There had been warnings for days about Hurricane Irene’s path and the likely damage to the DC Metro area. Regular emails from the local police forecasted flash floods and power outages and advised of the best preparations. Pepco, the utility company everyone loves to hate, had ordered support from Pennsylvania and Ohio and advised customers that power could be out for days.
It turned out that we were powerless for 2 1/2 days. But more on that later.
Friday I stopped at a hardware store and joined the many buying out the shelves of flashlights. I cooked up a lot of food that night to have on hand if the electricity were to go out, and with it my stove.
Saturday morning I volunteered at the church food pantry, expecting a quiet shift. But we were very busy, just like the supermarkets were crowded with people stocking up.
I spent the afternoon cleaning, writing and reading, mostly waiting for the storm to hit. Then my landlords, who live in the house above my basement apartment, invited me to a hurricane party next door that started at 8 p.m. By then it was really raining but not very windy at all. I met a few neighbors I hadn’t met before and heard about the several-day outage after Hurricane Isabel 8 years ago. The neighborhood had a big barbecue then to cook all the food that would spoil otherwise.
I left the party about 11:30, after people were getting relieved that there were only slight winds. Not wanting to miss anything, I stayed up to read for awhile, occasionally looking out the windows to check the wind. About 1 a.m. the wind was really whipping up, so I went to bed, knowing I had seen a glimpse of the tropical storm. I was awakened about 2:30 by my landlord, announcing that a big tree had fallen down and the power went out.
The plan was that we would hook up the sump pump and our refrigerators to the neighbor’s generator, to use a little bit of their juice. Good plan, but somehow the generator sputtered out in the wee hours and I woke up to a couple of inches of water in my living room. It only took about a half hour, though, to soak up the water with the sump pump, a wat vacuum and some mopping. Was a I grateful for that generator!
My neighbor and new friend, Pat, said she was going to church so I rode along, as we zigzagged around downed power lines and trees. There were a surprising number of people at Mass, and we learned that there were areas nearby not affected by the power outage, so a group of us went out to lunch at a powered-up restaurant.
It turned out that a huge tree had fallen down just down the street from where I live and power lines were all down and tangled up. We learned yesterday that it might take until Thursday evening to get everything restored. So were we happy when we returned home today to find power restored. I guess it’s a patchwork job that they have yet to finalize, but it did the job.