September 8, 2011 —
As I write this column, I hear the hum of portable generators outside the window. I have power, but neighbors down the road are out and have been since Irene swept through the area on August 28. Tropical-storm-force winds blew down trees and caused widespread power outages throughout the area, and heavy rains caused flooding and washouts on roads. Several instances of residential flooding were reported, and many farm fields were flooded.
We caught a little bit of a break when drier air got entrained into Irene’s cyclonic flow as it passed our area; most of the heavy rain took place early, as the northern half of the storm came over us. The Delaware River crested about a foot below flood stage Monday morning.
Early Sunday, the New York rare bird list server was reporting offshore birds such as stormy petrels and jaegers normally only seen on the beaches of Long Island and up the Hudson River. Here, there weren’t many other birds flying during the storm; the birds and other critters were probably hunkered down.
The following day was dry and sunny, and a lot of wildlife made an appearance to make up for any foraging missed the day before. The ground was littered with trees and branches, and trees were blocking some roads. A few days after the storm, a great variety of mushrooms were observed; some of these turned be welcome snacks for some of the creatures that weathered Irene’s wild weather.