Hurricane Irene Log

by Jim Gerrish

08/27/11 - Saturday - 10:00 AM. I begin a tricycle ride around East Orange, photographing "before" photos of the taller buildings and most hurricane prone structures (in my opinion) that I can find to photograph. I will use these photos if needed to compare damage after the hurricane has passed. With any luck, it will be minor damage.

08/27/11 - Saturday - 11:15 AM. Light rain begins to fall in East Orange. Nothing serious yet.

08/27/11 - Saturday - 01:20 PM. The rain is now the typical heavy rain of a serious storm. People are running to get in out of the rain. It is strange to watch the clouds circling from east to west instead of their usual path from west to east.

08/27/11 - Saturday - 08:45 PM Heavy rain alternates with periods of light rain, but never quite stopping all afternoon and into the evening. The sump hole in the cellar has about a half inch of water in it, showing the ground is saturated, but not enough yet to activate the automatic sump pump. The rain seems to be falling straight down, not on a slant, and the trees are not waving about, so there is not much wind... yet.

08/27/11 Saturday - 11:45 PM. Power went out so I had no way to update this log. There was a lot of heavy rain and my cellar finally flooded when the sump pump solar generator batteries ran out of power. I need a larger array of batteries for long term problems of this nature, but fortunately it doesn't happen often.

I was very impressed with the way the police patrolled the city. They reported some heavy flooding on Sanford Street and had a sanitation truck out in no time to fix the problem. I assume it was the same in the rest of the city.

08/28/11 Sunday - 2:30 PM. After previously being told by PSE&G that it would probably take a week to restore electric power, the power resumed around 2:30 PM. I guess they figure no one will complain if the power comes on a lot earlier than expected. Sump pump cleaned out the cellar promptly. I took a trip around East Orange on my tricycle and only saw some fallen branches, nothing very large.

Neighbors stopped by, checking on one another and passing news about the power. Everyone seemed well prepared. I can remember when hurricanes were shrouded in mystery- there was no real weather service reporting and it was anyone's guess where it was going or how long it was going to stay. Even if Hurricane Irene had been stronger than it turned out to be, I feel we were better informed, better able to communicate, better able to take care of ourselves than during the hurricanes that happened in the past. For example, in the "Huricane of 1756" there is no tracking of the storm except as it struck, seeming to come out of nowhere.

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