Hurricane Joaquin fortunately missed us completely. It is a good thing too, because if it had combined with the massive low pressure system that flooded this area for days, it would have been a major disaster. The whole East cost was affected by the massive low which brought sustained high winds and major tidal flooding. South Carolina was especially hard hit but Virginia took a beating too. I live in Chesapeake, which for the most part is not near any rivers or tributaries so we were spared much of the flooding although we got lots of rain and high winds. Cities like Portsmouth, Hampton, and Norfolk were not as fortunate. I live very close to Portsmouth and got to see a lot of the tidal flooding first hand. Luckily, for Virginia at least, the flooding, while doing a lot of damage, took no lives. But the “storm” will be remembered here for a long time due to the amount of tidal flooding which was nothing short of what we usually get from a hurricane, nor’easter, or tropical storm. It was truly an awesome event, showing how Mother Nature rules over man. I got out Sunday afternoon and took numerous shots and videos to record the event for posterity.
I hope that if you lived in the areas affected by the system, that you were as fortunate as we were to escape major damage or injury. God Bless.
Fall has arrived and with it it is bringing a lot of rain and maybe a visit from Hurricane Joaquin. For the last week we have had endless rain and the ground is now saturated. If Hurricane Joaquin passes nearby, we are assured of 10+ more inches of rain and tropical force winds. Heavily saturated ground with high winds equals trees and power lines down. Not anticipating a fun weekend. Being that I have been through many hurricanes in my life this is nothing new and we are as prepared as we can be. At least I hope to get some interesting photos and videos of the storm which I will post as soon as I can.
As for the other aspects of Fall, the weather is cooling, the leaves are changing colors and falling, and there have been lots of festivals. I am looking forward to all things pumpkin, along with lots of hot cocoa. Our church is having its Fall Bazaar this Sunday and as a part of that we cook and prepare over 400 quarts of Brunswick stew for sale. It is a LOT of work but we always manage to pull it off and everyone enjoys the fellowship. While I can’t give you the exact recipe for the stew (Top Secret), I can give you a list of the ingredients, except for the spices used. (Top Secret).
Top Secret spices
We cook it outside in large pots with wooden paddles over propane burners. It takes 6-7 hours to cook enough batches to fill all the orders. That does not count the pre-cooking of the chicken, peeling and chopping of vegetable, etc. At $7.00 a quart it is a great deal. Wish you could stop by and try some. Now if only Hurricane Joaquin will go away…
It looks like we have seen the last of winter here in Southeastern Virginia. No more snow, no more temperatures near zero. Spring is just around the corner. I seemed to have survived this winter better than last. It didn’t seem as long and dreary as last winter did. And cross my fingers but I didn’t catch a cold, the flu, or have a sinus infection. I owe that to getting more sleep, exercising at the gym, and generally having a more favorable outlook on life in general.
I also tried to stay as busy as possible. Much of that involved finding things to do while I was trapped inside due to the weather. I took an online course, worked on some web sites, did a lot of bible study as well as being more active in church. I did break down and buy a couple of toys, those being a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B mini-pc and a new Fossil watch. I also finally got Geekbuying to send me a return address for the broken Meizu MX4 smartphone I had bought from them which lasted less than a week before it stopped working.
I will have to think long and hard before I buy anything electronic directly from China. It was a nightmare getting them to finally acknowledge that it was broke. This included me making a video and posting it on YouTube as well as complaining online via Facebook and Google+. I also had to file a claim with PayPal. So I finally packaged it up, filled out the customs form and mailed it back yesterday. Now the long wait begins for them to either return a new phone or refund my money.
But like I said, Spring is almost here and all is well. Oh, I forgot to mention that I started drawing Social Security and am now on Medicare. So my financial picture has improved some. Life is good. God is good all the time and all the time God is good.
February has been quite the month weather wise. It has snowed three times with the most recent blanketing the area with 3 inches or more. But the real story has been the cold. Overnight we had the coldest temperatures in 21 years. It was down to zero degrees overnight without a wind chill. We have had numerous days when the high temperature of the day never reached freezing and the nighttime lows were in the single digits. As I write this the snow outside has been frozen into solid ice that you can walk on without leaving a mark.
We have had numerous winter weather watches and wind chill warnings along with coastal flooding and high winds. Last year we had 4 major snowfalls but never temperatures like this. More of the same is expected for tomorrow and it won’t be until Saturday that some relief from the frigid temperatures starts to thaw things out. Last nights Ash Wednesday service was cancelled as was our once a month breakfast meal for the homeless at the Oasis Mission.
I will be glad when this winter is over, if it ever ends. Damn you Punxsutawney Phil. Well at least I’m not Bill Murray and stuck in Groundhog Day.
The last two days have been exciting around here. What I thought would be a little rain and wind from the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida turned into the worst Nor’easter I have ever experienced. As I write this the storm is still not quite over. But at least the high winds, heavy rain, and flooding are done. It seems there were two systems, one offshore, that came together to create an unexpected, at least by me, nor’easter. Winds in the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay reached 70 mph with flooding 7-8 feet above mean tides. Large parts of Portsmouth and Norfolk were under 3 or more feet of water. As of last night, 174,000 residents were without power. The Virginia Emergency Management Services likened the storm to a Category 1 hurricane.
In Chesapeake where we live, winds hit 50 mph but thankfully there was little damage and streets near us were not flooded. But large parts of Chesapeake were flooded, making travel anywhere almost impossible. This morning the winds are still pretty substantial but the rains have died down. It will probably be Saturday before we see any sunshine. I only took a few photos and a short video of the storm because I wasn’t dumb enough to wander far from the house. All in all it will be a storm to remember and I am thankful that we got off without anyone hurt or any substantial damage.
The only other news for now is that I was able to get to the range to try my new scope on my m4 carbine. I had a really hard time getting the scope zeroed as my first shots were so far off I could not see where they were hitting. It turns out they were very low and to the right. But after about 60 rounds I finally had the scope zeroed. It shoots about 2 MOA at 100 yards right now but I think if I get to the range again I can tweak it a little better. That is it for now.
Yesterday was one of the strangest days for weather I have seen here in a long time. The wind was very strong all day and resulted in a lot of brush fires and other wind related damage. The winds were gusting to over 50 mph into the evening. Coupled with the very dry conditions of the area there were a number of serious brush fires. One of the biggest of the fires was in North Carolina just south of the VA/NC border. That fire was still burning today. Another fire was only a few miles from our house and the smoke from it closed the Monitor-Merrimac bridge tunnel numerous times as the smoke obscured the highway. I was able to find an overpass over the Interstate and got a real good look at the fire. Luckily the fire was out today as I travel the Monitor-Merrimac to get to and from work every day. After have temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s all February, this morning the low was about 23 degrees with a high of only 34 degrees. The rest of the week is forecast to be back in the 50’s again. Who knows, with crazy weather like this I am still holding out for a big snow storm before Spring.
Friday as I left work I was excited as the weatherman (yeah, I know I should say weather forecaster) was calling for snow Saturday night and Sunday. Predictions were for 4 to 7 inches depending on where you were. Knowing the past record for snow predictions in this area I had my fingers crossed but did not really expect to see much snow. Well, the weatherman lived up to his abysmal record for snow predictions once again. It did start snowing Saturday evening but I could tell by the intensity of the snowfall that we were never going to get 4 to 7 inches. But to make matters even worse, it stopped snowing altogether before I went to bed. Sure enough, in the morning there was only a dusting of snow on the ground. I should have know better than to expect any significant snow accumulation for this area. Thinking maybe there would be more snow to the west of us I took a drive to Smithfield. While there was more snow on the ground in Smithfield it was still nowhere near the predicted snow accumulation. As usual the weatherman was covering his ass, saying that Smithfield had received between 1 and 3 inches of snow. Three inches my ass, maybe 1/3 rd of an inch. I guess the only way we will get any snowfall around here is if the weatherman predicts that there is not a snowball’s chance in hell of getting any snow. Then we will have a blizzard of epic proportions.