Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Bullet Dodged

The whole damn country gasped just a little at the images of Storm Sandy as it crawled up the east coast and swung inland like a giant, angry monster.  The high water, soaring waves and sheets of rain coming at us from cameras along the eastern seaboard had those of us here in the inland mid-Atlantic region glued to our televisions and laptops all day yesterday as long as we were lucky enough to retain power.  It turns out more of us than expected DID not lose power.

In our own little corner of our own building in its corner of Friendship Heights in Chevy Chase, MD all we had to worry about was this:
This is what we called Lake Minnick.  Our patio sits on top of the garage roof of our high rise and the tilt of the roof is such that, in a heavy rain, we get a bit of standing water on the patio.  We kept running to the glass door yesterday to check its level.  Today it has subsided substantially.  No big deal.
But just as a measure of the good fortune of the tenants in our building, there's this:
This is the west end of our building.  That green thing in the street is a tree that crashed down, snagging a few power lines and dragging a power pole with it.  AND WE DID NOT LOSE POWER.  No spoiled food, no loss of heat and no fumbling in the dark.  This is especially good fortune considering there are a lot of very elderly people in our building.
The poor guy who parked across the street didn't fare well, however.  At least it's not a total loss.  
The street is still cordoned off.  My assumption is that areas around Montgomery County had even more blowdown and more important power fixes to be made.  We are patient because we can see that it could have been so much worse.  We took a long walk through the Somerset neighborhood, which is one of those lovely areas full of beautiful trees.  Hardly a limb on the ground there.  That's the edge-of- your seat report from Friendship Heights.   

UPDATE:  At around 6:30 pm we walked east on Willard Avenue to have dinner and discovered we had not fully explored the damage.  Another tree lay across the street about 100 years east of our building.  By the time we finished dinner and walked home,  a tree removal service had fully removed the tree and a PepCo truck was in place ready for repairs.  The regional power companies have been listening to their customers.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Calm Before The Storm

How often we've read the "calm before the storm" reference as a metaphor describing so much of modern living in the USA.  Today, we're living the reality.  Well, reality is we'd be going about our business as we would any Sunday, running errands, tidying up the home, social events, museums or laundry.  But the digital age allows us the luxury of viewing swirling red graphics and wide swaths of storm overlay showing us right in the path of a storm.  Hurricane Sandy is lumbering up the Atlantic Coast right now.  The atmospheric scientists predict Sandy will hook a slight left and team up with some other weather systems and, like a gang of marauding thugs, go on a spree of vandalism touching major east coast cities and causing some degree of hassle to 50 to 60 million people.

The question is, to what degree?  The authorities are telling us to brace for the worst and hope for the best.  Because no one is sure what will happen as this storm gathers steam, lets off steam and pushes its way around the northeastern US, we are held in some kind of erie thrall to its force.

It is almost 2 pm.  The air is almost eerily calm.  The clouds are darkening the sky.  The forecasted rain hasn't arrived yet.  Occasional mild gusts rustle the leaves remaining on the trees.  It might be the almost-hourly (and obsessive) checking of the swirling red graphics on weather websites ginning up the imagination or it might be a truly instinctive feeling, but those occasional light gusts of wind feel just a touch ominous.

In a Rockville area Starbucks, a woman to my left reads the Washington Post.  To my right, two women lean toward each other sharing gossip and workplace war stories.  In front of me, a twenty-something man tutors a friend in math and jokingly promises marriage to the cute barista at the counter.  A glance out the window and I note the trees picking up movement.   It all seems so normal.