August 29, 2011


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Well, we're still bewildered that we have power. No one in our immediate area aside from our neighborhood and an adjoining road does.

Most of the early part of today was spent cleaning up the yard.

This afternoon, I drove over to Newport News and later Virginia Beach to check on friends who weren't answering their phones...they are OK, modern landline phones don't work with no power.

Along the way I noted the damage, which consisted of a lot of blown down trees and missing signs.

Now, the storm lasted a LONG time here. It spawned tornadoes and its surge, which was abnormally high for storm of its intensity, came at the highest tide of the year. There was also a LOT of rain.

As hurricanes go, this was a pretty gimp event.

This is Virginia, which happens to be in the coastal southeast. We are going to get hurricanes. I don't think that sustained hurricane force winds were actually recorded at ground level in Virginia. We actually endured a CAT 0.8. Such a storm ought not to have left just under a million people without power. It ought not to have collapsed a bridge. We wasted all that money on bailouts, and in the stimulus, and we didn't do jack for the actual infrastructure. Given the disruption and damage caused by this"hurricane by technicality", an actual CAT 4 or 5 storm would not have just left almost a million without power, it would have left nearly as many dead and shut down the whole state.

These were all lessons that ought to have been learned after Isabel. We've had 8 years.

It should be noted however, that there were some good points.  The storm drains which had been such a colossal failure during Isabel and Floyd and contributed to so much flooding, seemed to work very well this time except in areas that were very low lying anyway...and physics comes into play there.   So there was one civil engineering win.

In other good news, all that rain surely put out the fire Great Dismal Swamp so we don't...wait...what?...OH YOU ARE KIDDING ME!1!!

Grrr...Fires, earthquakes, storms...if there are suddenly swarms of bugs I'm gonna...

Oh good grief...

Bugnadoes!? In MY neighborhood?

They don't show up well on the Blackberry camera but that's how thick the bugs are right now.

I'm off to work.

I hope everyone else is safe.

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August 27, 2011

Irene is Coming

It looks like flooding will continue to worsen in Chesapeake for a time, but aside from severe thunderstorms, the possibility of tornadoes and the strange phenomenon of the wind being worse in what should be the least dangerous quadrant the worst seems to be over or us.

The same can't be said for the rest of the country. Remember, we were having a mild drought when these rains came, the Northeast has been soaked already. The huge rain on saturated ground and the possibility of an 8 foot storm surge and a high tide arrival is going to be a very rude awakening to Northeasterners.  The storm is already reorganizing and strengthening a bit as I type this. Weather Nerd has more. 

North Carolina and Virginia took a hit but those still in its path may well get the worst of it.

If you are northeast of here, this storm is NOT spent and it is coming toward you.

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Irene's Parting Gifts

The storm is now offshore, but she held the worst waited for last. WNIS, which is broadcasting from Dominion Tower, is reporting the Elizabeth River is now topping the Norfolk seawall, financial district flooded. Dominion Tower parking garage is flooded. 
Caller reports hip high water in Fox Hill in Hampton.
Water mains have broken in Norfolk.

UPDATE: Nags Head reports that Albermarle Sound is overflowing and breaching the barrier island west to east....this will sweep everything out to sea.

UPDATE: Governor McDonnell  sez: 877,470 without power. 3 Deaths confirmed 1 in Richmond area. ALL major bridges and tunnels out of commission.

UPDATE: The storm is 30 miles offshore but the wind is the worse yet. House is shaking.  Radio reports Tidewater Drive is impassable. 6 inches of water in back yard. Reports on radio indicate LOTS of flooding.

UPDATE: I've just been informed that Wonderduck has better flooding pics.

 UPDATE: Wind sounds like thunder. Lights flickering. Sounds like branches are breaking. Bizarre that we get this now.

UPDATE: Radio says Midtown Tunnel not reopening. Great.

UPDATE: Radio says Richmond and Fredricksburg have a really large number of power outages.

21:41 UPDATE: The storm is more than 45 miles off shore and Naval Air Station Oceana STILL reports 69MPH wings in the "safe" quadrant. We've been getting the worst winds of the day since the storm passed offshore.

21:50 UPDATE: Radio Weather Dude says that the storm is strengthening as it passes over the water which is why we are getting more wind. There is a posibility that the Midtown Tunnel may open by Monday.

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Curfew in Force

Portsmouth announced a go into effect after the worst has passed.

The Portsmouth curfew was in effect as of 8 p.m. and was to be lifted at 8 a.m. Sunday. No person shall be on any public street between those hours unless for an emergency or essential purpose or operation of a business, the city said.

Well then...

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The Granby Street Bridge Has Collapsed

Info comes via WNIS.

No other info, but my commute to school from work has gotten longer.

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A Few Quick Pics

We had a break in the storm about an hour ago and as part of my overall policy of making bad decisions I ran out to move my car (which was being menaced by a steadily listing tree) and drove around the neighborhood for a few minutes.

15 -21 inches of rain is what they're saying.

Everything smells like rotting fish.

702,413 reported without power in VA. Our neighborhood is an anomaly that is not likely to last long.
The break in the storm is well and truly over. The winds are picking up rapidly and the rain is again coming down in sheets.

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This should not be news but...In marked contrast to The Weather Channel, the local network affiliates and the local Talk Station  (AM 790 WNIS) are doing a stellar job of reporting the situation. Dave Parker the Talk Host is a consummate professional.

Weather Nerd is doing a fine drama free coverage of this on a national level.

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2 tornadoes have touched down in Sandbridge, a lowlying area of Virginia Beach near the NC state line containing the northernmost of the sounds and barrier islands. A caller on the radio reports considerable damage. The area is in the no go zone, no responders will be sent till after the storm passes.

Tornado warnings a bit ago in Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk but they have been lifted.

Via 790AM WNIS: Brookridge Apts in Newport News has been stove by a tree. A child is reportedly pinned.
Chid is dead.

Winds are picking up substantially.

350,000 380,000 without power.

Caller on radio reports Blackwater River is flooding the town of Franklin which suffered so much in Floyd.

5 hours till maximum winds. It looks like the dead center will pass right over us. There is expected to be a 7 foot storm surge or greater and will coincide with high tide.

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There is rain.

Wind here is 15-25 knots. Weather Channel dude is on TV in nearby VA Beach dramatically "staggering" against the gale.

Weather Channel meteorologists, the mimes of the 21st century.

Actual video of Weather Channel meteorologists.

Caller on the radio from Kill Devil Hills (which the Weather Channel reports devastated) reports terrible carnage amongst the islands pine cones. The storm is serious but not catastrophic. They really needed to stop overhyping the wind angle once it became clear it was not a major wind event. This will only cause people to ignore them in the future.

Note though that there IS rain...a LOT of rain;  really impressive rain that has been remarkably steady for hours.
I do expect inland flooding to be terrible.
Irene's jaundiced eye should pass over in 5-7 hours, nearly coinciding with high tide. Coastal flooding is going to be as bad as Isabel or worse.
This is going to be bad enough without the winds,...
...or the weather mimes.

100,000+ without power already including the next neighborhood over. We'll loose it here soon enough.
I'm going to go get what may be my last shower for a few days.

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August 26, 2011


Yeah yeah yeah, impending storm and all that...
...but you know what jumps out to me on this latest NOAA map?

Qaqortoq stands a chance of getting hit by a tropical storm. That just ain't right.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 06:28 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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The Bright Side

One good thing about the approaching hurricane. It will probably put out the huge peat fire in the Great Dismal Swamp which has been stinking up Southeastern VA periodically (dependent on wind direction). Some days its seemed like pea soup fog, but it's really smoke. It smells like wet dog with a hint of charcoal. This has gone on for weeks. 

Here's how it looks from the International Space Station:

...and here's how it looks going into the Monitor Merrimack Bridge Tunnel when the wind is blowing from the swamp.

Some days it's like living in Silent Hill.

So, this month we've had fires, earthquakes and now the hurricane.


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August 25, 2011

Battening Down

This close in the forecasts are generally pretty accurate. Radio says the eye is likely to cross over us at Category 2. The geometry of the storm is such that I expect a LOT of water to be forced into the Chesapeake Bay. This may be as bad as Isabel. I certainly do not expect to have power (or water) for several days after Saturday.

If you are on the Outer Banks or the Eastern Shore you need to be somewhere else very quickly.

ODU's Classes start Monday (in theory) so students are incoming right now. I just received an E-mail that ODU is shutting down the dorms. This will be awkward for the incoming students as some will arrive with nowhere to stay and a hurricane on the way. 


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August 23, 2011

Irene Has a Full Itinerary

Our friends the Bahamians are in for a hellish week.
The barrier islands and river towns of the Carolinas are going to get pasted like they haven't in a great many years. A Cat 3 Storm making a near direct hit on Hilton Head, Wilmington, Moorehead and New Bern is going to make quite a mess. 

As an aside, this has the eye passing right over Brickmuppetburg on Sunday. We'll probably dodge the serious wind damage but a direct hit is never good and it looks likely to sweep a good bit of surge into the bay just like Isabel and the 1933 storm did. When it hits it will have been half over land for a while, meaning we may get an impressive rain dump like we did with Floyd. All 3 of those storms hit as CAT ones and did inordinate damage via flooding.  I'll be testing the generator tomorrow.

School starts Monday.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 01:57 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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August 09, 2011

What is going on in London?

Its not getting much play on the news on this side of the pond as it's lost in the frenzy over the downgrade and ongoing market crash, but something is happening in the UK right now and it looks pretty bad.

From the Telegraph, a cut and paste of their ticker at 05:20 GMT.

Residents told to evacuate homes in Clapham Junction and Croydon
• Arson attacks in Birmingham and Liverpool.
• David Cameron to fly back to London overnight.
• Emergency COBRA meeting tomorrow - sources
• Live map of the rioting
• Fires and looting in neighbourhoods across the capital
• Motorists attacked and pubs targetted in 'mass muggings'

More here and here.

What the hell!? It seems that this has been going on for three days and it's spreading, with at least Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol experiencing the same.

I realize that there are distractions here, but the fact that our fiscal house is an unsustainable mess of a Ponzi scheme is not really news. The UK suddenly erupting in violence is.

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