Updated 8/27/2011 - 11:55 PM

Hold onto your hats...and houses. We'll be reporting live from Alexandria, Virginia with the latest and greatest details on Hurricane Irene. So, we're getting this live blog rolling the night before the storm and we'll be updating the time stamp at the top of the post so you can see when it was last updated. New entries to the post will flow in at the bottom and the time stamp link will jump you to the latest. Here we go...

Live look out of our front window.

Here's Irene just coming into the picture. 

The Evening/Calm Before the Storm

(Alex) The office was all a buzz about Irene today. Talk has quickly shifted from our earthquake earlier this week to the looming hurricane.

(Wendy) Hi everyone! I'm so glad to be back following my week-long business trip. After a lot of long days, I took the day off today and spent my day running errands and grocery shopping to get as much out of the way as possible. Even though Irene isn't due to hit until tomorrow, the grocery stores were already a total madhouse in the middle of the day on Friday. It made Superbowl Sunday look like child's play. Don't these people have to work? Here's the line of cars waiting to get out of the Trader Joe's parking garage. (Yep, we city folk sometimes have to park in a parking garage just to go grocery shopping.)

I not only replenished the basic supplies that Alex had depleted when I was gone (milk, fruit and veggies, bread, etc.) but also completed my weekly shopping trip, picked up easy entertaining items, and tried to stay on the non-perishable side. Just in case we lose power for an extended period of time.

I also succumbed to the media-inflicted terror and stocked up on water. Just in case. (And yes, that is our wine frig pictured in the background. You know. Just in case.)

(Alex) When I got home from work, Wendy and I grabbed Lulu and headed out for a walk. I hadn't shown her the earthquake damage around the area since she arrived home late last night, so I wanted to point out a few of the fractured chimneys. While on our walk we saw all of the various prep work taking place for this weekend's storm. 

The obligatory sandbag stations on Lee St. near the potomac flood zone were in full swing.

Because of how often Old Town floods, the news crews usually descend on the area when a storm is coming. It makes for good TV. 

This evening the news vans were parked at the bottom of King St. This will be short lived as this area will surely be under water by this time tomorrow night.

And the King Street Trolley is even preparing for the worst.

This morning we showed you a store called Rugs to Riches and their prep work for the 2003 Isabel storm.

They are the same store, now named Decorium, and they've brought their storefront storm taunt back, but this time with a sale. Excellent marketing.

Virtue Feed and Grain, a new restaurant in the middle of the flood zone, was getting ready and possibly prematurely declaring victory.

And is inviting customers in for a "Hurricane Watch Party!" Sometimes you've gotta just have fun with it.

And the poor Starbucks that seems to flood at the drop of a hat has its sandbags ready. In spite of this, I don't know how well they're going to fare.

At least the tourists and performers were still out. Here is our local glass pianist entertaining some of the people down by the water. I wouldn't be surprised if this is completely under water tomorrow.

As we walked back home we passed by Gadsby's Tavern. Gadsby's is a tavern where George Washington and other famous Alexandrians have eaten (and we chose for dinner right after I popped the question), and its chimneys were pretty severely damaged during the quake. So much so that the streets on either side have been blocked since the rumbling ended. With Irene approaching crews were up on the roof trying to get everything secured before the winds come blowing in. Talk about racing the clock.

We have a few house projects planned during the storm, so we really hope to keep power. We also want to bring you all the latest and greatest updates from Old Town. So we're going to get rested up and ready to type. I know Wendy is unwinding in her Irene prep. I made her one two of these to make sure she is as calm as possible.

Stay tuned as we make periodic updates beginning tomorrow morning as the clouds roll in. Or at least until we lose power or get blown away. 

Morning Update

(Alex) Things are still pretty calm in the sky, but you can tell people are getting ready because it isn't very calm on the ground. The Saturday morning farmer's market was still on, but with significantly fewer vendors than normal.

More prep has taken place on King St., like the parking meters being completely wrapped in plastic. Apparently parking is free if you come to Old Town today.

Houses in the flood zone have also been getting ready.

And Lulu stopped by to say hello to some friends. Look at their tails.

The rain is just beginning here, and the winds are picking up a bit. 

The image at the top of the post out the front of our house will update every minute, so keep checking back. Oh, and we caught a glimpse of Earthquake/Hurricane Llamas. See, they just look shocked.

Until next update...

We're Waaiit-ing... 2:30 PM

(Wendy) Let's get this show on the road! As you can see from the live image of our street (at the top of this post), not too much is going on yet. It just looks like a drizzly, dreary afternoon. I'm not sure what it is about the threat of a serious storm, but all I can think about doing today is eating. Currently I have a batch of brownies in the oven (milk chocolate and milk chocolate topped with lightly salted cashews). And, in honor of Irene, I've decided to throw an impromptu Hurricane party. Hmmm, it's too bad I used up all my hurricane drink mix for my Mardi Gras party last February!

Alex is being more productive than I am today. He's upstairs priming the back side of the new front door, and hopes to have the first coat of black paint on the door by the end of the day today. The finished turquoise color, Benjamin Moore's Florida Keys Blue to be more specific, is looking great. I can't wait to get this door installed!

Well, I have a People Magazine calling my name. I have some serious reading to catch up on after being away for my week-long business trip. We'll be back soon when there's something more interesting to report.

Starting To Pick Up - 4:20 PM

Watching the news and Old Town Alexandria is starting to get some coverage. 10,000 sand bags have been handed out. Mayor Euille is on talking about the looming flood.

And our back yard is starting to get a few leaves. 

The wind is picking up and its estimated that the heaviest wind and rain will be coming between 7:00pm and 3:00am.

There She Blows! - 6:00 PM

(Wendy) Irene must have heard my earlier "we're waiting" taunt, because she has officially arrived. The amount of rainfall and wind has picked up dramatically in the last hour, and the power has already begun flickering. The worst of it isn't supposed to get to us until between 7:00 pm and 3:00 am, so it seems likely that we'll lose power. Ruh-roh. The battery backup on our server will only last 15 minutes, so if Old Town Home goes offline, get updates from us on twitter, @OldTownHome.

New rain total estimates are for 4"-8" for the immediate DC area, so Alex has been down in the basement moving anything that shouldn't get wet off of the floor.

Oh boy. We just heard something hit our sunporch roof. We're off to inspect the noise. 

Big Stuff Coming - 8:00 PM

Ok, nothing major on the back roof, just some branches. It looks like the big rain and wind is about 30 minutes to an hour away. So it's perfect time for our friends to arrive. 

Time to eat a little hurricane food and appreciate the power while we have it. 

I hear Richmond really is getting hit hard, best of luck to our friends down that way.

Hunkering Down Update - 10:00 PM

(Alex) Ok ya'll, Wendy won't let me leave the house due to fear of falling trees or chimneys. So instead, we're making hurricane drinking games while watching the news. 

Here are the rules thus far. You drink when someone on NBC4 news (replace your own news station as necessary)

  • Says "Feeder Bands" 
  • Says "Eye Wall"
  • Makes an obviously snarky comment directed at the reporters (I'm looking at you Wendy Rieger)
  • When Wendy Rieger sounds like she might be drunk
  • When Pat Collins pauses dramatically during a report
  • When someone appears in the background of a shot in their rain gear waving at the camera.
  • Says "Rotation"
  • Says "Prone to flooding"
  • Says "Storm Surge"
  • Uses an extended tape measure to show what 6" looks like
  • Says "Hunkered down" 
  • When Shamaree (sp?) Shomari shows the "flooding" in Alexandria that is no worse than any given high tide.
  • When Shamaree Shomari talks about his son "Little Shomari" being an uncooperative child and watching the storm form the window, even though he shouldn't because he would be impaled by a stick.
  • When Shamaree Shomari asks viewers to direct message him on Twitter to teach him how to unprotect his tweets via Facebook. Classic.
  • Every time they show the same Volvo with the same tree on it and the same woman who told her husband he should move the car but then he forgot. I think we're up to at least 6 times. Drink twice if the woman still has no shoes on.

What do you guys think? Any additional rules we should add?

Call FEMA, We've Got Flooding - 11:15 PM

(Alex) We've got some localized flooding around our old front door's mail slot. We're going to need to get Lulu and Mel onto a bucket brigade to handle this. I hope they can keep up. (Geesh our old front door looks bad)

We're expecting the current heavy wind and moderate rain to keep up for a few more hours. We'll be waking up early to go check out the Old Town aftermath tomorrow morning. Wendy's deal for not letting me leave the house earlier is waking up early. We'll see if this holds true tomorrow morning.

Just a Few More Hours - 11:55 PM

We're getting to the worst part but also the end of the storm. I think Lulu has just about had enough of Irene for the day, she's pretty much spent.

I think we'll be signing off for the night too, but our web cam at the top of this page will stay online as long as we have power. We'll give you all an update after we check out the end results of the storm tomorrow morning. 

Our master bedroom and office windows are leaking a bit. I think the next house project after the front door is going to be building our storm windows and restoring these windows. 

We've also got a little water coming into the basement, but that is pretty much par for the course.

We hope all of our friends and family up north stay safe as Irene move their way. Check back with us tomorrow and wish us luck tonight. And if you have a Volvo, watch out because they seem to be tree magnets.

Be safe, everyone.

Get a wrap up of our storm blogging with a few photos and an account of the storms aftermath in Old Town. 

Comments 18


8/27/2011 at 12:52 AM
Random, but odd coincidence... My aunt's first and second names are Isabel Irene...
I'm not sure I would be as calm as you guys are, in the face of a hurricane! Seeing the little twisters that work their way across the prairies occasionally was hard enough for me to get used to...
That is a really strange coincidence! I think we're not so worried because of how well our home fared during Hurricane Isabel back in '03. We're far enough away from the Potomac that we're not in the immediate flood zone, and we feel as prepared as we can be. Tornadoes though...that's a whole other story!
Beth Wilt
8/27/2011 at 3:53 PM
Alex, did u get a chance to run the morning? Gorgeous perfect weather. I even stayed out 15 minutes longer than usual.
Old Town Home
8/27/2011 at 3:58 PM
Nope, I wanted to but slept in instead. Oh well. We did walk and it was perfect, cool and humid. I'll probably go for a run tomorrow morning.
8/27/2011 at 6:27 PM
You need to move those flowerpots inside from the back yard--dangerous!
You're absolutely right, thanks Lisa. We moved them to a much safer location. Are you guys going planning to get much of this storm?
8/27/2011 at 7:19 PM
Feel like I"m sitting here just *waiting* to get clobbered. Not supposed to get here till tomorrow, hope it slows down some by then.
8/27/2011 at 10:19 PM
Good luck tonight. We were enough inland that it just caused a little wind.
8/27/2011 at 10:43 PM
You are my preferred hurricane news channel!
Good Luck, guys!!!
We are all hoping/praying it settles down quickly!
Thanks Laura! Luckily we made it through with little to no damage. And made the best of it by having a little fun, hanging with friends, and watching hours of hurricane coverage. :-)
Margie and Jim
8/27/2011 at 11:11 PM
Sounds like a good time to have some Lemonade Coolers. Glad you brought the pots in -- they were worrying me also.
Hi Guys! Thanks for checking in. So far so good and just a few more tenuous hours to get through. It would be a perfect night for some Lemonade Coolers, you are absolutely correct.
8/28/2011 at 2:20 AM
i have thought about you guys... the storm surge and all... good luck and stay safe!
Thanks Jen! All is okay here in OT. We have some garden clean up to do, and had a little water in the basement/vestibule, but all is well. Hope your family and house survived unscathed.
8/28/2011 at 12:02 PM
Thanks for coming over and diagnosing the source of my leaky chandelier, Alex. You're the best friend and neighbor. I can imagine how many roof guys, plumbers, restoration experts, etc I would have had to pay and they still wouldn't have found the source of the leak. you are the Sherlock Holmes of old holmes.
No problem Sherry, quite glad to help. We're glad to have you as a friend and neighbor and are always willing to check out your gem of a house if it's in need. If I were you, even with it's leaks and hiccups, I would never leave your home.
8/11/2014 at 8:33 PM

A hurricane is a great excuse for a drinking game

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