Apparently she's sped up. Irene is now supposed to hit here Sunday morning, rather than Sunday evening. We've been in a State of Emergency since yesterday.

Right now it's sunny and calm.

Neighboring counties have mandatory evacuations, but we're supposed to stay put. Several regional roadways have been closed in the shore-bound direction to allow more traffic to head away from the danger. Our workplace is being used as an emergency shelter. The casinos are closing for only the third time in history. Prisons and convalescent homes are evacuating.

So far, we've been robo-called by the College (yesterday they called to announce their closure from noon today through Monday morning ... methinks that will go longer), The Boy Scouts of America (all South Jersey events have been canceled), Atlantic City Electric (don't call us, just expect to be without power for 3-4 days at least).

I've decided to cram as much food as I can into my sub-zero freezer in the basement. If we don't open it, the food should stay frozen for several days. We're going to clear out the fridge as much as possible and we put a bunch of water jugs in the refrigerator-freezer. We plan to use this as an icebox. I put a few easy-cook items in there.

We'll make good use of our Coleman stove and gas grill.

We also hit the library today to have plenty of new books to read.

The storm is moving slowish, so we're supposed to have nearly 24 hours of tropical storm force winds and rain. I think 8-10" of rain is the latest estimate. Joe is cleaning out gutters and duct-taping our diverter thingies to our downspouts.

I know some of this seems like doom-and-gloomy-media-hyped paranoia, but I'm a firm believer in better safe than sorry. I'd rather be over-prepared and not need it than under-prepared with regrets. Plus ... I loooove storms. I hope we get smacked. (the blackest humor in my mind wants a tree to fall across our pool (crushing it), concrete patio (cracking it), and into the back wall of our house near the kitchen and dining room -- necessitating repairs that result in a new pool, deck and kitchen remodel) But I mostly want everyone to stay safe and for my immediate family to not try to kill each other in the stress, boredom and non-air-conditioned heat and humidity that will follow until our power is restored.

Will continue updating occasionally until the power goes out. Really very certain that's an "when" and not an "if."


ps. Hoping our power stays on long enough for "Doctor Who" tomorrow night!

[UPDATE 8/27 2:41: Woke up this morning to the windows all fogged up from the increasing humidity outside. Drizzling/misting started around 10:30. Actually started raining around 11:30, but continued off and on as storm bands washed over us. It's been raining lightly, but steadily for the past couple of hours, though. Occasionally there's a breeze enough to sway the treetops a bit and flip the leaves over, but nothing much. With all the rain we've gotten over the past week, the pool has been overflowing, through the skimmer, since the rain started.]

[UPDATE 8/27 3:35: Raining moderately hard, wind really picked up in the last hour. Also .. we're under a Tornado Watch until 8p.m.]

[UPDATE 8/27 9:22 p.m.: Raining very hard for a hour or so now. Winds steady and strong with occasional gusts. Tornado Warning until 9:45 p.m. Joe just went out to clean out a section of gutter that was overflowing and making a giant puddle up against our foundation. Our roof is leaking into our garage around our furnace chimney (this has happened before, but not to this degree, so I'm wondering if some flashing or shingles have shifted). Kids tucked in bed. Power has flickered twice, but we're still on for now.]

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