Hurricane Irene

September 1, 2011
By

Hurricane Irene has come and gone, just like that, like the snap of a finger. In truth, for all our preparations, Hurricane Irene was a no-show. She never came to dinner and stayed around a while to wreak her havoc.

She came and went like a ghost, only half of what she was coming out of the Caribbean and rushing up the Northeast Coast. By many and varied accounts, she was a giant, swirling , dangerous mass of low pressure fed by warm open water on a track to do destruction.

And so, we capitulated to her, entirely, willingly, for better or worse. In the end, most of us would heartily agree, we did better preparing for her and overprotecting ourselves than paying no attention whatsoever to what might have been.

What might have been and how we get all riled up about that and then ultimately all let down is always the problem with hurricane meteorological predictions such as those we studied for about four days before the storm finally hit. And when it hit on Sunday,what remained of it, was immediately a great disappointment because it did not have the power to destroy us or to disrupt us from doing what we wanted in our lives.

The shutdown of all rapid transit in Boston might have been a bit much. The virtual closing down of nearly everything open to mankind in Boston – even churches – far surpassed what we tend to do when faced with a major snowstorm.

In Chelsea, City Manager Jay Ash became a bit of a weather prognosticator and kept citizens informed by e-mail throughout the build-up of the storm. And he made a tour of the city following the storm.

Chelsea came through basically unscathed except for some predictable flooding, a single roof collapse and some trees and big branches taking a tumble.

In other parts of the state – down the Cape and in Western Massachusetts – there were power outages and flooding. The specter of further flooding remains into the early days of this week because of the excess of rain and the already soaked nature of the soil as well as rivers and streams already at capacity due to an unusually rainy summer.

For Chelsea, Irene wasn’t a hurricane.

She was a tropical storm.

It was windy and rainy. The tides ran high locally but that was about it.

We’re lucky Hurricane Irene didn’t show herself fully in this area.

Had she done so, there would have been substantial damage, dislocation and chaos.

We were very lucky this time – but then – this is what New England weather is all about.

Luck.


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