Monday, August 29, 2011

Earthquakes and Hurricanes

What with an earthquake, hurricane and a tornado warning, it has been quite a week in New York City!

We started this unusual sequence of events with an earthquake on Tuesday.  Tremors from an earthquake in Washington DC were felt here in NYC, but I have to say I didn't even know it had happened until I turned the news on!  Some buildings were evacuated, but overall it wasn't a big deal and most people just went about their business as usual.

The following day it became clear that the city was going to be hit by hurricane Irene, which was working it's way up the East Coast of the US.  As it came closer the mayor evacuated areas most at risk and public transport was suspended.  People started stocking up on water, canned goods, batteries and flashlights (they had no idea what I was talking about when I asked for a torch!) as recommended by state officials.

On the Saturday there was a very unusual atmosphere in the city.  Many places had closed down for the weekend, but some restaurants remained open until the early evening.  We had a late lunch before heading home to await the arrival of Irene.

By 8pm the streets of the city were almost deserted but for a few cars still on the road.  I have never seen New York so quiet, especially on a Saturday night!  We followed the progress of the storm on the news and late in the evening they issued a tornado warning across the city.  By midnight the storm had started, but seemed no where near as bad as they had predicted.  The worst of the weather hit during the night and by 10am on Sunday morning it had all but passed.

Luckily Irene had been downgraded to a tropical storm by the time she hit New York and the damage was no where near as bad as we thought.  There was little flooding in Manhattan and it seemed that everything put in place by officials had worked well.

However, outside of Manhattan not everyone was as lucky. Many people were without power for the majority of the weekend and some areas experienced flooding and damage caused by fallen trees and debris.

At about 10.30am, when it was safe to do so, we went outside to get some air and assess the situation for ourselves.  It was fairly busy out and by midday the streets were full of people.  You could see that a storm had hit the city, but damage was minimal.  There were some fallen trees and flooding in Central Park and it was supposed to be closed.  Unfortunately many people ignored these signs and were in the park, even though it wasn't a safe area.  It also surprised me that people were putting their rubbish on the top of overturned bins!  Surely you would either turn the bin upright or take it home with you?

By this time some restaurants had re-opened and they were packed!  Everyone was trying to get lunch and people were queueing out the door of the places that were open.  It was the same in the evening when we went for dinner, everywhere was full and we had to search for ages before we found a restaurant with a table.  New York apartments are small, so I guess people wanted to get outside before cabin fever set in!

Today it seems that everything is returning to normal with most businesses open and the MTA up and running.  It is a lovely sunny day with blue skies and let's hope for a less eventful week in NYC!

1 comment:

  1. Nathalie French fan of Gerard ButlerFebruary 28, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    YES! I was there and it was very stressful to live these nature threats!
    It made me fly to California right after as I got fed up with it!.. hopefully when I come back next week to New York there won't be any more of this!