Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene - Things Continue to Look Worse for Hampton Roads

It's bad when you feel like you need a stiff drink at 6:20 AM, but that's how stressed out I'm feeling. It clearly looks like this area is going to receive a major hit. Before running over to secure the office, the boyfriend and I are moving stuff out of the bard/shed in the back yard to take some to the third floor storage space at the salon building. Other things like the lawn mower, etc. will be put up on tables. Other folding tables will be used in the garage - the convertible is already at a downtown Hampton garage - the get stuff up off the floor. The amount of things that need to be moved is mind blowing and demonstrates how you don't know how much stuff you have until you have to move much of it. Here's highlights from the latest from the Virginian Pilot coverage:

As Hurricane Irene's broad path veered closer to Hampton Roads on Thursday, Gov. Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency but stopped short of ordering widespread evacuations and reversing lanes on Interstate 64 to speed traffic out of the region.

By this morning, Irene had weakened slightly to a Category 2 hurricane - with top winds around 110 mph - with the potential to restrengthen today, according to the National Hurricane Center. Its winds are hitting at tropical storm force 290 miles from its center. Storm surges of 5 to 10 feet are expected along the coast, accompanied by large, life-threatening waves. Rainfall of 6 to 10 inches is forecast - and up to 15 inches is possible in some areas.

All five South Hampton Roads cities are preparing to open some of their emergency shelters tonight. Norfolk residents who want to move their vehicles to higher ground may park for free in city garages at MacArthur Center, Boush Street, Freemason Street and York Street beginning at 6 p.m. today. In Virginia Beach, Oceanfront parking garages will open; for details,see

McDonnell said residents need to be prepared for the possible closures of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel, the Midtown Tunnel and other water crossings in the region, likely on Saturday morning.

Army officials ordered everyone to leave Fort Monroe, a 565-acre island at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, by 6 p.m. today. Fort Monroe is home to about 800 soldiers and family members; separately, a few hundred people live in apartments at The Chamberlin. The Army base was badly damaged by Hurricane Isabel in 2003. That storm caused $100 million in damages.

More than 200 aircraft from Oceana Naval Air Station and Norfolk Naval Station also are preparing to get out of the storm's path. The evacuating aircraft - F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets, E-2C Hawkeyes, C-2A Greyhounds, H-60 helicopters, and C-12 Hurons - are headed for airfields as far south as New Orleans and as far west as Fallon, Nev.

Yes, the foregoing is definitely enough to stress you out when your home is on a tidal creek and across the street from homes directly on Hampton Roads harbor.

NOTE: the Norfolk flood zone maps are here: Norfolk readers need to check their zone.

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