New York City has ordered the shutdown of all mass transit beginning Saturday at noon. In addition, there have been mandatory evacuation orders. No evacuation plan has been put into effect for Riker's Island, a series of jails that can handle 17,000 inmates (including some mental defectives and some children) and generally houses 12,000. All this as Hurricane Irene swamps the news media ... and the storm has not really hit North Carolina yet.
Here in Northampton, Mass., where 5-7 inches of rain has been predicted, we are nestled among a series of dike built by the Army Corps of Engineers in the wake of the 1938 hurricane. Whatever storm there is is forecast for Sunday.
In the past, strong storms moving up the East Coast have sometimes either run out of steam or veered out to sea before they reached our vantage point some 100 miles west of the Atlantic. But you can't just ignore the potential danger: Better to be a live fool than a busted-up know-it-all.