earlBatten down the hatches, here comes Earl. And if Earl doesn’t get us there is Fiora out there and then some unnamed menace behind her. Yes, the hurricane season is upon us.

Right now, the most eminent danger is Earl who is classified as a category 4 hurricane at present. The Outer Banks and coastal North Carolina are right in his path. The weird thing about hurricanes is that they have a mind of their own. Earl could slam North Carolina or it could veer right abruptly and head on out to sea, to die a slow death as it reaches colder waters. No one totally understand hurricanes.

A century ago, before weather instruments were as exact, people didn’t have much warning about hurricanes. Huge killer storms  were right on top of people before they knew what hit them.  Hundreds, even thousands were killed.  I am sure people felt the air, the fallen barometeric pressure , and saw extra mushrooms coming up in unexpected places. But they didn’t always heed what little warning they did have.  Folks in Texas, along the Gulf Coast and Florida probably have been beaten up the most from these killer monster storms. They are not alone, however.


The Atlantic coast has had its share of hurricanes. They can zip right up the coast, all the way to Nova Scotia. Some of our hardest hit areas have been in New England. Hurricanes can also come inland. They quickly become tropical depressions and storms but still pack a wallop. Hurricanes named Anges, Betsy, Camille, Donna, Hazel and Isabel all are evidence of the damage and flooding that can happen inland.

Long time residents of Manassas will never forget Agnes. Although downgraded to a tropical storm, Agnes dumped tons of water in our area and towards the mountains. Bull Run and the Occoquan both flooded. Some houses at Lake Jackson were under water. The old bridge in the Town of Occoquan was taken out. The worst hit area was West Gate/Loch Lomond. Many houses were under water and all you could see were roof tops. People were rescued from these roof tops.   The project to keep such disaster from striking that area again was just finished a few years ago.

As we wait to see the course of this latest threat, we need to make sure we have plenty of bottled water, candles, cell phones charged, laptops charged, rx’s filled, batteries for flashlights, weather radios, matches and lighters etc. I am sure our readers can contribute ideas for hurricane preparation. Even if we don’t get a direct hit, we can get enough rain or flooding to cause diruption in our lives or even danger.

From NOAA archives
From NOAA archives

 Hazel Path through Virginia, 1954

Update: 9/1/10 4 pm

9/1/10 4 pm
9/1/10 4 pm

24 Thoughts to “Batten Down the Hatches”

  1. Diversity Gal

    CNN reported that Hyde County issued a mandatory evacuation of Ocracoke (in the Outer Banks).

  2. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Hmmm, whaddya think our Labor Day weekend is going to be like?

  3. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Isabel was a real booger.

  4. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Actually, if you ever get the chance to read the stories of the survivors of the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, it’s fascinating. They talked of the wind tearing the skin off their ears. Ooff.

  5. Agnes was awful. I saw some of those houses under water. The flatbranch project supposedly will make it so that never happens again. Agnes brought in a 100 years flood.

    Isabel nailed one of my big trees. I only lost cable for a few hours. People I know on the mountain were without water for nearly a week. They kept thinking I was going to wash away. Last laugh and all.

  6. Wolverine

    Here’s a then and now hurricane story for this thread.

    On 2 October 1850, a sailing ship left Liverpool, England, carrying nearly 300 Mormon converts with an eventual destination of the Mormon Trail and the Great Salt Lake. The port of call in America was New Orleans. When that ship reached the mouth of the Mississippi, the captain had expected to find one of the small, privately owned pilot boats whose captains for a fee guided ships up the often treacherous river to the docks in new Orleans. The weather seemed to have become threatening. There was no pilot ship to be seen.

    Of a sudden, a hurricane struck the Louisiana coast. The immigrant ship was driven back out to sea by the storm. The wind and waves tore away the sails and then the masts. The helpless ship tossed and turned in the mighty waves, crew and passengers coming to believe that they were facing the end. And when the storm finally passed, the ship floated helplessly in the Gulf of Mexico. No one even knew that they were out there. The passengers and crew visually scoured the sea for day after day, looking vainly for help.

    Several weeks later, a companion Mormon emigrant ship arrived at the mouth of the Mississippi. Inquiries were made about the first ship. It had not arrived. No one even knew that it had been coming. Most guessed that it must have been lost in the storm. The second Mormon ship turned about to search for its lost companion ship but found nothing.

    In those long ago days, the pilot boat crews were completely private and unregulated by government. They hung around the mouth of the Mississippi awaiting the arrival of sailing ships and trying to race their rivals to get the largest piloting fees from the largest ships. Sometimes the pilot boat captains would go far out to sea just to get a jump on their competitors by encountering vessels on the way to the Mississippi.

    It appears that one such pilot boat captain was doing just that when he came by pure chance upon a strange sight: a large sailing vessel with neither sails nor masts floating on the Gulf. The crew and passengers of that ship were on the verge of starvation, having run out of food. The pilot boat threw the ship a line and towed her toward the Mississippi, where the second Mormon ship took her under tow and brought the 300 at last to the docks of new Orleans. The devout passengers believed that the hand of God had led that pilot boat to them on a seemingly endless expanse of empty sea. The storm and starvation had not caused the loss of a single life, although there were some mighty close calls, including a woman diarist aboard the vessel who was about to be swept overboard when her young son reached out a hand and pulled her back.

    This is but one of many, many hurricane stories. It does, however, have much significance for Mrs. Wolverine. Her great-great-grandparents were among the passengers on that sailing ship. Had it not been for one pilot boat captain trying to get a leg up on his competitors, Mrs. W would not be here. Or, as Mrs. W might say herself, there must have been another pair of merciful hands at the wheel of that pilot boat on that day in 1850.

  7. Be prepared for all hazards by following the information at http://www.readyvirginia.gov. Don’t forget to have a plan for your pets as well as your family.

  8. Great hurricane story, Wolverine.

    Thanks Cindy. I will add the FEMA one to it.

    I have read where not having pet plans kept a lot of people in New Orleans when Katrina hit. I can understand not wanting to go off and leave your animals. Many animals ended up being homeless after Katrina. There are also miracle stories about families being reunited with their pets after long periods of time and over great distances.

  9. George S. Harris

    Remember the coffins floating around in Occoquon?

  10. No. During which hurricane? I never knew about that. Must be an eastern end thing.

  11. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    They’re saying Earl won’t make landfall now. They=Federal Gub’ment.

  12. Mom

    Thank God we’re already up to “Earl” in the list of Hurricane names, I was worried there might be a Hurricane “Corey” making landfall this year, the bad karma would have been too much.

  13. snicker…@ MoM. Poor Corey. I am giving him a rest for a week or 2. However, I am still here when he returns.

  14. Earl is barreling towards NC. It hasn’t turned yet. The NC governor has declared a state of emergency.

  15. RingDangDoo

    A couple interactive websites I found recently to track hurricanes and other storms..



  16. RingDangDoo

    oops! Screwed the links up!

    Just go to stormpulse.com or ibiseye.com. 😉

  17. VA has declared a state of emergency. Earl is now back to being a cat 4.

  18. marinm

    Everybody stay safe…


    On September 1, 2010, I verbally declared a state of emergency to exist for the Commonwealth of Virginia based on National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service forecasts projecting impacts from Hurricane Earl that could cause damaging high winds, coastal and lowland flooding throughout the eastern portion of the Commonwealth.

    The health and general welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth require that state action be taken to help alleviate the conditions caused by this situation. The effects of this storm constitute a disaster wherein human life and public and private property are imperiled, as described in § 44-146.16 of the Code of Virginia.

    Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by § 44-146.17 of the Code of Virginia, as Governor and as Director of Emergency Management, and by virtue of the authority vested in me by Article V, Section 7 of the Constitution of Virginia and by § 44-75.1 of the Code of Virginia, as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the Commonwealth, and subject always to my continuing and ultimate authority and responsibility to act in such matters, I hereby confirm, ratify, and memorialize in writing my verbal orders issued on September 1, 2010, whereby I proclaimed that a state of emergency exists and I directed that appropriate assistance be rendered by agencies of both state and local governments to prepare for potential impacts of the storm, to alleviate any conditions resulting from significant storm events and to implement recovery and mitigation operations and activities so as to return impacted areas to pre-event conditions in so far as possible. Pursuant to § 44-75.1(A)(3) and (A)(4) of the Code of Virginia, I also directed that the Virginia National Guard and the Virginia Defense Force be called forth to state duty to be prepared to assist in providing such aid. This shall include Virginia National Guard assistance to the Virginia Department of State Police to direct traffic, prevent looting, and perform such other law enforcement functions as the Superintendent of State Police, in consultation with the State Coordinator of Emergency Management, the Adjutant General, and the Secretary of Public Safety, may find necessary.

  19. I feel safer already.

    Thanks Marin. Where have you been? too much sex talk for a guy?

  20. marinm

    Taking care of some things in case I get the phone call this weekend. That and work chews my time. 🙂

  21. Are you in the reserves? Not trying to be nosy….sorry.

  22. The Outer Banks might have dodged the bullet with Earl. I hope so.

  23. RingDangDoo

    It’s now a category 2 hurricane and is making its predicted turn to the northeast. It’ll probably stay off the coast and travel quite quickly, dumping a lot of rain, wind and surf.

    Be glad for high pressure (which has given us a lot of hot temps recently). If we didn’t have the high pressure over us, Earl would be barreling over us on his way to Pittsburgh. 😉

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