Monday, August 24, 2009

All hurricane all the time

I woke up very early, the ground outside was damp but it was not raining. I had been thinking the day before about moving my truck out from under the trees, in case one fell on it, but wasn't sure where to take it. This morning I decided to move it out to the Garden House. There's a bit of space far enough from big trees that I thought it might be safe there. As it turned out, it would have been fine anywhere, the wind never really got that strong.

I was not going to put the bird feeder out (I bring it in at night to keep four-legged critters from knocking it down and breaking it), but the blue jay calls (kind of a whistle) changed my mind. Once the rain started coming down heavily though, I decided to just dump the contents on the ground and bring the feeder indoors to keep it dry. When water gets into it, all the seed gets soaked and seems to hold the water until it dries into a solid mass. The jays came around several times, each time looking wetter than the last time, until finally they looked like they'd been out swimming. They were grey rather than blue and their crests were flattened.

I went out on the porch deck to watch the rain at one point, and a whole bunch of birds flew out from underneath. They were sheltering from the rain under my house.

The Halifax CBC radio station broadcast only hurricane news. My usual Sunday morning show, The Sunday Edition, was not on the air, at least from Halifax. I could tune in Saint John in New Brunswick and get it there, the hurricane is far enough south to not concern most New Brunswickers. So when I got tired of listening to The All Hurricane News I'd switch to Saint John to listen to whatever the rest of Canada was listening to.

I think I learned a lot about hurricanes today, listening to the radio. Apparently hurricanes behave differently in northern latitudes than further south. For one thing, the storm serge causing higher sea levels and big waves associated with a hurricane precedes the storm further south but comes with the storm here.

The west side of the storm is more benign than the east side, and since the hurricane passed to the east of us, we were on the benign western side. We got a lot of rain but didn't get the super high speed winds.

When you look at a satellite image of a hurricane it doesn't necessarily look the same at ground level. That's kind of obvious, but what isn't obvious is that the centre of the storm isn't necessarily where it appears to be in the satellite image.

As the hurricane moves northward it transforms into a tropical storm and finally dissipates; part of the transformation involves a tilting, the vertical axis of the storm begins to tilt forward. So looking down on the storm you see the centre forward of where it actually is on the ground. By the time Hurricane Bill reached Halifax (midway up the south coast of Nova Scotia) it was beginning to tilt forward so the storm appeared to be further along than it actually was.

People behave badly during this kind of thing. There were actually surfers out today! They were taking advantage of the big waves! Unbelievable. Also, cars lined up all along the road to Peggy's Cove and the rocks on the shore there were covered with storm watchers. Considering that you can get swept off the rocks by a rogue wave and dashed to your death against those rocks in relatively calm weather, it is absolutely crazy to be out there during a hurricane. Finally the RCMP closed the road to Peggy's Cove to keep people out of there.

The highways were rain-slick and covered in large pools of water all over the province, hydro-planing was common and still people were travelling at 100/110 klicks. Can you say death wish? It's Sunday for godsakes, where the heck are they rushing to?!? Maybe people just don't have enough excitement in their lives...

Haven't listened to the news yet as to how Cape Breton fared, they were supposed to get the brunt of the storm before it headed off to Newfoundland. In Halifax the storm serge arrived at low tide, in Cape Breton it coincided with the high tide, and a spring tide (higher than usual) at that.

Here's a couple of photos showing the Baxter's Harbour waterfall before and after the storm.



And a couple more just showing waves in and around the Harbour. Nothing like some other areas of the province. Note the missing boat in the waterfall photo and the boat buoys in the Harbour photo. All the boats were hauled out before the storm, no damage done.

4 comments:

Barbara Anne said...

Love the waterfall photos and the word picture of the many birds who sheltered under your porch roof flying away when you joined them! Did they return when you were back indoors?

So glad Bill was benign and hope he and all others stay out to sea and kind.

You are a veritable fount of interesting information! Ta!

Hugs!

20th Century Woman said...

Interesting about then way hurricanes behave. I often hear interesting stuff on the radio, but by the time I get to writing about it I have forgotten most of the specifics.

Poor jays, with their wet crests.

Wisewebwoman said...

I had a big branch come down off one of my old trees, missed doing damage, thank goodness.
And the BBQ was blown over and I think it is broken, hard to tell.
I was awake most of the night, listening to the wind and the rain.
We are so small in the overall scheme aren't we?
So glad you're safe - and great pics.
XO
WWW

Barbara Anne said...

You're oddly quiet and I've missed you and the narratives of your daily adventures.

Hope all is well, friend!

Hugs!