Hurricane Irene Nails New England

During the quiet, silent hours of Saturday night, August 27, 2011, Hurricane Irene came with a vehemence upon New England. Situated twenty miles north of Boston, we waited patiently having watched the news from Florida, North Carolina and Virginia. For days, Irene slid up the coast at twelve miles an hour annihilating almost everything in her path. Patiently we in New England waited for our turn.

Surprisingly, Saturday at 9:00 a.m. the local grocery store was not as busy as anticipated. I purchased the few remaining items we needed hoping the sun would shine on Monday. Orange juice, milk, yogurt, fruits and vegetables were among my acquisitions. I was sure the lines in the store would be wound down the aisles to the back of the store, but such was not the case. I bought what I needed, picked up a Starbucks coffee across the street and was home in no time.

Later in the day, I attended mass at my local parish church. Once again, I knew the pews would be filled to capacity. I was not wrong. If only this was the case at mass on a normal Sunday morning. However, many decided to attend mass this Saturday due to the local forecast for hurricane winds and torrential rains the next day.

On Saturday, the Boston Red Sox played a doubleheader, which they barely got in; the Sox won both games. As the second game came to its conclusion, Irene was just beginning to knock on our door in the Boston area. New Englanders went to bed with what appeared to be a normal storm of rain and slight wind. We awoke to heavy rains and vengeful winds. During breakfast, I realized the flag had not been taken down. Quickly I dressed, put on my raincoat and went outside. As I untied the rope, I looked upward to guide the flag down. Rain fell upon my face as I gently steered Old Glory down to safety.

Happy to be back inside, I listened to the news as the winds pick up with a fury and vengeance. Rain, which at times came down in droplets, quickly came down in sheets. Looking outside, I noticed one branch already lying on the ground with what I knew would be more to come. The beautiful “Rose of Sharon” bush in the yard blew left, right and then was still, but not for long.

The Boston news reported in mid-morning the wind gusts were 65 mph with a potential to 100 mph. Over 27,000 people were without power with more to come. Some areas of Massachusetts were in worse condition than others. Seas were extremely rough at Cape Cod, while flooding became very serious in Western Massachusetts. Ferry service to the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket was canceled; it will not begin until Monday, August 29. Flooding is reported on Route 9 in Framingham, Quincy Shore Drive and part of Storrow Drive in Boston.

A fire engine raced down the street parallel to our road. A large crack pierced the woods behind my house; a tree or very large branch had fallen. With Massachusetts in a State of Emergency, 2500 National Guard troops were called out to assist those in need. The only thing to do now is to sit, wait and pray.


WCVB, Channel 5

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