Hurricane Irene, you’re awfully popular

Irene, you’re all I’m hearing about! And because of you I had to travel into Maryland to find gas for my Jeep. I don’t think I have ever, in 30 years, come across so many gas stations who had run out of gas! Insanity!

So in the event that I lose power over the next few days I just want to say I hope all my friends along the East Coast of the US are safe and sound as Hurricane Irene shows her windy self.

Be sure that you keep up with the State of Emergency plans because they are being modified as the storm track changes. Several areas in all three counties of Delaware are under mandatory evacuation orders.

Please don’t be one of those people who says this is going to be a little rain shower and we’ll all be fine. I hope you are right, but it is not something to risk being wrong about. Everyone loves a hero, but we all love live people, too!

Official forecasts predict 85 mph to 80 mph winds as the storm reaches southernmost Delaware, with Irene moving quickly but remaining a hurricane as it crosses Long Island and enters the heart of New England.

Be sure you bring your pets inside. Have all the medications you need in stock. Plenty of water in the house. And all loose objects outside should be in storage or tied down.

That’s all I have for you. Good luck fellow East Coasters.

Pre-Irene, economic damage from natural disasters in the U.S. exceeded $35 billion this year, according to a National Climatic Data Center report released in August 2011. Those disasters were:

  • Upper Midwest flooding (summer): At least $2 billion of damage as of mid-August
  • Mississippi River flooding (spring and summer): $2 billion to $4 billion in damage
  • Drought, heat wave and wildfires in the Southern Plains and Southwest (spring and summer): Over $5 billion in damage
  • Tornadoes (May 22-27): At least $7 billion in damage in central and southern states, including the tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., killing 141
  • Tornados (April 25-30): At least $9 billion in damage in central and southern states
  • Tornadoes (April 14-16): More than $2 billion in damage in central and southern states
  • Tornadoes (April 8-11): Losses exceeding $2.2 billion in central and southern states
  • Tornadoes (April 4-5): More than $2.3 billion in damage in central and southern states
  • Groundhog Day Blizzard: $2 billion in damage after a massive winter storm dumped snow across the central, eastern and northeastern sections of the country.

LiveScience senior writer Wynne Parry contributed to this article.