A Preview of Things to Come?
We’ve been having what local news stations are referring to as “nor’easter.” Loosely translated, this appears to mean a major storm affecting the entire North Eastern part of the United States. Had I not read this in the local newspapers, I’d of thought we were brushed by a hurricane even larger than Katrina.
Saturday afternoon we started getting drizzles of rain mixed with increasingly stronger winds. Winnie and I were out driving all over the DC area on a quest for the perfect set of bedroom furniture, and I had the local news station on (WTOP). All afternoon, as we drove around from store to store, I heard the DJs ramp up their warnings about the impending storm. Between advertisements and cuts of 1980’s music the DJs increasingly talked about just-how-huge-this-thing-really-was and how everyone-really-needed-to-get-inside-their-homes.
My dread didn’t improve when I heard the DJs state that out in the center of the storm were hurricane force winds.
They sounded so much like the news people we used to hear back in Mississippi, every time a storm started to brew somewhere in the South Atlantic. It felt eerie. The way the weather started to change strongly reminded me of an approaching hurricane, specifically hurricane Irvine. It brought back lots of unpleasant three-year-old memories about that storm.
Sunday morning I made a quick run over to my favorite store – Lowes – for a few home improvement essentials. Then stayed home the rest of the day and let Winnie drive herself to work. There was enough to do to keep me busy around the house that I didn’t feel the need to keep the car. But the way the winds kept picking up strength concerned me and I was relieved when Winnie returned home Sunday evening.
Sunday night was the worst. I actually couldn’t sleep well with the way the winds were howling. The house was groaning, windows rattling, and I could hear things blowing around outside. It felt way too much like we were being hit by another hurricane again, specifically hurricane George. Once again the weather dredged up lots of unpleasant memories from George that, mixed with intermittent sleep, ended up giving me lots of bad dreams.
Yesterday the winds were still fierce with reported gusts up to 60 miles an hour. I heard reports all day long intermixed with the terrible news out of Virginia Tech College about power outages and downed trees. It didn’t seem like the people up in this area really knew how to respond to this type of storm, as opposed to what I’d grown to expect down in Mississippi.
Last night, talking with Mom, I learned of flooding up in her area from more than 8 inches of rain in just two days. She told me people were getting 2-3 feet of water in their basements. One problem encountered by folks with flooded basements – they lost their heaters while it was still cold enough to need home heating. Mom told me the storm actually brought some Saturday morning snow that quickly washed away from the rain.
The storm is finally dying down today. Commuting in this morning the sky was ominously dark with major storm clouds prevalent. It started to clear up and about 9:00 AM we could see sunshine here in Arlington for the first time since Friday.
Overall, we didn’t get hit too badly here as compared to northern New Jersey and south eastern New York. But it was still bad enough. News reports are calling this the worst nor’easter to hit in 15 years.
I have to wonder at the size of this storm. It affected a region stretching from Virginia to Maine with sustained high winds, major snowstorms in April, and major flooding from intense rains. The tremendous range of this storm dredges up some bad memories of Hurricane Katrina, not that I needed some reminders still.
I have to think storms this huge and this powerful are going to be the norm in the coming years as our planet’s climate continues to change. If this is to be, I think we are all in a lot of trouble with no place to hide.
Update: June 22, 2020 – added a cover image and updated this post to the Gutenberg blocks format.