Now if that were a river, it would just be kind of bad. Except apparently that roaring rapids is normally a street. Governor Christie is being asked by reporters whether he regrets the evacuation, because the New Jersey shore apparently fared pretty well, and it wasn’t bad at all. The real story of Irene is the inland flooding. The Delaware River has yet to crest (it crested earlier this afternoon, but when I wrote this this morning, it hadn’t yet). They are still evacuating people up in New Hope. Pennsylvania had the second highest number of fatalities of any state (now no longer the case, NY, NC, NJ at 6, PA at 5. 4th deadliest storm since 1980.), pretty much exclusively related to falling trees and water.
Wind wise, I’ve seen Nor’easters that blew a lot harder than Irene, but they tend to come in Winter when the ground is frozen. The problem with this area getting any kind of tropical cyclone is are houses aren’t designed to handle it (basements and a lot of water are not a great combination), and we don’t have the natural selection for well rooted trees that people on the southern coastal regions do.
I will say one thing, this is the last house I ever buy with a finished basement. Growing up as a kid, we had a wet basement, and when it got wet, it was no big deal. When you have carpet, bookcases, washer and dryer, and computers and furniture in your basement, that’s a different story.
UPDATE: Mike W. knows someone personally, who is among the dead in Delaware. In retrospect we were very lucky, compared to some of the flood victims, even in my immediate neighborhood. I can walk to houses that were inundated.