Hurricane Irene was hype?
That's hype? Just because its eye hit Long Island, 15 miles to the east of the boroughs, suddenly Irene was no big deal?
A few dozen people have so far died from Irene. I don't want to count the guy who drowned when he and friends tried to raft down the swollen Croton River. I'm talking about trees crashing through houses, and a hero who died trying to save a little boy.
Those deaths are hype?
We were watching the news coverage until 1 a.m. Sunday morning, awed by scenes from North Carolina to Long Island, whether it was a Maryland dam in danger of breaking, or someone reporting from a flooded Hoboken street. Then the main computer's UPS woke us around 4 when it started beeping, telling us we hadn't been spared from losing electricity. Power didn't come back to our street until 8 tonight, and the news just said there are still 600,000 without power in just Connecticut. Meanwhile we hung out at a relative's business for the day to charge cell phones and get online, if anything so I could connect to the office and get some work done.
Rivers have overflowed, flooding people's basements as well as roadways. One of our neighbors is still pumping out his basement, and it was so dire that without electricity, he used a gas-powered generator that another neighbor was kind enough to lend.
This is all hype?
No roads were flooded in my immediate vicinity, but I've never seen the rivers or reservoirs so high. Even old-timers haven't. We've all seen trees fallen on on power lines, but not like this. It was a shame to see some fine, majestic ones, and shocking to see some large ones. You just don't appreciate the strength of a storm until you've seen a two-foot-diameter tree snapped like a toothpick. There was a large one lying across my neighborhood's main road, blocking one lane and part of the other. There was a fellow hacking away with an axe, so I went to see if we could move it. Three guys in a pickup passed by, and without a chainsaw or towing chains, they at least figured they'd add their muscle. This 20-foot length must have weighed a literal ton. Five strong guys, yet we could budge it only enough to clear the partially blocked lane. Then the local fire chief happened by, and he called in a crew with suitable cutting equipment.
The Ramapo River actually flooded the New York State Thruway, which was reopened only this afternoon. The Passaic River is still rising at this time, and the news showed a storeowner's shop half-submerged. People at a couple of hotels in Parsippany had to be rescued when flooding occurred overnight -- that's right, a day after the storm. The Bronx River had risen so much that my commuter rail's service had to be suspended. The southern half is operational again, but not the northern half I use.
But didn't we hear, Irene was just hype.