In the two years Waterford native Jessica Kelley has been living on Long Island, she's experienced record-setting snowfall and, earlier this week, an earthquake.
Now she's preparing for a hurricane.
"The Atlantic Ocean is probably two blocks away from where I live," said Kelley, 26, a 2007 Marietta College graduate who works for the Newsday newspaper.
The Associated Press
Sophie Waterfield, from left, Skylr Peele, Chloe Waterfield and Tim Waterfield look out at the ocean waves near the Frisco, N.C., pier as the first storm bands from Hurricane Irene arrive Friday.
As Hurricane Irene makes its way up the East Coast, residents of places that usually aren't in the line of fire for such storms are gathering supplies and deciding whether to evacuate. It seems unlikely the Valley will feel the physical effects of Irene, but some residents are following it closely because they have loved ones in its path.
"I've been watching it ever since it formed down in the Bahamas and they said it might head up the East Coast," said Kelley's mother, Jane Offenberger, 59, of Waterford.
Kelley and her husband are planning to fly back to the area for a visit next week, but that's not soon enough for mom.
"I wish it was next week and they (were) already home," she said.
Reactions to the unusual circumstance of hurricane warnings in New York vary among residents, Kelley said.
"As of right now, there's a lot of people who are skeptical," she said. "(And) there are people who are packing up and leaving right now."
Kelley said Long Island residents have been advised to evacuate but so far it isn't mandatory. She's staying put for now because she has a dog and the nearby shelters won't accept pets.
Marietta native Roland "Chip" Riggs IV said there's something of a sense of excitement in Manhattan, where he and his wife live.
"I think there's going to be a fair amount of partying tonight," he predicted Friday, noting mandatory evacuations in parts of New York City are required by Saturday evening.
Flooding seems to be the main concern for Manhattan, but living 38 stories up, Riggs said he is not too worried about that. The 1995 Parkersburg Catholic graduate expects the hurricane to be "at most ... a mild inconvenience" but added that he and his wife have prepared nonetheless.
"My wife and I have stocked up on canned goods, flashlights, things like that," he said.
Riggs said co-workers have told him lines at stores are even longer than usual in the Big Apple as people gather supplies in anticipation of the storm. Having lots of food in reserve isn't something New Yorkers usually do, both Riggs and Kelley said.
"Apartments are so small here, we don't really have a pantry or anything to stockpile in," Kelley said.