It looks like a category one hurricane may be heading into the heart of New York City. As a person who spends a lot of time looking at old pictures, the only thing I can predict is that a few years from now we will probably be looking at photos of Irene when the next one is coming.
As a person in my 40’s who grew up on Long Island, I have a few hurricane memories of my own. In 1976 I was nine, and we were warned Hurricane Belle was coming. It was supposed to be bad (I always thought it was spelled Bell, had more of a ring to it that way). Anyway, my parents battened down the hatches, I helped, and in a way it was all very exciting, something unusual was going to happen. But Belle turned east at the last minute and in Queens all we got was a big rain and a small breeze. For New York City the much bigger weather events of the next couple of years were three huge snowstorms that hit in ’77 and ’78. It would have been nice if Belle could have lived up (just) a little closer to expectations. For a while a lot of us in Queens thought hurricanes were just a lot of hype.
My next hurricane experience was in 1985 as a college student at Stony Brook University. Gloria was more than hype. I remember the wind and the rain. I liked to think that the eye had passed right through campus, but looking it up it appears it passed through Commack to our west. On the campus itself the damage didn’t seem devastating, but it was a different story in the surrounding towns. I saw a lot of trees down and there was no power anywhere.
As a person with extremely limited weather knowledge, it looks like a hurricane with roughly the strength of Gloria’s is going to hit us. Winds were approxamately 80 miles an hour when Gloria made landfall between Long Beach and Fire Island, they are predicted to be about the same for Irene. The big difference is Irene’s path looks to be more to the west. This will do some serious damage, but it will probably not be completely devastating.
More Hurricane Links
And Wrightsville Beach NC Precautions (maybe they know what they are doing better in NC when it comes to hurricanes)