Tracking Hurricane Irene

Posted by on August 28, 2011

 

In between preparing for Hurricane Irene, I’ve been doing a lot of tracking using http://crisislanding.appspot.com/. Over the last 24 hours we’ve been in and out of the direct track a few times. To me, it looks like the eye is bouncing East and West over about a 40 mile section between the outer edges.

Last night, the track was very close to us , and by morning it had started moving East. Throughout most of the afternoon and evening, the track was running through the outer edges of Stratford and Lordship, CT. I grew up right along that particular storm track, and as a child, we weathered quite a few hurricanes and snowstorms – some with enough rain that we had some water coming in the first floor. As night fell, the storm started tracking right back towards us, settling in about 3 miles to our west. Given the size of this storm, not much of a change from last night when it was tracking right next to the wooded part of our property.

Now, as of 12:47am on Sunday morning, August 28, 2011, the storm has started moving East again. This is a welcome sight for us as it puts us on the western side and is tracking about 10 miles East of us. Still well withing danger zones, but history and the experts all say the western side generally has lower wind speeds. That’s what is more important to us then the volumes of rain we’ll get. There’s going to be a lot of rain on either side, but as we are situated on and inside a hillside, I’ll take a bit more rain in place of higher wind speeds.

We’re about 35 miles inland depending on how the crow flies, or in our case the hawk. The hawk in this photo was hanging out right near me this morning while I was working in the yard. “He’s” a bit hard to see in the photo, but he was sitting on top of the garden post and I got within about 20 feet of him. Me in my bright yellow rain slicks, and he just turned his head, looked at me and stretched out. It was a rather cool experience. I slowly backed up, walked back down to the house to get my phone and got back to snap a few quick photos. “He” hung around for another hour or so while I cleared things from the yard. I’m sure this is one of the hawks that lives in our woods. The camper in the background belongs to my brother and sister-in-law. They live right down the road, but as they have many tall trees surrounding their driveway, he felt safer with it out in our field.  We’ll see how that decision goes in place of parking next to our motorhome. Hopefully we’ll both be safe and come out with no damage.

And back on topic … we live near the top of a hill, so we won’t have any issues with storm surge, and aside from large volumes of water that will be coming down and running around us, we should be ok as far as any flooding is concerned. I did patch up a foundation crack from both the inside and outside in early spring, and we’ve been dry inside the lower level since then – *fingers crossed* that we stay that way throughout this storm. Our town did have some historic 100 year floods in the spring where some of the local rivers crested, but we did stay dry during those as well.

Over the last 48 hours, I’ve been pretty busy getting us and the house, property and vehicles ready.

  • Went to the grocery store yesterday for a weeks worth of food
  • cleared the yard at home of all loose items – furniture, yard decorations, etc, and either put them in storage or in a location away from the house and vehicles
  • filled the cars, motorhome and all spare tanks with fuel
  • filled the propane on the motorhome
  • filled the freshwater tank
  • pulled out all the extension cords because I am sure we will lose power and as a result will probably be powering up the house fridge, well pump and more with the Onan 5.5 generator on the motorhome
  • charged all the batteries for flashlights, power tools, cell phones and cameras
  • started up the chain saw and took down some questionable limbs
  •  nestled the motorhome and cars up against the side of the house that has some partial hill coverage
  • monitored the track of the storm, almost obsessively

It looks like the winds are dropping as it makes landfall, so hopefully by the time it hits us in CT the winds will have dropped some more. Aside from the personal devastation and destruction storms like this bring, I’ve always been in awe of Mother Nature and the power that she wields. We’ve been through some big storms before – Hurricane’s Gloria and Bob, as well as some devastating snow storms in all the years that I have lived in CT and the Northeast, so we know what to prepare for.

We’re on the state and town CodeRed alert lists and our neighbor on the other side of our ~9 acre lot is one of the town’s firehouses. There have been no evacuation warnings or recommendations from town officials, and I am sure they are watching the storms track even more than I am. Not that town officials are the all-knowing guru’s, but it has been relatively quiet here. My brother, who lives down the road, is an EMT on the shoreline in Westport – already gone for 24+ hours – they are going to get whacked pretty hard whichever way the storm tracks and my sister-in-law an ER Doctor … if there were even any indications of  evacuation warnings, we would have known by now.

Of course all of this means nothing to Hurricane Irene and her power. If anything drastically changes, and we don’t feel safe here, we can hightail it across the yard to the firehouse … or jump in the VW Tiguan and head to the High School or other shelter. We’re not taking this storm lightly, but do feel that we’ve taken good precautions to ride it out here.

I’m sure we’ll be firing up the Verizon MiFi’s later in the overnight hours for internet access and as the storm comes through, I’m sure I’ll be updating here and there.

The cars and motorhome are full of fuel, propane and water, flashlights are charged, extension cords for generator power at the standby… now we’re just watching, waiting and listening. The current trajectory has Hurricane Irene hitting Ct somewhere between 1am – 8am. It should be a fun and interesting night.

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