Dear Commons Community,
Last night I heard a weather forecaster declare that the East Coast including New York City had better prepare for Hurricane Irene and start “battening down the hatches”. A batten is a strip of wood. Ship’s hatches were often open or covered with a wooden grating to allow for ventilation of the lower decks. When bad weather was imminent, the hatches were covered with tarpaulin and the covering was ‘battened down’, that is, edged with wooden strips to prevent it from blowing off.
We may have to do a lot of “battening”.