Princess Muse

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Musings on Hurricane Isabel....

I know, it seems like I'm just the Muse of Doom and Gloom, with Hurricane Kate memories and Earthquake postings for the past few days, but my neighbor Kim was a little surprised that I didn't blog about Hurricane Isabel, which was much more of a comedy of errors in a lot of ways.... but I didn't want a blog that went on forever, and since Kate was prompted by a posting on the FSU Facebook page, it didn't seem appropriate....and since we're about to attacked by another "I" Hurricane.....

Now, the true story of Hurricane Isabel can be told.....

In September, 2003, Isabel was a Category 2 Hurricane when she came ashore in North Carolina (much like Irene is supposed to be), but by the time she got to the Baltimore area, she had been downgraded to a Tropical Storm.  While we were extremely lucky, we still had a lot of damage and trouble.

It all started in the late afternoon.  I remember hearing a loud "pop" from the backyard.  One of the trees in the field right behind our next door neighbor's yard had fallen and taken out the electrical pole in my backyard.  I called BGE (Baltimore Gas and Electric) to report the damage.  Not long after, the Fire Department came to assess the damage.

View from Younger Son's room of the downed electrical pole


Fortunately, the tree fell between our houses, but the Fire Department recommended that we find someplace else to sleep that night.  Thankfully, our neighbors Hal and Kim offered us floor space in their living room.

So, with that settled, we headed down to our other neighbor's home for a Hurricane Party.  The grown-ups stayed upstairs, talking and eating potluck.  The kids went downstairs into the basement and played games. Nick was almost 3 1/2 at this point, and Christopher not even 1, so they stayed mostly with us, although Nick would go downstairs and play for a little while.

Mostly, we got high winds and rain.  It rained so much that Hal and Kim's basement flooded a bit and they had to ask neighbors who face Frederick Road (and therefore still had power), if the could run some extension cords to keep the back-up sump pump going all night.

After the night that we spent at Hal and Kim's, Ken and I went back to our house to assess damage.  We decided that it didn't seem like there was any water damage (other than a little dampness in the basement, I think), we would spend the rest of the Hurricane Recovery time in our own home.

Our street was blocked by a downed Bartlet Pear tree, for which reason I have vowed never to plant one of those suckers.  If it's not hurricane proof, I want no part of it.....Road crews, luckily, cleared it out quickly so that we could get out, although with much of Catonsville without power for the first few days, there wasn't anyplace to really go to....

With no power, we were forced to amuse ourselves the old fashioned way, by hanging out.  We would have nightly Tiki parties.  The kids would run around while we grown-ups sat around and talked about everything and nothing.....

There were so many lines down that it took almost all of a week for BGE to finally get around to repairing our downed line.  In Maryland, Delaware and West Virginia, there were 1,416,000 residences without power (Dept of Commerce Service Assesment)  When the crews finally got to us, we were so happy!
Out of state electrical crew comes to the rescue!
Older Son watching the crew
Watching the electrical crew was the big entertainment of the day

Hopefully, Hurricane Irene will be kinder to us.  She's expected to have an impact on our area on Saturday or Sunday.  School is supposed to start Monday.  Rest assured, I'll let you know how it all happens.

A few more Hurricane tips, courtesy of my friend Arlyn, who still lives in Florida:

With the loss of power, comes the loss of access to ATMs.  Pumps at the gas stations can't work without power, so it's vital that you get money and a full tank of gas before the storm hits.  

Make sure you have food for your pets as well as yourself.

Don't forget to stock up on batteries and flashlights.

A few that I remember:

If you are sheltering in place, make sure you fill those tubs and anything else with water before the storm hits.  Any water that you get from the tap after the storm should probably be boiled--just for safety's sake.

If you have to evacuate, it may be a long time before you get someplace where you'll be able to find available lodgings--remember, everybody in your area will be leaving, too.

Cell phones may not be working.  If the towers go down, it will cause disruptions

Even if you think the power company should've been able to repair your lines faster, don't take out your frustrations on the repair crews.  Yes, they're getting paid well, but some of them are coming from out of state to help out.  Be nice.  Thank them for their hard work.  They're doing the best they can.

Ocean City, Md is facing mandatory evacuations now.....oh, let the fun begin!

Time to go be aMused.....

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