I've always been a big believer in the phrase "timing is everything." Had we been on vacation this week instead of last, we would have been driving home in the middle of Hurricane Irene and probably sitting in horrendous traffic to boot. So instead we're here at home, just waiting for the beeyatch to arrive. At this writing on Saturday afternoon, it's raining steadily here. The winds and real nasty stuff is supposed to arrive overnight or tomorrow morning.
Of course, the media's going into overdrive on this one, although the forecasts have admittedly been calling for a massive storm to hit the East Coast. It's making its way through the Carolinas right now. As we all know, these storms can change direction fairly quickly. We could get slammed, we could just get some rain and wind.
We've had some nasty storms whip through here in the past. In September 1985, I had just started my freshman year at UNH when Hurricane Gloria paid a visit. It was a Category 1 hurricane and the worst to hit the area in 25 years. In my dorm, we had to tape "X"'s on our windows and were told that we had to huddle in one wing of the dorm without windows during the height of the storm. I ended up going over to the all-girls dorm across the quad to hang out with a friend of mine from high school (and all of her cute friends). As it turned out, we got some high winds and rain, but no damage to speak of.
Hurricane Bob in August 1991 was much worse in terms of damage. I was a reporter for the Peabody Times and drove around during the storm, witnessing fallen power lines and the like. The so-called Perfect Storm that October did even more damage locally, killing the crew of the Andrea Gail off the coast of Gloucester (as documented in the crappy George Clooney movie) but also ripping up trees and blasting the hell out of the coastline.
We tend to get hurricanes after they've already expended most of their energy on the southern part of the East Coast. With any luck, we'll just get a little wet and wild around here tomorrow. In New York City, they're not taking any chances. The storm is being predicted to slam the city, so they've already shut down all mass transit, canceled ballgames, evacuated folks and are prepared for whatever apocalyptic hellscape may transpire. Here, we're just chilling and hoping the power doesn't go out.