First we felt the 5.8 Virginia earthquake here in New Jersey last Wednesday, August 23, 2011. I realize people who live along fault lines on the west coast are used to this sort of thing, but for us, it's a rare occurrence. I have felt a couple of earthquake tremors in New Jersey in the past, but none ever as long or as strong as this one. The first thing I noticed around 1:52 pm EST was a rumbling sound and immediately I thought a large branch was rolling down my roof, but I never heard anything fall onto my roof and it kept rolling and rolling and my roof is not that big! Definitely not a branch rolling down my roof! Then I heard the house creaking like it does when a really strong wind or hurricane (that would be a few days later...) blows through only more so. But that didn't seem quite right, either, because there wasn't even the slightest breeze outside. I looked out the window to confirm this and noticed the power lines were swaying, and then my house was swaying, and the flowers outside my window were swaying, too! I knew then it was an earthquake and then seconds later, it was over. I estimate that the whole thing lasted all of 45 seconds or so, but that's a long time when you're not sure if it is the beginning of something big right in your own neighborhood or the ripple of something happening far away. It's amazing how far reaching the tremors were for this one! There's an interesting map at the U.S. Geological Survey website that documents where earthquakes are felt by the public. You can see the results from last Wednesday's Virginia earthquake HERE. Click on the map on the right that is labeled "Zoomout Map" to see where this quake was felt.
Then on Thursday, my youngest daughter and I went to visit friends of ours who were renting a house at the New Jersey shore for the week. I have become good friends with the mother of my youngest's best friend over the last two years or so, and she is training for the Danskin Triathlon, too. We thought the girls would have a fun day together at the beach and she and I could practice our open water swim and maybe even bike and run, too. Except the weather was really lousy and there was a swimming ban in the ocean due to the impending hurricane.
|From left to right, my youngest and her friend.|
We're very fortunate to have made it through the recent storm without too much stress or loss and while I know so many others have had and are still having a very difficult time recovering from the hurricane, here is my story of hurricane Irene and how it affected my family:
Saturday was spent preparing for the arrival of hurricane Irene that was predicted to come directly through our area. We charged cell phones, laptops, flashlight batteries; stored extra ice in the basement freezer; put the basketball hoop, patio furniture, garbage cans, flower planters into the garage; filled our cars with gas; got some extra cash (ATMs and credit cards won't work in a power outage); bought extra gallons of drinking water and then hoped for the best. On Saturday afternoon, our town issued a mandatory evacuation for hundreds of families whose homes lie along a small river that flows through our town by 8 pm that evening. Fortunately, we were not in the evacuation zone. A bit after nightfall, rain and wind started getting stronger and steadier.
Hurricane Irene arrived in full force here in the very early hours of Sunday morning, August 28, 2011, between midnight and 2 am. A window in our master bedroom was leaking the whole night, which I know is minimal compared to what was happening in other homes around the area, but I can't help but be especially aggravated because this window is in our 2 year old addition! I'm hoping it is just a matter of missing caulk on the top edge of this window where it meets the siding on the outside. That can be easily fixed. We lined the window sill and floor with rolled up towels for the interim. I had a very fitful night's sleep--waking up every hour because of the sounds of water dripping at the window and pouring through the gutters and the wind howling through the trees and from simply worrying so much.
At this time, our town is still under a state of emergency. Our family is among the very few, very lucky households who had power restored in so quickly. Most homes and businesses in our area are still without power and the electric company is saying it could be several more days before it is fully restored. A few friends are dropping by to take a hot shower, check their email, charge their cell phones and do some laundry. Oh, and of course a few of our daughters' friends will be coming over tonight to watch the season finale of "Pretty Little Liars." Small comforts, right? :)
Here is a picture of the gazebo in the park down the street from me at which I often run. The footpath runs right alongside the gazebo and is under about seven feet of water here:
|Photo taken by my husband on|
Sunday, August 28, 2011, approximately 3 pm EST.
I hope this post finds you and your loved ones safe and sound from whatever came your way this past week!
Coming up next will be fun and happy vacation photos from Europe! I promise! :)