August 27-29, 2011. Irene was the first hurricane in many years to make landfall in New Jersey and everyone prepared for it.
SATURDAY AUG 27 - BEFORE THE STORM
In Red Bank, NJ some stores were boarded up and many others put tape on their windows.
In Fair Haven, NJ the annual Fireman's Fair was cancelled on the 27th and 28th of August.
In Sea bright NJ, WPIX-TV was preparing for their future hourly reports and the local Dunkin Donuts advertised its closing hours.
In Atlantic Highlands, NJ TV 12 was setup to broadcast the status of boats at the marina adjacent to the Shore Casino.
SUNDAY AUG 28 - STORM ENDED 4 HOURS AGO - MIDDLETOWN TO KEYPORT, NJ
The streets adjacent to the Keansburg Amusement Park were underwater; nevertheless, this family made it a "swim day".
These 4 wheel drive folks seemed to be having fun in the deep water on the streets.
MONDAY AUG 29 - 1 1/2 DAYS AFTER THE STORM IN NEW HOPE, PA AND LAMBERTVILLE, NJ
Even though the Delaware River crested many hours ago, there was still evidence of damage. New Hope was without power causing inoperative store alarms, resulting in the city being on curfew for visitors. With a curfew, visitors could not walk the streets of New Hope and take photos to document the water damage. The main intersection by the New Hope - Lambertville bridge employed an emergency generator to power the blinking yellow and red traffic lights. Main Steet New Hope was closed to traffic.
In Lambertville, NJ the main attraction was the river overflow onto the parking lot of the Lambertville Station Restaurant and a close up view of the powerful high velocity rushing river water. Power outages also prevailed in Lambertville and neither town had restaurants open.
Many folks were by the river's edge taking photos.
The streets in Lambertville were dry giving the impression of minimal problems until we ventured down a side street and saw the streets lined with piles of water damaged personal belongings. I spoke to a gentleman who was cleaning out his cellar and he said the water level reached 2 1/2 feet above street level.
SUNDAY SEP 4 - A WEEK AFTER THE STORM IN NEW HOPE, PA
Now that the electricity was restored and the curfew ended, we were able to walk around the town. It looked like New Hope didn't receive any damage. All the stores were open and the Landing Restaurant that was under water in April 2005 was untouched.
We found the town historian Captain Robert Gerenser, sitting outside his famous Exotic Ice Cream store. Today he was providing boat rides on the Delaware River as usual and with the beautiful weather, lots of visitors were out and about.
SUNDAY SEP 4 - A WEEK AFTER THE STORM IN LAMBERTVILLE, NJ
With limited travel right after the storm, our initial impression was lots of flood damage in Lambertville, but now that all the streets were open, the story is clear. There is a creek that runs through one part of the town and it quickly flooded a few houses on either side. The rest of the town was untouched and all the stores and restaurants in Lambertville were open as usual. The folks along the creek did receive serious damage.
For New Jersey Coast residents, the media projected a forecast of doom with potential record setting beach erosion, serious property damage and a potential loss of life. The forecast for New England was a weak tropical event with heavier than normal rainfall.
After the storm it appeared that the Jersey Coast experienced minimal damage, but inland, there was major flooding of all New Jersey rivers, in particular the Passaic, Pompton, Ramapo, Raritan and Delaware rivers. Many homes and businesses were under water, mandatory evacuations were declared, some roads with small bridges were washed away, and road closures were in place in most central and northern New Jersey towns. Many people had no flood insurance, because it was very expensive and many never expected the rivers to ever reach such record levels.
The most surprising events occurred in the state of Vermont where the tourist towns like Brattleboro were flooded and many picturesque and historic covered bridges were washed away by a so called minimal tropical storm !
It was clear that the weather forecast for the New Jersey Coast was not accurate; TV stations were posted at many locations along the beach, with nothing to report. The professional weather industry couldn't muster their massive computer databases to forecast an accurate weather report one day in advance, so, one wonders how they can take the same tools and forecast global warming 50 years in advance?