|Home > News > Power is Out: The Long Dark Wait (September 25, 2003)|
We monitored Isabel for nearly two weeks before she made landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We knew we were at risk from flooding, storm surge, downed trees, blocked roads, and power outages.
We applied the Rules of Adverse Assumptions to our situation (i.e., assume things will go seriously wrong; people you relied upon cannot help; you must take steps to protect yourself and your family).
Wednesday, September 17
Given the likelihood of serious damage from flooding, we spent days clearing everything from the Eagle Point home site. We put 2 Lasers, 4 windsurfers, masts, sails, etc on a boat trailer and took the trailer to the mini storage - it fit with about 2 inches to spare.
We took the
mast down on Camelot, the O'day Mariner. Pete put an extra anchor out
and lengthened the anchor lines. That's all we could do to protect her.
After the sun set, we walked down to the Bay. The wind was howling, waves were breaking over bulkheads and riprap. The full force of the storm would not arrive until tomorrow night. This did not look good.
A rescue squad vehicle drove down our road. The driver and a deputy sheriff told residents that we were under a mandatory evacuation and should leave by 9 am tomorrow morning. Only two families remained on Stingray Point by then - our neighbors and us.
shelters were open. We were advised that people in shelters were not guests,
they were refuges. The word "refugees" echoed in our minds for
predicted that a 6-8 foot storm surge in the Chesapeake Bay would cause
massive flooding in low areas. If they were correct, Stingray Point would
be an island by this afternoon. Our living room would be chest-deep in
Then Pete's sister Allegra invited us to stay with her in West Virginia. Since we had a conference in Pittsburgh in two days, she offered to take care of our dogs. We were increasingly concerned that the only road out of our county would soon be blocked by falling trees during the storm. We took Allegra up on her offer.
picked up. It was raining hard. We took electronic stuff to the office
- stereo, CD player, monitor, printers. We put things that would be damaged
by water high up. There was only so much we could do.
As we drove away from our cottage, we took inventory - three dogs, dog crates, beds and bowls. Two laptops, one printer. Two small bags.
We were refugees.
We had been
listening to the weather for days - suddenly we had no information about
the storm. I called Debra and Tracy. Debra was without power. Since she
was prepared for this, she had supplies to last her family several days.
I called Tracy - her power went out as we were talking.
Friday, September 19
Friday afternoon, Debra drove to the office and our cottage.
Saturday, September 20
We talked to Debra and Tracy again. No power, no ice, no water. Grocery stores were closed. Gas was being rationed.
Guard was helping to clean up, cutting trees, putting tarps on roofs.
Most cleanup work is being done by the community. Thank goodness most
folks have chain saws!
We posted a notice on the Wrightslaw site, advising people that the conference has been postponed because of power outages.
Sunday, September 21
We collected the dogs from Allegra and re-packed the car. We were anxious to get home.
Monday, September 22
arrived home after midnight so did not have a clear idea of the damage
until Monday morning.
wires were hanging a few feet from the front door - electric lines, cable,
Nearly half the trees on Eagle Point are down. Some snapped a few feet above ground, others blew down with rootballs attached. More trees are leaning - they will fall in the next storm or this winter during nor'easters.
Pete spent hours clearing timber from around the cottage. On Monday, power was restored at the office - we can get showers!
We are no longer refugees - we are home.
Tuesday, September 23
Power was out at the office again. Later, we learned that tornadoes hit Virginia just before dawn, knocking out power again for tens of thousands of people.
Pete tried to start the generator - no luck. He took the generator apart twice and finally got it running. The water pump seized up, no water. We are back to using the bucket in the well.
We ran out of ice. We learned that a convenience store ten miles up the road had ice - one bag per customer. As I drove to the store for one bag of ice, I marveled at the time spent dealing with water and ice every day.