Translation from English

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Calm Before the Storm

"The Mayor is out scarin' everybody....he's gonna look bad no matter what happens," says the older man with the beer belly and the baseball cap in line next to me at the supermarket. He is finishing off his rant about the preparations for the hurricane.

The woman in front of me has a mixed array of items ( while we are in the fast line so to speak, the store is mobbed like I have never seen it before....incredible number of people in staggeringly long lines).

She is buying a big bag of dog food ("I just realized I had run out this morning") and is upset because there is no bottled water left. All she could find was flavored seltzer.

"So you'll be drinking diet cherry soda," jokes the stocky woman in front of her, --again, another old New Yorker who I doubt remembers 1944 but seems to think the vague sense of panic is not necessary.

As I am writing this now, it is past noon and the subways and buses and all the commuter trains have stopped running. There are intermittent showers but the big rain is not supposed to start until about 4 p.m. this afternoon.

I was forgetful too: I realized yesterday I was not going to be able to find any new batteries for my flashlight...those sold out fast everywhere.

I live in an area that is a block away from what should be an evacuation zone according to what the map on the city's website shows...but I doubt the people who live in those huge high rises near the East River are going anywhere. Wonder how many of them who live above the tenth floor will try to be finding lower places because of the Mayor's statement that their windows are going to get blown in (maybe).

Like a lot of other people, I will be following the hurricane's progress all evening.

It is sort of spooky to realize the worst winds and rain will arrive at about 3 a.m. Sunday and last into early Sunday afternoon. That is when I expect the ground floor/basement area of my building may flood, despite the sandbags they have on hand.

The elevator in my building has already been shut down to keep it from getting damaged if there is flooding....

One of the most annoying aspects of this is that big electric generating plants near here are right on the East River and potentially in flood areas.

So if power goes out (which is not all that common in Midtown Manhattan...maybe once or twice a year, mostly from all the air conditioners during heat waves)--it could be quite a while until it is on again.

So, again, there is all this speculation because of the strict warnings that they have been issuing and we just have to hope for the best...and prepare for the worst.