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Batten down the hatches? Irene?

Posted by rockman50 6b SEMASS (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 23, 11 at 20:24

Lots of uncertainty this far our of course, but it looks pretty certain that somebody in New England is going to get a hurricane on Sunday....could be much more west....closer to New York City, or more east....RI and SE Mass, like Bob 20 years ago????


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 23, 11 at 21:16

I've been following the tracking maps on Weather Underground and it really doesn't look good for coastal New England, as well as for most of the East Coast. I've already started some battening down and checking the emergency supplies.

I keep hoping the track will move more out to sea; supposedly the eastern side of the hurricane contains most of the high winds, while the western side has the heavy rains. I'd rather have the heavy rains myself.

I'm going to see if I can link this Five Day Forecast Map from Weather Underground - maybe it will update.

Claire


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RE RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 23, 11 at 21:57

I should have linked the Weather Underground Computer Model Hurricane Forecast also. There's a lot of variation in the track as shown in the different models. Weather Underground relies mostly on data from the National Hurricane Center.

A nice reference for Massachusetts is The Complete Guide to Online Hurricane Tracking for Massachusetts from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management.

Needless to say, I get a little obsessive about hurricanes.

Claire


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

clarie,
where you here for hurricane bob?


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

Thanks, Claire. Maybe time to buy bread and milk before the stores run out! Our RI coastal cottage has a set of boards and battens we made for the sliders and windows facing the ocean, and I expect we'll spend Saturday putting them up. We bought our place 2 years after Hurricane Bob, when the previous owner decided it was not worth the risk, after Bob did some wind damage on it. But she had no window protection for it, just rented it out and lived elsewhere.

Like most New England residential properties, our house insurance has a large deductible for wind damage, and no flood coverage. Still worth it, for the view.

Thank heavens the tomato season is almost over! Many already harvested, only about 1/4 left, and I've gotten requests for green tomatoes. Green windfalls by Sunday night.

Carol


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 24, 11 at 10:10

Good, the maps are updating by themselves. I figured if it worked for the hummingbird spring migration maps it should work for hurricanes.

The latest 5 day forecast shows Category 2 as Irene leaves the Carolinas and Category 1 in southern New England. That doesn't say what it will be as it hits the coast though.

boston3381, I was living in NYC in 1991 so I missed H. Bob. My father was living here and the old house (that he and my mother had built) had survived many hurricanes before that. I'm now living in an addition to that old house and this will be the addition's first hurricane. There are a lot of old trees in the yard too that may be susceptible to wind downing.

The new windows all comply with the latest coastal regulations and should be OK. I'm nervous about the porch and deck with extensive overhangs. I've already secured the loose stuff stored under the deck but I'll be bringing a lot of outdoor stuff into the house for the storm. It's going to be really crowded in here. As usual for storms, I'll have a big pot of brewed coffee in the refrigerator and this year I'll make a pot of tea too.

I have a dream that the hurricane will uproot all the weeds and leave my favorite plants alone.

Claire


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

I moved to Falmouth (Cape Cod) a few days after Hurricane Bob. Big mess. What I remember most was walking along Surf Drive. All of the cottages were destroyed and even the pavement itself was separated from its base and physically moved off into the marsh by the storm surge. And the other thing was the incredible dessication caused by salt-spray. All of the trees were brown! And then, I recall, later in the fall, many trees started to leaf out again, and even some spring flowering trees started to bloom. They interpreted the dessication from the hurricane as "winter" and the mild conditions of fall as "spring". I really hope that does not happen again. Our trees are stressed enough because of the winter moth.


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

Need to stay aware for certain! I'm not so worried about damage to the house, but the newly planted upper garden may be an easy target for wind damage. The trees haven't had time to root in properly. They were planted in late May. And if we get really heavy rain, the mulch will wash away and leave the landscape cloth open to blow away as well. This landscape project cost over $5000.00, and that's not including any of the excavating, grading, seventy feet of natural stone masonry walls, granite stairway, paved pathways and circular patios, or twenty-plus boulders for the rock/boulder garden! It could cost the same to replace the plants, mulch etc. And I'm pretty sure that insurance doesn't cover such things.
Fingers crossed!


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

hi Claire,
i know how you feel, im on aquidneck island in rhode island on my farm, living in a 3 story house that was built around 1776. This house is so old i dont think they even used nails to build it. This house is so old that my 85 year old uncle was born in this house.

I was here for hurricane bob, what a mess that was..But from what i understand the worst one was the hurricane of 38. That wiped-out this whole island.


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

Based on my recollections of the 1938 hurricane if a category 2 hurricane is predicted...evacuate. We were in Waltham at the time and I remember the day after. Not a tree standing. Roads impassible and power down for over a month. Remember, tornadoes are also a part of these storms. It is not just the straight line winds that do all the damage. Be safe everyone.


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 24, 11 at 21:08

boston3381: that sounds like a really precarious situation - a very old house on an unprotected island. Nandina's advice of evacuation sounds reasonable for a cat 2 hurricane.

I just scared myself by reading this website from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency talking about New England Hurricanes of Note. It lists all the major hurricanes starting with The Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635.

I sort of remember Carol and Edna, but I was a kid and they were great fun. My parents got to worry about the house and yard while my brother and I enjoyed the winds. I do remember a roof being blown off a nearby house, and my mother holding down a small cherry tree that was being uprooted while my father lashed it in place with a rope.

Now my brother (living next door) and I get to worry the houses and yard.

Claire


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

An earthquake and a hurricane in the same week for the eastern US. How bizarre.

I say it's not fair! Last winter was just the crappiest winter, and now we gotta worry about this in the summer too. My biggest worry is how the trees will hold up to the wind.


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

Track is now way west....over far western CT. That is great news for us in the far SE. I hope that is a new trend.


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

Rockman, the track(s) I saw on the chart still show a wide variation, so don't relax yet. On TV I've been seeing lots of shots of Falmouth boats being pulled out, probably running over reporters and cameramen on their way.

We're driving down to our east RI place which is only 800 ft. from the water, to cover windows and also to saw off some branches which would thrash the expensive cedar-shingled roof.

Boston 3381, your Aquidneck Is. location means you're on the large landmass which includes Newport, MIddletown and Portsmouth. And in an old house that's survived the worst hurricanes including 1938. Don't worry.

Carol


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 25, 11 at 10:02

That track is indeed great for those of us in the far SE, but they're talking about tropical storm winds extending 150 miles out from the center, so those of us on the windy (east) side of the track will still have problems. Those of us inland and on the RI/CT coast will be less happy.

It's looking really bad for New York City - that track looks like it goes straight through Brooklyn and Queens.

Unfortunately for the coast, this hurricane is coinciding with the astronomical high tides associated with the new moon on Sunday. That means storm surge will add on top of unusually high tides depending on the time of arrival. Best scenario would be if the worst of the winds arrive at low tide.

This morning as I flushed out the birdbaths I also moved all of the 5 gallon buckets up against a retaining wall and filled them with water. Those are the decorative white elements that usually dot my yard to great visual effect while they collect weeds and compost and mulch and whatever. I figured that they're less susceptible to winds if they're full of water. I also threw some empty pots in the water rather than trying to secure them otherwise. The lawnmover goes in the breezeway today (light reel mower).

Claire


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

If that far western track verifies, then the storm will interact with or pass near/over Delmarva and/or the coast of NJ, after passing over far eastern NC, which will weaken it considerably before it reaches areas further north. That weakening, plus its great distance to our west would make for a very windy day, no doubt, but nothing of great concern for the far SE. Yeah, we would be on the east side of the track, but we would be too far east of a weakened storm to receive a big impact. And by "big impact" I mean "Bob" like damage. I'm not saying you won't lose a tree here and there, but I would not lose sleep over it either. But again, this is only if the far western track pans out. Back in 1976, Hurricane Belle followed that same western track and moved ashore over far western Long Island as a cat 1 storm. It was windy in SE Mass, and I remember a few tree limbs broken off here and there, but it was nothing of great concern. We didn't even lose power. Of course, the track could shift back east over the next 24-48 hours, in which case all bets are off. The most important thing to look at now, as far as potential impacts here, is the current motion of the storm which is NNW. As long as it maintains a NW component, it will tuck further and further into the embayment under NC, which means it will be forced to track inland when it finally turns N. And if it does that, it won't be a hurricane when it reaches our latitude. So watch for that first motion report that has the storm moving DUE NORTH.


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 25, 11 at 15:22

Thanks, rockman50, it's encouraging to have something positive to look for. So we can think of NC as a big catcher's mitt poised to grab the hurricane and slow it down. Or maybe a volleyball relay? I doubt the North Carolinians see it that way, but it's fine with me.

Claire (who's getting a little punchy following the progress of Irene)


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

"...Track is now way west....over far western CT. That is great news for us in the far SE. I hope that is a new trend..."

Yeah, that's great for you guys in SE Mass, but what about us poor schmucks here in western CT, lol? Actually, I just heard that Boston may get hit hard because it is on the eastern side of the projected track, and that is where the worst winds are.

I honestly hadn't taken this too seriously - the last few years every time there's a raindrop or a snowflake the news stations go crazy. I actually saw a headline on the TV one time this winter announcing "THE STORM OF THE CENTURY!!" - and gee, we're only about 10 years into the century, lol. So I usually take all this hype with a grain of salt.

But after this afternoon, with states of emergency declared in CT and I believe NJ, and with Bloomberg talking about evacuating parts of NYC, I guess I should take it more seriously than I have been.

Debating whether my pot ghetto is heavy enough to stay put or if it will blow away. I just have no idea where to put them all! So I have some cleaning up to do in the yard tomorrow, and I guess I'll join everyone else at the supermarket getting bread and batteries and water, lol. I just hope the big oaks in my yard stay up.

I too remember storms as a kid and loved them. Growing up in the city, it wasn't a big deal - we had city water and gas stoves. Now I have a well, and my stove is electric, so losing electricity isn't quite the adventure it was when I was a kid, lol. Now I won't be able to eat or flush the toilet! At least I now know why the radio always told us to fill the bathtub with water... as a city kid with piped-in water, I never understood that one till I moved to the hills...

Stay safe and dry everyone!
Dee


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

Track shifting further east again.....


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 26, 11 at 8:56

Here is the three day forecast map, to show more of a closeup:

Movement is due north now.

Claire


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RE: Batten down the hatches--Irene's on her way

An earthquake and a hurricane in the same week for the eastern US. How bizarre. My thoughts exactly.

Our weather gurus are of the mindset we're going to take a direct hit of either a category 1 or tropical storm here in central CT no matter if the storm tracks a little more east or west. They're calling for 8-10" of rain & wind gusts up to 80 mph. It's a given we'll lose power; the only question will be for how long. No power = no water, lights, plumbing. I charged my cell phone this morning and will start filling containers with water.


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 26, 11 at 12:34

I spoke to the farmer at my small local farmer's market today, and, needless to say, he is not a happy farmer - he's a very, very worried farmer. In particular, he's worried about the 500 small peach trees he planted recently. They're not well-rooted yet, and they have very full canopies with very thin trunks. Easy to uproot and snap the trunk, and the soils have been wet. If they're not too damaged, he'll be able to stand them up and stake them.

He had an amazing story about Hurricane Bob where the eye passed right over his farm. There were the usual very strong winds in one direction, then they were in the eye with the sunny blue skies, then the very strong winds came in the opposite direction (usual scenario). Well, the first strong winds knocked over some of his young apple trees, but the second winds stood them up again. He said he couldn't believe his eyes. They tamped the soil and wired the trees as necessary, and they recovered.

All I could do was wish him the same luck tomorrow. And I wish all of you the same kind of good luck.

Claire


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RE RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 26, 11 at 12:38

I see the link to the Five Day tracking map no longer works. I just checked the wunderground.com site and that map has apparently been removed. No longer relevant, I guess, for the USA anyway.

Claire


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Batten down the hatches? Irene?

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 26, 11 at 13:19

It's back again. I have no idea what happened.

Claire


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

Does Irene seem to be weakening, since it didn't speed up to a category 3 hurricane today?

I spent a lot of time today securing loose items around the yard. I gathered odd containers of plants here and there, planted a few winter-sown plants, and put the pot ghetto in large plastic crates up against the foundation of the house. Also put extra stakes in the tomato rings so they won't blow over, but wonder if there'll be any tomatoes and foliage left anyway.

Tomorrow I will pick the tomatoes and cucumbers. Also take down bird feeders and wind chimes, and get up on the roof and check the gutters. Put the car in the garage and clean up any last items. Tenant will take out air conditioner.

I hope the gardens don't get ruined, but I'm taking some "before" pictures just in case.


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 26, 11 at 21:21

Irene is indeed weakening! This blog post by Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground talks about the eyewall being gone and that Irene won't have time to strengthen before she hits NC. The storm is still so big that it will stay dangerous for several days though.

Claire


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

Claire - thanks for that link. Very informative. I just found this on the Internet and it's not making me smile. That line in the middle of the chart goes right through my little green acre. Guess I should take some "before" photos as well and take another walk around the garden to see if I missed anything that could become airborne. My most prized winter sown perennials are tucked inside the garage, the truck is inside as well and the car will go in sometime today before the nasty weather gets too intense.

Here is a link that might be useful: Irene's path through CT


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

My biggest worry is the large trees near my house. Tho I have an arborist almost every year, a number of them are now so big after more than three decades here, and leaning towards the south--and my house--that they are a real threat.

I called my arborist Thursday and practically got on my knees begging him to come and take the most dangerous ones down. He was fully booked but came at 8am and took down three of the worst.

They were beautiful healthy trees and I am very sad to see them go but now I can sleep tonight without worrying about my garden joining me in my bedroom.


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

ginny, I can so relate! I am thinking I ought to sleep downstairs tonight on the sofa. The looming 75' (or taller?) pine trees all around my property are not in great shape. The house(my bedroom) is in striking distance of the ones that southerly winds would affect.

I even struggled to clear out one half of the garage so my car could fit. And managed to take in containers to the other half:


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

its 7:30 am and so-far so-good,
5 greenhouses 2 over 90 ft long,2 barns 3 houses, and dam the wind is wiping.
boots and razor-blades by the door if in case the plastic goses on the green house.


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 28, 11 at 9:24

No rain here in Plymouth, MA, but the wind is blasting in from the bay. It's fairly calm on the street side of the house. This link, How hard the wind will hit your area, and when, is good, but you probably have to be a subscriber (free) of Boston.com to see it. You can click on your area on the map (not easy at that scale) and see a nice graphic showing wind speed over the whole day. Peak winds here expected at about 4 pm, around 52 mph. Gusts will be much higher.

The Cape and Islands NPR station is off the air, so they're probably being hard hit.

Claire


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

Here in Central Mass it's raining sideways. As Claire shows with the link above, the strongest winds are yet to come. I checked the rain gauge on the deck and it was over 5 inches at the top. So I emptied it. We'll see how much more we get. I can see some local flooding, but we are at the top of a good sized hill, so we are usually fine. Stay safe everyone.

Steve


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

Just rain and wind here in Metro West (128 and the Pike). We had a huge maple tree branch fall across our driveway about an hour ago. Fortuneately it didn't hit the cars. But we will need to pull out the chainsaw to get out of the driveway tomorrow. This is one of the trees that suffered heavy winter moth caterpillar damage this year - so wondering if that was a factor.


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

I think Irene is winding down here in metro West. We've gotten heavy rain and some heavy winds, but the wind has been intermittent. Weather underground shows about 3-4" inches of rain this morning. No loss of power, thank goodness.

So far there are lots of leaves and small branches down, but the only large branches that have come down are on the huge dead tree that was girdled in 2007. About half the dead canopy has snapped off (yippee! less work for tree guys). Fortunately that dead tree is far from any structures or gardens and the falling limbs have caused no damage.

The gardens look wind-swept and water-logged, but intact. Yes!


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 28, 11 at 13:03

The winds are lessening here in Plymouth also, and seem to be shifting to the west which might mean the storm is moving out faster than expected. There was also a minute or two of sun! Didn't last long.

I'm afraid this is a trap, but I hope it means the worst of the winds is past. Some major branches dangling but not down yet.

Fingers crossed.
Claire


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

We had a brief loss of power this morning, but I think it was strictly local to my neighborhood. Still, I'm not sure it's over, the winds don't seem to be subsiding yet out there.


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 28, 11 at 15:26

Howard G from New York posted this note in a blog on nytimes.com on August 27th, 2011

" - As the storm's rage begins to fade later on Sunday, click on the link below and join The Weavers in singing...

Goodnight Irene"

Claire


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

I hope I'm not speaking too soon but it looks like we dodged a bullet here north of Boston. Fairly high winds and some heavy rain but no major damage or even a power outage where I am. Not over completely but breathing easier.


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

Hello All

It is a little after 7 pm on sunday evening here on The southern coast of Maine. We seemed to have escaped Irene. We didn't even get much rain, a couple of short light showers. A little breezy at times, but no strong wind or gusts.I live in the woods, and we don't have any branches down, not even small twigs! So I guess my tomatoes plants are just fine. I don't know where this tropical storm went, but it totally bypassed me, and I am ever so grateful.

Blake


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

  • Posted by mayalena 6 - MetroWest Boston (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 28, 11 at 20:27

Big Norway maple branch fell onto my driveway -- but missed the deck and house...hooray! Power out from noon to 4pm, but otherwise all's well! (in Newton MA) Hope Katy is OK on Martha's Vineyard....


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

Just got power back a little while ago. We were without power for about 8-1/2 hours.

The wind is still gusting pretty hard, but the clouds are gone, and while the power was out, it was a darn nice view of the stars.


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

Record flooding here in Vermont, but we were *very* lucky to only lose power for very short intervals twice during the day and tonight. The internet also went down briefly but was restored within the hour.

We haven't been anywhere today, and may not be going anywhere tomorrow from the sound of things. From all accounts major roads are washed out, flooded, and closed to traffic. Much of Rutland (where Hubby works and where we have two appointments in the AM) was flooded and the National Guard was evacuating a lot of residents.

I managed to get all my vulnerable garden, porch, and lawn items to shelter in the barn and on the glassed-in back porch last night. I even took all the bottles off the bottle tree and brought in the patio lights from the picnic area. I made an effort to stake the sunflowers and corn plants. The high winds didn't arrive until after dark, so there's no telling if they will be standing by morning.

Glad to hear no one in southern NE appears to have been too hard hit.


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

What a spectacular post Irene day! Just lots of general tree debris here. Some trees snapped off at the trunk. But in general I was impressed to watch the very old oaks in my area bend, but not break, in those 60-70 mph gusts. East Beach Rd in Westport was totally destroyed by the storm surge. And the storm surge by the bay near my house reached road level, at least at the moment I was watching. Not sure if it washed over the roads or not. So overall, it was about what I was expecting based on the far western track. And it was no Bob. I will say this, however. Just watching what sustained winds of 40 mph with gusts to 60 does to trees, I would not want to witness sustained winds of 60-70 mph with gusts to 100 or more. Yikes.


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

On this corner of the north shore of MA it was fairly quiet all day. Some wind, some rain, but nothing more than we got a few weeks ago when we had over 3 inches of rain in one day. I kept going out to check on my plants and see what damage may have occurred. The plants were fine, and the worst tree damage was a few branches no more than 1 inch thick that had come down. Lots of leaves everywhere, though. Heaviest winds were about 20-30mph. I noticed the south-facing sides of all the trees were dry.

Our neighbors had a 12 foot lilac tree come down, but turns out the entire core of the trunk had already rotted out-two people could have pushed it over if they tried hard enough, let alone a tropical storm.

I'm glad everyone is safe!!


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RE: Batten down the hatches? Irene?

I'm amazed at the photos and stories of the damage done in other parts of New England. Here in Eastern Massachusetts, we seemed to have had a mild experience in comparison to others. We had wind and a small amount of rain but it was pretty manageable. Two medium branches were on the ground from Maples and that was about it as far as damage.

Two streets over there was a power outage that didn't reach us on Sunday during the day, so we had power all day and then lost it about midnight Sunday night for about 4 hours and that was pretty easy to tolerate. But hearing that some people in our state may have to wait until the end of the week for power to be restored, makes me feel we should prepare better next time, because that could have just as easily have been us. I would have been ready to tolerate a couple of days without power, but 5 days plus, seems like more than we would have tolerated easily.

I'm glad it wasn't worse than it was. Seemed to be a lot more damage from a tropical storm than I would have expected though. Hope that everyone here is doing well and not having a lot of damage to deal with.


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