Saturday, September 20, 2003

Hurricane Isabel Journal

19 September 2003

+6:45am: Have been up since 6am. Didn't get to sleep until after midnight, and woke up for a bit for a bit at 230am as well. Couldn't sleep well at all - too hot & humid. The sun's finally coming up. There's still a curfew in effect until 7am for Norfolk & VB. Am listening to FM99, which is still simulcasting WAVY, who've had stellar coverage throughout Isabel's reign of destruction. They've made a point to say both a) they know most people are still listening to their broadcast, as almost everyone's still w/o power, and b) that they'll rebroadcast a lot of pictures of Hampton Roads regains power. Willoughby Spit is majorly flooded. So is Ft. Monroe in Hampton; the Bay's tidal/storm surge flooding really pounded everything along the bayfront.

The [Chesapeake] Bay Bridge/Tunnel and Midtown Tunnels are still closed*, as is the Downtown tunnel eastbound.

Last night, Steve & Jenn called ca. 530pm and said that our weekly dinner was still on. Steve & Bob were going to haul the grill into their utility room and grill chicken & shrimp**; Steve offered to come pick us up in his big butch pickup (they live near Gate 4 of Naval Station Norfolk). So, crazily, we went, finding very few problems on Granby Street, apart from a huge oak down across the street just north of the Lafayette bridge which took power lines with it. We saw a lot more on the way back, ca. 930pm, having to turn around 2x due to downed trees & lines. And it was so eerie - no lights, basically anywhere, including traffic lights. Total pitch blackness. It's 715am now; I'm going to shower and head out to see some of the damage in the early morning light.

+7:30am: Well... our building's out of hot water - no electric water heater. And I'm just not in the mood for a cold shower. Time to head out.

+8:00am: Not a ton of damage around Ghent, though there are a couple of big trees down on side streets off of Colley. 7-11 is still closed - no power. My cell phone's dying. It's getting hot again. Forecast high of 85 today, ew. A lot of people walking around - mostly taking pictures - and a low, but surprising, amount of traffic.

+10:40am: Phone died. Went to G&W Supermarket - open, but nothing cold; their ice melted and slightly refroze in big, unwieldly blocks. I didn't bother, but bought a Pilot. Headline: "Isabel's Rage." Getting warmer; frankly, I'm starting to not smell so good. Very sweaty. Found a little old, freezer-burned ice (is that possible?), which I'm using in cranberry juice. The radio stations have gone back to their Clear Channel-approved shit music, so I'm listening to CDs on my discman.

+11:00am: According to the Pilot, 95% of Hampton Roads is w/o power, and it could be a week before everyone's back. Whoa.

+2:20pm: Napped, fitfully, for about 1.5 hours, but just woke up very sweaty and cranky-feeling. I want a hot shower and some A/C. I know Dominion's doing everything they can, but there are no trees blocking lines in my neighborhood and we're on the same circuit as a bunch of the Colley Ave. businesses, and I want my power back. Now. Grrrr.

+9:30pm: About 4pm, Michael & I decided to venture out - cabin fever, boredom, hot apartment - and pay calls, as they used to say. Went to Chas's, and then with him in tow, went to Jenn & Steve's. Since I'd heard that the Greenbrier (Mall) area had power, we made some calls and ended up making reservations at Pargo's. They had electricity, which meant ice & A/C, woo hoo! Good evening. Parts of VB have power, as do Military Blvd. and Chesapeake Blvd. in Norfolk. Little Creek's still out, however, as is almost all of Hampton Blvd. We still have nothing, in terms of power, and the apartment is very warm. 9pm curfew, second night in a row. We're hoping we'll get power tomorrow (Sat), but I'm honestly not betting on it. Can hope, though. A/C - hot water - charging my cell phone! :(

*=The Midtown Tunnel's going to be closed for at least 2 weeks, it turns out.
**=Dinner was delicious.

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