AIN Blog: Trials by Mother Nature

 - September 1, 2011, 6:08 AM

NBAA put out a press release yesterday noting that there are “only 40 days left until NBAA 2011.” That's fitting, with Hurricane Irene’s liquid legacy threatening to linger for a biblical 40 days and 40 nights.

It’s been quite a week for Mother Nature here in the eastern United States, starting with the Virginia earthquake on August 23 and, the following weekend, Hurricane Irene’s crashing entrance in North Carolina. The epicenter of the 5.8-magnitude quake shook Virginia hard and rattled cages as far away as Indianapolis, Toronto, Martha’s Vineyard and the Carolinas. Some ATC towers in the northeast were evacuated, and here in New Jersey many of us were treated to the uncommon sensation of feeling the ground shake for about half a minute.

Secure in the perhaps ignorant belief that New Jersey is not due for a “big one,” I have to say I enjoyed the slow onset of realization that, darn me, it’s an earthquake, here at home in central Jersey, where I was working that day after getting the September issue of AIN wrapped up the day before.

The tremor began with a bang, like the sound of someone heavy jumping off a chest in a room upstairs. Our dog, who retreats to the corner at the first rumble of thunder, just looked plain flummoxed by this event, halting his panting every few seconds in case silence might provide access for some explanation. I just grinned as the house creaked and squeaked and rocked, repeating to myself, "Wow, an earthquake." We east-coasters probably looked like simpletons to the Californians watching on TV from their severely fractured crust thousands of miles west.

Irene, on the other hand, gave no cause for grinning and has heaped untold misery on millions in her wake. Business aviation airports escaped largely unscathed by the hurricane, but Teterboro Airport, whose four runway touchdown-zone elevations are all less than nine feet above sea level, was hard hit. Like the other major NYC-area airports, it closed at noon on Saturday.

Morristown and Newark resumed operations on Sunday evening, but TEB’s Runway 1/19 did not open until Monday morning, followed by 6/24 on Tuesday. Although it was open on Monday, Caldwell Airport in NJ closed on Tuesday in response to a delayed rise in the water level.

Some houses on Main Street in our village, rattled last week by the earthquake, now have water up to the kitchen counters.
What a week.