Hurricane Irene - During

Real Estate Agent with BlueCoast Realty Corporation


Hurricane Irene During


It’s 9:30 AM and to understand this post better you may want to read “Hurricane Irene Before” posted last night.  Yesterday was all about storm preparation.  As we hunkered down to meet Irene, everything else faded in importance.  Fact is, yesterday, clients and friends across the NE were all similarly engaged.   

Last night, we buttoned ourselves up inside our home with 50 year roof shingles, gutters secure, guards in place to prevent clogging pine straw and began the visual watch of nature’s wrath.  It could rightly be called a “death watch” as storms always thrash till they burn themselves out.   

In July 2004, a week after closing on our home, a category one storm demonstrated our home inspector missed the true condition of our roof.    Hard, wind driven rain resulted in a small but steady flow of water from the ceiling onto the floor of the aged blue carpet in our family room.  Soon there were other spots.  Yes, we knew the roof was fifteen years old, the effective end of the roof’s life but we hadn’t expected to deal with it immediately.  Perhaps we over spent on our new roof since, after all, this isn’t Miami but it’s handsome and last night we high-fived each other about that decision. 

That year, we also hired an arborist regarding the three handsome pine trees looming thirty feet high just ten feet from our front door.   He pointed out one was crooked, more likely to break.  In fact, he said it might have cracked at an earlier point causing a change of direction in the tree’s growth.  He suggested removing it and reassured us the other two trees would likely fall away from our home.  Still, he suggested, perhaps, strengthening the remaining two with a connecting rod but we never took that step.  With the third gone the second grew tall as though trying to match the other.   They’re just outside my upstairs office bay window and, from my desk, seem close enough to touch.  I’ve watched fresh, baby green pines cones cover the trees for seven springs and, all year, I pick up pinecones, at best, annoying.  Still, I love those trees but they concerned me as night closed us in our home. 

I insisted on not drawing drapes, blinds or shades anywhere as long as a sliver of outdoor light remained.  Eventually, our windows and sliders were gaping black spots in our rooms.  Finally, I closed window coverings, turned on lights and began the wait for daylight.

The first time hard wind whipped water against that bay window, I jumped but, after that, it became the new normal.  John went to bed at 12:30.  At 2:30AM, exhausted by manic storm prep, I fell asleep too.  

Up before 6 AM with power still on, John turned on coffee and experienced Irene’s huffy attitude on the southwest weaker side while her miserable disposition focused eastward.  Yes, some category one winds gusted here in the Wilmington area but not the full fury, blow it all down rage we feared yesterday.  By 8 AM, when I woke, tropical force winds gusting 40 to 60 were what remained. 

With power, our world is wider than our walls.  I just heard a Nash county man was killed outside his home when a tree limb suddenly fell.    My worst fear became reality for another and is ironically tragic since Nash is nowhere near the coast and speaks to the width of Irene’s reach.  While we are high and dry in our Hampstead home, Irene’s storm surge and flooding are wreaking havoc on many eastern NC residents.  Once Irene stops pushing water toward us, the natural order will restore its self and “parking lot ponds” and “street rivers” will recede into the normal banks of streams flowing into rivers, bays and sounds. 

We should be there by 6:30 PM which will allow walking our property before dark.  Hopefully, we can check four other homes for out of town Clients anxious about Irene’s outcome.  The closest is in Charlotte and 30 days from new home completion in Hampstead.  The other three closed long ago and two of them are serving in Afghanistan.  We offer ourselves for the long term and have many friends, a box of keys and homes to check from Leland to Holly Ridge. 

As I said in "Hurricane Irene - Before" living here insures we’ll deal with this from time to time as the coast of NC is hurricane alley.  It’s the price we pay for, metaphorically speaking, having the ocean in our back yard.  And, we’ll gladly pay it as we love this area! 

Still, my inherently cautious natures meant we would live too far from the water to see it.  I’m simply too risk averse but love being close enough to reach it easily.  Perhaps John growing up in Morehead City gave us an experience edge selecting our location.  Not only does Hampstead have some of the highest elevations in the greater Wilmington area but our home is on the high side of our street.   

Its 1:45 PM and we have power but its flickering. We may yet need the generator but I doubt it.  Regardless, a tree didn’t fall on our home and we’re fine.  We feel all the preparation was necessary but we’ll be cussing the whole time we put it all back where it belongs until the first hard frost calls for bringing in the tropicals.  At least we won’t clear the porch because, even in mid-winter, we have beautiful sunny days in the Wilmington area.. 

Today, we’re glad we prepared properly, grateful for our blessings and grieved by the misery many of our eastern NC neighbors are experiencing. 


Posted by

Beverly Femia

The Femia Team

"With Us, It's All About You!"


Beverly Femia


 Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty

1001 Military Cutoff Road, Suite 101 Wilmington, NC 28405

Fax to 1-866-784-3089 (Toll Free)

Beverly Femia

Broker / REALTOR®

Phone:Bev at (910) 279-9794

Search:Wilmington Area





Daniel J. Hansmeier
Rochester, MN

Sounds nerve racking at best. Glad you made it thru Irene ok.

Aug 27, 2011 06:59 AM
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

Good morning Beverly,

Thank goodness you and yours are safe...prayers continue for those still in Irene's path.

Aug 27, 2011 07:14 AM
Beverly Femia
BlueCoast Realty Corporation - Hampstead, NC
Broker Realtor Stager - Greater Wilmington, NC Are

Daniel, so much has happened in the four years since our market starrted to fail that I've become less exciteable about everything.  It's true that what doesn't kill you will make you stronger!  

Aug 27, 2011 12:52 PM