Friday, November 13, 2009

The Nor-Easter of 2009

For those not familiar with living near the eastern seaboard, the term “Nor-Easter” refers to a storm that hails from the North-East with characteristics much like a tropical storm.  For all intents and purposes, it is a tropical storm, but I’ll leave that to the folks that thump their chests insisting they are not “weather-people” but “meteorologists”.  Whatever.

Our recent bout began as the remnants of hurrican Ida, which swept in from the Gulf of Mexico, came ashore and drifte Northeast over North Carolina and then over us in Virginia.  It took it’s time, with rains and wind starting on Wednesday and gradually picking up into a real mess by Thursday.  Last night was up and down and our power blinked out well over a dozen times.  I had to shut everything off to avoid hardware failures from all the constant spikes and drops.

By 4pm Thursday, all streets connecting our neighborhood were underwater.  Our particular section was high enough to be ok though.  We just couldn’t get out.  Even some of the braver 4x4 folks found themselves snuffed out in the deeper water (intersection of Old Forge and South Plaza Trail was most common)  This morning there were about ten stalled vehicles left abandoned.  Tow trucks were pulling them out with winches and cables onto flat-bed trucks to haul away.

The streets are less flooded now.  There are still a few bad locations that are impassable by car or by foot even.  The ground is saturated.  Trees fell over from root dislocation and strong winds.  Chain saws are blazing in all directions and there is still a misty rain coming down.  The intersection of Old Forge and South Plaza Trail was still 3-4 feet under water this morning.  I walked out as far as I could before sinking in the grassy shoulders.  The water goes up to the front doors of houses around that intersection.  It should be receding soon though.

One house around the corner was damaged severely by a fallen tree.  There is a crane and crew out now removing it in sections.  The house has already been condemned.  Thankfully, no one was hurt.  The crack of the tree falling was clear enough to hear inside my house with the TV on and the wind and rain howling on the outside, roughly 100 yards away.  Unbelievable sound.  Picture below of tree section being hoisted away.

House damaged by fallen tree Trees fell from soil saturation and wind Lake Windsor over the roadway and park knoll

According to all of the weather reports I’ve watched, the tidal flooding surpassed the record level set by the Ash Wednesday storm, but was not as high as the infamouse 1933 hurricane (they didn’t name them back in those days).  There are still a reported 150,000 without power in the Hampton Roads area (all cities combined), but most are on the southside.

Personally, I didn’t feel this was as bad as hurricane Isabelle.  But still, any damage is bad if you’re the one dealing with it.  This time around, we were very lucky.  Our house and vehicles suffered no damage.  We do have a lot of clean-up work ahead of us though.  The weekend is supposed to be nice and dry.

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