October 17, 2016

Matthew’s Lesson

Filed under: Outer Banks,Pamlico Sound,storms,Weather — j0jgvm89bj @ 6:41 pm

With technological advances, weather forecasting has become better and better, but it’s still an inexact science. Nothing could teach that much more than Hurricane Matthew. Watching the weather radar and getting updates, tropical cyclones almost become living organisms. They are complex, and influenced by multiple meteorological mechanisms.

I’ve learned to take forecasting with some reservation, because most storm track predictions change over time as different atmospheric conditions interact. Here at home, I began monitoring Matthew as it became a hurricane on September 29th.

When Cape Hatteras was in the cone of possibility, I thought of boarding my windows, but overnight the forecast changed heading it out to sea, well to our south, even circling back toward Florida. Matthew defied that forecast, deviated somewhat, but continued its northward march along the coast. Still predicted to turn seaward, it headed northeast toward Cape Hatteras, and I was hoping it wouldn’t go up the Pamlico Sound, like Irene. Despite the warnings, our Dare County Control Group decided not to call for an evacuation of tourists or residents, and it turned out to be a bad decision.

Waiting for the turn that didn’t come, I went to bed Saturday night with a lowering barometric reading of 994 millibars. Onshore gale force winds blew that night with a little rain. Morning became more calm until about 5 AM, when we were awakened with an abrupt change of wind direction from the north and gusts near 90.

Matthew, despite predictions to be a tropical storm was still a hefty category one hurricane as it caromed off the Cape and out into the open Atlantic. By the time I checked the barometer again it was daylight and read 986 millibars. The wind gradually subsided throughout the day.

It was a close call for residents of Waves. Most everyone underestimated what this storm would do, and it could have been a lot worse for us. Our neighbors in Hatteras and Ocracoke were not so lucky.

soundEven at 11 that morning, the Pamlico Sound was still pretty rough.

houseI designed my house to shed gales from the north, so it fared well. There was  some standing rain water, a few broken branches and that’s it.

center-line                                 The tide rose just enough to overflow the ditches and spill over on to the highway.

ncdotWorkers from NCDOT are always on the scene quickly, salt water or not.

beachThe ocean was not as much a problem as was the Pamlico Sound.

uprootedThe main damage was with uprooted trees….

outer-beaches…. and broken, blown over signs.

truckThe biggest signs went down the hardest.

sunsetThe day ended better than it began, with a sailors’ red sky delight.

 

 

 

September 11, 2016

Hermine in Memorium

Filed under: beach,Outer Banks,Pamlico Sound,storms,Weather — j0jgvm89bj @ 3:30 pm

Since our latest tropical system passed recently, it gave me pause to think about all the others that have come before. The first for me was Hurricane Carol in 1954. My family lived at Quonset Point, Rhode Island, and my father, a meteorologist for the Navy Weather Service, was gone on a reconnoissance flight out over the Atlantic. The hurricane tore off the back porch of our house and as the eye of the storm brought calm, my mother took us to a safer haven at a neighbor’s house. Even though I was very young, I remember it so well.

After consulting a climatology report on tropical cyclones affecting Cape Hatteras, I found over two dozen that have become memories in my life. Some like Gloria, Emily, Dennis, Isabel, Irene and Arthur had an impact. Others like Belle, Josephine, Gabrielle, Bob, Felix, Bonnie, and Hanna had lesser consequences.

Hurricane Hermine made landfall on the Gulf Coast of Florida and bore down on the Outer Banks as a tropical storm. Hatteras Island was right in it’s path.

cloudsTall cumulous clouds announced the storm’s approach, and we took the available time to clean up the yard and secure items worth saving. I set up my barometer to gauge the power of Hermine, and went to bed that breezy evening. About 2 AM, I was awakened by an east wind and rain beating my house. At times it must have been gusting to 60 or more and I could hear what some call the sound of a freight train. My barometer was at 1004 millibars.

radarI went back to sleep and when I awoke at around 6:30, there was no wind or rain. It was a beautiful, sunny morning. Incredulous, I checked the barometer that read 992 millibars, the lowest of the storm. I knew then we were in the center of the action.

sunnyThe only water on highway 12 was from about 6 inches of rain that Hermine brought. I saw people jogging by and I greeted one of them with a good morning. Her response clearly indicated that she thought the storm was over, but I knew we were in for a bit more on the backside.

beachThe beach north of the pier was nearly empty, and the blue sky overhead was surrounded by storm clouds. We were involved with the eye for over 4 hours. Then the wind switched and picked up from the opposite direction. We began hearing reports of storm surge flooding in Hatteras, Frisco, Buxton and Avon.

soundIn the thick of it I decided to check the sound shore of my property. The marsh was white-capped and under water. In the northerly winds, I had a hard time standing up, shooting and getting back to the house.

horizontalNext day, still under the influence of Hermine offshore, I photographed around a Pea Island dune that had shown the effects of the wind.

blowout                                          A blow out through the dune made some interesting patterns both vertically and horizontally.

duneLike many other storms, Hermine brought some silver-lined photo-ops.

 

 

 

January 25, 2016

Winter Storm

Filed under: black & white photography,history,Outer Banks,storms,Weather — j0jgvm89bj @ 3:14 pm

Last week, forecasters predicted a low pressure system to develop into a major winter storm for the east coast. Things turned out as expected with snow dumped to the north of us in dramatic amounts. At home, we had just over an inch of cold rain backed by some gale force winds. Oceanfront properties were threatened by large waves but little damage. Sound front properties saw tide surges of about 3 feet as west winds kicked in.

houseOn Saturday the seas were still running with strong westerlies blowing into the swells. This house at Mirlo Beach was awfully close to the action.

wavesThe surf and clouds were stunning.

offshoreWave tops were feathering nicely.

cemeterySadly on the sound side, seas were once again beating the shoreline at an old family cemetery in the Salvo day use area. Headstones and crypts were inundated and falling in the water. Other than that, this winter storm posed no serious problems.

The biggest winter storm I’ve seen here occurred 35 years ago in March of 1980. A coastal low was right on us as temperatures plummeted below freezing, accompanied by a foot of snow with northeast winds gusting to a hundred miles an hour. The blizzard brought white out conditions with zero visibility. Sea tide mixed with floating ice and snow flowed through Rodanthe.

hwy 12Bruce Midgett rescued Robin Gerald from his old house surrounded by 3 feet of tide and drove him to higher ground.

cottageThe Queen Cottage was one of the few oceanfront houses in north Rodanthe. I took this picture from the roof of my place with a 400mm lens. The cottage was eventually washed away in a later storm and no longer exists.

oceanAs seas washed around the Queen Cottage, I shot this picture from the deck. The ocean was breaking all the way to the horizon.

my houseLooking back from the Queen Cottage I photographed my house amid streets of sea water and ice.

I had never seen a storm like that before, nor have I seen one quite like it since.

 

July 15, 2014

Hurricane Hangover

Filed under: Outer Banks,Pamlico Sound,storms,Weather — j0jgvm89bj @ 11:16 am

screen shot

The radar image taken at 11:15 shows the eye of Arthur directly on Cape Lookout, zeroing in toward Pamlico Sound. By 2AM we began to feel the increasing power of the storm. By 4 AM, we were in a full blown hurricane.

The morning after Arthur came through, I went outside and felt as if I had been spun around and around. There was an air of confusion and destruction. The conditions were not quite on par with Hurricane Irene in 2011, but there was more wind damage this time.

I video surveyed my property briefly, then got out to venture about town.

2014-07-04 07_28_48 – Medium

2014-07-04 07_34_12 – Medium

They were telling us this was going to be a slow hurricane season, and that’s a little hard to take right now. So far we’re one for one and counting. Tropical systems usually don’t affect us this time of year, but cleaning up after a flood isn’t good anytime.

My place had fairly little damage considering the event. Like many other residents, I do need to make some minor roof repairs. During the height of the storm, the house was getting pelted by branches and pine cones. There was little rainfall, and it was a good thing it moved in and out quickly.

Several weeks ago a couple of young feral kittens began hanging around. On June 24th we caught them and took them to a TNR clinic sponsored by Friends of Felines. They were fixed, got shots, microchipped and left ear clipped. The release part didn’t quite work out, as they got comfortable here. With the hurricane heading right at us, I put them in an enclosure under the house.

creamcicle little one

At 4 in the morning, the water poured in and they had the sense to climb through an opening to another room where they remained high and dry for the duration. There they stayed all through the following day, and were clearly traumatized but okay.

petunia

With the salt water intrusion, my petunias didn’t fare so well.

Rt 12

Waterfront property for sale. Sorry, Spinnaker Realty. No buyers  today.

dumpster

A runaway dumpster blocked Sea Vista Drive.

parking

Parking on high ground was at a premium. These vehicles survived.

parking not

These vehicles at the post office did not… that WAS a nice Mustang.

bike

Highway 12 Waterway.

kayaks

Kayak ecotours took on a new meaning.

tom

My friend Tom gave me a lift to see other parts of town.

hatteras estates

Roof damage was common.

best

Mac's

Trees were downed at Mac’s garage.

jobob's

kitty hawk kites

A rack line got caught up in a chain link fence near Kitty Hawk Kites.

wavy tv

Andy Fox from WAVY News was on the scene making interviews.

Scott

As the daunting clean up began, Scott Caldwell squeegeed the parking lot at Island Convenience.

Myra                             Scott’s daughter Myra, also had a big job and tried to make the most of it.

fish

Thousands of fish were washed in with the storm surge, and left stranded.

dried out

Meanwhile the clean up at home continues to progress.

barbie

Meet Hurricane Barbie, a new concept doll.

cemetery

Leaving no stone unturned, Arthur toppled the headstones at the Midgett Cemetery in Rodanthe.

bouquets

Flowers from the graves are still strewn across the landscape.

Just like Hurricane Irene, it’ll take a while to regain some sense of normalcy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 8, 2014

Arthur’s Passing, the Video

Filed under: Outer Banks,Pamlico Sound,storms,Weather — j0jgvm89bj @ 10:51 pm

Time looses meaning in the middle of a storm. I felt disoriented and way out of my norm.

Sleep was marginal. I got up several times to look out a window or check the barometer. The pressure dropped and winds accelerated, and for a brief time it fell out dramatically. Then it switched more westerly and picked up to hurricane force again, the Pamlico Sound rising 8 feet in what seemed only minutes.

I went to check on things, heading to the gallery door, in the lee of what seemed like a jet engine next to the house. Power lines were sparking like stars in the sky (upper left corner in video). The water came in very fast, bringing in a tide of vegetation and mud.

Click link below for video clip. It was shot at 4:45 not 5:30 as mentioned.

 

2014-07-04 04_45_30-2 – Medium

To be continued…