I’m from Florida, so hurricanes aren’t exactly new to me. In fact I was living right in Cutler Ridge when Hurricane Andrew, the granddaddy of modern hurricanes, destroyed the home I was living in at the time. So a little baby Category 1 storm like Irene doesn’t exactly have me in a panic.
And yet New York isn’t Florida. The building codes are different, people here aren’t used to hurricanes, and, most relevant to me, there are actually basements here. Basements that can flood. Basements like the one my studio apartment is located in. And my apartment is prone to flooding anyway, having already flooded twice in the two years I’ve lived in it.
So steps needed to be taken, Category 1 or not. Saturday was prep day, and my landlord and I did what we could to prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Irene. My back door, which is generally where water seeps in, was covered in black tarp and sand bagged. All my potted plants got brought into my house. Electronics were put on tables, chairs, and other furniture. My bed, which sits on a box spring on the floor, was raised up on bricks.
I also filled a couple bottles with water and bought a few canned goods and candles, just in case. My supermarket was just about cleared out of water, flashlights and most candles, though I was able to buy a small amount of everything except the flashlight. Even regular sized seltzer bottles had been bought out. The people of New York are apparently preparing for both flood and draught.
Not that there initially seemed to be much need for all that prep work. Until shortly before 8 pm, there wasn’t even anything but a drizzle happening. Right around the pre-8 o’clock mark the first serious rain band swept across my neighborhood. From that point on, the weather alternated between pounding rain and moody drizzle. That continued throughout the evening until I fell asleep around midnight. When I woke up the next day, the storm had passed. And happily, I didn’t flood. I didn’t even lose power.
A peek outside showed plenty of leaves down on the sidewalk, but no real damage. One small tree had tipped over and was leaning into a bigger one on the sidewalk. That was the only real sign that there had even been a major storm. Which, to be truthful, was about what I had expected though I was happily surprised that my own apartment hadn’t flooded. Now New Yorkers just have to wait for the subway to be up and running again and we can all just go back to our normal lives. For having had a hurricane and an earthquake all in the same week, the city is looking pretty good.