I feel like I talk about the weather a lot on this blog, but then again, the weather in Western Massachusetts has been doing some pretty strange things this year. You may recall that we’ve had record snowstorms, tornadoes, a heatwave, and now Hurricane Irene is barreling its way up the East Coast towards us. (Of course, all those things have also happened in New Zealand, except you got a really major earthquake as the icing on the cake. It’s been a weird year.) We also had that earthquake last week, although this far from the epicentre, I didn’t feel it at all, Mike barely felt a tremor sixty miles south. The local news going frantic over things like people in a supermarket seeing the lights sway a little was…special.
Irene should be down to tropical storm levels by the time it actually hits us sometime on Sunday, but that’s not the most reassuring thing in the world to hear, especially when it’s still on track to hit us dead-on. The upside is that between earthquakes and tornadoes and snowstorms, we’re well-stocked with food, water, torches, wind-up weather radio, and other emergency necessities. The only thing I’m a little worried about is that if we do lose power for any length of time we’re going to be stuck cooking on a small charcoal barbeque or turning on the gas heater and sweltering to death, neither of which are the most appealing of possibilities, but we have enough muesli bars to feed us for a good week, so we won’t starve. (I might be a little murderous if deprived of tea for very long – the downside of addiction to hot caffeinated beverages – but, you know, not life-threatening.) We made a supermarket run this evening and exactly what had sold out was a curious insight into the local psyche in emergencies – there were plenty of tinned goods left, but bananas, coffee, and Powerade were gone. I was a little put out about the bananas, mind.
Otherwise I don’t see any real danger in it, short of our drainage system clogging up in a deeply annoying way, which it does any time we get heavy rain anyway, and possibly Mike having some difficulty getting to work on Monday if enough trees and powerlines have come down – Hartford is pretty close to the area that’s supposed to get actual hurricane-strength winds. Fingers crossed.
The other major inconvenience about it all is that all the new graduate students for our department are supposed to be showing up on Monday for me to give them a campus and department tour (quite possibly alone, since everyone else seems to have gone off on holiday for that week.) If they can get here. I know at least three or four are already in the area – one should have just had twins, which is real bravery two weeks before starting a PhD – but the international students are likely flying in, or not, over the weekend. It’s a hell of a welcome. All I got was a heatwave.
(Really, though, this is all my fault for hearing about the first Christchurch quake last September and going “At least we’ve moved somewhere natural-disaster free!” ABOUT THAT.)