Spent Friday evening after work and all day Saturday prepping for Irene, removing everything from the yard, prepping a 5700 watt generator, running extension cords, getting flashlights/batteries ready, etc. The rains started on Sat night and it rained and rained and rained. The winds weren’t bad during the storm when it was running. About 3:30am early Sunday morning we had a series of short power losses and just before 4am we lost power. I went outside, started the generator, plugged the sump pump in for myself and my neighbor and couldn’t go back to sleep.
I stayed up throughout the storm and things weren’t too bad until late morning on Sunday when the water in my backyard started. We have a pond and stream behind our house and only one time before was it an issue – Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The stream overflows its banks and that isn’t so bad until the pond also overflows and then all hell starts. The water started to rise and what happens it will start to hit my detached garage before it hits the house and flows like a river around the garage. It got to the garage, but that was it. It was about 4-5 feet deep in the backyard and the when the rains stopped and it was at its peak, the kids were kayaking in it. Within about 60-90 mins after the rain stopped, all the water had receded and other than debris, there was no sign my property was underwater.
The sump pump powered by the generator kept up and there was no water in the basement and no trees came down. That’s much better than many of my neighbors were they had 6+ inches of water in their basement and one lost the top of a big pine tree, though other than the fence around their garden it didn’t damage anything. I spent the day helping the neighbors deal with their homes. Once the rain stopped, that’s when the wind kicked up and when all the tree damage started. We had dozens of HUGE trees down on our side of town with minimal home damage from what I saw but lots of power lines down and streets closed. We had a few neighbors over for an impromptu BBQ. Around 10pm Sunday the wind felt like it was dying down a bit and the storm was really passed us at that point.
There was still no power when we went to bed but I got a call about 4:30am from the neighbor saying the power was back on. Went and unplugged the sump pump and the refrigerator from the generator and put them back in the outlets and shut down the generator. Without the generator it really would have been a mess. With all the wind, my G5RV and 10/15/20m dipole were blowing like mad, but stayed up. I did need to drop the fan dipole to untangle 2 wires that had crossed but that took 5 mins this morning.
With not being around much yesterday and helping the neighbors I didn’t monitor the repeaters so I hope everyone in the area was ok. I know my county activated at least 1 shelter as I received an email on Saturday before the storm hit asking for folks to assist with communications, but without power I didn’t want to leave the family at home with the generator. I saw lots of emails on rivers in the area 10+ feet over flood stage and areas around them being flooded out.
I missed out on a few contests this weekend so I hope those that got on the air had fun. I’m not sure if having a lot of folks on the east coast not participate was noticed or not. I guess if folks were prepared, and depending on where they were located, they could have gotten in some air time before the storm hit them. I’ll have to read the lists and see how things went.