"I need a wet/dry vac. Now."
The only thing I could think of when I woke up Friday was that. Hurricane Irene was coming, and the predictions in terms of rain was astounding; Between 5 and 10 inches of rain, resulting in the worst hurricane since Hurricane Floyd in 1999. I still remember that one and how badly my basement flooded. Despite repairs and the fact that after some repairs and not getting a drain or sump-pump put in (I still don't remember why), I was assured flooding wouldn't happen again. I knew better. There were issues outside that I needed to take care of, and even still there was a strong chance things would get bad.
The news didn't help. CNN, MSNBC, Fox29, NBC10... everyone was saying this was going to be bad. Toss in mandatory evacuations in New York City and a State of Emergency being declared in Philly, I knew this was serious.
Sadly, not everyone I knew felt the same. A lot of them laughed it off, saying it was being blown out of proportion. Most of these people were transplants, people who weren't here in '99, some of them moving here from the South. A lot of them also rented. When you own your own home you priorities change and the idea of having a hurricane party becomes a luxury you only wish you could have. Instead, I had to stay home.
I needed a wet/dry vac to help with everything, so I ran out to Home Depot around 10AM and luckily picked up a small one. I also got some plastic sheeting, really just in case. The hope was that I wouldn't need either.
Lets just go straight to Saturday night. Around 10PM was when the heavy rains came, and within minutes a giant puddle in my basement started to get larger, and fast! I ran upstairs and got my wet/dry vac and started my work. After a while, I couldn't take it anymore. The water just kept coming in and it didn't seem like there was any way to stop it. I started moving things upstairs.
There was as worst-case scenario: The water pouring in and the power going out. No way to get rid of the water, and no way to save everything. I had essentially prayed that didn't happen.
Around 11PM, I ran outside and unclogged a drain by hand as fast as possible. Around midnight the rain came to enough of a lull where I could try and tackle another flood-prone spot outside. I opened up the plastic sheeting and covered the spot I thought the rain was coming in outside. Around 1AM the rains began again, after finally taking a break and talking to people on Facebook. During the next 5 hours, I spoke to people on Facebook on and off, helping to keep me sane while working to save my place.
I found out a friend of mine in the Northeast was stuck with a flooding basement. Writing back to each other helped us both, and we decided that we were "Riders of the Storm!
Around 5AM, I needed to get out out of the house. I put on my red poncho one more time, threw on some Slayer, and went for a short walk around the block.
By 6AM, things were fine. There didn't seem to be any new, or at least much, flooding thanks to the tarp outside. After being up for 24 hours and working for 8 hours straight, I was exhausted and finally got some sleep.
For some people waking up Sunday morning, they feel Hurricane Irene was nothing more than hype. For others in this area, it was a nightmare. For others still, the real horror was waking up and finding their basements flooded, or that their power was out, or countless other horror stories.
Was this storm over-hyped? I don't think so. Considering how bad it almost was, I think it was a fair reaction on behalf of all involved. I'd rather be over-prepared for something than under-prepared.