Hurricane Irene has come and gone. How much time will be necessary for New Yorker's to get over the shutting down of mass transit; the holocaust-like images of empty streets, airports and subway stations, the wind differential in multi-story buildings., the general shutting down and evacuation of their city?

Meanwhile, the rest of the Eastern Seaboard, to the south of NYC, which took the brunt of Irene’s fury, is in recovery phase.

For me, with personal connections to many of the cities Irene lashed and pummeled, it is still a bit of a waiting game. In my hometown of Wilmington and on nearby Topsail Island, where my grandmother was born, the sun is shining.  There are downed trees; power disruptions and lots of water to deal with, but Irene is gone.  I actually had the odd, fevered thought yesterday that I should call her when I saw the photos of Topsail on the Weather Channel, even though she died in 1997.  The Wilmington Star reported that 17 new babies arrived during the Hurricane, and are now enjoying their first weekend with their families.

In Richmond, Virginia where I passed my glorious high school years, 74% of residents are without electricity and the Southern charm of hundred year old my tree-lined streets are up-ended.  Facebook posts yesterday from high school pals were filled with quotes from the Wizard of Oz as 80mph the winds howled and debris whizzed by.  One posted that the Wicked Witch was dead in his yard and included a picture.

The bustling megapolis of Hampton Roads-Norfolk-Virginia Beach is scrambling to get roads and bridges back open to the swarms of penned up and caged cars, trucks ad SUV’s.  Schools which were starting Monday will be given a 1-day reprieve.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is open this morning, and though the Bay is probably sparkling, the swells are still large.  Motorists on the Bridge will still wonder about the stray wave breaking over the roadway, no matter how unlikely that would be.  Having crossed the Bridge in a storm once, believe me, your imagination magnifies those swells exponentially

The Chincoteague causeway is open and residents and tourists alike are welcomed to return.  The island did not lose power and if the reports from Ocean City, MD apply to Chincoteague, the area dodged a bullet.

After spending Friday night and all day Saturday on the couch with the Weather Channel, I am confident enough this morning that the places I love are safe, that I am doing laundry and tuned to ESPN.  The sun in Kingsport no longer looks eerie to me.

Thanks to Debbie Davis for this account. Read Debbie's last article.

Tell us you story…What did you do while you waited and while Irene crossed your area.

____________________________________________________

*14+ deaths

Officials have warned that there will be more flood damage from Irene's heavy rains. Millions of homes have no power. Yet it could have been so much worse…

What's the cost? Tens of billions of dollars in damage after 3 days. Hurricane Irene caused widespread flooding and  damage across parts of the US east coast.

Featured Images:

Above Hurricane Irene on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 in Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

Slider Image: Hurricane Irene from the International Space Station

Read more

zp8497586rq