Hurricane Irene

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This week is going to go down in history in the tri-state area for a mid-week record breaking earthquake. Hitting 5.8 on the Richter Scale and shaking the city in more ways than one; that was what we call Tuesday. Now it is Friday night and having been mocked by the San Andreas fault-liners for an over dramatic response to a little jiggle, the city is now in full drama again preparing for an absolute lock down in the face of a Level 2 hurricane, quaintly nicknamed Irene. Hurricane Irene has been running amok in the Bahamas for the last week and now is moving its 600 mile wide stormy self up the East coast.

This is quite the spectacle. Today, I have witnessed the hospitals/labs on the Upper East Side in emergency shut down mode. Outside paraphernalia is dragged inside while fridges, freezers and all other essential equipment is powered up to generators for fear of an electricity outage. I have been encouraged to plan for the worst, pack a go-bag (flashlight, water, biscuits etc.) and run away to higher ground, in what seemed like hourly Hurricane Emergency email bulletins from the Institute. And in an effort to do my weekly grocery shop before the city’s transport network officially shuts down for 24 hours, tomorrow at noon, I have queued outside Wholefoods for over 30 minutes just to get into a desolated store. What I found was surprising. What I didn’t find was… well anything. Not one lettuce leaf in sight. The banana shelves ransacked for what I can only imagine was an unnerving fear of potassium starvation. A calamity that could only possibly result in mild cramps?

It was as if the terrified population had looted the place.

Now as I sit in my apartment, painted in yellow on the evacuation map, which as you can see from above is only a suggested evacuation spot thus far, I am watching the nonstop TV coverage of this impending doom.

Mayor Bloomberg says, “stay indoors for at least 24 hours between 9pm on Saturday through the weekend.”

Mandatory evacuation spots are being patrolled to confirm everyone has successfully escaped incoming Irene. Weather analysis teams on high alert as they come into their own on this blowy final weekend in August. And for a country that takes pride in weather commentary, they definitely appear to be revelling in this storm.

After 12 noon tomorrow I will either be trapped on Roosevelt Island for the long haul or I will have been forcibly evacuated to safer ground.

Anticipate regular updates as this potentially bored individual is housebound for the weekend!

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