Preparing for Irene

August 26, 2011

Woods Hole's "Eel Pond" the day before the day before...

We are preparing for Hurricane Irene.  Will she pass with a whimper like last year’s Earl, or rumble through roaring like Bob or Carol, or the dreaded Hurricane of 1938 that decimated this coast so many years ago that only octogenarians remember.

Doesn’t much matter because no one can actually see into the future (even those hurricane trackers) to tell us where the eye of the storm will pass.  And so we must go through the same rituals every season, all the stuff up from the basement in case it floods, sandbags at the doors, boats out of the water, flashlights, gasoline, duct tape, spare water, tubs filled, canned goods at the ready.

I went to Eastman’s Hardware and stocked up.  What a place!  A real, old-fashioned hardware store with knowledgeable staff and plenty of the supplies you need.  I filled the gas can and tested the generator.  Jeremy moved all the porch furniture into the basement and tied down what was too heavy to move.  We put batteries in all the flashlights and took down the flag.

The only thing missing is chewing gum, playing cards and a ball of twine:)

And so we are ready.   And then we wait.  I wandered out onto the street to compare notes with other business owners — have I thought of everything?  Is there more I can do?  I thought of the early settlers, and the Native Americans who survived on this narrow peninsula for generations without doppler radar and the constant barrage of media warning to prepare prepare prepare.  Perhaps some of them came to be able to feel the low pressure systems in their bones, or noticed how the birds get very quiet.

But on a sunny hot day like today, it’s really hard to imagine that a huge storm is coming.  And easy to think that people were caught unprepared before modern tracking and the relentless clack clack of the TV’s StormWatch!.  I guess that makes us lucky, but sometimes the anticipation is worse than the storm.

For real time pictures and news, follow my FaceBook feed at “Woods Hole Inn.”  As long as the cell sites are operating, I will be posting up to the minute news and information.  After the dust settles….

Eel Pond at 7 am this morning when I started my day.


  1. Cape Cod Johnny

    I hope and pray that we don’t get hit to badly. I have been through a lot of bad storms on Cape Cod both winter & summer. Bad storms seem to hurt the most them that have the least. Prepare for the worst and then laugh at yourself for your efforts when the forecaster is proven wrong.

  2. Sam Smalley

    Please get yourselves to another place as we learned a valuable lesson when we stayed at our Woods Hole Inn during Katrina! Look at our pictures again and measure how far we were from the eye! You are sitting ducks for a storm surge and wind damage. It is just not worth the risk. :

    1. Thanks Sam. We are going to ride it out. Been here since the 1870’s and all… Looks like the storm is weakening as well. For those who are interested, Sam ran the other “Woods Hole Inn” in Louisiana that was sadly destroyed by Katrina (see his link for photos of the aftermath). Some day, Sam is going to come up and stay at the northeastern version. But not in hurricane season!

  3. Sam Smalley

    I hope you’re right about the diminishing strength…..we’ll keep you in our prayers to be safe and dry!

  4. Ruth | Concertina Press

    Hey found your blog through the link you posted on the CC facebook page. While driving through downtown today I noticed Eastmans was one of the few places that HADN’T taped up their windows or boarded them up – I love that place, they are alway SUPER helpful.

    The cupcake place altered their plywood to say ” Irene Blows” instead of ” Earl Blows” – hoping you guys remain flood free!

    1. Thanks Ruth. I added another blog post just now. You know you are ready when there is nothing left to do but swim and blog:)

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