"Hurricane Irene Captured from the International Space Station"

"Hurricane Irene Captured from the International Space Station" by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on flickr

5: 45 AM Saturday:

It started raining at 4 AM. 16 fucking hours ahead of schedule (I have not yet topped up my gas tank (top upped the kid’s tank last night, was going to do mine this AM, argh) .

According to a very cool map up at the LIPA storm center page, we already have power outages in Hempstead. Levittown, Long Beach and on the north fork.

The loud sound of the first deluge woke me at 4 AM and I can’t get back to sleep, so I thought I would start a liveblog.

When my power goes out–any we’re pretty certain it will, I’m gonna lose internet. We are expecting to lose cell service if the winds are bad –no wind here so far– because out repeaters are on the watertower on the top of an exposed hill and–wait for it–at the beach.

Other than my own 1/2 full gas tank we are pretty well prepared, I have a couple hundred dollars worth of batteries, flashlights and tap lights, between us all we have 3 fully charged laptops , a fully charged tablet and 3 charged cellphones, water, food, and I just made a huge pot of coffee, I figure if push comes to shove there will be iced coffee for later.

I have one of those booklight things, so when the power goes out, I will be able to use my time productively–>catching up on that pile of Book Salon titles waiting for me to read them. :-)

Update 8AM:

Back from getting my gas tank filled up. The bad news is that by 7:30 this morning there were already lines out the back of gas stations and trailing down the road.

The rain stopped right after I put the diary up, but the air is so humid that the roads won’t dry. It’s very dark and gloomy the light sensor equipped streetlights remain lit.

We have fog, lot’s of fog.

There are 3 public beaches in my town. I stopped by the most exposed beach on my way home and can report that there are no waves or whitecaps of any kind. In fact the ripples where the water hits the sand are barely high enough to cover your big toe. The water looks like black ink. Normally, you can clearly make out Westchester and Connecticut across the Sound. Today, you cannot tell there is another landmass, there is no horizon just fog. The grey painted beach buildings all but disappear.

Our Mayor has ordered mandatory evacuations of two parts of our town. A road that backs onto Hempstead Harbor where the people have beach instead of backyards, and the little islands off the coast of our town. The public beach I visited first is on one of those islands.

There is an old Gold Coast mansion that has been converted into a hotel. It’s walking distance. I found out that FEMA is putting their teams in that hotel, so if we have to abandon mi casa, will will probably head over there instead of the HS gym, our official storm shelter.

Update #2:

According to ABC news Irene has made landfall. In theory the storm should lose energy now.

Update # 3–11:30 AM

The rain has started again, though oddly, it seems a bit brighter outside since it started coming down.  Not raining hard, just steady.

About to make my next trip out into the world. Last chance grocery shopping (fresh fruit and salad kinda stuff) just enough for the weekend, after that I can either shop again or start in on the canned goods.

Uodate #4- 1:30 PM

There is another public beach much closer to my house. It’s in a little crescent shaped cove. I stopped by there before I went to the supermarket. The water in the LI Sound is still without wave or whitecap. The water in the cove was smooth a glass and didn’t even make ripple wavelets as it his the sand just sort of surged and ebbed w/o and surface action.

You still can’t see any land mass on the other side of the Sound, the fog over the water remains impenetrable. There is no wind whatsoever, and except for the really loud cricket song, it was eerily silent down at the beach, like when it snows. I guess is was the absence of any wave noise or wind in the trees.

Plenty of noise and action at the supermarket though, it was a madhouse. They just got what looks to be an entire  truckload of water and seltzer, and were still unloading pallets of the stuff just into the middle of the aisles.

I got the last of my perishables. I wanted to get them last minute so they would be a fresh as possible and last a bit longer in case of lack of refrigeration.

The rain is still coming down, but seems to have lost enthusiasm, it’s more like just drip drip drip.

Update #5 – 7 PM

There hasn’t been much to write about all afternoon, so I watched “Emma” on Masterpiece Theater. Just when I started complaining that this hurricane was turn out to be an overhyped gyp, it started raining more earnestly.

It’s still not the intensity of the downpour at 4 AM that started my day, but at least Irene seems to be making an effort to live up to all this preparation. Still not a hint of wind.

Update #6 – 10:45 PM Sat

Still no wind but we have our first thunder and lightning.

Update #7  – 11PM Sat

Suddenly we have ferocious rain to go with the thunder and lightning. Still no wind.

Update # 8 – 3:45 AM Sunday

 fell asleep around midnight. The rain is now coming down so hard the sound of it woke me. It’s like the rain that woke me at 4 AM on Sat. We don’t have street lights in the  cul de sac itself (you have to get in the car and drive for streetlights–I reall y do live in the back of beyond). so I can’t tell if the road is flooded.

Amazingly, we still have power. Probably b/c there is sill no wind.

Update# 9 — 8:30 PM Sunday night

My power went out arounf 7:30 Sunday morning. Which wasn’t such a hardship since there was daylight to see by. The roads were passable and Dunkin Doughts had coffeee, so we’ve managed pretty well.

I’ve temprarily decamped to my sister’s house to recharge the phone and laptop batteries and hop on her internet connection.

Around 3PM the wind started–and boy did it make up for lost time, and still is. Lost of tree limbs coming down an debris flying all around. This seems to be the most destructive part so far.

I have to say I am confused by the behavior ofo the out of state electric crews. They put a bunch of them up at the hotel near my house, and evidently they spent last night having quite a good time. I stipped up there around 1 PM and they were just straggling out to start their workday.

No wonder the status of the LIPA repairs is still in the “assesment stage” They wasted 1/2 a day’s daylight sleeping in.

I’ve heard that they are now headign back to the hotel for the night, which does not bode well for getting the power back on tongiht, unless our homegrown crews get is done.

For the out of town guys from Michigan, it mostly seems to be some kind of boondoggle. They brought impressive looking equipment though.

Meanwhile almost 1/2 million LIPA customers are without power. Including moi.