Friday, August 26, 2011

Battening down the hatches for Hurricane Irene

I've been told, by someone who went there looking for them, that the hardware and houseware store nearest my office is already completely sold out of batteries. So I guess we'll just have to manage with what we have, plus candles. (I've also been advised not to use candles during the hurricane itself, because a strong gust of wind might break a window, knock over the candles, and start a fire.)

Fortunately, we had better luck at our local supermarket--my husband was able to stock up on water bottles and canned goods. I advised him not to buy anything that was unlikely to survive if the electricity went off and took the refrigerator and freezer with it.

Afternoon update:
Well, folks, it's official: Governor Cuomo has announced that all components of the New-York-City-area's Metropolitan Transportation Authority will be shut down beginning at noon tomorrow, and Mayor Bloomberg ordered mandatory evacuation of low-lying areas of the city by 5 PM tomorrow. I've already checked--we're fortunate enough not to live in Zone A, so we'll just stay home and ride out the storm. As for work, a decision will be made and disseminated Sunday night via phone blast, e-mail blast, and/or website informing us whether our organization will be open for business on Monday or not.

For all of us in the hurricane's path, and especially those expecting the worst of it, my prayers.

Saturday, August 27, 2011, 11:08 PM update
As mentioned in the comments, we took the advice of our Friday phone-caller and checked the Internet on Shabbat/Sabbath for the purpose of pikuach nefesh (life preservation). We were not evacuated, and will sit out the storm in our apartment. But we've heard that we are under a tornado watch, and have been warned about possible electricity outages. I've already recharged my cell phone, just in case, but whether we'll still have cell-phone service remains to be seen. We do have two things in our favor--we have a good old-fashioned land-line telephone (one that's plugged into a wall jack and doesn't depend on electricity), and our apartment is in a low-rise building of fewer than 10 floors, so we don't have to take shelter on a lower floor.

The worst of the storm is expected to strike the NYC area around 8 AM, along with high tide, unfortunately. Heavy flooding is expected in low-lying areas. My sister's old neighborhood, Battery Park City, which was built on landfill in the Hudson River, was under a mandatory evacuation order, and, being not far above the normal water level, is expected to be under about 6 1/2-7 feet of water by tomorrow morning. Likewise with other sections of NYC that are in low-lying areas (such as Brighton Beach and Coney Island, Brooklyn, which are directly on the Atlantic Ocean, Broad Channel and The Rockaways in Queens, Staten Island, City Island, Roosevelt Island, etc.), as well as the Long Island section of New York State (which is adjacent to the NYC boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens), and the coastal states of Connecticut and Rhode Island.

I was sad to hear that there have already been nine deaths caused by the onslaught of Irene. I pray for the safely of my blogger buddies, commenters and readers who are in the path of the storm. Be careful!

Sunday, August 28, 2011, 5:14 PM update
Now-Tropical-Storm Irene has passed through New York City (and State?), leaving in its wake lots of flooding, fallen trees, and electrical outages, but much less damage than expected, and, fortunately, no deaths in NYC (to the best of my knowledge at this time). The water did flood quite a number of buildings in the outer boroughs (which means any borough other than Manhattan), but Manhattan got much less flooding than anticipated, and so did even some of the low-lying areas elsewhere in NYC, though some Staten Island residents had to be evacuated at the last minute and quite unexpectedly when a lake overflowed. There was flooding farther upstate, and--their luck :(--an earthquake yesterday near Albany, but we in the NYC metropolitan area seem to have "dodged the bullet" (avoided [the worst of] a difficult situation), for the most part. My husband and I, and our neighborhood, seem to have escaped unscathed. I expect to be informed tonight whether or not I'll be going to work tomorrow.

I welcome reports from my readers in Irene's path. I hope all of you are safe.


Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

Good luck to you both. One sad thing about working for a remote-access appliance company is that if the internet is up I will probably be working Monday.

Shabbat Shalom

Fri Aug 26, 03:15:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Lucky you. :)

I hope all goes well this weekend, and that your backyard Sukkah frame survives the wind and rain.

Shabbat Shalom

Fri Aug 26, 05:14:00 PM 2011  
Blogger The Physicist said...

Rabbis have officially declared that keeping track of the hurricane using electronic devices, even before it arrives, falls under the life-threatening exception.

The OU would prefer you just leave a radio on from before shabbat, but others just say you should do what is necessary to protect yourself. Also, assume any Eruv is broken, but carrying again falls under the exception.

Sat Aug 27, 04:25:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

We took the advice of our Friday phone-caller and kept our eyes on the Internet on Shabbat, in the interest of preserving our lives (pikuah nefesh). Thus far, we're still not in an evacuation zone, and, at this point in time, Mayor Bloomberg says anyone who has not yet evacuated should stay put.

A message for everyone who's in the hurricane's path: Please stay indoors and away from windows and stay safe!

Sat Aug 27, 10:41:00 PM 2011  

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