Irene came through Connecticut as a tropical storm, not a hurricane. The path moved westward, so Hartford didn't get a direct hit. We had 24 hours of rain, often heavy, but the winds were less intense than in past hurricanes. More than 700,000 customers in Connecticut lost power, a new all-time high. I lost power for ten hours. Instead of uprooting many big old trees, Irene seemed to do a light pruning of small limbs and twigs. The damage was not as bad as the forecasts predicted nor as bad as many past storms. We were lucky. In the next few days, flooding will be a concern.
Showing photos of twigs on the street isn't very interesting, so I am showing pre-storm photos today instead.
The Renbrook School occupies the former home of Frederick Rentschler, a founder of Pratt & Whitney Aircraft. It is on a large wooded site on the West Hartford side of Avon Mountain. Renbrook is a private day school educating children from pre-kindergarten through the ninth grade.
With its severe historic architecture, the school looked pretty good on Saturday in the rains that preceded Irene's visit.
Hurricane Irene sent an advance party to Connecticut yesterday afternoon, in the form of steady rains. Even in a rainfall, a wide blanket of colorful impatiens at this Avon home "popped." To the left of the house, there was an additional acre of impatiens.
I like impatiens, but they might think about some other flowers . . .
Hurricane Irene is still aimed right at Hartford. She should arrive Sunday morning and stay for much of the day. The forecast maps send Irene over Hartford, then Bradley International Airport, then Springfield, Massachusetts. Springfield was hit by a major tornado just two months ago and doesn't deserve a second beating this year. Earlier news reports suggested that Irene might be the worst hurricane seen in this area since 1944. Recent reports are more hopeful.
The same majestic old maple and oak trees that contribute to the grace and beauty of this area also contribute to its vulnerability during major storms. Fallen trees and downed power lines are inevitable. It is only a question of how many, how bad and how long. We might be without power for a week, as we were after Hurricane Gloria visited in 1985. We can handle some inconvenience and some damage. I am hoping that our region can avoid loss of life and serious injury. Keep the utility and emergency workers in your thoughts.
I have lined up enough life-as-usual posts to keep the blog running into September. If you see those and don't hear from me, our power is out and I have other things to worry about.
I appreciate the many thoughtful comments from those who have extended their best wishes about Irene.
The Post Office in West Hartford Center is closing. There are always long lines in the Post Office, so it can't be closing because of a lack of business.
But, there is little available land in West Hartford Center, and the land on which the Post Office sits is pretty valuable. There are two other post offices in town. I think they just decided to turn the valuable asset into cash.
The closing will inconvenience some people, but with more and more people communicating and paying bills on the internet instead of with snail mail, the Postal Service is hemorrhaging money. I can't complain. Worse trade-offs have to be made.
My twin liked how the top photo came out. I thought it made my butt look big. He said we were just carrying lots of stuff in our pockets.
Isamu Noguchi's sculpture "The Family" has long sat on the lawns of Cigna, the large international insurance and health care company headquartered in the Hartford suburb of Bloomfield.
Last October, I told about the battle with architectural preservationists over Cigna's plan to raze the office building in the background of this photograph. The outcome is that the office building remains, and the Gillette Ridge golf course now surrounds the Cigna buildings. The Family sits between the 10th and 17th holes.
There was a well-attended festival on the riverfront Saturday and Sunday. I had high hopes of getting some good shots of the dragon boat races, but the race pictures were blah. Does that happen to you?
There were many booths, with a variety of Asian foods and lots of Asian merchandise and services. Jewelry. Chinese language lessons. Martial arts. Clothing. Restaurants. Professional and social groups. And, this young lady was one of the dancers.