Hurricane Irene: Military Spouses Report


Note: This post will be constantly updated throughout the weekend.

Our great readers and contributors are standing by to share photos and stories of Hurricane Irene as it affects their bases and communities. From Miami to wherever Irene stops, military spouses are keeping us updated.

Sunday, August 28th:

As of Sunday morning, Hurricane Irene is just making land fall in New Jersey and New York. Still, spouses in those areas report that they have been without power for the entire night thanks to high winds proceeding the actual hurricane.

From our own The Mrs. in New York:

We must have lost power around 6am. The fridge is still cold, for now!  Apparently some of the worst winds are expected between 11am and noon, something to look forward to since the 200 year-old oak trees in the front yard are already bending backwards into U shapes.

The rain has alternated between buckets and larger buckets giving us river front property and a lovely stream in the basement. Thankfully the basement was already dreary to begin with, although if the stream could flow towards the washer and dryer I'd love to replace I'd be excited.

From texts from friends and what information I've gathered from my phone, a lot of roads are washed out and as expected, it's the flooding that's causing the most problems. When all is said and done, the boys are going to have some wicked puddles to play in.

Spouse twitter user @SgtMsWife in New Jersey tweeted this at about 0730 EST:
Alive. Going on 8 hrs w/o power. Trying to make accomodations for all the frozen #breastmilk I have in our freezer. #irene
All the mothers out there will understand her breast milk concerns -- that stuff is like liquid gold and goes bad very quickly if not kept cold.

At about the same time at Fort Lee, Virginia twitter user @ravenisme MilSpouse reported that they were still without power:

Still no power, rain stopped, still windy. Kids are antsy, no longer cool with lack of power. It's 7am and hot inside, no AC. Thanks #Irene
Meanwhile, SpouseBUZZ contributor John reminded us that all Navy families in the areas listed here are required to muster in the NFAAS system. As of 0830 EST, however, that system appeared to be down.

Saturday, August 28:

Irene is currently in the midst of its destructive run up the East Coast. As of late Saturday afternoon, folks in New York were still bracing themselves, but the storm had already done its deed in North Carolina.

Stephanie, located just south of Marine Corps Camp Lejeune in North Carolina filed this report:

The storm has mostly moved past us now, we’re still dealing with some 50mph wind gusts every few minutes, but the rain has stopped and the worst is well over.  A preliminary walk around the house shows no visible damage and we managed to keep power for the duration.  We’ll be reaching out to nearby friends to offer help if needed once it’s safe to venture out on the streets.  All in all we fared quite well.   I suppose I can check off the hurricane during deployment box now!
Most of the reports we've been hearing from elsewhere are restricted to high winds and limited terrible destruction, at least around the military bases. We're glad you're staying safe!

Do you have an update from your neck of the woods? Send it to us at spousebuzz@military-inc.com. But remember, safety first - awesome hurricane stories second. Don't go risking your life for a silly photo or story for us!

On Friday, August 26 spouses filed these reports:

Miami, Florida (U.S. Southern Command):

Andi here. On Sunday, projections had Irene striking the coast of Florida and we were warned to get ready, so we did. I broke out the Hurricane Kit(s) and brought all the outdoor furniture and objects indoors.










But in the last few days, the models changed and Florida caught a break. As Irene approached the United States yesterday, Florida felt effects from the outer bands of the storm. These included wind squalls and a lot of rain. Here was the warning:


We escaped having to put up the hurricane shutters. We definitely dodged a bullet and are grateful that Irene was mostly a non-event for our area. Over to you my northern neighbors.... Good luck and be safe!

North Carolina:

While Wings at Seymour Johnson AFB were busy evacuating about 70 planes today, families are bracing for winds around 50 mph to hit tomorrow. Officials let everyone leave early today and, like other bases, are shuttering the gates tomorrow evening to everyone except base residents and "essential" personnel.

Near Marine Corps Camp Lejeune, reader Stephanie was bracing for impact without the help of her husband, who is deployed. She sent this:

My husband is currently on a 10 month deployment, so I’m doing all of this alone or with the help of a neighbor for a few things.  (Add on a thyroid cancer diagnosis for me last month and it’s a little stressful around here!)  This is my first hurricane.

.... We're expecting 60-70mph winds with 80+mph gusts and about 10 inches of rain.

I’m not boarding up windows since we’re not getting the highest winds, but a few neighbors are.  We have a strong military community in this subdivision despite that we’re off base and I have every confidence if we run into problems that neighbors will help each other out.


Joint Base Eustis-Langely in Hampton Roads area sent everyone home around noon today, accroding to a reader. Their website says they'll only be allowing on base residents or "mission essential" folks on base after 1 p.m. Saturday. They are opening a emergency shelter capped at 200 DoD card holders and their pets at the Reserve Center.

SpouseBUZZ reader Jenn Watts is waiting for her husband to get home from Langely Air Force Base in Hampton, Va. before they head out as part of a mandatory evacuation. She sent us this dispatch:

We started keeping an eye on Irene because we live right outsi de of Langley AFB in Hampton, VA. Luckily, our neighborhood is built to  be flood resistant (we'd be fine up to about 3 feet of water I think) but the wind strength is what concerned me. Last year we Hurri-VACed and luckily there was no damage to anything on our property. This year could be  much worse because Hurricane Irene is much further inland than last year's Hurricane. I've already put all of our important papers in our fire safe & have photographed our home inside and out for insurance purposes.

Yesterday I went to Lowe's to purchase a few things and found almost all their batteries, flashlights, and tarps were gone. The biggest concern out here seems to be having enough water, because if the power goes so does the water. We have a small charcoal grill & some brickets in case we lose power so we do have a cooking method. When I went into our BX yesterday there was a Master Sergeant trying to purchase a generator ... I didn't even know the BX carried generators.

Most of the people out here are going about their business & planning on sticking it out. I'd rather leave than risk my kids, so that's what we're doing. Hopefully Irene will spare Hampton like last year's Hurricane did.

D.C. Area:

Reader Karen said she stocked up on some water and supplies early, but batteries are becoming really hard to find. She'll be spending the weekend hosting several Navy friends who had to evacuate their Norfolk area homes.

New York State:

Up in New York, SpouseBUZZ contributor The Mrs. is bracing for the weather fun by potty training her kid. Which is worse -- a hurricane or a toilet training toddler? She sent us this report:

I have been married to my husband long enough now to find it almost humorous that when bad weather comes, the Marine Corps makes sure to get the airplanes to safety, leaving the families behind. The storm should hit us late afternoon tomorrow and Sunday, dumping over a foot of rain, which is most worrisome since the ground is already soaked. The picture below shows what our fields, and no, we don't live on base, look like now.  The river had just receded and the fields just dried out from the last downpour we had. By Sunday, the next picture will look very different.

Add to that the high winds and down come the trees and out goes the power.  So far the hurricane evacuation, for the military planes has been on, off, on again and off again. Should the planes stick around, I'm going to take that as a sign that maybe Irene is weakening some, or at least will be weakened by the time she hits us.

Since we will be at the tail end of the storm, it's a bit harder to really get an accurate idea of what the hit might be. As for the kids and I, we're hunkering down. We've laughed in the face of some blizzards before, but this is our first hurricane as government issued New Yorkers (yes, there are Marines in NY).  Today we stocked up on the essentials; gas for the cars, jugs of water, non perishable food items, enough batteries to keep 87 MagLites going.  The electronics are charging, and not just phones, but the Nintendo DS, portable dvd player, iPods. You know, the important things when stuck in a house with three boys. Also purchased were Diego big boy underpants and potty treats, since I'm already going to be stuck in the house for two solid days, why not tackle potty training?  If anything, in comparison, it could make the Irene look like a cake walk.

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