Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy is roaring up the east coast and will be in our area starting late Sunday night. How can it be that another major storm will keep the trick or treaters home like last year? We had a major winter blizzard on the exact same day as when Sandy will knock on our door, this year. I can't imagine how the kids feel about losing yet another night of trick or treat fun. I remember the excitement of planning what I was going to wear. 

 Last year the hurricane- blizzard was so violent, huge branches became airborne and turned into deadly missiles that embedded themselves in tree trunks, homes, and anything else in their path.

I remember my two dachshunds sitting by the door which is their sign they need to go outside. As I opened the storm door, the top of a tree split off and plummeted to the ground. When the storm had subsided, we discovered the force of the impact had driven the branch three feet in the ground. With that visual in mind, I told my two dogs, they'd have to wait. Our property is wooded so it was dangerous to venture outside, even for a quick minute for the dogs to "do their thing". 

I'll never forget the sounds of last year's October storm. Blizzard conditions. It was an unreal sound, of tree branches snapping, trees toppling with earth shaking thumps. Add to that, the white out conditions that made even seeing your own hand in front of your face, impossible.

Because of last year's storm and other wild autumn storms, we've been watching Hurricane Sandy closely. Hurricanes and blizzards are forces of Mother Nature that we New Englanders know very well. This hurricane, however, is a much different breed from those we've experienced. 

Taking a relatively normal path up the east coast, we soon learned that Sandy will merge with a cold front moving in from the west, and another low pressure system.  This is what fisherman of Gloucester, Massachusetts, call a perfect storm. As I watched some of the "old salts" being interviewed on t.v. I vividly recalled the movie "The Perfect Storm".  The fisherman on the Andrea Gail had no idea how massive and violent the storm was.  Having been on the sea for most their lives, and always fighting Atlantic rough seas before, they probably figured they could beat the storm. 

Mark Twain's famous quote comes to mind about the quirky New England weather. 
"If you don't like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes".  Very true, Mr. Twain. One minute a thunderstorm, the next minute, sunny skies. 

We just received an automated phone call from our town's emergency center and learned the following:

The middle school is the town's shelter. We were told what to bring which includes bedding, clothing, medications and more. This time they didn't say anything about pets. We're wondering what would happen to our dogs if they say they can't come with us. The problem with the location of the middle school is that last year, three huge trees came down on the only road to get there. Thus the northern part of town was completely blocked from the shelter and access to the road came about when the storm was over.

The storm will last 36 hours which is very odd. Most hurricanes last 12 hours and then move out of the area. 

Sustained winds (not gusts) will be 75 - 85 mph for 36 hours. The sound of the wind is typically described like a freight train roaring into your house. Sleep doesn't come easy. The house shakes and moans. 

The ocean will rise 4 to 8 feet meaning that homes directly on the shoreline will be washed out to sea like they were last year. 

Loss of power is almost a definite. No power crews will be working until the storm moves out of the area. It will be too dangerous for the crews to work in the high winds.

Have plenty of water on hand. Most homes have well water. When the power goes out, well pumps don't work. People have to fill their bathtubs with water so they can use the water to flush toilets. We have plastic jugs we fill with our well water for storms.

Have plenty of batteries. Gas up cars because gas stations' pumps won't work because they need electricity. Buy gas for generators and buy wood for wood stoves and fireplaces.

During one hurricane, my husband had to tie a rope around his waist because with high sustained winds and pounding rain it's easy to get lost and disoriented if someone ventures outside. I was holding the other end of the rope and remember watching as he disappeared two feet from me wondering how long it would take him to get to the barn, 100 feet away.

These are some short clips that demonstrate the power of the ocean when hurricanes roar in over Long Island Sound...

Guilford. CT Hurricane Irene, September, 2011
The anger of the ocean
This isn't our home! Most homes on the direct coastline were washed away.

Cosey Beach, East Haven, CT, September, 2011

We won't know if the collision of Hurricane Sandy with the other two low pressure systems will bring us a winter blizzard or heavy rain and hurricane force winds. I hope it's the latter.. Only time will tell.

I may not be online for awhile, so happy blogging!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Coming of Winter

New England is in full bloom. 
The sugar maples, the most brilliant of all the reds, 
are decked out in their best, 
waiting for their long winter- white sleep robes. 

Their slumber will be abruptly shaken 
when the temperatures rise above freezing during the day 
and dip below freezing at night. 
That's the time when their sap runs, the blood of the sugar maples.

The mighty oaks stand proudly 
and are the last to salute winter's arrival. 
Even when the first snow falls, 
their leaves hang on for dear life, to every high twig. 

Under Mother Nature's order, 
the oaks then release the last yellow-brown leaves
 that drift 
to crusty blankets of snow.

The fields of Black eye Susan splashy flowers
 have transformed into brown seed laden balls.
Rich food for the flock of Goldfinches, 
that flutter from ball to ball, 
and rise up
in a yellow haze when startled. 

Chestnut and black striped chirpers,
 the chatty chipmunks 
scurry to
gather hazel nuts
and acorns
to fatten themselves for the onset of winter. 

The mountains are ablaze. 
Reds, yellows, 
crimsons and purples.
Splashes on nature's palette
Trees waving their last goodbyes
As they celebrate the coming of