Notes about station status, measurements, local happenings and random inconvenient observations.
By: BruceMac, 2:27 PM GMT on October 31, 2012
* Road blocked by a few tree limbs.
* Road cut to pieces by run-off. I'd already talked to one contractor, now I've got another looking for a permanent solution.
* Basement and crawlspace flooding - both self inflicted. We had an unplugged sump pump and a over-mulched flower-bed that channeled water into a crawlspace vent.
* 55 mph peak gust
* 6+ inches of rain with a peak rate of 2.5 in/hr
SVEC now claims the county has 1% of customers out (123). Highland still has 99% probably due to lines crossing ridges and snow. The Gore substation west of Winchester still has 19% outages - likely the same reasons.
Ok, time to resume our lives. And I didn't even get around to using my generator!
By: BruceMac, 1:05 PM GMT on October 30, 2012
It came back on an hour ago. I've been getting the basement drained. It helps if the sump pump is plugged in! There's lots of stuff blown around outside, but nothing no significant damage so far.
Total storm rainfall 6.16 inches so far and maximum wind gust of 55 mph.
Power outages to SVEC:
46% - Shenandoah Co
99% - Highland Co
28% - Frederick Co
100% - Monteray
100% - Columbia Furnace
60% - Zepp Tap
51% - Strasburg
19% - Woodstock
By: BruceMac, 2:11 AM GMT on October 30, 2012
As soon as I made my last post the power went out and hasn't come back.
By: BruceMac, 2:03 AM GMT on October 30, 2012
SVEC has 27% of customers in the county without power, down from 34% an hour ago. The Woodstock substation has 42% out, but Columbia Furnace has 100% out (1547 customers). We've lost our cable but that's more of a blessing than an curse.
For the last hour the winds and rain have been steadily diminishing. Dare I say it... ?
The system is moving much faster than predicted. It's reached York, PA 4 hours ahead of schedule. Can it, and will it make the sharp turn north? Actually the models suggest an even faster turn. Guess we'll know in the morning.
Night all. Sleep well!
By: BruceMac, 12:54 AM GMT on October 30, 2012
We've still got power. But I can't imagine it will last much longer. We just had a 55+ mph wind gust shake the house. And I doubt that's the peak for the night. We've also had more than 4 inches of rain in 26 hours. I doubt that Cottonwood tree will make it through the night.
Updated: 12:58 AM GMT on October 30, 2012
By: BruceMac, 10:16 PM GMT on October 29, 2012
It's a gone out twice recently for a minute each time. I don't know long it will last...
By: BruceMac, 8:24 PM GMT on October 29, 2012
Peak wind gusts are rising as is the rain rate. Stations in DC area are reporting 55 mph gusts. It should get interesting here by 6 pm. The updated forecast is for 40 mph sustained with 55 mph gusts from 7 pm tonight to 8 pm tomorrow. A bit lower than previously. Maybe we'll miss the worst of it.
We have a lovely water fall into the stream from the drainage ditch around the garden. Its about 4 feet high with lots of white water. I'd take a picture but I'm not going out again tonight except maybe to get the propane tank for the heater from the front porch.
Updated: 8:33 PM GMT on October 29, 2012
By: BruceMac, 4:38 PM GMT on October 29, 2012
The latest (noon) Special Weather Statement highlights:
* Peak winds have increased from 85 to 90 mph. Further strengthening is likely before landfall.
* Rain forecast has increased to 3-6 inches for the valley and 8-12 inches for DC area.
The latest projected track has it moving from York (8am Tue) toward State College (8pm Tue) before turning northeast. That means it will linger in our area longer than previously predicted. And the winds at York have been increased to 70 sustained, gusting 85 - almost hurricane strength.
The local wind forecast has not changed, but I'm dubious. If it's 10+ mph faster at landfall ...
Sandy has now set a record for the lowest central pressure of any storm at this latitude. That's an indication of it's power.
Our friends Lynn and Rich are doing fine on Roanoke Island. They still have power.
For the rest of us here's the latest precautions from NWS:
* BE PREPARED FOR EXTENDED POWER AND COMMUNICATIONS OUTAGES.
* IF YOU LIVE NEAR LARGE TREES...REMAIN IN THE LOWER LEVEL OF YOUR
HOME OR SEEK SHELTER ELSEWHERE IF POSSIBLE AND RIDE SANDY OUT.
* REFRAIN FROM ANY UNNECESSARY TRAVEL.
* ENSURE LOOSE ITEMS ON YOUR PROPERTY ARE SECURED.
* IF POWER LINES ARE DOWN...STAY AWAY FROM THEM AND REPORT IT TO YOUR
LOCAL ELECTRICAL UTILITY COMPANY.
* IF YOU SHOULD HAVE EMERGENCY TRAVEL...IF YOU COME UPON FLOODED
ROADWAYS DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS SUBMERGED ROADWAYS. TURN AROUND
AND DON`T DROWN.
* IF YOU USE A PORTABLE POWER GENERATOR...PLEASE FOLLOW
MANUFACTURERS INSTRUCTIONS AND ENSURE THAT IT IS PROPERLY
* DO NOT USE CHARCOAL GRILLS IN ENCLOSED AREAS.
* MARINERS SHOULD ENSURE THAT THERE IS ENOUGH SLACK LINE IN THEIR
BOAT`S MOORINGS TO ACCEPT A BLOW OUT TIDE TODAY AND HIGH TIDES
* PERIODICALLY CHECK ON YOUR ELDERLY NEIGHBORS AND FAMILY MEMBERS
TO ENSURE THEY ARE SAFE.
Updated: 4:51 PM GMT on October 29, 2012
By: BruceMac, 10:54 AM GMT on October 29, 2012
The track forecast in our area is unchanged. But the storm is stronger than predicted by about 5 mph. It has started to make it's turn to the west which will take it over the even warmer waters of the jet stream.
Winds are now forecast up to 75 mph for the DC area. I haven't seen a change in the local forecast, but hurricane hunter planes have reported that the highest winds are not concentrated in the core of the storm but rather extend out more than 100 miles. That could mean worse conditions here depending on how the circulation holds together on the trip across Maryland.
We're currently experiencing sustained winds to 15 mph and gusts to 30. Rain was only about 1/10 inch since midnight but the heavy bands are moving into DC. They will be here in a few hours.
A blizzard warning has been issued for the mountains centered on an area south of Oakland, MD. It still says altitudes above 2500 ft, but the forecast area keeps expanding. Hopefully we won't see more than flurries.
I will continue to post as long as possible. If the cell towers stay in service I should be able to get to the Internet.
Hunker down people! I'm planning to bring the last of my supplies up to the house - I don't want to have to go out into the worst gusts.
By: BruceMac, 2:43 AM GMT on October 29, 2012
The latest computer model runs are almost all in agreement. The center of the storm will move on a northwest track passing just north of Baltimore. It will turn north somewhere near Carlyle, PA - it's nearest approach to us. That should occur about 2pm on Tuesday. Peak winds near the center will be 60 mph sustained with gusts of 70.
The National Weather Service has increased the forecast maximum wind speed for the Washington metro area to 70mph. And high winds could last for 36 hours.
The forecast for our area is now 30-50 mph with gusts to 60 mph. Gusts over 45 mph can be expected after noon on Monday and approaching 60 mph by evening and should continue overnight. The High Wind Warning is in effect till 8pm Tuesday.
The good news is the rain forecast has been reduced to 1-3 inches. That should reduce the loss of trees and resulting power outages somewhat.
The Baltimore/Washington NWS Forecast Office is issuing Special Weather Statements with updates 4 times a day: 5am, 11am, 5pm and 11pm. These are available on the NOAA Weather Radio, Weather Channel TV, many web sites including Weather Underground and the forecast office.
By: BruceMac, 8:48 PM GMT on October 28, 2012
According to Jeff Masters blog post the road has been closed by storm surged topped by 10-15 foot waves. This is an excellent analysis of the storm.
Updated: 3:07 AM GMT on October 29, 2012
By: BruceMac, 8:22 PM GMT on October 28, 2012
By the way, I found two really great emergency solutions. I mentioned my jump-pack. This is a rechargeable battery pack for jump starting your car. Mine came with a 12vdc outlet that is great for recharging cell phones, computers, e-books, etc. Some models come with a built-in invert to provide 120vac.
I went out looking for a kerosene space heater. But as soon as I saw it on the shelf I had a flash-back to the odor of the one my Dad used to use. Instead I ended up with a propane fueled model that can connect to the 20 lb cylinder that I use in my grill. With the spare I keep around that's enough to heat two small rooms for 20 days. And I don't need to buy and store fuel that I may never use.
I love tools that do double duty!
By: BruceMac, 8:09 PM GMT on October 28, 2012
Sandy's projected track has shifted very slightly (50 miles) north, but it is forecast to remain stronger coming inland. So expected conditions for the Shenandoah Valley are large unchanged. Everyone should prepare for the possibility of long duration power outages.
I keep eyeing the 45 foot Cottonwood tree that just barely survived the derecho and subsequent storms. It's leaning 10 degrees and has a slight ground bulge on the upwind side. It's smaller cousin narrowly missed the power line when it fell. If this one goes it will take out the power line and lane. In that case we'll likely be one of the last customers to have service restored.
I'm as prepared as I can be on short notice. The generator, chainsaw and propane space heater are ready to go. I hope everyone else is ready. I hope this turns out to be nothing but a good planning exercise.
Updated: 8:37 PM GMT on October 28, 2012
By: BruceMac, 3:56 AM GMT on October 28, 2012
As of the 11pm update it appears my original guess still holds:
- Worst weather from Monday noon to Tuesday noon.
- Winds 40mph sustained with guests to 65mph
- 3+ inches of rain. Could be more - its tough to predict with the bands moving through.
Today I cleared the gutters, put away anything likely to blow and generally battened down the hatches.
- Batteries for lights, emergency radio
- Charge up my auto jump-pack battery which is great for keeping my cell phone charged
- Fill the car with gas
- Get extra gas for the generator
- Make sure the generator works!
- Make sure the chain saw works!
- Potable water
- Bucket or two of water to flush the toilet
- Emergency heater
By: BruceMac, 2:24 AM GMT on October 18, 2012
After last night the record is zero for three. Three debates and not a mention of climate change. And the final debate will focus on foreign affairs so it's beginning to look like this will be the first time since 1988 that the debates have ignored the most critical issue facing humanity. And this after years of increasingly bizarre weather.
Tell the candidates that ignoring the problem won't make it go away. Click on the image above to sign the petition.
Climate Progress has the history. And Science Debate managed to get the candidates on record.
By: BruceMac, 12:59 PM GMT on October 10, 2012
It never fails - except when I'm away.
While we were at the beach the last couple of weeks my station stopped recording rain. And we had a LOT of rain as evidenced by the condition of our road. It seems a spider had decided to build a web spanning the two sides of the rain gauge tipping buckets.
I've evicted the little bugger and hopefully he won't be back soon.
My series of weather articles in the Mountain Courier continues this month with one of Lightning. You can pickup your free copy in many fine businesses in Shenandoah County including the Woodstock Cafe and Shops.
a couple of years ago while servicing the temperature stack I saw what looked like mold partially covering the sensor. When it flew past my ear I realized it was a very small bat!!! I almost fell off the ladder. Ain't nature wonderful?
Updated: 4:11 AM GMT on October 11, 2012
Notes about station status, measurements, local happenings and random inconvenient observations.