Yup, that looks pretty mean and it’s headed right for us. Expected landfall is sometime tomorrow night or early Sunday morning. All week we’ve been watching various computer models adjust the predicted track for this storm and as it moved further and further west with New York in its sights, it became apparent to all of us that right off the heels of one of our first earthquakes, we are about to experience our very first hurricane. Lifelong residents here have been talking about how they’ve never been in one, so this is going to be an interesting experience for all of us.
New York State has declared a state of emergency. Mass transit is already scheduled to be shut down entirely tomorrow starting at noon. I know it’s difficult for non-New Yorkers to imagine why that’s such a big deal, but let me put it this way: it’s more uncommon for someone in the Metro area to own a car than not. Those of us without cars in the actual city outnumber those of us with them. In other words, without mass transit, we’re stuck in our respective neighborhoods/boroughs. The Mayor has ordered mandatory evacuation of all zone A parts of the city and the Rockaways, which are actually a zone B. I live in zone C, which triggers a mandatory evacuation in cat-3 or 4 storms (I learned all of this in a crash course I gave myself during the past 48 hours when it became clear we were going to get nailed by Irene), so those of us in C should be okay.
Amusingly enough, when I left the store where I had purchased batteries for a flashlight, a can opener (how I didn’t have one of these is beyond me), candles, a lighter, etc., I noticed that everyone on the street had bags of something; bottled water, paper towels (not sure what use those will be, but hey), flashlights, the whole nine yards. Say what you want about New Yorkers but when something serious goes down, we listen to what to do and we listen well. 😉
Ultimately, there’s no reason to believe that this is going to be catastrophic. Even if it remains a cat-2 storm, I don’t suspect there will be a serious loss of life despite how many people live here and how concentrated we are. Bloomberg and Cuomo are not messing around with precautions, and that’s really the best way to go about it. It’s possible that the bridges may get closed as well, so really the best thing we can all do is bunker down and stay there. My office has already declared that we will most likely be closed on Monday (if the hurricane pounds us all day Sunday and the trains don’t resume service until Monday or later, there’s no way we’re all getting back to work). Honestly I’m more worried about what will happen if the power and gas lines get knocked out by Irene. If that does happen, then my phone will be kept off in order to conserve battery life, so it is entirely plausible that all New Yorkers will be off the grid for a few days. In other words, don’t panic if I disappear from the internets…the kitteh and I will be bunkered down riding out our first hurricane experience ever. Behold Toni’s “are you kidding me with this hurricane business?” face:
In non-hurricane, yet somewhat hurricane related news, this weekend entails a half marathon distance long training run and the only opportunity we will have for that is tomorrow morning before the storm hits. The route we’ve chosen has been aptly named for this occasion (the “Hurricane Irene Half Marathon”):
On that note, cheers! I will update after the storm to let you know a) I’m still alive and b) what it was like!