August 2017

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We've made it through the storm unscathed. Here in Carroll County, we again dodged the bullet, just like with Irene, and never reached hurricane-force winds. We had tropical storm winds last night, but here on the hilltop, aside from some lost branches and the damned roof leaks, it appears that we didn't suffer any damage. The sump pump ran all night, and the French drain that caused last year's Great Flood filled up a few times, and Bobby had to wet-vac it. (We have flood alarms and, in the middle of the night, Bobby accidentally sucked one of them into the wet vac, so I woke up to the sound of the flood alarm singing "Für Elise" from inside the wet vac.) Had we not had the post-Great Flood repairs done last year, we probably would have flooded again this year, so we were thankful for the sump pump (which I just heard grind into life in the laundry room). We've had seven inches (18 cm) of rain so far, according to the measurements Bobby takes for CoCoRaHS. I was just upstairs, and it's still raining, but the wind is gone.

Baltimore, apparently, took more damage, being in the path of the hurricane winds. BWI airport reported a top gust at 86 mph (138 kph); the Bay Bridge reported a 94 mph (151 kph) gust. It's crazy how narrowly we missed that. To give a point of comparison, we worked in the Baltimore suburbs; it's about a 40-minute drive for us. It's about an hour to BWI.

To the east of us, especially on the coasts, were not so lucky. I'm already hearing stories of severe damage in places like the Jersey shore. I hope everyone affected by this is safe and well.
Well, the storm is really getting underway here ("here" being Carroll County, which is the first county considered to be Western Maryland). I woke up this morning to heavy rain on the roof and the familiar plunk of water into containers from roof leaks. As soon as this one is over, we will be calling a roofer to have that ridge cap replaced.

The wind is starting to gear up. I was washing the dishes and looking out the window at the backyard, and a very scary gust came through and just tossed the trees around. The last map I saw showed the hurricane coming over us tonight. Tropical storm winds could stick around as long as Wednesday morning. This is insane. Tonight, we could get wind gusts up to 80 mph (129 kph) with sustained winds around 40-50 mph (64-80 kph).

But, as far as it goes for those hit by the hurricane, we are lucky. Even though it looks like we will have hurricane-force winds--a first for my lifetime, at least as far as I can remember--we will be on the outskirts. We are not near water, here in the foothills, so flooding is not a concern for us as it is for so many towns and cities along the east coast. We will not take a direct hit. My thoughts go out to those on the coast and in Jersey and New York, who are looking to bear the brunt of it.

Pictures and Video below the Cut of Damage to Ocean City )

Here, the wind gusts are getting stronger. From my window, I can see the white pines that border the back of our property. The winds aren't strong yet to bend the trunks, but they are giving the branches quite a thrashing. It's frightening to see. I remember Tropical Storm Floyd (on my 18th birthday!!) when I was still living with my parents, watching the winds play with the tuliptrees in the woods behind the house. (Tuliptrees are the tallest deciduous trees in our area, reaching 150 feet or 45 m.) I've no doubt it will reach that point here soon.

I don't know how much longer I will have Internet access, but I will keep trying to post updates. In the meantime, to all who are in the path of this monster, be safe. I am thinking of you.
Yesterday was our annual Halloween party, much scaled back from prior years due to a number of reasons, not least of which was that Bobby and I didn't get ourselves organized till mid-month. There was only family in attendance, but we had a good time and served a good meal (always one of the major reasons why Bobby and I host parties!) We had potato-leek soup for the first course; barbecue chicken (with barbecue sauce made during Tropical Storm Irene last year), potatoes and green apples smothered in cheddar cheese, and spinach salads for the second course; and an assortment of desserts brought by the family for the final course. Dad made cookies and a delicious pumpkin cheesecake; my mother-in-law brought a "dirt cake." And, of course, we had hot buttered rum! Despite my abstaining from alcohol this week, I did have one cup. :^|

Pictures below the Cut )
The Hell is, thankfully, at bay for the moment, but the high water is here with a vengeance.

As reported in my last post, our bedroom ceiling is leaking profusely--I just counted 11 pots and plastic tubs arranged to catch the leaks--so we planned to spend the night down in the basement. A little after midnight, I woke up because Bobby had turned on the lights in the basement hallway. I asked what was going on, and he said he thought he'd found another leak because the carpet was wet.

Turns out it was worse. Much worse. )
Cut for Lack of General Interest and Those Tired of Reading about Irene )
Irene Update--for Posterity, Cut for Lack of General Interest )
We've Been Kicked out of Better Places! )
So. Skating.

I made the post two weeks ago that our rink had been sold to Baltimore County for conversion into an indoor sports arena. This Wednesday, I had my last lesson and my last skate at Putty Hill Skateland.


A Tiny Bit of Good News )

Meanwhile, in other news, there's a hurricane a'comin'!

Well, it's a tropical storm, but it sounds funny to say, "There's a tropical storm a'comin'!" and slightly anticlimactic.

To those of you not on top of American weather (which is me, 99% of the time, and I freakin' live here), Tropical Storm Ernesto is marching up the east coast and has Maryland right in his sights.

Well, as I told Bobby, it's not the first tropical storm we've lived through and it certainly won't be the last. Tropical Storm Floyd arrived precisely on my eighteenth birthday, tore the state to pieces, left my family without power (and water too, since we lived in the boondocks and got our water from a well) for eight days. Personally, I think it was a portent of things to come: Dawn turns eighteen with the legal power of an adult, and one of the worst storms in decades ravages the state. Perhaps it's Mother Nature's way of shouting, "Look out, here she comes!" Funnily enough, there was a possibility of a tropical storm to arrive also on my 21st birthday too, but no luck on that one.

They are predicting five to ten inches of rain for us. (That's about 12 to 25 cm for you sensible Metrically-inclined folks.) The path takes the storm through the center of the state rather than up the coast, which is good for Ocean City, which was formed by a hurricane and often predicted will die by one. It's not so good for historic Ellicott City, which is at the mercy of the Angry Patapsco, but ten inches shouldn't cause the river to overflow its banks. I think we got at least that earlier this summer on the crazy weekend when we returned from Puerto Rico.

I'm hoping not to lose power. If I lose power, I lose Internet. Oh the travesty.... But if you don't hear for me for a while, chalk it up to having my technologial luxuries temporarily out of commission thanks to Ernesto.

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