live from new jersey – hurricane lessons

we break into your regular scheduled programming

for an accounting of  hurricane irene damage.  guest recipe blogger and now on-the-scene reporter from new jersey, susan prendeville gives us some smart lessons learned this weekend.


i was a little smug and mildly excited.  we had been getting calls and texts all day asking “are you ok, scared, ready”?  mikes favorite show is “man vs. wild”  – we will be fine, i assured.  we live on a hill, so there was really no danger of flooding.  we had done the things one does:  gone to the grocery store, had 5 days of water and food like the governor suggested.  we had collected candles and flashlights and batteries.  i had prepared some no-cook foods like quesadillas and potato salad and cut up fruit.  mike was home before the rain started in earnest.  we watched the weather channel, had a drink, made coffee and put it in a thermos for the morning.  all evening we felt ready, we were ready, it was a really nice evening!



i had fallen asleep a while ago but the wind and rain woke me.  i had a message from my brother ROF, clever fellow, asking if he had the right number –  he was asking for irene –  have her call him, haha and a text from ‘the appreciator’ saying that she had said a prayer for us.  i went into the living room with my computer and checked my facebook (so many clever and slightly alarmed hurricane posts), the storm tracker (still a few hours before the real storm hit), and then the news (serious…hype…who knows).  i was just turning off lights when we lost power so I grabbed a flashlight and went back to bed and then to sleep without too much trouble.


oh yea, i think i forgot to mention that many big old trees surround our home. 

 mike heard a loud noise and bound from the bed and ran to the rear of the house which woke me and i followed him.  we figured out pretty quickly that a tree had fallen.  we went from window to window, upstairs and down, and almost all of them were covered in branches and leaves and the back door was blocked too. it was pitch dark out, the wind was whipping and the rain was pouring down.  we couldn’t see much but figured out that it was a maple by the leaves pressed against the window.  it must be the maple that stood by the great room, a favorite tree really, so sad.  now though, there was nothing to do but go back to bed and wait for mornings light. 

I lay there

and looked out the window at the treetops swaying wildly and the lightning flashes. I heard the thunder crashing and the rain beating the windows.   stomach was hurting, i was sweating, heart was pounding.  afraid, i cuddled against mike for comfort.  after what felt like a long time i finally fell back to sleep.


mike and i slept until morning light and then we woke and looked around outside.  it was not one huge tree that fell but three huge trees.  one of the trees lies feet from the house and stretches the whole length of it.  tree limbs have torn the gutters and screens off the back of the house and crushed the air conditioner.  one of the trees is resting on both of our cars. 


we are lucky that the trees did not crush our house and that we survived!  i’m serious and i am no longer smug or excited. 

the moral:

evacuate, prepare, listen to the governor, prioritize, be humble, be thankful.


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  1. Hi Susan & Mike….I’m so glad you all are safe, but WOW!!!!! I hope the trees down didn’t cause too much damage. You mentioned that a tree was resting on your two cars; do you have transportation? I wish I lived close by to help with the clean up.

    Winston-Salem didn’t get anything except a breezy overcast day. Our coast of course got hammered.

    I’m thinking of you all and praying clean up isn’t too bad….Love you guys!

  2. Hey Susan & Mike,
    I’ve spoken to Mike on the phone a number of times before and after the storm, but the pictures bring it all to life. Glad you both are safe. We had plenty of excitement here as well. We lost a tree also, after about $8,000. worth of work having been done–go figure! It hit the power lines and had many power surges and a tree on fire and fireworks. It was crazy! Lost power on Sun at 4:30 am and just got power back Sat at 3:00pm. I bought a generator just in time so there was no flooding in the basement. It really saved us. After living in Florida for a year and gone through Floyd in NJ some years back (that was very bad for us– flooding, loss of power, trees down, etc), I take hurricanes very seriously. I was the most prepared I’ve ever been. Our road looked like a war zone! Many trees down as well as telephone poles, live wires, etc. We had Melissa, Bill and Liam here with us as they had to evacuate. Bill’s mom was here until Thurs as she lost power also. Bill Popkoski saved the day because after starting the generator I never pushed the button to turn on the voltage! After the battery backup to the sump pump started beeping constantly, it occurred to me that something was wrong! Ooops! I never would have figured it out in time. All is well now, but oh it could have been ugly!

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