Sandy teh Superstorm, Harbingers and Makeready, October 27th, 2012

The tompostpile has been busy, of late, dealing and coping with Sandy and its aftermath. We never finished with Vermont, and now there’s a whole other pile of material for the ‘pile. So it goes. Here’s a first Sandypost, and we’ll finish with Vermont another day. We promise.

Blackwell Roots Farm must not get short shrift.

October the 27th, 2012.

Weather forecasters, over the last few days, had gotten increasingly worked up over the possibility of a “hybrid” megastorm.  We know what to do, ahead of a storm, here on this little sand pile called Martha’s Vineyard. Bring inside, or tie down, anything outside that’s loose or lightweight. And then the list of “to-do” continues…preparedness is a chore, but when big weather comes, you’re mighty glad you’ve gone down the list, and gotten ready. It’s no fun, when there’s a downed swamp maple blocking the way out, to have a nonfunctioning chainsaw, or one that works but has an unsharpened chain or bad fuel or no bar oil.

One of my jobs is taking care of Black Point Beach, on the South Shore of the island. Every year, rescue buoy stations are placed on the beach, and walkway boards go out, to make travel over the sand easier, and also to help protect the roots of the beach grass, which would not otherwise survive the trampling of a summer of beachgoing feet. With the storm coming, it was time to bring in the buoys and boards.

As we began work, Sandy’s clouds were just starting to appear in the Southern sky.

Sandy’s first clouds.

Within an short time, the clouds moved closer, and began to change.

Notice here the cirrus clouds, highest and closest to us, and the wave clouds just beneath them. You can see that the cirrus is being swept to the right, which is in a westerly direction… Waves form at 90 degrees to an air current, so the waves are also indicating the westerly direction of the winds aloft.

We got all the beach equipment home, and stored it in a safe place, sheltered from wind. We’ll put it back out early next spring.

A few hours later, at home, the sky is streaked with high-altitude harbingers of the storm.

Another meteorological precursor of weather is the sundog, a light phenomenon akin to a rainbow.

We got a sundog.

Arf. Arf. The sundog speaks.

Yet another sign of approaching weather is a ring around the sun.

We got one of those.

Ring around the sun.

After dark, the thickness of the cloud deck increased, and the nearly full moon began to be obscured.

We had weather omens all day. The forecasters were getting more and more worked up about what was now being called a “hybrid” storm.

Here’s the last view of the moon we had that night….

Our final omen of the night…ring around the moon.

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