Tobacco Road Fogey

'puters, politics, and occasional prattle.

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Saturday, September 20, 2003
 

News about hurricane blogging

Here's an article from the dead-tree press about bloggers and hurricane blogging.

Congrats to Bloviating Inanities, Wizbang, One Fine Jay, and Silent Running for being quoted in the article. I can't be sure, since the reporter didn't specifically cite this place, but I think I'm the anonymous North Carolina blogger who was "listening to ham radios while at the same time blogging."

Thanks to Say Uncle for sending me an email about this article.
  


 

Another hurricane blogger

Check out Unfreezing. He is a ham radio operator who did emergency communications duty at one of the shelters in Pitt County, NC (near Greenville), much closer to where the eye of Isabel passed through the state.

He's a new blogger, so go over and encourage him to tell some of his hurricane stories.
  


Thursday, September 18, 2003
 

10 PM Update

Things are slowly heading back toward normal. The winds are down to around 10 mph sustained and 20 mph gusts. A very light mist is falling, and the streets and sidewalks are beginning to dry from the constant breeze.

Looks like this will be the last update for today, since my employer will be open for business tomorrow, barring any overnight accidents such as power failures.

Good luck and stay safe to all of you folks north and east of here. I'll be looking forward to seeing what kind of a dance you guys get from Isabel.
  


 

8 PM update

Still some wind and rain, but the winds have subsided significantly. Occasional gusts that I can hear inside the house, but I haven't heard anything strike the house for about an hour or so.

The college students that live next door have been stirring around a little. I've heard a couple of car doors slamming over there.

Power has been on and steady for about an hour. Little "twinkles" here and there, but not enough to knock the TV off the air.

I think I'll fix myself some supper and watch Emeril Live. He's doing the "pork fat" thing with sausages tonight.

Mmmmm. Sausages.
  


 

Power out

Power went out here at FogeyBase at 5:55 pm for the longest amount of time yet today. It was restored 55 minutes later, so no major problems here. We lost power for about 18 hours during Hurricane Fran in 1996, so 1 hour is not too bad.

During the power outage, I went outside to look around before sunset. Lots of leaves and small tree branches scattered around on the ground, but there was only a light sprinkle of rain and the wind gusts are much reduced in intensity. Besides, with no A/C or fans available indoors with the power out, the FogeyWife would beat me to death with one of our newly purchased flashlights if I were to light up a cigarette indoors.

So I went out to smoke. Conditions appear to be about what they were around noon, except for the wind direction, which is swinging around to the opposite of what it was this morning.
  


 

Current conditions 5PM

Wind gusts are significantly stronger and last longer, and a strong rain band appears to be trying to move in to the Raleigh area, according to local TV. I heard a few branches or pine cones or something bounce off the roof about 5 minutes ago -- the first impacts of this storm.

Local TV is also starting to show large trees broken off and uprooted in areas much closer to FogeyBase. Also, more reports of localized flooding.

FogeyWife is in the bedroom taking a nap. I guess things aren't too bad if she's able to sleep. Of course, she slept through the second half of Fran in 1996 also.
  


 

Take a look

Stole this idea from Michele:

NCDOT Traffic Cameras. Click on Triangle and then click on the "Exit 287 -- Harrison Avenue" link to get a view of I-40 about 6 miles from my house.

Local television is saying that the next 3-4 hours will be the worst for the Triangle area. The last radar view I saw has the eye of the storm over just east of Greenville, NC, or about 90-100 miles east of here. Wind gusts are still up in the 40's here. No hurricane force gusts reported in this area yet, but possible in the next few hours.
  


 

Getting a little more serious

Just heard a call for ham operators to man communications at local emergency helters. A couple of shelters were open earlier, but it looks like the local emergency management officials are going to open several more in the next hour. Don't know if this was the plan or not.

Local ham repeaters are fairly quiet. Most of the wide-coverage repeaters in the area are reserved for emergency net operations, so not much chit-chat can be heard. I'm having to keep the squelch locked fairly tight on both radios to keep the computers from interfering with their scans.

More and more power glitches happening, with a couple of two-minute outages in the past hour. Looks like I'm pretty lucky with power so far, since large outages have been reported throughout the county.

I'm getting a kick out of watching the reporters from the local TV stations who are out roaming through eastern North Carolina. It's really glamorous to be out in rains whipped up by gale force winds, isn't it?
  


 

Current conditions

Winds are definitely picking up. I can hear them whistling outside the house now, where I couldn't before. WRAL-TV is reporting peak gusts in the 40's here and 50's just about 60 miles to the east of here. Ham radio ops are reporting more power failures and trees down (largest thus far was about 20 inches in diameter, which fell into a pond in the eastern part of my county).

Barometric pressure is dropping steadily, down about 10 millibars in the last three hours. Only about an inch and a half of rain at RDU airport so far, though.

Amazing how much this is like Fran was a few years ago, except this is happening during daylight and not at night. Much less scary this way, in my opinion
  


 

She's getting closer

Had to switch over to my laptop, because we're having too many of those annoying little power flickers that are just long enough to cause my desktop machine to go down and reboot.

I started to stop at Best Buy on the way home from work yesterday to buy a UPS, but changed my mind. Of course, I was also planning on going to work early this morning, which would have kept me from blogging.

Oh, well.
  


 

FogeyWife is home

Yes! She's home and safe, if a little bit wet.

And she even brought me some burritos from Taco Bell.

I love that woman.
  


 

Another hurricane blogger

Another NC hurricane blogger: The Blind Man Eateth Many A Fly

He's up on the northeast side of this storm, above Cape Hatteras.

Good luck, my friend. Batten down and take care.
  


 

First trip out today

On Sunday, the FogeyWife and I went out to the local Wal-Mart and stocked up on the things we'd be likely to need as a result of Isabel -- batteries, bottled drinking water, flashlights, etc. We bought plenty of AA, AAA, and D batteries, but no C batteries since I couldn't think of anything that needed C cells.

Guess what? The portable radio I was planning to use in case of power failure uses C's. Murphy's laws in action, of course.

Just got back from a trip down to the local C-store for a couple of packs of C cells. Light rain, gusty winds, and a lot of leaves, pine straw, small branches, etc. blown down into the roads already. Nothing scary happening yet. The one local street that has a habit of getting a sizable flooding pool on it during heavy rains is starting to puddle up. And the eye of Isabel has just started coming ashore down in the Atlantic Beach area within the past hour.

Crap! I forgot to charge up my backup gel-cell for the ham equipment. At least I've got plenty of AA's for the two HT's. On receive-only, they'll last for days.
  


 

Riding out Isabel update #1

Latest news heard on the amateur radio nets:
  • Flooding on low spots on local roads
  • The two-meter ham repeater used for SKYWARN and Emergency Operations Center communications announced that it had a power failure, so it's probably on backup power. In the past, it's had several hours of power available, so no worries just yet.
  • The National Hurricane Center seems to have lost touch with its teams at Cape Hatteras, NC. FEMA also appears to have lost touch with its teams in that area. Both agencies requesting amateur radio operators to assist in relaying radio traffic.
  • Power failures being reported in northern parts of Raleigh and Wake County. Had our first power flicker here about 15 minutes ago, but didn't cause anything to go down

  

 

Blogging from the hurricane zone

Yeah, Hurricane Isabel is headed this general direction. The latest local weather reports have the eye of Isabel passing about 40-50 miles east of FogeyBase sometime mid- to late-afternoon today. The current weather conditions here are light rain and gusty winds (maximum about 25-30 mph). The forecast for later today is for increasing winds (40-60 mph) and heavier rain (1-4 inches here, more the further east you go).

My employer told us to stay home today, but the FogeySpouse had to go in this morning. She's a nurse at one of the medical clinics associated with our county's largest medical center, and the powers-that-be decided to keep the clinics open this morning. She called me about a half-hour ago to tell me that her clinic is going to close down about lunchtime, and she hopes that they'll let the staff go home, rather than redeploying them to locations in the main hospital. I'll know more in a couple of hours when she calls to let me know.

As for me, I'm sitting here monitoring my ham radios for reports from the SKYWARN spotters that are helping out the National Weather Service with reports about conditions in their areas. I just heard a SKYWARN report from Kill Devil Hills, NC, reporting heavy rain, sustained winds of 40 mph with gusts to 60 mph, and that power is now out on Hatteras Island and Okracoke Island. Also, RDU airport appears to have cancelled all of their outgoing flights, due to wind gusts approaching 40 mph in the area.

I'll try to keep blogging throughout the day, if the power stays on. I've also located some links for those of you who'd like to virtually experience an oncoming hurricane. Here are three of them, and I'll update with additional ones as I find them.

NWS radar loop from Morehead City, NC

WRAL-TV, Raleigh, NC live continuous coverage online. (requires Real Player)

Amateur radio link with National Hurricane Center in Miami, FL, via the Internet Radio Linking Project. I was able to listen to this using WinAmp. There appears to be a couple of minute delay between the audio I hear on my local IRLP node and the audio being streamed from NHC.
  


 

Backup blogging here

Looks like an Instalanche has snockered my Blog-City site, so I'll be using this old place as a backup for my Hurricane Isabel blogging.

Maybe Blog*Spot will hold up better than Blog-City. Who knows? I'll transfer today's previous posts from the Blog-City site now.
  





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