Hurricane open thread

August 27, 2011 | 26 comments
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tsunami 3It’s going to be a long day for some East Coast readers, but at least you’ve still got Internet. This thread is to share your first-person accounts and post helpful information.

My contribution: Weather Underground, the best online source for hurricane tracking information. As of 11 AM EDT Saturday, their tracking map forecasts a storm path for Irene passing directly over New York City at about 8 AM Sunday morning.

26 Responses to Hurricane open thread

  1. clark on August 27, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Woo hoo. Cat 1. Yeah – disaster on a scale unheard of since last week’s earthquake.

  2. Kent Larsen on August 27, 2011 at 11:47 am

    clark, you are right. While no one can know for sure, it does seem like Irene will be significantly less dangerous than predicted.

    Curiously, I’m told that six weeks ago (while I was on vacation), Elder Olsen of the Area Presidency was here for a training meeting and put our stake on a 6 week long hurricane preparation plan, including a 5th Sunday lesson at the end of July. I’ll try to find out more about this, but if you are looking for a Faith Promoting Rumor…

    FWIW, here in Washington Heights (on the panhandle of Manhattan), we still have missionaries working. But they said last night that they will go to their apartment as soon as it starts raining significantly. They also said that missionaries below Harlem (125th Street) have been evacuated upstate.

    We are in the New York New York North mission (which includes Manhattan and the Bronx, but not Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island or the rest of Long Island), so we don’t know what they are doing in the South mission.

    The stake has canceled Church meetings for Sunday and our ward has called all ward members to make sure they were safe, and had evacuation plans, if necessary. The Bishop asked ward members to text him their evacuation plans.

    No areas of our ward were in the city’s mandatory evacuation areas (some areas would be evacuated if the storm were above category 2). However, there are areas in our stake that have been evacuated.

    The city has just shut down the subway system for the first time ever, so its not like the city isn’t taking the storm seriously. We hope it is no big deal.

    We’re still about 12 hours away from when the hurricane hits, and our preparations are almost complete. In addition to water, non-perishable food, etc., we hit Barnes and Noble and picked up The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. We now only need to get some quality butter to outlast the storm.

  3. Daniel Bartholomew on August 27, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    What Kent says is true – I know because I ended up teaching the lesson in our ward about hurricane preparedness and the lesson material was sent to us from the stake. From what I was told by our bishop, Elder Olsen specifically felt the impression that a ward in Queens ought to be told to prepare for a hurricane and it was decided at the stake level that everyone in the stake/area ought to be taught that lesson, just in case.

  4. Mark B. on August 27, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Down here in Brooklyn we’re battening down the hatches. No church tomorrow, and no trains or buses, so it’s sit tight and wait for the big wind.

    You’re right about Elder Olsen’s instruction about hurricane preparedness–all the units in our stake had a lesson about it on the 5th Sunday of July. One minor correction–he’s not in the Area Presidency–there’s no such thing in the U.S. anymore. He is an Area Authority Seventy, lives near the south shore of Long Island in Nassau County, and is looking prophetic right about now.

    We’ve had a few rain squalls so far, but they’re far in advance of the real storm. No wind to speak of.

  5. Matt S. on August 27, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    I served in the New York New York South mission recently (I knew who you were Ben, but I never let on that I knew what Patheos was for fear of being too nerdy. But we played frisby once.) and have some friends there. The Missionaries in the evacuation zones have been moved to high ground in Queens. The mission president and office staff have made sure that missionaries have three days of supplies, and they were ordered inside before the transit system shut down at noon.

  6. Kent Larsen on August 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Our ward news crew apparently has put together a report on what’s happened so far:

    http://vimeo.com/28237527

  7. stacer on August 27, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Up here in Inwood it’s practically sunny. I’m all set with supplies and just spending a normal weekend in.

  8. marta on August 27, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    church is already cancelled in silver spring and columbia maryland stakes tomorrow. we are having gentle rain and breezes so far.

  9. RobF on August 27, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Morristown NJ stake has cancelled Sunday meetings for tomorrow. We’re expecting 30 mph winds and rain NE of Philly.

  10. Ray on August 27, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    #5 – Kent, it would have been helpful to add a disclaimer to the link saying, “There is nothing of interest yet at this link.” {g}

  11. Kent Larsen on August 27, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Ray, his sarcasm about the overpreparation for the storm is a little subtle.

  12. Ben on August 27, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Our ward’s got a google doc up with names, status (safe, contacted, out of town?) and phone numbers, and we’re just working through them all making sure they all get contacted. I joked that if God wanted us to go to Church tomorrow, He wouldn’t have sent a hurricane. Maybe, the YM President countered, this is how He’s getting us to clean up all the MLS phone records…

  13. jose on August 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Our ward in the Albany, NY Stake has canceled church.

  14. Alison Moore Smith on August 27, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Lived through hurricane Andrew when we lived in Boca Raton, and many other less than cat 4. We lost a lamp post, a mail box, and some hibiscus bushes — but we gained enough cases of Spam and Chunky soup to last a lifetime.

    Hope you all are well.

  15. Ray on August 27, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Yeah, Kent, I thought that probably was the case, but, still, I would have liked a disclaimer. ;)

  16. Matt W. on August 27, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Ok, the whole Elder Olson thing has completely blown my mind. That is totally going to end up as one of those crazy forward to 15 friends emails.

  17. michelle on August 27, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    ” Maybe, the YM President countered, this is how He’s getting us to clean up all the MLS phone records…”

    Classic.

  18. marta on August 27, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    unfinished basement flooding. annoying. not a disister.

  19. Tatiana on August 28, 2011 at 1:01 am

    To me it seems that the big dangers come from people’s relative naivete in the path of the storm this time. Like thinking category 1 isn’t bad. By the time they reach me in north-central Alabama they’re usually down to tropical storm force winds, which is less than a category 1 hurricane, but that’s still quite scary and has me cowering in the basement from both the high winds (and debris flying on the winds), and tornadoes that spin off from the main storm. Category 1, guys, is some serious stuff. Please take it seriously!

    Also the trees up your way don’t get pounded regularly, so there will likely be plenty of downed trees, falling limbs, downed power lines, the power may be out for an extended time, and so on. Thankfully you all have your 72-hour kits up to date, and have food and water enough to last until services return. Be safe, keep your head down, don’t take unnecessary risks. We’re praying for you from under our crystal calm skies.

  20. Kent Larsen on August 28, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Tatiana, you may be right, of course. I sleep heavily enough that I never even heard the winds last night, but my wife says they were bad.

    We still have about 1/2 of the storm to go — no ill effects so far. The wind has calmed down significantly, so we may be near the eye right now.

    But your point is well taken. It just takes one weak tree branch getting blown off to kill someone — and that doesn’t even require a tropical storm, just some stiff wind.

    Its easy to poke fun at the overcaution and preparedness of governments in the face of storms like this. But most criticize the response when Katrina hit? Would you rather governments and neighbors be overprepared? or underprepapred?

  21. Kent Larsen on August 28, 2011 at 10:45 am

    I didn’t look at the right map. It now looks to me like Irene has passed north of NYC. Nothing significant to face.

    And we had no power outages, no damage (that I can see at this point), and we slept through the worst of it.

    I could put up with hurricanes like this fairly frequently!

  22. Ben S on August 28, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Yep. Nothing to report here either.

  23. stacer on August 28, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Some friends in Jersey and the Boroughs are reporting power outages, probably because they’re in areas with power lines on poles rather than underground. Here in Manhattan I’m pretty sure most power lines are underground.

  24. polly on August 28, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Anybody from here know anyone around Kinston, N.C. ? My son is there on his mission. Just would like to know all is well with him. Any info would be great. Thanks.

  25. Researcher on August 28, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    We’re in southeastern PA and have a number of local bridges washed out and roads closed due to flooding. Lots of branches and leaves down in the neighborhood, no trees down that we can see. We stayed home today since church is an 18.5-mile drive each way. Other members reported trying to attend the shortened afternoon church (just sacrament meeting) but not being able to get there due to flooding.

    So we had a quiet time at home; my husband and I had a nice time with the kids, talking about family history and the gospel, and singing all the William W. Phelps songs in the hymnbook. (Not all the verses!)

  26. Hans on August 28, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    In Woodbridge, NJ and power was just restored before sunset. Unfinished basement flooding only.

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