Hurricane Irene Story

I hope everyone affected by Hurricane Irene is safe and slowly getting everything back to normal! Richmond got ravaged. Everywhere you look there is tree carnage, trees uprooted and in the street or on houses and many Richmond residents are still without power.  Luckily, our apartment has power and escaped unscathed with the exception of a massive tree that fell in our backyard but somehow missed all three power lines.  Now that Richmond is slowly piecing itself back together, I thought it would be interesting to share my hurricane Irene story via photos. First a little context:

Thursday: We stocked up on  gfree bread, beans, water, larabars, and booze on Thursday night along with a hefty portion of the city.  I made a fresh batch of peanut butter and a fresh batch of strawberry infused vodka, you know, just in case. At this point, no one was sure how bad the hurricane was going to be, so my plans for the weekend were still on and everything was normal.

Friday: My tendency to over-plan kicked in and I packed us a bag for three days worth of clothes and all of major valuables and important documents. I also packed a bag of food, water, dog stuff, and booze. I had original packed these bags as a "just in case" but then we decided to evacuate our apartment with our dog and went to my parent's home, which is about 15 minutes away.  Our apartment is in a very tree heavy area and there are power lines connected to our home so we decided that our place was not the safest place to be. I'm so glad we left the night before because driving in a hurricane is not fun.

Saturday: We woke up and had a delicious hot breakfast and then settled in for the day. It had been raining the entire night before and that morning but the wind didn't pick up until around 11 or noon.

And then it got really windy. Look at that poor little crabapple tree! It is actually still bent like that.

Around 2, the power went out.  We lit some candles and sat around being entertained by my dog, who was less than amused and my brother's cat's little kitten who was even less amused at my dog being there. P.S. my pit bull is legitimately afraid of that kitten - so vicious right?

We all figured the hurricane was a really good excuse to relax and maybe take a nap. So Brad and I laid down in the guest bedroom and about 20 minutes later, there was a huge crash that immediately made us jump out of bed.  My stepdad came running down the hall asking if we were okay and we quickly got out of bed and looked outside.  This is what was there.

A huge oak tree had uprooted and fallen between the guest bedroom and my brother's room.  It had cracked the ceiling in my brother's room and broken through most of the attic. Luckily, my parents' home is made of brick otherwise...well, I highly doubt I would be typing this right now.

Things started leaking and we quickly got everything valuable out of the rooms and put them in a safer room. There wasn't much we could do except wait and hope that the tree didn't slide down any further.  My mom called the insurance company, who has been amazing throughout this whole process.  She sent Brad and I to our apartment to see if it was okay, just in case anyone needed to stay there.  Surprisingly, our place was fine and with power.  We stayed there and my parent's stayed at our neighbor's house since the house wasn't safe to be in but they couldn't really leave.

Sunday and Monday: We went over the house to assess the damage and see how the rest of their neighborhood fared. The tree had slid down a bit further on the roof but otherwise, everything was still the same.

The rest of the neighborhood was also pretty devastated.

Luckily, my family was able to share a generator with our neighbors and friends to keep the fridge to at least be able to eat.  The tree was able to be removed on Monday and the insurance company is locating temporary housing for them to the stay in.  Right now,  my mom, stepdad, and brother  have packed up all of their things and put them in a storage unit and are staying at a hotel.

Our backyard currently looks like this:

We are beyond lucky.

Needless to say, I'm so glad everyone is okay. Things could have been much, much worse  and unfortunately, they were for some people.  My heart goes out to everyone who still doesn't have power and who is dealing with injuries to family, their home, or their loved ones all up and down the East Coast.

Irene, you really did a number on us.