, Salem, MA


August 27, 2012

After the rain: Irene's lessons to the East Coast

Antonia Schreiber is taking no chances on the next big storm.

The remnants of Hurricane Irene turned the 200-year-old building that housed her Catskill Mountains spa boutique into a muddy mess a year ago in Windham, N.Y. She managed to reopen in the same town within months — but this time on higher ground.

“If it happens once, history has a tendency to repeat itself, and I hope it’s a long, long time from now,” Schreiber said, “but that’s not a chance I want to take again.”

Hard lessons have been learned in the year since Irene sent sedans bobbing down rivers, swept away historic covered bridges, put millions in the dark and killed dozens of people along the Eastern Seaboard. Responses range from personal gestures, like buying a home generator, to statewide policy changes, like the tightening of utility regulations.

Many of the reactions are based on the belief that while Irene surprised areas more used to blizzards than tropical weather, future storms are inevitable.

“Our question for Vermont is: What did we learn from Irene that we would do again and would put us in a better position with future storms in a climate-change future?” said Gov. Peter Shumlin, who scrambled after the storm hit his state Aug. 28 to help hill towns cut off from the world.

As Irene made landfall in North Carolina and roared up the East Coast, a densely populated corridor loaded with high-rises, suburban sprawl and pricey beach homes, officials in New York City and Long Island braced for storm surges and heavy winds by evacuating low-lying coastal areas and shutting down one of the world’s largest subway systems.

The storm made a direct hit on New York City as a tropical storm, but damage there — and in other big cities such as Philadelphia and Boston — was minimal. That gave many Easterners the impression that the much-feared storm was a dud.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Local News
  • City gets four bids for McKay School BEVERLY -- In the latest round of bids for the McKay School property, the city will consider four new proposals it received last week. The most recent proposals mark the fourth time the city has reviewed bids on the property and the second effort for

    August 20, 2014

  • Police to put down their pens, write electronic tickets BOSTON -- State troopers will soon toss handwritten tickets in favor of electronic citations to save money and time, and local police across the state could eventually follow suit. State police using the system will swipe or scan a driver's license t

    August 20, 2014

  • 140819_SN_DLE_VAPOR2 No 'butts' about it: Vapor stores pop up despite e-cig concerns Michael Greene sells e-cigarettes because they saved his life. And if they were available in the United States 17 years ago, they might have also spared his father, who smoked four packs of cigarettes a day for 40 years. "If you put too many regulati

    August 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • 140819_SN_DLE_MURPHY4 109 days, 2 new lungs later, Essex Deputy Sheriff Murphy going strong Dozens of friends and family members lined up on Balcomb Street Tuesday evening to greet Newton Murphy as he arrived home from his double lung transplant. Murphy, the Essex County deputy sheriff, had been in the hospital for 109 days after his surge

    August 20, 2014 8 Photos

  • Sex offender Matthew Delima, who fled with teen, gets 2-10 years

    SALEM -- A judge Tuesday returned a homeless Level 3 sex offender to state prison for two to 10 years, but he said that after reading police reports and other records in the case, he would have imposed even more time. The reason Judge Timothy Feeley

    August 20, 2014 3 Stories