right now

right now

Nov 12, 2009

"The Sea Was Angry That Day, My Friend....!"

Couldn't resist a little Seinfeld quote there! Well, there is definitely no gardening going on here. Maybe no garden left, either! Our Nor'easter hit yesterday morning at about 7 a.m. and is expected to continue for 60 hours. Bad enough that our Governor declared a state of emergency here. Normally when we get Nor'easters, they are here and gone within 24 hours. This is supposed to be on par with Hurricane Isabel a few years back, which the flooding after the storm was incredibly bad, and there are still people here that haven't recovered fully from that.

The weather forecast states sustained winds 50-60 knots, gusting higher. The waves on the ocean are at 17-20 feet, and on the Chesapeake Bay seas at 10-12 feet. For my "up north" friends, imagine 10-12 foot swells on Lake Superior. The real problem this creates in our area is the wind pushing the water inward through the Bay into the tributaries, flooding our entire area. We won't be out of the woods for several tide cycles after the storm passes on Friday night.

This photo is horrible because I got water in my camera, but it shows the offshore winds typical of a Nor'easter:

We live in a very interesting area water-wise, as we are surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Chesapeake Bay, the large Elizabeth, James, and York Rivers, and the Great Dismal Swamp and Back Bay. Collectively, our 7 cities area is referred to as "Tidewater". We are basically an island, and have several bridge/tunnels that connect us to "mainland" which is really just another peninsula! The trouble arises when, during floods and hurricanes, the first roads to close are the bridge tunnels due to wind restrictions, which effectively seals us off and creates traffic nightmares. But the other side to all this of course is the beauty of the place when the weather is cooperating! And all this water is also the reason we are home to the largest Naval Base in the world.

I hope posting this map will work. It shows pretty well how affected by tidal flooding we are. Below is a topographical map I found on the National Wildlife Foundation's website. It represents pretty well the amount of water affected by tides in our area (all of it!). Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to make an arrow point to my house on the photo, but I live at the northern triangular point of "Back Bay" on the right of the map. The thin strand you see on the far right is a sandbar/barrier island near us that separates the Atlantic Ocean from the mainland.
I would say that in my experience, Nor'easters cause more damage than hurricanes in our area. I think this is due to the fact that we get far more of them, and they tend to be stronger and last longer. Most hurricanes blow ashore at Cape Hatteras, just south of us in NC, and thus become weakened by landfall by the time they get here. But of course, not always the case!

We are lucky that even though we live extremely close to Rudee Inlet, our house is on relatively higher ground. Historically, our street may flood and it is possible that we may not be able to get out of our street, but the house usually does well.

Here are some photos/videos of how it is affecting us personally:

The River Birch tree is only a year old, I hope she put good roots down this year!

Lastly, I will end with a pic from my best friend's yard across town. She woke up this morning to a huge pine tree down, roots and all! Not sure if you are able to enlarge it, but it narrowly missed the house, didn't hit any cars, and her azaleas in front of the house are okay! Amazing luck, but a big cleanup job ahead for them. I am sure my husband will make sure he is on the cleanup crew... they started homebrewing as well... you know, any excuse will do for husbands, lol!

I hope you have enjoyed my weather/topography blog... now I must take a shower and make some coffee while I still have power! School is closed today, so it should be interesting entertaining the kids stuck indoors all day!


  1. I hope you all come through it okay!

  2. Erin, stay safe! At times we get some 80mph gusts where I live up north, lose lots of trees and shingles...one family I know lost their entire house. But we don't have to contend with flooding, just wind damage.

  3. Ugh-wind! I feel so bad for you-I HATE wind.....
    Love your River Birch-we just planted one today! It doesn't look as nice as yours. Hopefully the roots are down good by now.

  4. Ack! I certainly feel for you & your yard. I hope you don't have any problems from the storm! Boy I don't miss them, but that reminds me, I should make sure our house there is ok...

  5. Wow! That's fierce. We got another round of floods and wind this week. I was terrified of the pines and the large oak in the back falling on the house now that the ground is totally saturated. Keep safe!

  6. i have never seen wind like that for so long, would all seem so exaggerated but your videos proved otherwise, i can see why this is so worrisome for you, but i loved hearing your voice and seeing your yard - even in a disaster it looks great, too bad about your roof and getting hurt this so sucks, hope you all stay safe and it subsides soon

  7. I hope you come through with little to no damage. We used to live in Richmond and I've been through the Tidewater area many times but the refresher is helpful. Stay dry!

  8. Oh, Erin, I'm saying a little prayer that you all come through this without too much damage.

    Guess it goes to prove that there are advantages and disadvantages to living most anywhere, doesn't it?

    It seems that our country has had more unusual/damaging weather in the past couple of years than I can remember . . . all parts seem affected.

    Hope your hubby is home at night.

  9. OMG I LOOOOVE Seinfeld! Love the quote! I can just picture the episode. I hope you guys stay safe in the storm. I only know about hurricanes and I want nothing to do with them...

  10. Yikes! We are seeing some winds up our end as well, kids are upset that I won't let them outside to play- um- falling tree branches!?

    I hope you all stay dry, that is LOOOONG time to be be getting wind and water. I am amazed you still have power!