OK, It’s a Real Storm Now

Took a nap for a bit, then went outside to check on the waterworks. Still doing fine. Except the wind is howling now, and we’re now at the point where I wouldn’t need a forecast to know what’s coming. We’re still predicted to get tropical storm force winds, and they are starting now, but Irene is still battering Norfolk. It doesn’t get better from here, which is the scary part.

Obviously power is still on. When the blog disappears, then you’ll know that isn’t the case, as we only have an hour of battery for the blog, and we have nothing if the fiber gets taken out. I’ll keep updating this post as long as there’s power to let everyone know how the “Storm of the Century!” is proceeding. In the mean time, apparently New Yorkers have been taking all the lessons we’ve learned about safe sex, and thinking they apply to hurricanes. Sadly, I’ve seen other sources of this behavior as well. Just remember, these are the folks who think they are fit to rule the country. My other sources in NYC inform me that the yippies there are busy madly stocking up on organic perishable goods, and I wish I wasn’t kidding about that.

UPDATE: 10:45PM Saturday. Tornado warning issued. Specifically for the few towns around us. Warning typically means there’s one on the ground. Fun. Power has been hiccuping a bit.

UPDATE: Moving everything out of the basement. The water coming in is now over the backup pump’s capacity, and nearly over the primary pump’s capacity. The blog server is in the basement along with all the internet stuff. We’re essentially power loss away form having to shut down, UPS or no.

UPDATE: Sewer is now backing up into the house. Still in the sink, but rising. We’re in a lot of trouble here.

UPDATE: Sewer level going down, but there’s more to come. I have been moving everything out of the basement that I can. We were out for a bit because I was moving things around. We have not lost power, and the basement is not yet flooding. We’re in a lull right now, but I am quite scared about losing the home appliances that are down there, and I can’t easily move right now. If the basement starts flooding, I will need to switch off the breakers down there. It should not reach as high as the breaker box, but I’m not taking a lot of chances.

UPDATE: I feel like a fool for making fun of the storm of the century stuff. This is a big deal. When I have to move everything out of by basement because the neighborhood sewer system is overwhelmed by storm intrusion into the system, it’s friggin bad.

UPDATE from Bitter: I have discovered that an adage is not true – you really can have too many guns. At least it seems that way when you have to empty the gun safe very, very quickly when you think your finished basement is about to fill with sewage backup.

UPDATE from Bitter: Sebastian is busy with improvised sandbags & building walls to keep diverting water away from the house. I’m listening to the news and keeping up with the radar. We’re entering a new phase of tornado warnings, but not in our neighborhood yet (again).

A building in North Philly collapsed about an hour and a half ago with people trapped inside. We don’t have anything that severe in our area, but apparently there’s a massive branch in our neighbor’s yard that will take a chainsaw to cut up.

Also, the tv anchors we are listening to on the radio are dumb. I’m listening to them discuss how it doesn’t make any sense that Canada could be facing a tropical storm. It’s a good thing I don’t have a baseball bat to take to my phone which is currently acting as our radio. There’s no excuse for that kind of stupid banter when there are serious issues like flooding.

UPDATE 3:01AM: – Irene is soon going to pass closest to us. Knock on wood, we still have power, but the wind is getting more serious. The gusts sound like a freight train, so I can’t imagine what it’s like for the people near the Jersey shore. I have added some new features to my water works to divert more water around the house. Ultimately, I have a grading problem I need to fix. To top it off the roof is leaking, but that’s actually the least of my concern right now.

UPDATE: The Weather Channel iPad app has been indispensable in letting us know about tornado warnings. I highly recommend.

UPDATE 5:55AM: Water has been manageable since the initial rain bands almost overwhelmed my pump capacity. I literally had water coming out of my basement walls. We have a drain system, but it’s still disconcerting. I have been watching the barometer like a hawk. She’s still not passed yet, and is still coming on. But now with more wind than rain. I hope this continues. I can sustain a power outage as long as the rain isn’t more than my DC backup pump can handle. I haven’t tapped the marine battery yet, and it’s been a miracle we have not lost power. There are a quarter million people without power right now. So far, we are actually very lucky.

UPDATE 6:48AM: Pumps have been able to hold pretty well for the past several hours. The basement is still dry. The neighborhood shit seems to be flowing downhill once again, and not into my basement. Thinking about getting some sleep. I could really use some. Overall, I think we have been very lucky so far. I pray for the poor souls who are not so lucky.

UPDATE 12:15PM: Slept for a bit. The rain has pretty much moved on, but we’re still dealing with heavy wind gusts. But we were very lucky in all this. Hardly any water is coming into the basement at this point, so if the wind knocks power out, we’ll be OK, but the blog will be down for a while.

26 thoughts on “OK, It’s a Real Storm Now”

  1. Open up the cleanout plug — outside somewhere — to relieve the pressure.

  2. Win: Our county government was active on Twitter for the storm. Fail: They went to bed around 11:30pm which is when problems really started getting bad.

  3. It’s a little disconcerting that tweets profiled by The Weather Channel from Philly have to remind residents to not go outside looking for tornados. *facepalm* Things like that make this Oklahoma girl think we need to send some Darwin Awards up this way.

  4. Hope you’re both are doing well with all the Hurricane stuffs. Good News: Pennsylvania Castle doctrine law goes into affect August 27th (today).

  5. So far, we’re still dry-ish and clean. *crosses fingers*

    We have discovered at least one roof leak, but it seems pretty minor, just a minor drip during the height of the storm. Sebastian is really inventive when it comes to developing an on-the-fly drainage system and improvising a sandbag from ashes left over smoking bbq.

  6. Greetings from the West Pacific. I call Virginia my home though. I hope y’all stay safe, much like my family, who I pray is staying safe.

  7. So thankful it wasn’t as bad as they thought it might be. You guys were sure on my mind!

  8. As a former NJ resident I can say it’s a case of expecting to be hit vs. thinking you are safe.

    I lived 3 blocks (if there had been cross roads) from the bay in Pleasantville NJ, dig down more than a foot in the ground and you hit water. The basement was always wet and had very little in it. We always had 2 sump pumps on hand, one in use and one a backup. You listenened for it coming on every few minutes.
    You always had 1/2 plywood on hand to cover your windows.
    Anything that was valuable was kept on the first floor or higher as the bay tended to come up the road during hurricanes. Houses much closer to the bay than ours were built on driven pilings and had no basement. They also tended to be small, guess so they had less crap to get out of them when a storm was coming as they usually went underwater in major storms.

    Everything outside is brought inside, including your trash cans, hopefully they just collected your street the day before, if not hope you have nearly airtight lids.

    A Hurricane can uproot trees, and drive 2x4s thru said trees, think that tape will really help? Yes it will. It will keep large shards of glass from ripping you to shreds when something comes thru your plywood window covers. You also close your curtains for the same reason, slowing down glass shards.

    Hopefully your house has at least 1 room with no windows. That is where you will spend the next 6-24 hours as the storm passes, if no windowless room you put some mattresses against the windows, don’t worry, you won’t be sleeping much anyways.

    Last info is most important – MOVE OUT OF NJ!


  9. Glad to see that both of you did OK with Irene and the sewer didn’t back up too badly.

    One of the first things I checked this morning was your blog to get a feel for how things went in the Philly area. When I saw you still up and running, I took that as a good sign.

  10. My sister in law just reported to us clear skies and that the wind has finally died down in the Washington DC area (I’m along the coast of GA right now – we had a slightly higher than normal high tide on Friday but that was it).

    Rain stopped in DC a couple of hours ago and it was just wind. I’d suspect you guys are probably looking at another couple of hours of wind or so.

    Glad to hear you’ve made it through the worst of the storm ok.

  11. Sebastian: When things have settled down I recommend you look for a window tinting company that does (and is certified for) safety film. It’s non tinted and comes in various thicknesses. Correctly applied, it turns window glass into a laminated safety glass. Cuts down on projectile intrusion and if the window does go,makes it a lot easier to clean up.

  12. funny post I live on coastal NC Irene past with in 40 miles and had less trouble then you

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