Friday, October 26, 2012

I'm not THAT Sandy...

At first I was excited to learn on Twitter that there was a tropical storm named "Sandy" and it initially appeared it was going to do the right thing and head out to sea, causing as few problems as possible.
 This 'snapshot' of the Other Sandy was off the site courtesy of NASA.
But the latest possibilities are considerably more sinister since it has been classified as a hurricane, and I just want to go on the record and say, "I am NOT that Sandy!" The worst possible scenario is a repeat of the Halloween storm of 1991, causing the loss of lives in a 'perfect storm' which was the basis for the book and then the movie of the same name (link is to the extensive Wikipedia report on that storm). I do recall exactly where I was that weekend - in Scituate, Massachusetts, watching my (thankfully) heavy duty sailboat wrenching and tugging at the anchor lines and praying she would be able to stay connected.

We had done all the right things to avoid chafing and splitting of the lines, set out anchors in two directions knowing that after the eye passed, the sudden shift in wind direction could pull up an anchor and set her free. She stayed in place. But plenty of other boats did not. As the eye was passing, we managed to drive down to the harbor and saw a pretty little red boat dashing herself to death on the rocks. The wind turned suddenly and caught my son off-guard, (he wasn't 6'3" then) and billowed out his raincoat like a sail, lifting him a foot up in the air before I grabbed him and pulled him into the lee of the wind behind a building.

Me at the helm some years ago...
There was a lot of chatter around the marina about the "May Day!!" calls for help from the fishing boats and others caught in an almost unbelievable and catastrophic event; three systems coming together. It could happen again, according to the meteorologists. Recreational sailors don't understand the drive for commercial fishermen (and women) and the risks they take daily to bring home the catch. But I had a cousin who spent some time on a fishing boat in the Pacific and got a much better appreciation for what it is all about. Sadly, the drive to stay out a little longer to bring home a full boat of fish may have been partly the cause of the sinking of the Andrea Gail.

I certainly hope that mariners of all kinds take the weather warnings seriously and stay in port until this storm passes. There will be a full moon on the 28th, so tidal rise will be higher and the potential for storm surge flooding increases. I  miss sailing, but I don't miss the anxiety of trying to find a safe harbor!

NOTE: as of 10/28, this storm was measured to be 900 (!!) miles across, so when it makes landfall, wherever it is, people who live inland will feel the effects. Looks like Sandy will be a record-maker. And at least 10 flights from Colombia have been suspended due to the storm. None of these affected me this time, but it goes to show how a Sandy in New England could possibly affect a Sandy in Colombia....

New York, N.Y.
Flooded marina from storm surge of Hurricane Sandy on North River
 near Scituate, MA. Photo by Greg M. Cooper, U.S. PRESSWIRE.



  1. When the nor'easter hit in 91' there were 30' seawalls that got flooded in N.E. and there were few people brave enough to go out onto open water. Hopefully this storm breaks up before hitting Cape Cod.

    1. The current models show it making landfall around the Chesapeake Bay area, but because the windfield is so huge - 600 miles across did I hear? - it will affect people to the north of it. I am intending it is less than catastrophic, but for some people any kind of damage is going to be too much.The newest name is "Frankenstorm" but some forecasters aren't using that moniker because they want people to take this weather event seriously.

  2. dear sandy,

    though i've always thought you are a force to be reckoned with, it's always been in a GOOD way - so no worries there. oh, what a flood (pun intended) of memories this current prediction of weather has brought upon us all. i can understand the message of caution you are sending, especially in light of all you witnessed first hand in '91, right in the thick of it. thank goodness you saved your son (what a stroke of luck you were able to grab hold of him!) and that your boat remained intact.

    we live on the east coast, just where all the dire weather is predicted to hit, and where we got wholloped by hurricaine "irene" last year. there are still areas in the catskills (the CATSKILLS for crying out loud!) that have not fully recovered. on the eve of irene's far reaching assault, we arrived home after getting some dinner, and as hugh was going up our front steps to the porch his footing faltered - he fell backwards down 3 steps, and landed on his back, the back of his head smashing into the brick apron. miraculously, he only suffered minor injuries. but that was just the beginning of a night of terror, me keeping vigil all night to check on the manny-man"s state of consciousness, and on constant alert for pop-up tornadoes, trees being ripped up and crashing in our woods, the constant threat of our lower level flooding with the back stairwell drain getting plugged up with leaves as monsoon-like wind and rain had their way with us. we are inland to the atlantic ocean by 50 miles. our son, who lives 15 miles north, and west of us, nearly 80 miles inland, had even more flooding and destruction than us.

    but truth be told, the best memory of that time has to do with hugh's myeloma. he was 5 months out from his last stem cell transplant, still suffering side effects like profound fatigue, loss of muscle mass, et. al. we wondered if the trauma of the fall would mean a set-back. but to our amazement, all his wounds scabbed over and were barely visible after only a week! it was then we knew that his new immune system was establishing itself nicely.
    that sure gave us a good boost of reassurance and renewed energy, which came in handy for all the ensuing weeks of clean up in the aftermath of that wicked storm.

    another excellent post, my friend.

    kaern, TC

    1. Judging from this picture at this location: this storm is going to have MAJOR impacts for days to come. Anyone who thinks of 'riding it out', IMHO, has a death wish. As Birdie states below, there are always people who think they are smarter than Mother Nature... who would have thought that Irene was a worry for people in Vermont or northern NY last year? Wake up people... it may not be a hurricane when it heads inland, but I hope people take care to have supplies on hand... Karen - I will be intending that you and Hugh are being protected and let me know how it all turns out.

  3. Unfortunately, I think there will people who will take the weather warning seriously. Even back in the beginning for time people ignored the weather forecast. (Noah's Ark!) People have always thought they could outsmart Mother Nature.

  4. Sandy, please spare New England! :)

  5. Thank you friends, for your posts!! If I had control over the weather, I would send that Other Sandy out to sea... but I'll do my best intending that people are paying attention and preparing for at least four days without power or water and thus minimizing the potential for family disasters.