Good Night (Hurricane) Irene! by
(306 Stories)

Prompted By Lightning

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We’ve been affected by hurricanes twice  – by Irene in 2011 and by Sandy a year later.    Sandy caused us the most disruption – our Manhattan apartment building is near the East River and the storm caused it to overrun the adjacent FDR Drive and our street,  East End Ave,  and flood our building’s basement.  Then the force of the surge pulled an oil tank from the basement wall that crashed on the concrete floor.  The toxic mix of raw sewage and oil made the building unsafe,  and in addition we lost power,  phone and elevator service,  as well as  cooking gas,  and we were all evacuated for several weeks.  (See Cooking with Gas).

Sandy wreaked havoc where she made landfall,  and every night we all got a meteorological education on the news.   Hurricanes,  we learned,  are usually unaccompanied by lightning.

But Hurricane Irene was an exception that proved the rule.  In the early morning of August 28,  2011 we were asleep in our Connecticut country house when a terrifyingly loud crash woke us and sent the cat scurrying under the bed.

From our bedroom window we looked down at the deck and saw that lightning had split the trunk of a large tree a few yards from the house.  It fell across the deck hitting the railing and bringing it down.

It happened our house had the dubious distinction of being the only one in our condo community to have suffered Irene’s wrath,  but we thanked our lucky stars the damage hadn’t been more than a broken deck railing.

By the way,  our old scaredy cat stayed under the bed until suppertime.

– Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: Hurricanes, Lightning
Characterizations: funny, well written


  1. Dave Ventre says:

    Cats are smart!

    One morning (Chicago T-storms often hit in the morning hours, which just seems wrong) Gina and I were watching the news while a storm blustered outside. WGN had a mobile unit on our street. We had just noticed that the live picture on TV was showing our street when it showed a bolt hitting a tree. An instant later we were deafened by the loud crack of the thunder. We saw our bolt on TV, but heard it through the window.

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    Sandy certainly made a mess for you and much of the Tri-State area. We attended a wedding in Lower Manhattan about 10 days later. They had to quickly find a new venue for both the wedding and the dinner that followed, but they worked miracles and it went off without a hitch. We all had a marvelous time. Glad you had only minor damage from Irene. Poor kitty. I don’t blame her for being frightened. Loud noises will do that!

  3. Khati Hendry says:

    Wow, you have had some really major impacts from the hurricanes! It must have felt quite overwhelming. You are indeed lucky to have recovered from the damage and been uninjured yourselves. I imagine you relive that a bit every time you see reports of storm damage elsewhere (recent tornado anyone?) and those reports are just happening more often.

  4. pattyv says:

    Dana, I too believe you had your fair share of these unexpected calamities, especially when you had moved to Connecticut. Yes, now that’s enough. Love the cat’s reaction. I really believe we’re supposed to model them sometimes, stay safe then come out to eat. Love the pic.

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    I love the cat picture. Dogs re also not fond of thunder and lightning. Sandy sounds like it created quite a mess for you.

  6. Jim Willis says:

    One hurricane would be more than enough for me, Dana, so I have a feeling that two could be completely fearsome! So far in life, I’ve experienced tornados in Oklahoma and earthquakes in California, but no hurricanes. That’s fine with me. You did a nice job with this piece.

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