  Around 2pm, we had our own tree disaster to contend with.

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I know the date says the 28th – but this actually happened on Saturday, the 27th.  I snapped this picture just moments after it happened.  This tree is directly outside my kitchen window, as well as the boys’ bedroom windows.  None of us heard a sound as it just toppled over from the force of the wind and the heavily saturated ground.  The area in which this tree once stood was a literal pond of water at the time that it fell.

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You can see here (the day after when it was a balmy 90 degrees and the sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky) where the top of the tree landed on the fence which is directly outside our bedroom window.  It did hit the corner of the building on the way down, but I don’t think there is any structural damage to the building – fortunately.

My home phone and internet service went out early Saturday (which I expected due to the heavy cloud coverage and the intense rain) but I still had my trusty TracFone to send text messages on, so I kept in touch with folks that way.  The internet would come back on for a few minutes here and there, so I would post updates and the times I was typing them and sent them to my groups to keep them abreast of what was happening.

Long story short – we survived Hurricane Irene.  We were 100+ miles from the eye of the storm when it passed by us here in Virginia, and for that I am thankful.  We maintained power, for the most part, throughout the entire event – with just a couple of instances where it blinked out for a few seconds but then came right back on.  We never really had a need for the flashlights or the bottled water – but the blankets sure came in handy because the temperature dropped drastically and it was C-O-L-D.  (Of course, that could also be attributed to the fact that The Man Thing would NOT let us cut the A/C off just in case the power did go off so we could keep it cool in the house as long as possible)

Mollyanna and I took a walk around the neighborhood and took photos of the damages – we only had three trees fall near the apartment buildings, quite a few lost branches and their tops in the picnic grove area, and a few of the houses behind our complex suffered some downed trees but for the most part everyone’s homes remained unscathed and they had power as well come Sunday morning.

You can click the link above to view the other photographs that we took, and would love to hear how you survived the 1st major hurricane of the 2011 season.  I’m hoping that it is our first and last here in Virginia for the year.

In addition, all those who suffered flooding and severe damage as a result of this storm, or are without power, my thoughts and prayers are with each of you.  I am still waiting to hear from a few friends who live up north on how they faired but have not been able to get in touch with them either.  Please know that you all are in our thoughts and prayers.

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