I flew back from Las Vegas literally hours before Hurricane Irene hit Philadelphia. Let me say that it’s pretty unfair going from the City of Overstimulation straight to twenty-four hours of lockdown inside my apartment, but I was worried about leaving my cats alone. I had visions of my windows shattering, glass flying everywhere, and one or both of the cats getting lost in the streets of South Philadelphia, and I figured that if I was home, I could pull them into the bathroom where there are no windows.
In the end, of course, there was very little damage. The wind blew pretty noisily for a few hours, and a brand new leak opened in the ceiling of my living room (which reminds me, I need to call the landlord today…) but mostly I played on Facebook and watched a lot of sensationalist hurricane coverage on the news.
To be clear, I am not complaining. At all. While Irene’s passage through Philly wound up being mostly hype, there were a good two hours when I was feeling pretty anxious, and I’m thankful things weren’t worse. One look at the consequences in North Carolina and in the Catskill Mountains reminds us that we shouldn’t take such weather events lightly.
After the storm, I went for a long walk along the Schuylkill River in Center City, from the southern end of the Schuylkill Trail at 25th and Locust up to the Art Museum. What I saw wasn’t exactly devastation: mostly I saw a lot of downed tree limbs, though some were quite large. The height of the river, and speed of the currents, was impressive - as was the mammoth collection of garbage that had collected in the eddies and along slow spots. Apparently, Irene scoured the Delaware Valley and carried all of its trash downriver. It was a reminder that while hurricanes are dramatic, humans are truly disgusting.
More photos below. Clicking on the images will bring up larger versions.