I was visiting family in Maryland in late August, 2011 when Hurricane Irene started making her way on a path towards the east coast that predictions said could be one of the most destructive in recent history. The entire east coast was bracing for it — New York City ordered evacuations and shut down its mass transit system, flights and trains were canceled, hundreds of thousands of people fled the coast.

At the marina in Galesville, Maryland, where my parents lived on their sailboat, the approaching storm turned the sky a deep orange at sunset, adding a bit of drama and mystery to the hurried preparations that were underway.

I made my flight back to California, the storm’s path turned to a less-destructive offshore route, the marina was largely undamaged. But I’ve never before seen a sky look like this.


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