Sunday, November 15, 2009

Water Water Everywhere - RL

It's never a good sign when The Weather Channel sends a reporter to do stand up in your area. The remnants of Hurricane Ida crept through our area last week. Days of WIND and rain. What is "Heavy Rain Mist" anyway?

By Thursday the ground was already saturated, by Thursday evening sewers were full so rain water backed up onto streets, into driveways and parking lots. White caps in some streets. The underpasses were full (say 15' of standing water). Downtown was closed Thursday afternoon and Friday. Some felt Friday was just as bad. The rain started tapering off Friday and quit on Saturday. Sunday lovely blue skies.

During Hurricane Isabel (the only other really bad storm since I moved here) we lost power for 42 hours. We lost power Thursday as it was getting dark. Rob saw a BIG blue arc that filled the sky and we both heard the transformer POP several blocks away. It came back on Saturday 45 hours later. 155,0000 without electricity. We had one of the top five highest tides in recorded history for this region - 8' high tides (usual high storm tide is 3-1/2') with 52 mph winds and gust of 78 mph the waves were topping out at 15' !! Waves were breaking over the causeway deck leading up to the I-64 bridge between South Hampton Roads and North Hampton Roads. This is what I saw reported, it may have been worse. Trees, lines down, flooding of cars, businesses, homes.

Wind whipped the rain everywhere, our neighbors lost the siding under their eaves and there is a gaping hole a man could walk through to get into their attic from the outside! Our windows (all big) are two panes that slide side to side mounted in tracks similar to those for a shower door. Rain hit the windows on the east side, ran down into and under the tracks onto the sill and down the wall - all Thursday evening and well into the night. We went through every towel, hand towel and washcloth we have - rolling them into the tracks, catching the water moving onto the sill and mopping up the carpet when we weren't quick enough, ringing them out sometimes, putting in dry ones. It finally slacked off enough that Rob felt it could be left unattended and went to bed at 5am.

It was 50 something outdoors the temperature had dropped to 68 inside by the time the electricity came back on. That doesn't sound bad, but I get chilly easily, so I was wearing a kind-of-robe over my clothes with a big triangular angora shawl. My cat Boots, was cool, he spent every night beside my pillow, partly covered with a blanket!

We really did pretty well. We had candles, flashlights, lanterns. Rob went to the grocery early Thursday pm (no work for us - colleges and shop closed) and I made chili immediately, and put it in a crock pot to keep warm. We reheated it Friday in a chafing dish.

By Friday night my best view of the rain was lighted from the back by the street lights (they were on again). Blowing almost horizontal, it looked like clouds of heavy mist blowing over the roofs.

We read, wrote (sitting at computer desk next to a bowl with tea lights), and played monopoly - roomie folded first, I had the railroads, Rob had hotels on the expensive corner and won. Rob worked Friday. By Friday I was b o r e d. I'm not good at sitting around doing not much. It was a dull gray day, poor visibility even with the blinds and curtains open so I couldn't do any handwork (embroidery). I worked Saturday.

Now it's clean up time: everything in the fridge went into the trash. Besides the meat, so many good condiments and cheeses...sigh. And veggies, some had rotted. The freezer was cold but everything was defrosted....ouch. Now laundry and more laundry including an extra large load of towels, run the dishwasher, clean the carpet (tracked in mud), consulting on what everyone feels is important for the fridge, a long trip to the grocery later today.

My first pleasure was a lovely long shower, head to toe clean and body lotion..mmmm....heavenly warmth.

Update: One well thought out shopping list and $245 later, the fridge looks really really bare. But do we really need seven bottles of salad dressing?
nooo?? and three different mustards?...yes.


Alicia Chenaux said...

Oh my goodness!! What a nightmare. :( At least you guys made it through safely, that's the important thing. And you'll have 7 bottles of salad dressing again in no time. :)

Quaintly Tuqiri said...

Wow, glad you guys are safe and your home was hardly damaged. When you described how you and Rob kept mopping up the seepage from the windows, I could imagine you both tirelessly doing it... glad you finally managed to get some rest, welcome back to the Interwebs! ;)

Emyly Beaumont said...

When I read your post last night, I was amazed how much difference living 20 minutes away can make. My cherished Woodstock wind chimes were totally destroyed by the high winds and we had standing water and tree limbs scattered all over the grounds, but I had no leaks and managed to recover all the tubes for the wind chimes. And I was fortunate enough not to lose electricity this time. But I remember Isabel and am also grateful that it was not that bad. I wasn't looking forward to a week without electricty...

Casandra Shilova said...

Alicia - We will try and probably fail to hold it to three dressings.

Quaintly - The wind has always treated those 3 windows differently. The one I was watching normally gets the most breeze, but it had the least water. At 10:30 I was worn out and chilled. I rolled hand towels into the track, bath towels onto the sill, and an old cotton bathmat from grandma on the floor underneath and went to bed. Roomie hung in there til 1:30 and Rob kept going on his own.

Emy - amen to that! I was very glad to learn you made it through in good shape. Can the chimes be salvaged or replicated by an artist?

Note - Isabel helped by taking out weak trees and pointing out problems with the electric grid. It would have been much worse if this had been pre-Isabel.