Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy, The Aurora Is Rising Behind Us

I know this isn't a twitter account, but I'm going to update this post periodically during the day, at least once every couple of hours.  So if you see three or more hours go by without an update, it probably means power is out.

I'd love to hear from my friends on the east coast ~ comment, or send me an e-mail and I'll add you to the next update.

Mon, 7am: If you take a look at the National Hurricane Center site, you can see that the storm is not expected to make landfall for another 18 or 20 hours.  It will probably north of me but pretty close.  It's really pretty far out over the ocean right now, but it's a huge storm.  It's fairly rainy here; I wouldn't want to be outside.  And it's has clearly gotten worse in just the hour I've been up.  Wind is picking up; I can hear it beating the rain into the windows pretty much non-stop.  If I just woke up in the pre-mass communication days, I'd say "bad storm" and think nothing much of it.  Local schools are closed, today and tomorrow.  The federal government is closed today; since I work in a federal office, I'm on a forced vacation today.  Subways and commuter trains and buses are not running.  Stores are out of bottled water and other staples.  I don't panic in storms, but they can be scary and I'm a bit concerned at how bad conditions are when the storm is so far away.  I think I'll have breakfast before my choices are limited to cold cereal. :)

Mon, 9am: conditions are about the same.  Daylight is coming slowly ~ it seemed to be nighttime dark much later than usual.  I've turned up the heat in the apartment, so if power goes out it'll stay warm longer.  The big difference between this and a typical hurricane is, it's cool outside, with a cold wind.  I don't see any damage, but it's still not bad out there.

Mon, 10am: the rain must be lighter than it feels.  Lots of cars have intermittent wipers on.  The wind has become quite a bit gustier than an hour ago.  It's beating against my window, although the trees don't seem to be bending as much as they were earlier today.  I'll continue with this morning's task: moving clothing around and listening to the Grateful Dead.

Mon, 11am: Lauren in New England said the conditions are about the same as here.  The rain just started coming down in sheets.  A few minutes ago I noticed wipers were intermittent or slow; now no-one's trying to get away with intermittent.  11:30: I stepped onto the patio because, mixed in with the rain, I see large whitish drops which, if it was colder, I would swear were large, wet snowflakes.  On the patio, all I saw was water droplets coming down from the overhang.  But I am certain there are some large wet snowflakes mixed in here!  It's in the mid-40s temperature-wise, so I don't get it.  But there's definitely some snow!  Yesterday, either CNN or the Weather Channel had a reporter on-site in Asbury Park.  They mentioned that it's "Bruce Springsteen's home" (not exactly ~ he was born in Long Branch) but ignored the "4th of July Asbury Park (Sandy)" connection.  Them boys in their high heels, ah, Sandy, their skins are so white.

Mon, 12:15pm: I don't have the same priorities as most people around here.  Stores, as I have said, are out of staples and batteries.  There are lines waiting to buy generators.  My car is pretty full which means at least 300 miles of driving before I have to worry about gas stations being without power.  I have a couple of flashlights here, but I don't even know where they are and I don't have spare batteries.  I can go to sleep from sunset to sunrise, if necessary.  I charged everything with USB ports and batteries so I can keep my phone charged, although I can do that in my car in a pinch.  I kept making ice for the past few days and have a freezer full.  That means I'm using more electricity now to keep it frozen but I should be able to save food if power's out for a day or two.  I have a small ice chest for the same purpose.  The ice will also serve as water in case there's a problem.  There's never been one where I've lived in the past so I didn't join the line buying up water bottles by the case.  I have fruit, vegetables, and I bought some cold cereal and lunch meats in case I can't cook.  In the last big storm, many people were without power for a week.  I was out for two days.  I think I can survive without resorting to cannibalism.  That's a good thing, since I'm the only one here.

Mon, 1:20pm: it's suddenly lighter all around: the wind is lighter, the rain is lighter, the sky is lighter.  If it wasn't for the giant metal tripods storming above the treetops, destroying everything with beams of light I'd feel like the worst is over. :)  Now that I wrote that, power just glitched several times.  If you read this, you'll know my internet stayed up. :)

Mon, 1:30pm: the power glitches mean it's time to implement Emergency Procedure 14-A: put on coffee.

Mon, 2:45pm: another glitch or two, but not even long enough to reset clocks on equipment.  And I am not going to set clocks until this is all over!  There are lots of little flakes but overwhelmingly it's moderate rain and gusty wind.  I am going through boxes of stuff I moved here and I did find my dead battery holders (flashlights to you).  They're working perfectly, keeping my dead batteries safe and dry.

Mon, 4:20pm: wet, with a twist: it seems the carpet in each bedroom is wet under the window.  Something is leaking.  The walls are OK, but the carpet is wet.  Because the storm is to the northeast and rotates counter-clockwise, I get mostly northern winds.  My windows are all north-facing so the rain is blowing right into that wall.  I'll continue to keep an eye on the weather and especially the rugs, but I don't think we'll have serious damage in the DC area.  They are still predicting worsening conditions overnight.  And the federal government is closed again tomorrow, so I have less money and more time to clean this place up.

Mon, 5:40pm: not much change.  The wind is whipping, the rain is falling but I've seen worse.  And the newspaper website didn't open the storm story with 470,000 without power in the region  so I guess it's not too bad out there.  Yet.  My problem: I have a hard time when I can't go outdoors during a day.  I really want to get out of here for a bit!  Instead, I had an early dinner, and yay! power stayed on while I was cooking.  I haven't heard from my kids if power is on in their respective living places, but, again, it seems like it's mostly OK, at least so far.

Mon, 6:50pm: the wind is getting worse.  And this place definitely would benefit from storm windows.  I just lowered and closed all of the blinds for the first time, to try to keep the chill out.  I also found some moisture below the den window, but I think that's because there's a lot of vapor on the inside of the window.  I wiped it down and we'll see.

Mon, 7:50pm: it's hard to see what's going on now that it's dark and most of the windows are fogged up on the inside and drenched on the outside.  It sounds quite windy, and I finally decided to put on a pair of pants and a shirt (instead of the top and skirt I've been wearing) and go downstairs to check my mail and to gaze upon the world.  It's still there.  It does seem like we're getting a pale shadow of points north.  I'm sure my creek is flooded, but a friend who's very close to the south shore of Long Island is probably underwater, or watching the water levels closely.  He said power was acting up, and roads near his house were flooded.  Continuing with my beat-the-outage strategy, I'm going to take an early shower.  I have no windows in my bathrooms here.  I hope all of you northeast ladies are doing all right!

Mon, 9:10pm: the wind is getting worse.  The rain doesn't sound horribly hard, but it's being belted against my windows.  The ceiling in the bathroom is making an unnerving creaking sound.  One of my other on-line friends said he lost his kitchen addition and an eighty foot oak fell on his neighbor's car.  No-one was hurt.  I'm not sure where he's located.  Lauren in New England said her power was out but her generator was on.  Other friend reports show mostly scary conditions.

Mon, 10:10pm: I know I'm focussing on power.  That's obviously not the most important thing, but it's the first symptom of other problems.  Power lines are above ground here and trees have a habit of overgrowing the lines and snapping them.  A friend on Long Island reported his side and back yards are flooded and he heard an explosion ~ a transformer came down in a shower of sparks.  Anyway, power is still on both here and at my house, although I've been getting little "brownouts" where the lights all dim for several seconds but they've always come back on.  I'm running the dishwasher, hoping I'll at least have clean dishes if I'm offline for a bit.  The wind is really strong now.  My patio is set back maybe 8 or 10 feet from the front of the building but I still hear rain rapping against the patio door.  The creaks I heard in the bathroom seem to have spread, but I'm sure it's nothing.  And why does that sound like a "famous last word?" :)  So I'm going to bed now.  I have a post scheduled for the morning, and I'll update or post throughout the day if I can and if anything's going on.  Otherwise, I'll just post a little "still here" every so often.  Good night, all.  Stay warm and dry.

Tue, 6:40am: We're done.  It's cool, wet, and quiet outside.  I woke to the roaring sound of... nothing.  I'll go explore once it's light out.  I was hoping to wait until it got warmer, but it's about 40 now and I think that'll be about as warm as it gets today.


  1. Good luck from the other side of the Atlantic- I'll be thinking of you

  2. Good tip about the heat. I will do that right now. I am home with the kids. Wife went to work for a half-day. We are having tea and hot chocolate, and we are going to carve pumpkins and roast pumpkin seeds. Stay safe and warm.


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