August 31, 2021

History repeats? The "I" storms

August 30, 2021
In 1751, my five times great-grandfather landed in Philadelphia and made his way to Maryland's Cumberland Valley. The valley has South Mountain along the east side and Fairview Mountain along the west. A good portion of his descendants remain. It's a nice place to live. Although we experience all four seasons, the highs and lows of each are generally bearable, and the mountains provide beautiful vistas and a small measure of protection from severe weather events. 

As I write this blog entry and add updates, the country's attention is focused on Hurricane Ida which is currently hammering New Orleans. Ida made landfall on August 29th, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall at virtually the same spot. It is to me another example of our cyclic weather patterns. By the time the remnants of Katrina reached western Maryland, it was light rain. The mountains broke the storm apart. I hope if Ida comes this way, the mountains will protect us once again. What worries me is the Ida is an "I" storm. 

More retired Atlantic hurricane names start with "I" than any other letter, and nine of the names have been retired since 2001. 

August 31, 2021 8:30 PM
Iris (2001), Isidore (2002), Isabel (2003), Ivan (2004), Ike (2008), Igor (2010), Irene (2011), Ingrid (2013), and Irma (2017). 

Isabel, September 17, 2003, hit us hard, downing massive trees and slicing off the power for 55 hours. In 2004, Ivan caused flooding. Ike came along in 2008 and the outer bands drifted over and brought wind and rain. Ike made it to Canada. In November 2009, a different Ida hit us and became known as a Mid-Atlantic "nor'easter."  Irene in 2011 did not make direct landfall, but it was a huge storm and we had winds and rain and the subsequent power loss. It was different on the other side of South Mountain. In 2011, Isaac brought a good bit of rain. 

I doubt I'll forget Isabel. She brought down an 80-foot tall oak that landed mere feet from the house. It's a fact of life that mature trees die and fall, but this one had the help of a micro-burst. 

While what we experience here in western Maryland is nothing - NOTHING - compared to the heartache people along the Gulf of Mexico suffer, we are concerned. We worry about loved ones. We worry about property damage. We worry about power outages. The "I" storms are nothing to ignore. 

There's little we can do to prepare even if we were certain Hurricane Ida will reach us, which when I began this entry seemed unlikely. As we've followed along, the storm has been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm and is moving slowly. It's Tropical Storm (or depression) Ida that will impact us. It's going to rain - a lot. 

I've filled the gasoline cans to make sure we can run the generator and that's about it. We wait and watch the radar, and know that one hundred years ago, our great-grandparents had no such early warning system in place. They never knew how bad a storm was until it passed over them. 

And yet such knowledge encourages us to worry, to fear, and we have been instructed to "fear not." That's difficult to do when media images of destruction, and our own memories, remind us we do have things to fear. 

Perhaps I should let greater minds ponder these things. Perhaps it's enough that I know the "I" storms brim with the potential to cause major damage. And perhaps I must bow to powers greater than my own. It will be as it will be, and none of us can change it. 

The Lady of The Hideaway

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