riding out the storm

I’m not going to mince words. This is the most catastrophic event that we have faced and been able to plan for in any of our lifetimes.
~ Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy
(Emergency Operations Center, October 29, 2012)

Looking at the map above one might wonder why our governor is broadcasting such dire predictions. It’s because tropical storm force winds extend 485 miles from the hurricane’s eye. And because of the wind direction, a massive amount of water is being pushed into Long Island Sound which will likely result in an unprecedented storm surge of 4 to 8 feet here on the eastern shore of the sound, where we are, and 6 to 11 feet on the western shore and down into New York Harbor. There is a full moon today, meaning the high tides are higher than normal, even without the storm surge.

We’re about 20 feet above sea level and have not been given an evacuation order, so we’re going to ride out the storm. According to the City of Groton Government Facebook page, the roads by Eastern Point Beach are now impassable, from this morning’s high tide, and have been closed. The worst high tide is supposed to be overnight tonight.

Thank you every one for your prayers and well wishes! I’m sure we’ll lose power sooner or later, but I will have an update when possible.   City of Groton

timing

I am soooooooooooooooooooooo tired……………..

It was only ten days ago that Auntie came home from the hospital with eight stitches or staples in the back of her head, on the mend, and a few days ago when her doctor removed them in his office. Yesterday Tim & I finished preparing for the big storm and went to bed, content that we were as ready for it as anyone could be.

We only had two hours of sleep when the phone rang. Auntie had fallen yet again and this time she broke her hip or her pelvis. The local hospital felt she would get better care at a bigger hospital so off we went in the wee hours of this morning for another long vigil at an emergency department until they found a bed for her so she could be admitted. When they transferred her from the gurney to the bed, as gently as possible, her cries and screams of pain tore my heart open…

After Auntie got settled and we felt satisfied that she was in good hands we had no choice but to leave her there. The sun was rising behind the gathering clouds – a monster storm is on its way. I saw on the news this evening that the hospital was calling in extra staff and testing its generators in preparation. Governor Malloy has declared a state of emergency. He said the storm is a hurricane blending with a nor’easter and that we could have an eight foot storm surge. The barometric pressure is forecast to be so low it will break all the record lows in this state.

I still haven’t been able to sleep. And now I have an earache.

Must get a cup of green tea and honey and then some sleep now, but I hope to have some time tomorrow to visit blogs and respond to comments. I have much catching up to do in the blogosphere, at least until we lose power! Good night all – things will surely look brighter in the morning.

Japanese Faerie Garden

10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
Sakuyu, a Japanese Faerie Garden created by Bobbie Padgett,
DeeDee Charnock, Gay Thorn, Teddi Curtiss & Sheila Wertheimer

Bella, an adventurous world-traveling faerie, changed her name to Kat-Sura after visiting the famous garden in Japan. So enamored with Japanese culture that she returned and built a Japanese-style faerie house complete with tea house and stroll garden. A leader of the faerie community, Kat-Sura invites all the faeries to stroll (or flutter) through her Japanese garden to learn about the plants. They also experience a tea ceremony in her tea house.
~ Wee Faerie Village: Land of Picture Making

10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

If we opened our minds to enjoyment, we might find tranquil pleasures spread about us on every side. We might live with the angels that visit us on every sunbeam, and sit with the fairies who wait on every flower.
~ Samuel Smiles
(Thrift: Or How to Get On in the World)

Oh my! Hurricane Sandy is coming up the coast from the south, there is another early winter storm approaching from the west (remember the Halloween Nor’easter last year?), and arctic air is rushing down from the north, and some meteorologists are telling us to brace ourselves for another “perfect storm.” Remember the one in 1991???

And so the excitement begins – Sandy’s going this way, no, she’s going that way! Where will she make landfall? Will she still be a hurricane when she gets here? On Monday “something” will be happening here on the Connecticut shoreline. So will she threaten our son and his family in Georgia on her way up here?

My sister called this morning wanting to know what our plans are. I worry about them up there in the woods surrounded by trees that might fall on the house. She worries about us down here by the sound and vulnerable to the storm surge. We know where to find higher ground, though, and the evacuation plan is in place should it be needed.

There’s concern over the full moon on Monday, and how it will pull even more water into Long Island Sound and cause major coastal flooding and beach erosion.

I love storms, as long as they don’t get too exciting. We will go out tonight and stock up on bottled water, peanut butter and crackers and canned sardines, just in case. And we’ll be keeping our eyes on all the weather reports!

waves still crashing

The authorities couldn’t keep the folks who love their beach away for too long. A couple of hours after Tim & I attempted to go and were stopped, Nate & Shea (son and daughter-in-law) went for a look and they were finally letting people in! All the pictures in this post were taken by Shea on Sunday, the 28th, and are being used with her permission.

Beach Pond Road, leading to Eastern Point Beach, was still flooded.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Another tree downed – so sad… Look at all the seaweed left on the street.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

One of Shea’s nephews on the beach…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

And her other nephew…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Part of the wall between the beach and the parking lot was damaged…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

A park bench moved by the waves into the parking lot. The pay-loader was cleaning up the sand from the beach which had been swept up by the sea and was covering the parking lot.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Local lads enjoying the force of the wind…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Three more benches landed here…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

The little house on the little rock island made it through –  I suspect the storm surge was probably up to the first floor.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Waves still crashing on the parking lot. At its peak the storm surge covered the parking lot with white caps – I saw a picture of it on Facebook but haven’t got permission to use it.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Damage on the Thames River end of the parking lot.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

The pile of beach sand the pay-loader scooped up. I wonder if they will move it back down to the beach at some point.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Photos by Shannon Rodgers

Some people have expressed disappointment that this storm wasn’t as exciting as it was predicted to be. I just have to put my 2¢ in:

Making sensible preparations for a hurricane is like putting on your seat-belt. There’s a reason why people are always saying to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. When we drive or ride in our cars and arrive safely at our destinations do we complain that we didn’t have the possible accident we are ready for? Or that we are disappointed because the ride wasn’t exciting enough? Sure, some newscasters get carried away with their superlatives, but many try to emphasize the basic unpredictability of hurricanes and underscore the importance of being safe and not sorry. So far 38 people were killed in this storm, 2 of them in Connecticut. And 3.3 million people are still without power, and many have lost their homes. No doubt they feel they had more than enough unwanted excitement.

Thank you, Shea, for the great pictures! I think this marks the end of my Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene coverage…

storm surge

We were not permitted to drive down to the beach because it is still flooded, even at low tide. So we got as close as we could get, a bit north of the beach on the Thames River. No one playing golf today! Notice the white caps on the Thames River, from the tropical storm winds.

8.28.11 ~ Thames River
8.28.11 ~ Thames River

Other families had the same idea – gathering on a little strip of land between the golf course and the Thames River. The wind was still very strong, in fact I had trouble pushing my car door open!

8.28.11 ~ Thames River
8.28.11 ~ Thames River

It’s hard to comprehend that this is the low tide!

8.28.11 ~ Thames River
8.28.11 ~ Thames River

This gull was gliding in place, kind of floating in the wind…

8.28.11 ~ Thames River
8.28.11 ~ Thames River

In this picture you can see a line of seaweed on the lawn, marking where the storm surge reached at high tide, and this home is on the Thames River. I hope I can get to the beach tomorrow as I can only wonder how things are down there with the houses right on the ocean!

8.28.11 ~ Thames River
8.28.11 ~ Thames River

downed trees

Happy to report that we are safe and sound and the kids are as well. We partially lost our power early this morning, so we have no air conditioning – ugh! We ran an extension cord into the kitchen to keep the refrigerator running. We’re only getting a couple of cable stations. We brought our laptops down here to the living room and set them up where we have power. There’s a good stiff breeze, but it’s still a pretty humid breeze.

8.28.11 ~ Sound Breeze
8.28.11 ~ Sound Breeze

We slept through the worst of it and were lucky to have no damage. We did lose part of a tree in our condo complex (above). Then we decided to go out for a drive… This tree (below) was behind the Groton Town Hall.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

The storm surge at low tide still swelled the Poquonnock River…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

A large family of swans on the Poquonnock River seems to be all accounted for…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

This tree was near the Groton-New London Airport…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Irene was a tropical storm when she got to us so we were very grateful – things could have been so much worse. With the windows open now I’m smelling the aroma of someone’s delicious dinner coming in on the wind. Tim’s asleep and I’m hoping Irene washed all the ragweed pollen out of the air!

in the offing

In all the excitement yesterday I forgot I had a prescription to pick up at the drug store. So… we decided to go get it this morning, even though it was already raining, but with no wind to speak of. Workers were boarding up the large expanse of windows at CVS. I wonder if they will stay open for 24 hours through the storm.

8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Since we were already out and about we decided to have second breakfast (as Hobbits refer to it) at our favorite restaurant. And then we decided to go to the food co-op for Tim’s sliced almonds. And then we decided we may as well check out the beach before returning home.

On the way we spotted some die-hard golfers, out for one last round! That’s the Thames River behind them, shrouded in mist.

8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

I’m guessing these cormorants were getting a feel for the wind direction. They didn’t fly, they were just standing there with their wings open…

8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point

This little house is on a rock island in the Thames River and is the object of much curiosity and speculation. We have never seen people there before, but today these two kayaked out there! When I got home and uploaded my pictures to my laptop, I noticed that there seems to be a wind turbine just behind the bushes! I called Tim over and he had never noticed one there before either. It’s strange that I didn’t even see it while taking the picture.

8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point

We drove right up to this seagull. He was unimpressed with us and wasn’t about to leave his post.

8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point

This gull had a long and mournful cry…

8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point
8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point

As I moved closer to him I could see something wrong with his foot, perhaps it was injured and healed in an awkward position. He seemed to know I meant him no harm and allowed me to come very close to him and talk to him.

8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point
8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point

Later he was waiting patiently, hoping to get a crumb from a woman enjoying one last hot dog before the storm arrives.

8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point
8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point

On the way home we stopped at Baker Cove and found this tranquil scene…

8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point
Baker Cove ~ 8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

There have been a few evacuations near us, but so far we’re good to stay. The storm track is a little more to the west, so we’re out of the “red” zone. Now we’re more concerned about Larisa in New York than about us here. There is a high new moon tide coming along with a 6′ storm surge. (We’re 20′ high.  If I see water, though, I’m out of here!) Tim has his webcam aimed out the window – wonder what we’ll see?

batten down the hatches!

Hurricane Irene from the International Space Station

Here’s today’s predicted path for Irene — she seems to be weakening, but we’re still expecting high winds and heavy rains, forces to be reckoned with!

It’s very muggy and foggy outside now, and there is a light misty rain. We’re likely to lose power overnight, but if we don’t I’ll post an update tomorrow morning. All is very quiet…

calm before the storm

Decided to take a walk along Avery Point this morning… Lots of activity in the marinas and there is definitely a tropical feel to the air, and a feeling of pause and anticipation.

8.26.11 ~ Avery Point
8.26.11 ~ Avery Point

Here’s today’s predicted path for Irene — we’re still smack dab in the middle of it.

I hope to respond to all the thoughtful comments left on my earlier posts soon…

8.26.11 ~ Avery Point
8.26.11 ~ Avery Point

Governor Malloy addressed the state last night and again at noon today. He said that Connecticut is much more forested now than it was when Hurricane Gloria (1985) and the Great Hurricane of 1938 roared through here – many farms have returned to woods. So we may be out of power for some time, as I’m sure many trees will be uprooted. Stocking up on non-perishable food…

8.26.11 ~ Avery Point
northern mockingbird

The good news is that Irene seems to be weakening a little, but one can never be too certain about what a hurricane will do at the last minute. So we’re hoping for the best and preparing for the worst!

8.26.11 ~ Avery Point
8.26.11 ~ Avery Point

Will come back and check to see how this observation deck does during the storm!

8.26.11 ~ Avery Point
8.26.11 ~ Avery Point

The boat belongs to the University of Connecticut, which has degree programs in Marine Science and Maritime Studies here at its Avery Point campus.

8.26.11 ~ Avery Point
8.26.11 ~ Avery Point

And finally a picture of the Avery Point Lighthouse

8.26.11 ~ Avery Point
8.26.11 ~ Avery Point