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Thread subject: Irene
Name Date Message
Melanie 08/26/11 07:38 pm Don't know why but I'm going to "blog" this. Hopefully as this moves north and as long as Long Island keeps power (and me as well) someone will pick up Irene's progress. Might be interesting.

While things are supposed to pick up tomorrow afternoon, low thin clouds - a precursor to the feeder bands - have been moving in this afternoon. Our winds this time of the year are normally from the SE but even now there is a steady 10 MPH breeze and the humidity and temp are hanging around at 80 each. At noontime hurricane warnings were extended up the Bay as far as Solomons Island which is roughly 40 miles south of me.

We are expecting wind and rain to pick up tomorrow afternoon and the worst to pass through here Saturday night and taper off by Sunday around noon. Even though the eye wall is getting a little disorganized, we are still expecting sustained winds of 35-50 with gusts to 70 and 3-5" of rain. That has not changed. Nor has the projected storm surge of 2-4 feet which is roughly half of what we got with Isabel which flooded much of the downtown waterfront in Annapolis in 2003. The surge not only jumped the 3" bulkhead, but it actually completely submerged the parking meters to measure roughly a 7.5" surge.

On the ocean side, however, it is a different matter. Towns in Virginia, Md and Delaware on the Atlantic coast have all had mandatory evacuations because of Irene, as has Kent Island which is directly across the Bay from me. I can literally go to the end of my creek and see it. It's all very low laying so it won't take much to wash over.

So there we are, sitting in the calm before the storm.
bethohio 08/26/11 08:29 pm Thanks for the info Melanie...I am watching this unfold from Ohio-very interesting. Keep the posts coming. Watching several cams.

bethohio 08/26/11 08:34 pm Another good cam site Mel...
bethohio 08/27/11 08:49 am How are you doing this am Mel?
Marie 08/27/11 09:32 am Take care everyone. Must be a very tense time for you all
Keeping my fingers crosed that all our featherheads and feather friends find safety inland.
Melanie 08/27/11 09:44 am At 9 am the real feeder bands are just beginning to reach us. While it is solidly overcast above there is a lower level of broken clouds that have a very clear movement to them from the east and the breeze is beginning to pick up to 15-20 steady. To say the air is tropical is an understatement. It's currently 78° but the humidity is 90% so "swampy" is a better description of what the air feels like. The rain bands are less than 10 miles south of me on the radar.

Yesterday I mentioned how there were no birds to be seen. Yesterday afternoon I did see an osprey perched in a snag and there were a number of mallards and terns that were flying overhead with purpose. My birdlist is all a-twitter at the prospect of birding after the storm and what they are hoping to see. Many pelagics (seabirds) and other vagrants do get blown off course and wind up where they normally wouldn't be seen. After work yesterday I helped a friend snug her sailboat down and take down her sails. She went out this morning to double check her lines before she left to help care for an elderly friend and had trouble getting off her boat because the wind was keeping her blown away from her finger pier.

I live in an end unit of my apartment building and I have a due north exposure at one end and the front of the apartment (where the porch and all my big windows are) faces due west so that should be pretty sheltered. I did take down my hanging tomato plant, though (or what's left of it from all the heat we went through).

There was a big article in this morning's Washington Post about how the Weather Channel seems to feeding its own reporting frenzy with the escalating hyperbole in their broadcasts by using terms like apocalyptic, historic, storm of the century and how people will react the next time if Irene falls apart. At this point I am thinking this will fall apart faster than they expected and while it will be a good exercise in emergency preparedness for those not normally in a hurricane's path, it may all end up being a lot of hoo-ha after it passes us. We have just started our first high tides this morning so the lower part of the Bay (Hampton Roads/Norfolk up to where the Potomac dumps into the Bay) is reporting tides coming about 2' higher than normal so this morning shouldn't be a problem. There is another high tide tonight though, which will be when we will be at the height of whatever comes our way. By that time, though, our winds should be coming from the N/NE so the hope is it will actually work against the storm surge that will be pushing up the Bay from the south. We shall see.

Irene has made landfall on the Outer Banks and they are doing the obligatory shots of the idiot weathermen standing in the surf fighting the wind (being a bad example to other idiots but may ultimately just be natures way of adding a little extra chlorine to the gene pool). The Outer Banks just astounds me. It is basically a giant sand spit that is substantial enough to build monster vacation homes on but is so narrow that you can literally drive Hwy 12 is (the ONLY road to get from one place to the next) and see the Atlantic on one side and Pamlico Sound on the other by doing nothing more than turn your head. The Banks are seldom more than 1/4 mile wide and that road is frequently washed out by storms in the same vulnerable places so the idea of NC freaking out and evacuating is well founded.
Melanie 08/27/11 11:10 am The rain has started. Gentle and steady right now
Melanie 08/27/11 12:04 pm Rain is picking up and I can hear it against my north-facing window. Winds are starting to get gusty and the trees are in constant motion.

The 23 mile long Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel which is a series of bridges and tunnels that connect Norfolk with the Eastern Shore of Virginia has been closed.
Anne-UK1 08/27/11 12:11 pm Fascinating reading Melanie. Keep safe, one and all.
martyc35 08/27/11 12:55 pm Thanks for setting up a blog and keeping us informed, Melanie. I just talked to Bonnie in Bowie, and she flew all night from the west coast, got in early this morning, and she and George just got back from the grocery store. It's raining there, but not horrendous. She's only about 10 minutes from Annapolis, but they are on higher land than you, so I think they will be fine. We'll see what happens if the power goes out. Stay safe, and let's hope the hype was just that. However, looking at the weather maps makes me realize that this is a really big storm in terms of the area it covers, so I'd wait quite awhile before assuming it's past.
Peter 08/27/11 01:05 pm Thanks Melanie also for starting this topic.

And Ditto to your comments on the Weather Channel's hyperbole, the growing possibility that Irene will under-perform, and so forth.

The sad part in my opinion, assuming that Irene does indeed continue to diminish, is that all the pundits will find a host of reasons to explain their inaccurate estimates, and that these reasons will not include "We blew it!"

Stay safe everyone.
Celeste 08/27/11 01:06 pm Thanks Melanie. Frank and I can picture every inch of the Outer Banks, having been there for several years in a row. Yes how can one forget those huge vacation homes along that strip and how they are on top of "long legs".
Here on Long Island, things are eerily quit, birds are extremely quiet, though anxious to eat whatever I put out on the feeder from my window. Frank dug a trench along the side of our patio, in the hopes of diverting the water down the side of the house as opposed to inside the house!
We have had showers, heavy and then it'll brighten up but the bands should be coming soon. The humidity is horrendous...just announced 100%, and I think all the mosquitoes of the world are here on Long Island! A consequence of the heavy rains from last week. My windows are foggy as I'm trying keep the house as cool as I can, for the inevitable power loss. No A/C=UNHAPPY, CRANKY Celeste:-) As long as the trees' roots behave and don't find my roof attractive, I'll at least be happy about that! I have my bags ready to go if I have to evacuate with peanut butter, bread and crackers. The only last minute provisions that I could find at our local Target!

I so agree about the Weather Channel. In the past, we heard a hurricane was forecasted, we buckled down and got ready for it. Hearing every last detail is very stressful, but the word Katrina comes to mind and I guess "they" don't want to be accused of any mistakes!
Peter 08/27/11 01:09 pm PS -- This was my first year following the ospreys, and it has been an incredible experience. I am sad that they are already heading, or getting ready, to head south from the NE US. Hmm, guess I will have to find the southern hemisphere equivalent for the endless summer?

Thank you to all the posters here for your insightful comments and the many links to fascinating information (I recall especially the video of the osprey diving under water, and another osprey taking off with that HUGE fish!)

Stay safe during Irene, enjoy the rest of the summer, and live life to its fullest.

Life is short.
Celeste 08/27/11 01:27 pm Well Peter, you are now what we have been calling ourselves since 2003 an official OSPREY FEATHERHEAD!

Be Safe yourself, and you are so right, Life is definitely short!
Peter 08/27/11 02:09 pm Thanks Celeste, so now perhaps we should start a new and improved:

Feather Channel?

(See you Feather On Down [intended] the Road?)
martyc35 08/29/11 02:35 pm Glad to see DPOF is back online. Thanks, guys. My daughter in Bowie, MD, was still without electrical power last night, so it may be some time before we hear from the LI and Chesapeake Bay folks. I got a little concerned about the Blackwater area (Lisa, check in when you can), with such low-lying land, but Melanie seemed to think she was high enough at her place in Annapolis to avoid floods, so I hope so. Lots and lots of power outages all over the east and NE states. Patience. One good thing to think about: if you keep a corded (plug it into the phone jack) telephone, you will usually have phone service, even if the cordless phone and cell servers are out. Also smart to have a gas range in the kitchen or gas-fired BBQ so that coffee in the a.m. is possible even with the electricity out. Last winter, when the power was down all over the D.C. area, Bonnie and the kittie stayed warm by heating the kitchen with the cooking oven and closing off the other rooms. A life saver.
cathy 08/29/11 06:32 pm While I was thinking of my featherhead friends and the actual feathered heads during the storm, I'm just reading about your experiences today. Glad it wasn't as predicted, but, for those affected, I'm sure it was difficult enough. I hope the birds hunkered down and are using the winds to float down south to their happy fishing ground. I have several ospreys fishing in front of my home today on Puget Sound. Our ospreys don't migrate until September or sometimes October. Best wishes to you all!
Marie 08/30/11 02:57 am So glad that DPOF is up again...even happier to know that the storm has passed and you folks are all OK. Our TV coverage made mention and showed pics of Long Island. I naturally I thought of ALL our featherheads in that area. I wish you well. Thank you for your beautiful descriptive reporting Melanie of conditions down your way. Sadly there has been loss of human life as well as bird and animal life.Nature can be so cruel.
Now Canada is getting a beating from this storm as it moves further up the coast, with washed out roads and power losses everywhere.
Take care glad you are SAFE!
Shelley 08/30/11 08:01 am This is actually the first time I have had DPOF back! I even checked last night before going to bed and couldn't get a connection! Weird.

Anyhow, I echo everyone's relief that Irene wasn't as bad as intended but yes, eastern Canada is getting it now. Hang in there, Kelly! My mom in Montreal called me on Sunday to say that parts of that city were without power and that they were getting very heavy rain from what the weathermen were calling the *left side* of Irene, while the *right side* tracked east. Here in Toronto, the sun shone and the trees barely moved...

I agree about the weather and other reporters. Why do they insist on standing outside in such weather? Do they really think that we don't know there is a hurricane and therefore need to prove it? One guy I saw actually had to hold onto a pole to keep from flying away! And what if he HAD been blown into the ocean directly behind him, while on the air?! Would he expect to be rescued? Seriously. Sheesh, these guys (or networks) are even more brainless than I had previously given them credit for, ;-p

Stay safe, everyone and hopefully, you don't have too much cleanup in the coming days.

Kelly 08/30/11 01:19 pm Thanks for your concern, Shelley, but TS Irene stayed well west of Halifax ... yes we did have some rain and high winds but nothing major, for a change.

I was most interested in following her as I had visited this summer many of the areas impacted, especially on the New Jersey coast ... it was kinda surreal to have a mental visual.

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