Goodnight, Irene…

 Hurricane Irene got more advanced billing than any visiting celebrity in recent memory.  We were hearing about the coming of Irene for over a week before she finally made her grand entrance into New England on Sunday, 28 August 2011.  For those of us who weathered the storm well, with little or no damage, and nothing to show for it but a damp and humid day spent indoors watching sheets of rain and dancing trees through picture windows, we tend to roll our eyes and shake our heads at the over-the-top hype presented by newscasters all week that whipped the general populace into a frenzy.  BUT…

For the people to the west of the hurricane track (CT, western MA, VT, etc.), the volume of water that fell (10-20 inches in a 12-hour period) caused – and is still causing – unimaginable hardships.  Rivers cresting up to 20 feet above flood-stage, cars swept away, houses and businesses destroyed, and worse.  For them, Irene was not over-hyped at all.  It could have very easily been us.

The VOGTs dodged two bullets with that storm.   All my pre-hurricane prep at the FamilyTreeHouse must’ve kept calamities from striking – Saturday I fired up the generator to test it out, ran an extension cord from the generator in the garage out to the sump pump outside the below-grade back door to keep the sump pump running and keep the finished basement from flooding, dug out the candles and flashlights, pulled the chairs and the plants in from the deck, and laid the deck umbrella down on its side.  We never lost power, and nothing blew off the deck.

We got probably 4-5 inches of rain (enough to flood the basement if the sump pump wasn’t working, but we’ve seen worse), and 40-50 mph wind gusts at times (I’m guessing).  No tree damage on our property.  Half a tree was lost across the street from us, but the city workers showed up about 45 minutes after it fell to cut up and cart away that part that was blocking the street.  The recently-applied new waterproofing on the deck held up admirably.  All in all we survived unscathed; the ground-fault outlet on the deck didn’t even trip!  I got a look at the roof the morning after to see if we lost any shingles, and we didn’t.

Photos and videos from the FamilyTreeHouse during the hurricane…

Lynn stayed up at the Ballot Box in Newcastle Maine for the storm, and it was almost as uneventful there.  She lost power about 5 pm but it was back within a few hours.  I have the cable modem and the router on a UPS so she was able to stay online even though the house power was out.  A lot of rain and a fair amount of wind, but no damage, and even the hummingbirds were coming to the one feeder she left out (anchored tightly to the hook) during the height of the storm!

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