Nor’easter Update

This is what we look like today:

Satellite Image for 11-12 am

Satellite image for Mid Atlantic, 7:35 a.m., November 12, 2009


It’s raining . . . It’s pouring . . . The dogs are all snoring . . .

Just an update. The storm outside has not stopped. Wind gusts today are expected to get up to 60 mph. Rainfall by Friday could reach eight inches or more. Swells off beaches are anticipated to build between 12 and 19 feet. If this turns out to be as bad as they expect, water levels in the bay and ocean could damage fishing piers. The normal tide is about 2.5 feet, but officials are expecting that to go as much as 7 feet with high tide.

So far, 8400 residents are without power, which is pretty remarkable considering what the winds sound like. Local news reports that the Virginia Department of Transportation has closed one tunnel. In case you didn’t know it, we cannot evacuate this area without going over a bridge or through a tunnel. You think about things like this during hurricane season.

Hampton Boulevard, one of the main local roads on which Old Dominion University is located, is flooded, and Governor Tim Kaine declared a state of emergency last night, mostly because of flooding. The Virginian-Pilot reports that flooding along the lower portion of the Chesapeake Bay in Hampton Roads today and Friday could be comparable to the surge after Hurricane Isabel in September 2003. That was a nightmare.

Harrisons Fishing Pier Post Isabel
Harrison's Fishing Pier After Hurricane Isabel in 2003

I remember that several individuals who were responsible for maintaining the floodgates on the tunnels lost their jobs after Hurricane Isabel because when it came time to put the gates down, they didn’t work. During and after that 2003 hurricane, we were without power for days. There was extensive tree damage in the neighborhood. And the area lost Harrison’s Fishing Pier, a wooden fishing pier that had been erected in Ocean View in 1955. My dad spent many summer nights fishing from that pier.

Individuals are being asked to stay off the roads except for emergencies, which is good since much earlier this morning, Norfolk Public Schools was still planning to open with a two-hour delay. I don’t think so . . . Crazily enough, several key places tried to stay open this morning, like the Norfolk Courts, so people tried to make it to work in downtown Norfolk, which is always flooded, only to hear on the radio that the courts had closed. I don’t think that the people making these decisions were in the right locations to see just how bad it is out there. Unbelievable.

And even with the obvious dangers, people are having to be told not to go in the water. Don’t surf or bodyboard. It would seem to be so obvious that you don’t put your body in water that is churning and out of control, but every single time someone goes out into the water. I really don’t understand that mindset: extreme sports of death wish?

 Here is some footage of Chick’s Beach, which is a familiar local beach about seven miles down the road. The date on the video says November 9, but it was actually shot this morning. Pretty awesome stuff:

So that’s what it looks like in Hampton Roads today . . . again . . .

Going to bed . . . bumped my head . . . not getting up in the morning . . .


I was up at 4:30 this morning, but I did manage to get some sleep. Still very erratic, but duration is longer. About an hour and then awake, and so on for about 7 hours off and on. I am actually more tired at the moment than I was yesterday morning after much less sleep.

I’ve already typed a paper for Brett and sent off a very long e-mail letter to George Washington University requesting a formal grade change. Long story, not worth going into, but it’s been bugging the crap out of me, so I decided to do it.

That’s about all for the moment. Just wanted to let you know that we haven’t suffered any damage, although I’ve been hearing sirens all night. We’ve kept power, and the roof is keeping us dry.

I’ll leave you with this link to MSNBC coverage of the storm (which for some reason I could not get to show up here): Storm makes mess of Southeast Coast 

More later. Peace.

“Weather is a great metaphor for life—sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, and there’s nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella.” ~ Pepper Giardino

John Constable Rainstorm Over the Sea 1824 oil on canvas

“Rainstorm Over the Sea,” John Constable (1824-28, oil on canvas)


“a wind has blown the rain away and blown
the sky away and all the leaves away,
and the trees stand.  I think i too have known
autumn too long” ~ e.e. cummings

Satellite Image of Noreaster 11-11-09
Satellite Image of November 11 Nor'easter

Well, we’re in the middle of a massive nor’easter here. Heavy rain and strong winds gusting up to 50 mph. Our electricity and cable were knocked out at 7:20 this morning, but the electricity is back now.

Do you want to know how I know exactly when the electricity went out? Well, it’s because I was awake.  Well who isn’t awake at 7:20 in the morning, you might ask? Normally, not me because I go to sleep so late, but you see, once again, I have not been to sleep. It’s now going on 11:30 a.m., and I have yet to close my eyes for more than 30 minutes or so. I’ve decided that I’m going to try to stay awake as long as possible so that I might be able to go to sleep later—really go to sleep. Not this minute-by-minute crap.

So I’m writing my post now, hoping that my eyes will start to get heavy soon.

I enjoy listening to a good storm. The wind chimes are playing wildly as the wind whips around and through them. Luckily, the wind gusts aren’t enough to move things about the yard. That’s always scary.

“Only those in tune with nature seem to pick up on the energy in wind.  All sorts of things get swept off in the breeze—ghosts, pieces of soul, voices unsung, thoughts repressed, love uncherished, and a thousands galore of spiritual ether . . .” ~ Drew Sirtors

Willoughby Spit
Aerial View of Willoughby Spit

I remember when I used to live in Willoughby Spit a long time ago; we lived on Lea View, the last road in Willoughby, right next to the Chesapeake Bay. Willoughby Spit, as the name implies, is a neighborhood that was actually created during a hurricane. The area, which is a peninsula bordered by the Chesapeake Bay, Hampton Roads, and Willoughby Bay, is approximately 7.3 miles long. Major storms, including the huge Ash Wednesday storm of 1962, which lasted over three days, further eroded the spit.

Anyway, we (my ex and I and our dog) woke up one morning to a brutal nor’easter—so named because the winds come from the northeast, hitting the East Coast of the Atlantic U.S. and Canada. Nor’easters can cause as much and sometimes more damage than a hurricane, mostly because they can last through several tide cycles, dumping more and more water on land. Depending upon conditions, snow and/or ice can accompany a nor’easter.

What at first appeared to be another storm soon became cause for evacuation. Apparently, the storm caused a gas leak in one of the homes, and the entire neighborhood was evacuated in amphibious half-tracks. By the time we left, the water level on our cars was half-way up the doors. It was pretty incredible and more than a little frightening to watch the water continue to rise unabated.

Fortunately, no one was hurt, but many people traded in their water-logged vehicles. We, however, did not, and the floor panels of my ex’s old Toyota rusted through. One day they were there, and then our feet went through. Unlike some of our neighbors who lived on the waterfront side of the street, we did not end up driving new Saabs and Audis after the storm, but that was okay because we all made it out.

After that storm, whenever a nor’easter was forecast, everyone parked their cars out on the main road.

“No one but Night, with tears on her dark face,
Watches beside me in this windy place.” ~
Edna St. Vincent Millay

The Perfect Storm
Image from Movie The Perfect Storm

So right now, the wind is still at work outside. In our current neighborhood, we do not border the water, but half-way around the block, the houses abut Little Bay. Our neighborhood has flooded, but nothing like what I saw in Willoughby.

Just a bit of trivia: The movie The Perfect Storm is based on the true story of the Andrea Gail, a swordfishing boat that was caught in a nor’easter in October 1991.

Earlier this morning, I spent a bit of time on the phone with my health insurance company (such a pleasant representative . . . not), and then with my pain management doctor’s office. Apparently, my health insurance was cancelled at the end of May, which is why my doctors have not been receiving payment.

Now, how can that be, you ask? Well, I don’t know. I do know that we have been paying my expensive premium each month and that someone was getting the money, but Blue Cross/Blue Shield claims that it wasn’t them. Have I mentioned lately how much I intensely dislike bureaucracies.

As a result, 13 claims have to be reprocessed, and most of those are with my pain management group. Unfortunately for me, I cannot make an appointment until some money changes hands between my provider and my insurer. This really sucks—being at the mercy of individuals who control the fate of my health and welfare. I mean, we make that payment every month by the grace period due date; as it is, I still cannot use my prescription coverage, but you would think that ADP might have wondered why I was still paying them for a policy that had supposedly been cancelled . . . you would think.

“Once more I am the silent one
who came out of the distance
wrapped in cold rain and bells:
I owe to earth’s pure death
the will to sprout.” ~ Pablo Neruda

tropical storm waves

Think being the operative word here. Anyway, more hurry up and wait, and in the meantime, my back is full of knots and spasming like a crazed Tasmanian Devil. And then there’s that little problem of not being able to fall asleep and stay asleep. I suppose it’s a good thing that I don’t have to get up and drive anywhere in the morning because I don’t know if that would be possible in my current state.

I do know that I woke up in fits and starts, one time singing (yes, singing . . .), and another time because I was certain that I had heard a rustling sound. I have no idea what I was singing or why, but I do remember scratching my chest a lot. Don’t ask me why I do any of this because I really don’t know. I mean, my personal hygiene is just fine. I think that the scratching that I do in my sleep is probably another reaction to one of my medications, but who knows which one.

One of these days, all of my medications will be straightened out. My insurance will be fixed, and I will have no problems with my doctor’s offices. I will no longer be hounded by social security, and I will be able to pay what I need to pay when I need to pay it . . . one of these days. But until then I suppose I will continue to sleep in multi-minute interludes as opposed to hours as other people are able to do, and I will continue to have wild dreams that cause me to awaken singing, scratching, and screaming.

By the way, Corey can sleep through most of this, and the dogs don’t even wake up any more.

Piano music by Yiruma: “Kiss the Rain”



More later. Peace.