Monday, August 29, 2011

goodnight irene

Midcoast Maine was mostly spared Irene's wrath this weekend, for which I am feeling so lucky. We hunkered down after doing all the advised hurricane preparations (got out flashlights & candles, set aside a couple of buckets of water for emergency toilet flushing, stocked up on bottled water & crackers & other non-perishables), but the storm barely brushed by our town in the form of periodic rain showers and fierce winds. We maintained power all night, and the only evidence of the winds at our house was a slightly askew compost bin this morning. Our neighbor's car was destroyed by a fallen limb that crushed her car straight down the middle, and many of the towns around us lost power. But we? Had a quiet, rainy day inside.

Well, quiet aside from the nervous phone calls back and forth between us and loved ones in Mike's hometown in upstate New York. The Schoharie Valley was devastated by flooding yesterday. This photo, lifted from a friend on Facebook, shows some of the extraordinary damage done to those farming communities.

All of Natalie's New York grandparents got to higher ground mid-afternoon yesterday, before the water came rushing through Main Street. Luckily, Mike's mom and stepdad live far enough out of town and at a high enough elevation that they may have only sustained some minor basement flooding, if any at all. His dad and stepmom, however, are facing feet of standing water in the first floor of their house today. The waters are expected to recede today and tomorrow, so the true damage of the storm remains yet to be seen.

Mike's dad was able to get back into town last night alongside other town and county officials; he surveyed the scene in horror and reported the details to us this morning. Mike said he sounded as if he'd seen a ghost--bewildered and stunned and overwhelmed by the raging flood waters that have taken over his hometown. Propane spills have made their mark, too, and fears of fire are now also of great concern in the county.

We know that Schoharie is just one of many villages, towns, and cities that have been affected by Irene. Our thoughts are with all those who are facing the aftermath of this storm.


  1. It just blows me away. I'm glad that the large cities and millions of people in our country were spared the worst effects of this storm, but the damage to little places like my hometown is almost beyond imagination.

    Names of villages like Schoharie, Middleburg, Esperance...all places that evoke a million memories in my mind from the first 18 years of my life are shells of their former selves. So many homes and businesses are destroyed and almost none of them have flood insurance (because this just does not happen. Ever).

    For me, safe and sound in Maine, it's like a horror story that doesn't seem real. For everyone I ever knew and didn't know in the Schoharie Valley, it's a nightmare come true. I'm so very sorry for each and every person that had to watch their homes, their cars, their mementos and memories, their businesses and their history, literally wash away.

    A CNN headline reports: "NYC says Irene doesn't impress". The story is vastly, painfully different a couple hundred miles north thanks to the single worst flood in the history of my little hometown.

  2. We are keeping Mike's family and the countless others affected by this incredible force of nature in our thoughts & prayers. We had our power restored this morning after being out for about 2 days. We were lucky to only have lost power.

  3. It's just horrible - I hope that everyone STAYS safe and that the damage can be, as much as possible, undone. Just 30 miles away, we were completely unscathed, but my good friend Ashley's hometown in Schenectady county is underwater, too. I know Jason has already talked to a few people from Schoharie and surrounds who have literally lost everything.