How Hurricane Irene Affected Us in Sullivan County NY

After much hemming and hawing last week, Brendan and I finally decided to go upstate to ride out Hurricane Irene. We were nervous about spending the weekend at our apartment in Queens while our home upstate was vulnerable. Saturday was quiet and normal, but around 2 a.m. Sunday morning, the torrential rains started, which lasted for a solid 12 hours. Then, in the middle of the night, we also lost power, and it has not come back online yet — we’re told a week, at least.

Fortunately, our cabin did just fine — no flooding, no damage, nada, but our 10 acres of land are irrevocably altered by the flood waters.  The rains caused our normally placid stream to turn into a roaring brown monster that swallowed up the road in places, as you’ll see below. We don’t know what to expect when we go back next weekend, when the waters will have receded, revealing a new landscape.

We witnessed gigantic trees uprooted and slamming their way down the river. At some points, we heard a low rumbling sound like thunder that we finally figured out was the sound of enormous boulders being rolled down the bottom of the stream by the enormous force of the water.

Fast forward a few hours, and we’re now both at work today in Manhattan. There’s barely a puddle in the city, much less evidence of a massive storm! We first tried to drive back last night, but after more than three hours of driving and hitting constant detours and road closures, we came back to the cabin. This morning’s commute, thankfully, turned out better.

The scene at our property:

Thankfully the gutters near us did their job, diverting the water away from our home.

Normally, this is the headwaters for a quiet, trickling waterfall in the spring that runs dry in the summer.

You can see how debris could easily dam this up, causing major problems.

Our property is on the right here (but far from our home). It will be awhile before we know how the storm waters re-routed our stream. We expect it to be quite different. Thankfully we didn't lose any of our giant white pine "mega trees" but we did lose a few hemlocks and other trees.

Clearly, we need to invest in better rain gear.

Our water-ravaged property. Thankfully our home sits way uphill, high above all this.

The flood in action:

The scene after the storm cleared in the afternoon. The air was so clear, but the winds were still a little scary:

6 thoughts on “How Hurricane Irene Affected Us in Sullivan County NY

  1. doranyc says:

    Oh noes! I pray that your awesome swing is still down there at the campground…and the other furniture but yeah…won’t hold my breath. I know what that water can do. I hope you still HAVE a campground.

    Riding out the storm was fun for us…and feeling my building shake in the wind a few times was CRAZY. Solid brick and still we could feel it. And I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like that rain before in my whole life. Wow.

    Quite a few of my co-workers are out today dealing with flooding and downed trees, not mention the metro north being out still.

    I’m impressed with how the city gov handled this whole matter, especially the Mayor. Bravo.

  2. Martha says:

    Oh, I’m so glad you are both OK, and there was no damage to the cabin. All that rushing water is just unbelievable! I wonder what it will look like next weekend.

  3. aaplinc says:

    Good grief, Joy! That rushing water over your road in those videos was very scary. I think I know where that is: up the road where we walked when I was there? Rushing roaring down into that drop off? Yikes. Yes, your landscape is certainly going to be altered. I hope still as beautiful as before, but different. Was that a dry cleaning garment bag Brendon was wearing? Great fashion sense. Fond best, kay

    • Joy Victory says:

      Hi Kay, he was wearing an emergency poncho — which is probably identical to a dry cleaning bag! And yes, it was up the road from our cabin. It will be interesting to see how things look this weekend!

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