Monday, August 29, 2011

Goodnight, Irene

TigerBlog can't remember when the forecast first mentioned that a hurricane was coming up the East Coast, with Princeton very much in its path.

Maybe it was Wednesday. Tuesday? Something like that.

Anyway, from that point forward, it seemed like all discussions centered around the storm that was on the way.

And that was just conversations with actual people. The news? That was all-hurricane, all-the-time.

Except that nobody could tell TigerBlog exactly what it was that he wanted to know, which was simply this: When was it supposed to start in Princeton? And, for that matter, how bad was it going to be?

That's all. He didn't need to know about the history of hurricanes in this area. He didn't need to see endless live pictures of either jam-packed roads as people tried to get away from coastal areas or empty roads heading the other direction.

One of the cool sights that TB saw was a completely empty boardwalk in Atlantic City, something even more fascinating considering it was the last Friday night before Labor Day.

Of course, the TV people were out in force out in the storm, dressed in their rain-resistant outfits.

TigerBlog heard from Governor Christie and Mayor Bloomberg more than he needed to, though he respected both for trying to stay ahead of things.

He saw special weather bulletins, interactive maps, forecasts, projections. He heard worst-case scenarios, including one discussion that questioned the possibility that the storm would knock over buildings in New York City.

Then there was the supermarket, which was swamped.

TB has never understood the phenomenon of heading straight to the supermarket when there is the threat of a snowstorm, as if all ability to get the store will be eliminated for weeks after that. In TB's lifetime, he can only remember two storms that prevented him from getting to the supermarket for more than 24 hours after the flakes stopped falling.

This time, in the face of the looming hurricane, TigerBlog read a few stories about what people should stock up on in case they were trapped, perhaps by flooding. Bottled water. Canned food. Things that wouldn't spoil in case power was lost.

TB went with all the essentials, as well as extra Yoo-hoo, just in case.

The one item that was sold out everywhere around here was D batteries, the ones that are used in most flashlights. Oh well.

Still, for all of that, TigerBlog only really wanted to know when it was going to start raining and how bad it was going to be.

The answers turned out to be late Saturday afternoon and very, though to be honest, TB thought it was going to be worse - and that's with most of the area still without power.

TB heard Gov. Christie on Sunday morning as he was questioned about whether or not he had overreacted to the coming storm, which left TB incredulous, what with more than 10 inches of rain dumped on parts of the state (about six in Princeton).

This turned out to be, by the way, the rainiest August in the history of this area, this despite the fact that it did not rain at all in the first 10 days of the month.

Now that the storm has moved away, the coming forecast couldn't be better for the cleanup effort. Every day for the next week will be sunny, with high temperatures in the upper 70s or low 80s.

The breaking sunshine ended a wild week in Princeton, one that included an earthquake and hurricane.

This coming week will also be wild, what with the start of the Princeton Athletic year.

The men's and women's soccer teams will be flying off to start their years, with the men in two games in South Carolina (against College of Charleston and Furman) and the women's team in California (against Cal State-Northridge and Long Beach State).

The field hockey and women's volleyball teams open on the road, though closer to home, as the field hockey team starts 2011 minus four key players who are training for the Olympics with games at Bucknell and American while Sabrina King's debut as head coach for the women's volleyball will be at a tournament at Hofstra.

Additionally, the women's basketball team will be on the road as well - all the way to France and Senegal - as the two-time defending Ivy League champion women make a preseason trip.

If the hurricane had come a few days later, it would have messed with all of those travel plans. Instead, at least Irene was kind enough to get out of the way so that Princeton's 2011-12 athletic year could start in peace.

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