Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Tropical Storm Isaias Gave Us A Memorable Beating


On Monday, I mentioned that we decided to do a little storm prep because it appeared that tropical storm Isaias was going to directly impact where we live. As I am writing this, I'm still in awe that we still have power and internet because Isaias did pay us a visit and over half of Connecticut is without power. 

When Lisa and I got up yesterday morning, I checked the status of the storm while Lisa took the kids out and fed them breakfast. The storm had shifted a bit to the west. Our area was on the east side of the storm. 

Not good.

I checked my trusty weather pages and they were predicting 60-70 mph wind gusts. For us, that's rather substantial. Usually, when the gusts hit 50 mph, things start going downhill quickly. 

In addition, tropical storm Isaias sped up. It wouldn't be a storm that would linger, but it was going to hit hard with the worst between 2-8 and the worst of the worst toward the end with the tailwinds.

Lisa and I sipped our morning coffee on the back porch. If I could sum up the scenery and weather, it would be "the calm before the storm." The air was still. It was overcast. The birds were enjoying our buffet of bird feeders. 

I made breakfast, we ate over a game of Yahtzee, Lisa spent time with the kids, and then she left for work. 

Not before telling me several times that if things got bad all I had to do was text or call and she'd come home. 

By noon, it started getting breezy with strong gusts. The wind became progressively worse quickly. I kept tabs on the weather pages as they updated. 

I rotated my time between the dining room table where my laptop was and on the back porch to monitor what was happening outside. We have a lot of trees and so do our neighbors. With each gust, I could hear limbs cracking. 

The kids remained calm. I had the living room and dining room air conditioners on to drown out the noise. 

It worked like a charm. 

I can't begin to describe how strong the wind gusts were. They were worse than the bombogenesis storm we got in October of 2018 that knocked out power for almost 2 days. And, another bombogenesis storm that hit last October. 

At one point, I was sitting on the back porch and the wind stopped. Completely. It was eerie. A minute or so later within a few seconds, we were slammed with some type of downwind. I froze. I heard trees coming down on both sides of our house.

I stayed on the porch long enough to make sure that our house was out of harm's way. I made sure our kids were napping. They were, but not for long. With the next gusts of wind, we lost power for a couple of minutes. 

For some reason, when we've lost power in the past or had brownouts, our kids react to that. They know something isn't right.

Our power came back on, but we had continuous brownouts for over an hour. After the first 3, I shut all the air conditioners off and unplugged everything I could. There was nothing to drown out the noise of the wind. 

All of our kids paced and they were afraid. I sat on the sofa with them and eventually the floor. Every so often I checked on things in our yard and around our house from the back porch. 

As it neared 5, it looked like it was going to clear up. I could see patches of blue sky. The sun peeked through a few times. The winds died down a bit. 

I was optimistic until I read the updates on the weather pages. They both said, "Do not be fooled! If you're seeing blue skies and sun, brace yourselves because the worst of the worst was going to hit soon." 

There was a meteorological explanation that followed, but I wasn't paying attention to the science behind it. I was bracing myself for round 2.

Less than a half-hour later, it hit and we got slammed again. The winds were insane. Lisa sent me another text asking if I wanted her to come home. I told her no. Even though she only works 7 minutes away from home, I didn't want her on the roads. 

Lisa arrived home from work at 7:30. By then, the winds had died down significantly. There was enough daylight to see the trees that had fallen in our neighbor's yard 2 houses down. Our immediate neighbor to our right had a small tree down too, but a couple of larger trees had caught it. The top of the tree was hanging over one of our backyards. 

Our yards were covered with small branches and leaves. A few of the shingles on our garage loosened a bit. Aside from that, we were spared major damage and we still had power and internet. 

After nightfall blanketed the sky, Lisa and I sat on the back porch for a while. She asked if I was okay. Honestly, it wasn't until then that I started the process of being okay. We were not out of the woods yet. There was a chance we could lose power within the next 24 hours and not have it restored for days. However, the storm was over. My nerves were settling down and we were safe. 

I think Lisa was exhaling too because during the entire time she was at work. I'm fairly certain she had doubts about how hard the storm would hit. 

Most people did.

This morning, my social media feeds lit up with photos of the damage and updates on power outages. I was rendered speechless. 

That doesn't happen often.

It was emotionally overwhelming because I knew that could have happened to us. Yes, we had trees come down around us, but there was no damage or injuries. 

Over half of Connecticut is without power. There was so much damage. Countless trees and powerlines are down all over. Some fell on vehicles and houses. 

The governor declared a state of emergency because after assessing some of the damage, the power company is telling people that it could be up to a week or more until people have their power restored. 

Rumor has it that tropical storm Isaias is one of the largest power outages events in Connecticut's modern history. It's right up there with tropical storm Irene and the October snowstorm in 2011 and hurricane Sandy in 2012. 

Rumor also has it that it's going to be an extremely active hurricane and tropical storm season. One of the weather pages I frequent is convinced this will be the year we get a hurricane. 

I hope they're wrong. 

Between COVID-19 and all the shit that's happening in the world, the last thing we need is a storm worse than tropical storm Isaias.

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