Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy on the rise

As of 7pm local time the National Hurricane Centre are showing that Sandy has dropped to 75 knots and the central pressure is rising. So it is now 'only' a tropical storm. Winds have not increased over the last hours, we have 20 - 30 knots with occasional gusts of around 45knots. The conditions are pretty good, no worse than an gale in Poole Harbour, actually a lot warmer!!
We're expecting lots more rain and about this much rain all day tomorrow, but all is well on board.
Have to say I'm very impressed with the accuracy of the weather predictions and the preparedness of all the civic departments both here and in New York.
Boring view of the park today, not underwater, just before sunset

Stu in his anchor watch togs

Sandy earlier today merging with the cold front from the NW. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Frankenstorm, Washington DC

Well, we thought we were pretty smart, spending hurricane season all the way up north in Maine, and coming south so late that we nearly froze. We didn't bank on getting a late hurricane in Chesapeake Bay – seems a bit unfair! Not just a hurricane, but it's going to blend with a big cold front to create 'Frankenstorm', as the media have dubbed it.  Lots of hype on the TV and international media, as we wait to see where Hurricane Sandy will make landfall. Hope it will go north of us, as the current forecast models show and turn up to New York, leaving us on the edge of the weather – but they are unpredictable by nature, so we have prepared the boat for the worst and can't do any more about it, but watch and wait.

There are good forecasts and radar images on www.accuweather.com for information on the current situation without the hype.
Hype aside it will be the biggest storm to hit USA in 100 years. Hopefully we will tell you more later.

Currently we are anchored in a stump of river right in the heart of Washington DC, with 3 other boats. There is a marina here, but the staff didn't fill us with confidence that it wouldn't break up, so we feel safer out on the hook, with second anchor ready on deck to be deployed if necessary. The biggest risk to the marina is the storm surge, caused by a combination of heavy rain, high spring tide and the hurricane at sea pushing the water up the Chesapeake bay so that the water backs up higher and higher. Washington DC and New York are both low lying, with poor sea defences. Also they have metro systems just below ground level, which have vents direct on the street above – if the water level rises and floods the road, it pours down into the Metro below. This is why the cities go into state of emergency and everything shuts down. With our water tanks, food supplies, sanitation and our own power, light and heat, we are streets ahead in preparation compared to the general public if they get the power outages as predicted. We 'just' have to make sure our anchor stays put in the thick gloopy mud here, and ride up and down in our little Ark as the tide rises in our protected little basin.
Well, it is now Sunday afternoon, we've had no rain and no wind to speak of. Just cloudy skies so far, and life is going on as usual around us – the Washington marathon runners just went through the park behind us. The park may well be underwater by tomorrow!

We are hunkered down with plenty of supplies and well equipped with hurricane advice gleaned from many fellow cruisers, who've sailed up and down this coast before.
I'll try and keep you posted on the weather we get, here on the blog, in the next couple of days.
Thanks for all your emails wishing us well.
Steph and Stu xx