Waiting for Irene: Coastal Video of Maine

Sunday, August 28, 2011, 7:01 a.m. EST, 68 degrees F, average windspeed 14 mph

We headed to the bridge overlook early this morning. The National Weather Service just issued a hurricane warning for Maine, and we knew we wouldn’t want to take a video when the wind got any stronger. At the 14 mph wind speed, with a light but steady rain, we could feel change in the air.
One of the worst things about being in Maine right now is that we are at the northern edge of this huge hurricane as it works its way north. The anticipation is terrible, especially because our nearest and dearest, our two children, are in Boston and Philadelphia—two places that are also on Irene’s massive track. We have other relatives all along Irene’s path—in Maryland, New York City, southern coastal Connecticut, and coastal Massachusetts—so we certainly have our eyes on the weather. Hearing the news of devastation and damage and power outages to our south portends things to come but also raises our worries for our dear ones.

Hurricane harvest… it hasn’t been the best of gardening years
as I talked about in last week’s post, here
In Maine, it’s unclear if we’ll get a hurricane or “just” a tropical storm out of Irene. Regardless of its label, no doubt we’ll get high winds and lots of rain. We’re hoping for the best but prepared for the worst: radio, nonperishable food, propane for our camp stove, put away all outside furniture and anything else that could become airborne. Lots of people we know who have boats pulled them out of the water, but there were still many boats left in the harbor that we saw when we went to shoot the video this morning.

We talked about evacuating, even tried to check out evacuation routes (although a call to the town hall resulted in the suggestion: “drive to higher ground.”) Most of the Mainers I’ve talked to don’t seem too concerned, shrugging it off: “A big storm” and “We’ll probably lose power.” Our 90-year-old neighbor is staying put, saying: “I won’t leave my house.” 

Of course if we’re told to leave, we’ll leave.

It seems like I’m the only one who admits I’m afraid. (Thank goodness we no longer have cable TV or I’d probably be a basket case.) And yet the grocery store is packed with people, and all bulk water is gone from the shelves. Not a radio can be found at nearby L.L. Bean.
These pepper plants are the best we’ve ever grown,
and we weren’t about to lose them in this storm!
Meanwhile in the garden… yesterday was hurricane harvest day. We picked all the ripe and almost-ripe tomatoes and as many pole beans as we could easily find. Most everything else—kale, cabbage, root crops, herbs, eggplant—is low to the ground and will fend for itself. MEH (My Engineer Husband) tethered the pole beans so they wouldn’t fall over in the storm, and we brought our huge pepper pot—holding two heavily laden-with-peppers-plants into the house.

How has Hurricane Irene affected you? I hope you and your loved ones are safe and sound.



  1. I can’t imagine the anticipation, Julia… and I’d be concerned, too. It’s better to be prepared than caught off guard. I can’t imagine how worried you must be about all the loved ones you have in Irene’s path. I’ll be thinking about you and anxiously awaiting word of how you fared.

  2. Melissa, Downgraded to Tropical Storm, but still could get very heavy damage. Irene is past Philly now so my daughter is safe and sound; now hunkered down and waiting ’til it blows over…. sigh. Thanks for support!

  3. You’re in my thoughts! I hope the damage isn’t too bad and it doesn’t hit Maine too badly. Looking at your video though, you can see how windy it is and how the weather changed so much from last week. Good luck and keep us posted!

  4. Pet says:

    I hope that all will be fine at the end. Take care.

  5. Ann says:

    I hope you’re okay and didn’t lose any power, plants or people…..(or the house). You’ve been on my mind all day.

  6. Ado says:

    Great post – love seeing the video rather than picturing what it’s like in Maine in my mind.
    PS: Don’t you think they hyped the shit out of this hurricane or is it just me?

  7. Lisa Ahn says:

    I hope you are okay! Did your daughter lose power in Philly?
    We’re in Central MA — lots of rain and wind, which the new puppy hated and the kids were crazy, but we didn’t lose power and we’re alright. Take care.

  8. Leah, Thanks so much — thankfully we were spared the worst of the storm. My heart goes out to those who were far less fortunate than we!

    Pet, Thanks for your concern & comment! We made it through safe & sound! 🙂

    Ann, Our house & plants & people all made it safely through Irene. I am incredibly thankful today! (however, I better get busy with those tomatoes!)

    Ado, Glad you enjoyed the video — one of our more dramatic ones (I post them every week). As for the hype…. I guess because we don’t have cable, I missed most of it…doesn’t the media ridiculously hype everything? I don’t think NOAA or government officials handled it wrong considering the wide-ranging scope of the storm — what a huge weather event to try and forecast, yikes! I’ve actually been pretty stunned by the amount of damage and lost lives. This morning I honestly feel a bit like I dodged a bullet!

    Lisa, My daughter lost power only briefly & we not at all, despite watching a huge branch fall and brush against our power lines! We got almost no rain, mostly high wind resulting in lots of downed branches, but no uprooted trees (in our neighborhood). Glad you are all fine! 🙂

  9. CMSmith says:

    I’m glad you dodged the bullet. I know some people are perturbed by the unrealized hype. But had things gone differently, those same people would be singing praises.

    Science is imperfect, especially weather forecasting. I give those in charge credit for caring and for valuing human life enough to be cautious.

    Whenever we hear a tornado warning here in the Midwest, we head for the basement. How many times has our hi e been hit by a tornado? Zero. Am I going to stop going to the basement? No.

  10. Christine, Thank you for this comment! It’s exactly what my husband has been saying since the first words of criticism came out — NOAA is not in it for the hype or the glory — they are “just” scientists trying to do their jobs, well, and I cannot imagine how hard their jobs are! And me? I’ll get ready just as thoroughly next time–serious weather like hurricanes, tornadoes call for serious preparations.

  11. Glad you’re safe Julia and that you’re through the worst of it!

  12. Mahesh, Thank you so much for stopping by for a look at my corner of the world and to offer your kind thoughts! I appreciate it so much!

  13. Julia, it was fascinating reading about your prep for the incoming storm — but I’m glad I read it after the hurricane has passed and I already know you’re safe. I hope your children and all your relatives who were in the path of the storm are OK and that your family’s properties didn’t sustain too much damage.

    I don’t blame you for being scared. Having been in a tornado in Jackson, MS where the neighbor’s roof got smashed to smithereens by a tree, I’m now less blase about big weather events. I’m ready to go into the basement at the slightest sign of anything these days :~)

  14. Amanda says:

    Glad you’re all right, Julia! Thankfully, those I know on the east coast have remained safe.

  15. Milli, Glad you enjoyed the prep talk — it seems like such a distant memory now, thank goodness! (everyone I know is safe and sound, whew) That said, like you, I’d do all this over again in a heartbeat. Better safe than sorry and prepare for the worst, hope for the best, are my storm words to live by!

    Amanda, Thanks for checking in & your well wishes — and so glad to hear that all your east coast peeps are safe and sound, too! 🙂