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"Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

~Ephesians 5:16

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene, a Tale from a Sideliner

On August 23rd, 2011, a small tremor struck Virginia.

It's impact was felt as far as New Jersey. It lasted no longer than twenty seconds, and we all were joking about it afterward. We thought it was over.

We were wrong.

Four days later on August 27th, the Eastern coast of America was struck by a hurricane dubbed "Irene." North Carolina was evacuated, and all of New Jersey and New York were affected. Floods and strong winds attacked until the morning of August 28th.

Now that I'm done with the Cloverfield-esque intro, I can begin this story.

It's been a strange summer, hasn't it? The rainiest I've ever seen. I never thought it would actually mean something of this magnitude.

I never really paid attention to the news when I was younger. Stuff like this, it kinda forces you to pay attention. It's was and still is all over the main networks. I've never experienced a hurricane, so this was completely new for me. My parents came home stocking with  two 24 pack waters, non-refrigerated food, and other things.

At that moment, I knew this would be something else.

Hearing on the news that this is record breaker for New Jersey was something, but the evacuations got to me.  I was not part of the evac zones, so I can't comment how that felt. As the air got darker and darker August 28th, it felt like an impending doom waiting to attack.

I even tweeted News12 personally and asked how bad this will affect my area, Old Bridge. They gave me a general answer, "All of the state will affected, make preps now!" (Not exactly what I was looking for, but I'll take it.")

Though you might not see it, you could just feel the panic in the air. In the afternoon of August 27th, I saw how fast the cars were zooming toward the about-to-be-closed bridges. In the Wal-Mart parking lot, our car almost collided with another that zoomed past us. When we went inside Lowes, I could see the tension and fear in the air.

My dad originally was going to work on Saturday, from 2 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday. He tried to get someone to cover for him, but no one was available naturally. So, I was tasked with being "man of the house" during this event. (Talk about responsibility.)

I've been a big crisis before. I was in the core of the infamous blackout of 2003. (I think that was the year.) That effected all of New York and its boroughs. I was on the train, and I was pretty young, so that was an interesting thing for me. When the train stopped abruptly and went dark, I did not feel fear, more like "What's going to happen now?" It was a burning summer day, can you imagine walking on the Brooklyn Bridge with over a hundred annoyed people?! That was the hard part.

But this hurricane was different, it was destructive.

The day of arrival, I was just thinking how hard it will hit. It kept raining off and on, almost as if the hurricane was taunting us. At around four, I told everyone we should watch a movie to kill the time. Watched Ghidorah, (my review here: and after, the winds were a heck lot stronger. We have this huge tree in the back, and it was shaking. Soon after, the rain came down HARD. When I'm on the laptop, I'm near the window, so I could feel the hail-like rain striking the ground and window. It felt like doom outside, like something was waiting to swallow you up.

At around 11, watched some TV, and it wasn't raining as hard. After it was done, we put the news back on. Their first exact words were, "The weather is deteriorating , it will get worst."

Well, that was encouraging.

I heard that instead of category 2, it became a 1, which was a relief to the people. However, the news did warn us that expect to be disastrous anyway.

They said starting at midnight it will slowly get worst.

Not to mention there was a tornado watch for my county. When the wind bashes against the doors, you could hear these strange creaks, almost as if the wind was trying to get in. (Okay, enough with the paranoia.)

Well, that's one thing to know while your trying to sleep. When you wake up, will you see a tree in your window? Alas, I pretty much slept through the whole thing. When I awoke at around 10:30, I looked out my window.

Across the street laid an uprooted tree.

Besides that, not too much damage around here. The backyard was basically a mud puddle, my mom said that the worst part of the storm was over.

So it wasn't as bad as predicted. I know a lot of areas where flooded, so the aftermath of dealing with it will be tough. I know a lot of New Jersey lost power, even people I know lost power. Surprisingly, all I got was a taunting flicker, but I never lost it. Currently it's raining lightly and the winds have subsided., though I could hear some sirens out there.

Hurricanes and tornadoes are dangerous because you can't really fight them. You don't just shoot a missile and call it a day, it's uncontrollable and it becomes a battle for survival. Irene was like a monster, destruction followed in its path and when it was done, it "decided" to move away from the states it was attacking. Overall, this event felt like Cloverfield mixed with a bad weather film, a monstrous impending doom. Glad it wasn't as bad as predicted, props to the news for giving around the clock updates.

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