Sunday, August 28, 2011

Diary of a Stormy Day

Gray, windy, and wet!
6: a.m. The sky is solid, wooly gray and the early morning light is so dim I need lamps on inside. Rain is falling; it splashes against the window panes and beats a syncopated rhythm on the outdoor cover for the stove exhaust. The tops of the trees outside my window look like giant green scrubbing cloths rubbing the sky as the winds dance around and through them. I inhale the spicy scent of phlox blossoms as I pass the vase on the table. Already the remaining plants in the patio garden have been beaten to the ground. Parker the cat is outside somewhere, probably in the barn with the sheep, nestled happily in a hay pile, his favorite place to sleep. I keep checking at the door to see if he's braved the rain. His breakfast is waiting.

The weathermen say to expect sustained winds of 35-50 mph with gusts of 65-70 mph but not until mid-day. We're currently under a flash flood warning and will be for the duration of the day. Ten inches of rain are possible - 2 inches have fallen since midnight.  Even if the Housatonic River floods, I am safe from its waters but I hadn't thought about the pond across the road - I may be stranded for a while in my little cottage. New York is posting large areas of power outages.

7:12 a.m. 200,000 lost power on Long Island overnight; almost 25,000 customers are out of power in parts of upstate New York across the border from my area of Massachusetts. Bridges in the area are closing because of high wind gusts and people are being advised to stay home and stay inside. The light has not changed color at all. Parker came screaming to the door during a slight letup in the rain. He is fed and curled up under the bed - wonder if I should join him!

8:35 a.m. The lights are flickering. If we lose power, I will take notes on paper. Wind is picking up, the sky has suddenly darkened and the rain is pelting the windows.

10:00 a.m. The power is still on. The storm is leaving NYC and is headed north. We have had steady though not hard wind and rain but both are supposed to increase by noon. The leaves are spinning in circles as the wind blows through them. Parker insists on going outside. It is still summer to him and he doesn't plan to spend any day fully indoors until the first snow falls. There are a number of safe, dry places for him to hide when the rain starts to come down hard so I will not worry about him.

1:30 p.m. Unbelievably, the rain seems to be stopping and the wind is barely disturbing the leaves. To the east of us there are reports of high winds and torrents of rain. To the west of us the wind gusts reached 54 mph and there is lots of flooding. Our top winds were clocked at a mere 14 mph and we got no more than two inches of rain. How lucky we are!

3:00 p.m. The sun is shining from a high patch of light blue. Tattered clouds scud across the sky and tiny rainbows glance from grass blades. I have walked to the river to look at the water. Muddy brown and roiling, it surges over the first two steps of the boat launch and lashes at the long grasses that lean over the bank. It looks close to flooding and may well be as tomorrow dawns since the northern NY rivers that feed into it are flooding now. One creek that flows from the pond across the road from the cottage and empties into the Housatonic has topped its banks, already becoming its own mini version of a surging river.

4:00 p.m. The backside of Irene is wrapping its tail around the Berkshires, dousing the sun with more rain clouds and making the trees tops dance once again. I was on my way to the river again, this time with my camera, but had to turn back before the rain soaked me thoroughly. My umbrella was useless in the sudden wind. I will have to content myself with photos of the mill dam and stream and hope that the worst Irene can do to us does not still lie ahead!

River wannabe after the rains


Brian Miller said...

well, you seem to have power back...and i am glad you weathered it brother had a bit of a hard time in richmond...destroyed a gazebo...glad we kinda dodged a bullet with this one...

Pauline said...

Brian - After all the Weather Channel hype I was rather relieved to have it just be a storm and not a bad one at that. We never lost power at all - not here in my little town anyhow. Thank goodness! So many people all around us were a lot less lucky.

Judith said...

How enterprising of you to keep a diary! Pauline does it again --- and absorbing to follow along with you and Parker the Cat.
Glad it was no worse than all that --- you were lucky, we were lucky over here. Flooding the worst thing in N'hampton (but Chestnut Drive doesn't flood any more than we do!) ---rain was heavy for quite a while but winds were never terrible. We went the opposite route and lowered all the shades (in case something shattered the windows the shades could catch some of the glass, or at least that was my vague thinking). Corollary was we never looked out to see how badly it was blowing, which was okay.
Worst immediate effect of Irene: we are too much!!!!!!! Not much else to do ----
Big smiles of gratitude all around, eh?

Anonymous said...

Glad you're okay. Love how you recorded the storm. I've been through a few myself and wish I'd kept better notes!

Pauline said...

J - it was a long day of staying inside; writing it all down seemed like a good idea.

Barbara - we were lucky here with just a bad rainstorm, and not as bad as some we've had... others around us fared much worse.

Friko said...

All over now.
We followed the Lady's progress from over her. Seems that things were bad but not monstrous.

An excellent report of the day's events.

Out on the prairie said...

And another storm is stirring. It was fun to read your journal and I am glad you are safe and dry.

Kerry said...

Strange how hurricanes come in swirls and bands, like someone dancing around up there wearing a giant hoop skirt.

I'm glad you made it through in good shape, just a little soggy!

Hilary said...

So interesting to read your account of things as they happened. And I'm very glad that you were just fine.

red dirt girl said...

Love your random thoughts before the storm and then your journal during. I did nothing of the sort when Ike hit Houston. The power outage was the worst part for us as it lasted several days and the infernal heat quickly re-asserted itself. I can honestly say we could use some of that rain, but definitely not in the form of a hurricane!! Glad you 'weathered' the storm.


Pauline said...

Friko - not as bad as some but bad enough for those who lost everything.

OOTP - we were lucky here to spared the brunt of it. Roads are still flooded though.

Kerry - I've seen photos of the clouds that look just like what you describe!

Hilary - it could have been so much worse!

RDG - the states have surely been hit by worse storms but we don't often get hurricanes this far north...