No matter where you were on the East Coast this weekend, you were introduced to Irene... After a quick walk with her around our local Cambridge hood on Sunday, damp from spitting rain, Oscar, unnerved, decided he had had enough of this nasty tropical guest and chose to use me as an umbrella. It was truly a spooky day to be outside.
The only storm in history to prompt NYC to completely shut down the MTA, Irene may have been downgraded from ominous initial warnings, but she bullishly hit land on Saturday and made her way up the seacoast, battering cities and towns, through Sunday evening. Farther inland, my beloved home state of Vermont was hammered... with rain... Enraged rivers swelled in mere hours, spilling through backyards and across roads; downtowns were submerged, paved highways deteriorated in washouts, and tragically, multiple, irreplacable, century-old historic covered bridges were destroyed when roiling muddy-brown waters tore away their foundations and swallowed them on the move. In this clip, the Mt. Tabor Historical Society's Millbrook House succumbs to the torrent... aided by a backhoe, it crumbles and slips downstream under a bridge. Raw spectacle and wrenching loss... it just hurts to watch. The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore (a native Vermonter) gave an emotional report.
The Burlington Free Press is calling Irene "the state's worst natural disaster since the epic flood of 1927," and coverage of VT's state of emergency, and continued flood-warnings, made the homepage of the NYTimes online this morning. I'm so thankful for the safety of family and friends, but my heart goes out to all those who felt the damages of this calamatous event.
The images below are from the BurlingtonFreePress.com, and the Vermont Flooding 2011 facebook page (though I've run them through a filter...). Original photo credits are as follows, clockwise from top left: Paul Egan, Len Emery, Glenn Russell, Bess Watson, Glenn Russell, and Brody Stevens. And I can't possibly agree with that bottom right sentiment more...