I am glad this weekend is over.
I am SO glad this weekend is over.
People across the country are (childishly, if I might add) laughing at the response to a barely-Category 1 hurricane here in New York, but, as a person who has never experienced a hurricane, I will freely admit that I was terrified.
We got word around 2:00 PM on Friday that we would have to evacuate our home by 5:00 PM the next day. While that left us plenty of time to do whatever we had to do to prepare, I could already feel the environment around me getting more and more hysterical. I was volunteering in the PT Department at the nursing home at that point and was watching as they brought in old and/or sick evacuees from the hospital, whose walls fell within the dreaded NYC Flood "Zone A." Hospital beds were being wheeled in to elevators and placed where ever there was room for a patient to ride out the storm. It was unnerving.
The scene became too much for me to deal with, so I headed home without finishing my hours. I was way too strung up.
I definitely overpacked for both myself and my animals, but I wanted to make sure that I had absolutely everything I needed in the event my house was damaged or we needed to stay out of the area for a long time.
For the pets, I had..
- 20 cans of food for Layla plus several pounds of dry food
- Enough cat litter for two or three litter changes, plus the litter box
- 15+ pounds of kibble for Marge
- Several bowls and containers for food, water
- Treats and treat-dispensing toys to keep Marge occupied
- Marge's giant soft crate, Layla's carrier, plus a spare 36" wire crate
- Towels, blankets
- Several leashes and collars including THREE collars with identification information
- All of Marge's important paperwork, including my NYC Dog License, vaccination information, and ownership documents
- Photos of both Marge and Layla
- Medicines/supplements for each of them
.. And God knows what else.
With most of my packing done Friday night, I made the difficult decision to attend the UKC Obedience trial that I had entered for that Saturday. I only stayed for the first trial, but decided that since the weather was safe and my packing was complete, that it would be mentally beneficial for me to stop worrying and remove myself from the chaos of the incoming storm. Marge qualified, despite my extreme stress levels, with a 191, for her UKC Companion Dog (U-CD) title. More on that another time.
I didn't want to leave the trial - I was finally able to relax a bit while there and didn't want to venture back out in to the world. The Mayor was taking this storm seriously and therefore I was as well. I knew the possibility of extreme flooding at my house was possible, depending on the size and strength of the storm when it arrived.
When I got home (approximately 1 PM on Saturday), we prepared my house for the storm. We adorned the basement windows with several towels and taped plastic garbage bags around the inside of them to prevent water from coming in. My dad boarded them up from the outside. We moved all of our valuable items in to closets and away from windows. We disconnected the computers and moved them off of the basement floor. My mother hunted down sand bags at one of the stores and placed them in the yard around the house. We taped up the windows to prevent them from shattering if they did, indeed, crack. We were essentially preparing my house for a worst-case scenario. Overkill? Maybe. But I have truly never experienced a feeling quite like that before.
By about 4 PM, police were blaring sirens in my neighborhood, telling people to GET OUT. It was starting to rain at that point. Long story short, by a bit before 6 PM, we (my mom, sister, Marge, Layla, and me) were at my grandmother's house, which was not in a flood zone, with all of our many things. My dad, as well as several other neighbors, decided to not heed the evacuation warnings and opted to stay with the house.
New York City was already becoming a ghost town. Most businesses were already closed at that point Mass transit would slow to a halt by the following morning. The airports were closing. Bridges and roads were being closed or used only as evacuation routes.
Without getting in to painstaking detail, it was a long night. In addition to the hurricane drama, my grandmother found out that her brother on the West Coast passed away, which, of course, upset her greatly. My mom, sister, and me all opted to (not so comfortably) sleep in the same room. When the lights started to flicker a bit, I opened up Marge's crate and put her in there so I didn't have to worry about knowing where she was if the power went out. We wound up staying up practically all night, watching the TV and checking for updates on the track of the storm. Thankfully, we never lost power. We did feel like we were going to lose our minds.
Around 5:30 AM, being cooped up started to get to Marge. I let her out and she went absolutely wild.. jumping up, panting, yipping and whining a bit. I don't know if that was her way of letting us knew that she felt the storm coming or what. I decided to brave the elements outside at that hour and took her out to pee, on leash. I was extremely worried about the dog pottying situation, since they predicted several hours with strong winds and heavy rains.
8:00 AM was T-time. That's when the tide was at its highest and storm surge would be at its peak. The TV showed video from all over the city of water creeping up on boardwalks, roads, and parking lots near the shore. It was extremely unsettling. We spoke to my dad back at home, and he said that there were no water problems; the surge had not reached my block (which is a half mile from the shore).
Conditions started to improve rapidly from there. Perhaps it was simply because we could exhale a bit after apparently missing the worst of the storm surges that were predicted, but I was definitely much more relaxed at that point. Aside from a few bands of rain and some wind, things died down. We were home by about 3:30 PM.
We did have a lot of damage in the borough. Downed trees, thousands without power, several streets flooded. My block, as well as my grandma's, was spared from the worst of it. Thank goodness. Thank goodness.
On Saturday night, I thought about moving my car in to this driveway.
On Sunday morning, I was glad I didn't!
All of the packing and preparing may not have been put to as much use as we anticipated, but I am glad that we followed the advice of the authorities and got out of our home. I do NOT regret at all taking a few extra safety measures just in case things got bad. You should always prepare for the worst scenario, not the best one. That's what we did, and we were lucky to walk away from Irene without any severe damage. The same cannot be said for some others in our community, our city, and in the neighboring states. It wasn't a storm to screw around with.