Nan’s Hurricane Irene Report Update

Hurricane Irene Report Update

You know how much I love going overboard, well, you know this Cajun music festival we’re having on Thursday, September 1st with Joel Savoy and David Greely? Well, I just wanted you to get the full effect of the whole Louisiana atmosphere in late August, so we’re bringing this hurricane up to flavor the experience!

But I would also like to say that if a hurricane takes out this house over August 28th and 29th, then I am just going to avoid August 28ths and 9ths from here on out.

So I’m still not whooped up, but I am paying attention and you know, the great thing about hurricanes is that you don’t freeze to death when the power goes out, unlike in an ice storm.

Doug Field of the Ashfield Select Board just called a meeting to talk about what he knows and here’s what he got today in a 12:30pm conference call with FEMA and MEMA: (And remember, it’s their job to prepare you for the worst scenario, so here that is.)

  • Where: The whole state will be affected. The eye is expected to fall between Worcester and Boston. We’re on the west side, which is always the worst side of a hurricane. (We try to always do things right!)
  • When: Beginning late Saturday night, lasting all day Sunday.
  • Rain: They expect 5 – 12 inches of rain. Possibility of flooding, but Doug and Tom Poissant opened the dam on Ashfield Lake so that it could go down and be ready to refill.
  • Wind: with winds 60 – 80 mph. After the eye passes over the winds could go from 70 – 90 mph. A possibility of tornados.
  • How big: It should land in Connecticut as a Category 2 hurricane, and by the time it reaches here it should weaken to a Category 1 or a Tropical Storm.
  • And so: Gov. Patrick has already declared the state in a State of Emergency as of 1pm today, and has requested people not travel after 6pm on Saturday night. And that’s a good idea, since we don’t have to evacuate.

The Ashfield Fire Station will be open as a command center and they are looking to have Sanderson Academy open as a shelter, if need be.

But the thing you really might have to worry about is flying stuff – big stuff. Rob just boarded up Elmer’s big picture windows (with lovely lattice!) and am taking all of the tables, chairs, hanging plants, sitting planters, etc and putting them in the barn. (I laughed the first year I was here that Louisiana storm windows were made of plywood. And now we have them here! I always like to take my traditions with me where ever I go!)  Even if you don’t have plywood or lattice, just putting some slats up for big flying things to bounce off of will help.

Don’t tape your windows – people do that a lot thinking it’s going to keep the glass from shattering, but it doesn’t really and the tape is always really hard to get off.

You probably don’t have to worry about an axe in the attic to hack your way out in a big flood (which people found out after Katrina didn’t really work anyway because modern roofs have so many layers,) but a bathtub of water is still good to have for wastewater (flushing your toilet, etc.)

Of course batteries, flashlights, candles- the same things you keep around all the time in case of power outages are good. I think the main thing people are not used to is the wind.

AnnaBread: Anna just said that she’ll have lots and lots of bread here on Saturday, but may not bake for Sunday, as she hates to bike in the wind. (But if it’s okay, she will.)

Elmer’s: Depending on what’s going on, Elmer’s may or may not be open on Sunday. But we’ll have an old-fashioned phone here so that you can call us to see what we’re up to.

This just in: Rob has announced that, having now experienced an earthquake and an impending hurricane, on Wednesday of next week we will have a Zombie Apocalypse. Stand by for details on Zombie Apocalypse preparedness training.


Nan Parati - Elmer's StoreNan Parati

Nan is the proprietor of Elmer’s Store in Ashfield, MA. A New England transplant from the Deep South, Nan shares her southern wit, wisdom and charm in her column, “Notes from Nan.”

5 Comments on “Nan’s Hurricane Irene Report Update

  1. The City of Greenfield is preparing for the approach of Hurricane Irene. Sandra

    Shield, DPW Superintendant informed the Mayor’s Office that,” crews are topping off emergency generators at city facilities, officials are reviewing emergency plans, and testing communication systems,
    among other things.

    Emergency Management Director, Robert Strahan urges, “Residents to stay aware of weather forecasts as the track and intensity of Irene can change quickly”.

    Homeowners are also encouraged to clear any storm drains and other yard drains near their property to be sure they are clear. Also- clear gutters on your home to help with rain runoff.

    If your home is prone to basement flooding- now is the time to remove any items from the floor and place higher up to prevent water damage. Test sump pumps now and if you need to purchase a new one or additional ones, now is the time to do it, not the day before or day of the

    Residents should have a plan in place to evacuate or shelter in place in flood prone areas if needed. City officials urge all plans to be complete by late Saturday afternoon as rain is expected in this area by Saturday night.

    For your safety stay away from all down power lines. Assume all lines are energized.

    Do not drive through flooded streets.

    A hurricane preparedness list can be found at:

    Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:

    One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation

    A three-day supply of non-perishable food

    Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both

    Flashlight and extra batteries

    A whistle to signal for help

    Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

    Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

  2. Thanks for the info and especially the humor ! I needed that just about now….can’t wait for apoaolypse training !

  3. Thanks Nan! Hope for us all it’ll smooth out in time.

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