Hurricane Irene has swept past, not as bad as she could have been, but bad enough, nevertheless. Downgraded to a tropical storm by 9AM this morning, she still caused significant flooding on the East coast, hitting Philadelphia particularly hard. The city, situated between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, saw the rivers rise to 15 feet above normal levels. In New York, the tide at the Battery was the sixth highest ever recorded at 9.5′. There was considerable local flooding on both sides of the Hudson. An estimated $4.5 million people are without power, at least 18 have died and property damage is estimated to approach $7 billion. Even in the Catskill Mountains, the town of Margarettville was flooded when the Eastern Branch of the Delaware rampaged through the center of town..
Here is a informal and incomplete roundup of how some of our favorite vessels, from New York harbor to Maine, weathered the storm, gathered from the news and social media sites.
Fireboat John J Harvey – The historic fireboat headed up the Hudson River to ride out the storm. Jessica DuLong, the Chief Engineer wrote on Facebook just after noon today, “Creek is ripping. Already flowing over the bulkhead and high tide isn’t until 1:30. Fireboat is tied up alongside a sinking barge but I’ve got air up and engines ready to go.” Good to know that the fireboat has a skilled hand on the throttle.
Ships of the South Street Seaport - The folks at Save out Seaport report that ” the ships of South Street seem to have fared the storm well. Many thanks to the NYC Economic Development Corporation for taking charge of the situation, and directing appropriate measures for the expected conditions. Wavertree, Peking, Ambrose, Marion, and Helen stayed at the dock. We’re waiting for further reports from Pioneer, who ran ahead of the storm to Indian Point, and from Lettie G. Howard and W.O. Decker, who made it up to Kingston.
Ships and Boats of Mystic Seaport – The seaport followed its emergency plan, pulling most small boats from the water and securing them. The larger historic vessels like the Joseph Conrad and the L.A. Dunton were “breasted off” – using anchors and lines to secure them in open water, where they can ride out the winds and the swells away from the seawall, bulkheads and other watercraft. The 1841 whaler Charles W. Morgan, is already on shore undergoing a multiyear restoration in the Seaport shipyard. The vessel is fastened down in a special crib-like structure designed to withstand high winds. (See Mystic Seaport takes precautions)
Le Pingouin - Brad Van Liew, who won the Velux 5 Oceans single-handed around the world race, has been sailing his Le Pingouin ECO 60 up the East Coast. The are holed up at Newport Shipyard in Newport Rhode Island. At noon today he wrote on Facebook, ”LP is bouncing around a bit but we’re looking ok for now...”
USS Constitution - the world’s oldest floating commissioned naval vessel rode out the storm at pier one berth in the Charleston Navy Yard in Boston harbor with storm chains and additional moorings.
Timberwind Schooner - the Rockport, Maine based schooner reported on Facebook two hours ago, “Discharged our passengs yesterday a day early …. Sitting it out at Gilkeys harbor …. near the American Eagle … me and two crew … pretty damn windy … looks like a long night!”