East Haddam and Haddam residents won’t soon forget Tropical Storm Irene, which barreled into Connecticut last Aug. 28. Rivers swelled, ancient trees crumbled and wires littered the roadways, making hundreds of local roads impassable. Residents were left in the dark for days, wondering if they should have bought a generator or stocked up on more water, just to flush the toilets.
Showers became a luxury and thoroughly washing your hands was impossible. The loss of the modern conveniences of refrigeration, Internet access and telephones that has become so ingrained in our daily rituals, made us unsure of how to cope past a couple of days without.
In the wake of Irene, were made, neighbors helped neighbors, emergency were tested and our with the power companies wore thin.
For some, the storm brought us closer together. Families spent more time together and neighbors helped neighbors. I even know of a handful of May babies on the way that were surely the result of Irene.
The storm caused so much destruction in its wake that the World Meteorological Organization’s hurricane committee removed it permanently from consideration as a name for a future Atlantic tropical storm or hurricane.
The announcement by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Irene is the 76th name to be retired from the Atlantic list since 1954.
Irene became a hurricane on Aug. 22 and intensified to a Category 3 storm on Aug. 24. It brushed the Bahamas, made landfall as a Category 1 storm in North Carolina on Aug. 27, then plowed along the eastern seaboard until crossing Long Island and battering Connecticut and New York with tropical storm-level winds and a storm surge that struck at the new moon high tide.
The storm was blamed for 49 deaths, including 41 in the U.S., and damage estimated at $15.8 billion. It rendered the Haddams without power for days.
Click here to read how the storm affected the Haddams.