29 October 2012

Hurricane Sandy in the Fort Valley

Posted by Callan Bentley

Up here on the northwest flank of Massanutten Mountain, Lily and I prepared for Hurricane Sandy in several ways. We bought a generator this week (actually, we ordered it last week before Sandy was a twinkle in the atmosphere’s eye, but it was delivered this week), we stocked up on food (pizza with fresh veggies tonight), and we cut down a big tree in our back yard that could have toppled onto the house if the winds were strong enough and the soil sufficiently saturated (sad to do, but I would have been even sadder if it fell on the house). I also spent several hours clearing leaves off our 1000-foot-long gravel driveway, as they tend to “clot up” in the drainage ditches on either side when it rains a lot. This can dam the flow of water and force it out onto the driveway itself, with attendant erosion. So far, so good. The storm has brought us plenty of cold (45° F) rain, but no snow as they are seeing at higher elevations (we’re at ~1100′ but the snow is apparently mostly above 2000′). The wind has been moderate to impressive, but not fearsome (yet). I went down to check the mailbox (about a mile from our house, on the far side of Passage Creek), and saw that the creek had come up about half a foot. If the predictions of 3 to 5 inches of rain hold true, I suspect that before tomorrow is out, we’ll see it crest over the level of the little low-water bridge that connects us to the rest of the U.S. road system. If so, we’ll be back here for a couple of days at least. Hopefully it will subside before I have to drive down to Charlotte, North Carolina, for the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America.

I’ll let you know if anything changes, assuming we don’t lose internet access. Best wishes to all my friends, colleagues, and readers across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.