A blog about a first-time house owner learning to maintain his backyard, and thoughts about nature, science, history, and life.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Preparing for Sandy

First of all, I did get a little bit of work done between (and during) the rain showers this weekend.  Nothing exciting, though.  I did some raking in the backyard, and with the help of my parents, who were in town for the weekend, I got the leaves bagged from the front yard.  I also bagged much of the brush that I had cleaned up and piled in the garden (you can see some of it in the background of the picture above).  Finally, I now have a rain gauge installed in the garden, as you can see above.  Now I can monitor the rainfall much more closely over the next couple of days.  One other note - I was standing out by the dock on Saturday, when my backyard was subject to a bird invasion from the other side of the creek.  All of a sudden, cardinals, chickadees, tufted titmouse, and two red headed woodpeckers crossed over into my yard and made a dash for seeds and trees.  It was nice to see some bird action, finally.  Maybe the yard isn't in such bad shape after all!

Be warned that this blog will be in Sandy mode for the next 2-3 days.  I'll be reporting on excitements such as whether my dock survives and just how many branches come down in the front and back yards.  I've made my own preparations for Sandy, of course.  The biggest concern is that the winds will knock trees onto power lines, causing an outage.  For such an eventuality, I've stocked up on water for cleaning and toilet flushing.  I have plenty of bottled water, soft drinks, and pink lemonade on hand.  I'm planning to fill the freezer with plastic bags full of water (which will freeze) to keep things cold.  I have a flashlight, a small battery-powered lamp, and candles.  I'm also not parking my car under the tree in the front yard during the storm.

Right now, it's cloudy and relatively calm.  There's just a bit of light drizzle and a steady, light breeze.  At the Ithaca airport, 5.5 miles away, the wind is at 13 mph with gusts to 18.  The steady to heavy rain is expected to move into the area starting around mid-afternoon.  Winds will pick up as well.  The worst of the storm will come tonight into early tomorrow morning - this is when I'm concerned about a potential power outage.  Overnight, the National Weather Service is forecasting sustained winds of 28-33 mph (just under tropical storm force) with gusts to 47 mph.  The storm will wind down tomorrow afternoon into tomorrow night.  The current rainfall forecast is for a storm total of 1.23" in Ithaca and slightly less here.  This bodes well for the dock, as it's already survived a similar amount of rainfall this fall.  However, the creek is still running high from rains late last week and over the weekend, and I wouldn't rule out the possibility of getting significantly more rain than forecast (say, more than 2") if we find ourselves in the path of a heavy rain band or two.

I may check in with an update later tonight, and if not, I'll do my best to post an update tomorrow at noon, depending on my power situation at home and whether the Cornell campus remains open.  If you're in the path of the storm, stay safe!

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