Late last week, Hurricane Irene plowed through the Carolinas and along the East Coast through New Jersey, New York City , Connecticut, other parts of New England and Canada. The storm was a Category 1 hurricane with winds approaching 90 MPH. The most dangerous portions of the storm were the many flood surges of rising water which leveled small communities and towns in its path. In addition, hurricanes generate tremendous shear forces which tear apart infrastructure along the critical path of the storm.
The hurricane passed over NYC in mid-morning on Sunday. Despite extensive preparations including the closure of the NYC Subway , water still rose above barriers to flood parts of the downtown Manhattan. Thousands had been evacuated previously to higher ground in anticipation of the rising tidewaters. Homeowners boarded up small homes and stocked water, flashlights, food and other emergency kit items.
This was the first time that NYC officials took the unusual step of recommending evacuation and closing the public transportation system to protect public property from the rising waters. Some train yards were on low land. The advanced planning allowed transportation officials to re-route trains to higher ground so that property could be preserved.
In New York and New Jersey, thousands of National Guard personnel were called to serve. Numerous public service announcements informed the public of evacuation deadlines and milestones. Once these exact times were reached, the public was instructed to stay in their homes.
Given the enormity of the task, the operation was executed flawlessly. The federal, state and municipal governmental agencies acted in concert to preserve life and property. Much can be learned from this experience.
For instance, the Civil Engineering infrastructure along the coastline requires an upgrade to contain flood waters and protect local property, livelihoods and life itself. Dams may be reinforced, as well as harbor facilities and beaches. Nuclear Power Plant shutdowns should be anticipated for higher category storms.
The aftermath of a big storm is a good time to update or improve upon existing contingency plans and disaster recovery planning documents in both the public and private sector. These planning documents should reflect the most up-to-date experience with the storm, as well as organizational/ staff changes, new vendors and other important contacts.
The FEMA website has detailed instructions on how to prepare for a hurricane.
The rain is literally pounding down right now. The sheets of water coming off the roof are so heavy that you can't see through them and the wind is still howling out there. Why I'm on the computer I don't know. Not much else to do since everywhere is closed and the satellite is out. UPDATE: Well, after a lot of wind and a lot of rain, the trees are still standing, the power never went out, and everything's already gone pretty much back to normal. … more
My sister lives in New York City and was stuck waiting out this sucker. She's okay though, and I guess the one good thing you could say about Irene is that the damages was ultimately considerably less than expected. Irene was reduced to tropical storm status when it hit the northeast, but still did over a billion dollars worth of damage in New York City and various points upstate, not even including a stop in New England.
CNN reports flooding in NY City including the subway. The financial damage? At least a billion or so! So far, not too many fatalities so that's good news (if any news could be called good in the case of a hurricane!). Let's pray things won't get worse from here! Stay safe, Americans!
Hurricane Irene, Yes, this was a very large storm and caused a lot of damage for many, the un-informed who escaped from the damage the stormed caused others were indeed lucky. Count your blessings if the storm had little or no effect on you except to spoil a summer week-end.
Hurricane Irene is an active North Atlantic tropical cyclone, the ninth named storm, first hurricane, and first major hurricane of the 2011 season. Irene formed from a well-defined Atlantic tropical wave, which showed signs of organization east of the Lesser Antilles. It developed atmospheric convection and a closed cyclonic circulation center, prompting the National Hurricane Center to initiate public advisories on the tropical cyclone late on August 20. Subsequent convective organization occurred as it passed the Leeward Islands, and by August 21 it moved very close to Saint Croix. The next day Irene made landfall near Puerto Rico, where high winds and intermittent torrents caused significant property damage.
The hurricane strengthened as it passed through the Bahamas, becoming a major hurricane while doing so and causing extensive damage to the islands. Recurving toward the north, Irene skirted past Florida with its outer bands producing tropical storm-force winds. It is currently approaching the coast of North Carolina, and is forecast to make landfall within 24 hours. Throughout its path, Irene caused widespread destruction and at least six deaths; monetary losses could be as high as US$3.1 billion according to preliminary estimates.
The U.S. east coast is bracing itself for a first major hurricane in seven years.
Evacuations began on a tiny barrier island off North Carolina as Hurricane Irene strengthened to a major Category 3 storm over the Bahamas today with the ...