How Quickly Things can Change

Photo by G. Crouch
In little time, Matthew went from a tropical storm to a category 5 hurricane. By late next week, peoples' lives on this coast may be dramatically interrupted. When these storms track west of the Chesapeake Bay, the storm surge has been reported as high as 15 feet in one long ago incident. The flood hazard estimates for the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant use a maximum probable surge of 27 feet (the plant survives, but so long Norfolk, Annapolis, and Baltimore).

Storm surge isn't the concern for my home, but a major hurricane hit would possibly take off the roof or knock down walls. We would not be in the house at that point, having evacuated to a shelter or to the hinterlands about a day ahead of the storm. More than likely, we would be dealing with something less than a category 3 hurricane this far up the bay, so my choice would be to ride it out (though, this time, with all of the saturated ground, toppled trees would be a bigger problem than usual).

Time to start going through the hurricane checklist. Hopefully, track forecasts will allow me to put such preparations aside short of having to shift to the evacuation checklist.

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