Sounds like a children's book, doesn't it?
It's not. Irene (of course) is the hurricane currently making its way up the East Coast here in the States. The Long Island Express is the name given in retrospect to the hurricane of 1938. The '38 hurricane was devastating. Even in upstate New York I grew up hearing about it--in the 1970s--and here in New England it was awful.
It's the reason that there are so few old-growth trees here. Also, indirectly, why the MacIntosh apple took off--the orchards of heritage varieties were ripped up and destroyed. Macs were just coming up in popularity, and easy to grow. Self-pollinating...and so...good-bye heirloom apples.
Buildings were destroyed, and many, many lives were lost. I've seen photos of the carnage. It was horrible. There are still reminders downtown in Providence, even a plaque documenting the flood lines.
We're worried here. Many New Yorkers have been ordered to evacuate. A state of emergency has been declared in Rhode Island, and to be honest, I've been filling containers with potable water and rounded up the crank flashlight and radio, and made sure I could put my hands on the cat carrier.
Irene is supposed to mean "peace". I'll close with the words of a drag queen who, I hope, is correct in her estimation:
"Who names these storms? I'm sorry, but Hurricane Irene doesn't sound very threatening... What does she do, fling a cocktail in your face!?"