As Hurricane Irene approached the U.S. coast ...
Lookups spiked on Friday, August 26, 2011.
As Hurricane Irene approached the U.S., people in the storm's path were frequently advised to "batten down the hatches."
Today, that phrase means "prepare" - often for a literal storm (e.g. Irene) or a figurative one (e.g. someone's tempestuous mood).
A batten is a strip of wood used to connect or reinforce something, or to secure it tightly. The phrase "batten down the hatches" originally meant to prepare a ship for stormy weather by closing and covering openings.
Photo credit: Official Navy Page / flickr