30 October 2012

Passage Creek the morning after Sandy

Posted by Callan Bentley

The storm treated us well last night. We got some rain and some consistently moderate wind, but nothing insane. When I got up this morning, I checked the stream gauge online, and saw that Passage Creek was up significantly, and perhaps over the little low-water bridge that connects our house to the outside world.

So I walked down there to check it out. Here’s the view from a little knoll on my neighbor’s land, looking west/northwest across the creek’s floodplain.

When I got down to the bridge, I saw that the water level was just below it.

Usually it’s three or four feet lower than that.

Lotta water in there. And a tree. This is much higher than normal.

Here’s a short video showing the creek:


Leafy flotsam caught in creekside vegetation:

And a big pile on the upstream side of the bridge:

There was even a wad of leaves wrapped around the above-water, above-bridge portion of the the tree trunk:

I guess that leads me to infer that the creek crested a bit above bridge level sometime during the early morning – otherwise how would those leaves get there?

Back at the house, I checked on the bowl that Lily set on the porch last evening to act as an informal rain gauge. It had rain in it:

I surveyed the wreckage of the big oak we had cut down on Sunday.

This made me sad – I felt like I had to do it to protect the house, given the forecast, but this was a big, old, healthy oak tree. I didn’t count every annual ring, but I counted a few well-expressed sections and extrapolated to the rest of the radius width. I estimate it’s over 150 years old.

What a bummer. My foot (with its sad face) provides a sense of scale.

Lastly, I walked about 200 feet north of our house, to a little ravine that’s almost always dry. It had a healthy stream of water running in it this morning. Another video to show this:


All told, the storm treated us pretty well. We prepared for the worst, and didn’t get it.