Tag Archives: Storm surge

Pick at the Peak of Ripeness!

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September is when the hurricanes off the east coast of North America become ripe enough to be harvested and truly enjoyed. Like grapes or tomatoes, there are a few outliers that ripen earlier, but also like tomatoes and grapes, early hurricanes lack that full-bodied flavor that literally knocks you off your feet–sometimes permanently. Like tomatoes, hurricanes are best when picked fresh off the vine and tasted immediately.

If you don’t live in an area that experiences hurricanes, it is difficult to truly share the experience, but, I shall try. First, although the wind looks impressive on television, it is the storm surge of water that kills the most people. In Virginia, where we have been assured that there is no climate change, the sea levels have inexplicably risen and the land has subsided–a fancy word for “sunk.” The land sinks because industries such as paper mills pump so much water out of wells that the land actually sinks.

Evacuation is an option, but if you are not on the road at least three days before a hurricane makes landfall–with a confirmed reservation at a hotel well inland–you are going to bounce around in your car stuck in a 200 mile traffic jam in high winds heavy rains, and other cars tunning out of gas.

As the storm approaches, the water comes into the rivers and tributaries at high tide, the wind tends keep the water trapped inland, so the next few high tides keep adding. Then, there’s the rainfall. Yesterday–long before the hurricane is due, we got between 3 – 5 inches of rain. Since the most important thing around here is real estate development, all the low-lying wooded areas have been elevated so that instead of the water flowing into those areas, it flows the other way, into mature neighborhoods. Since electricity is also lost early in the game, the sewage treatment pumping stations fail; the water flowing through the streets tends to exhibit wads of toilet paper and worse.

The loss of electricity also means, given that there was never any global warning, everybody gets to enjoy the 90+ degree temperatures and 80+ percent humidity sans air-conditioning. Plus, ATMs, gas pumps, cash registers, etc. don’t work without electricity, so forget your debit or credit card. It’s exact change, cash only.

Afterward, the streets are lined with soggy wallboard and furniture from houses that were flooded. These sit, bake in the sun, grow mould, get rained on, wash the mould into the watershed, repeat. But, hey, Katrina barely bothered Louisiana and Maria was no problem for Puerto Rico, so what, me worry

It’s not a complete picture of what you may be missing, but hopefully it will help you share in our experience.

 

The (Hurricane Sandy) Saga Continues

So far, Hurricane Sandy appears to be headed north of us. Of course, that’s the actual center of the storm – the southern part of the storm that we may experience is still within the system and will manifest itself primarily as wind and rain.

The biggest problem may be at high tide tomorrow. The tide goes in. The tide goes out. Except when it doesn’t.

WTKR Weather Coverage

At times like this, the tide comes in and the wind keeps it in. Then the next high tide comes along and pushes more water in. That’s when the street looks like a small river – which will probably happen tomorrow morning around 9:42 or so, when high tide occurs.

The other big issue is that as the wind hits, trees with leaves are more affected by the wind than trees without leaves. The trees still have lots of leaves. Trees falling over in and of themselves are not a big deal, but they do have a nasty habit of toppling power lines and blocking roads.

So the bottom line is that of the many things that may happen…

…at any minute…

…because this is a tense situation…

…so take cover…

Very little has happened so far.

But you never know.