Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast non-links: Sandiest

Yesterday, a giant storm smashed into the mid-Atlantic. Virtually nothing else of note happened.


Photo by nevermindtheend on Flickr.

Sadly, a few people were killed in traffic crashes or from falling trees in the region, but it was far worse in New Jersey and New York.

The Ocean City boardwalk was damaged and a pier destroyed. Storm surge flooded Atlantic City Lower Manhattan, and parts of Brooklyn, including the New York City Subway, PATH, and tunnels.

Metro will reopen at 2 pm today on a Sunday schedule, and will return to normal weekday service tomorrow. There is no timetable about when the New York subway will reopen after facing what its chairman calls the worst disaster in its 108-year history.

There aren't as many traffic signals out in DC as some expected, but there are a number of of roads closed in Virginia and Maryland.

Finally, forecasters expect flooding in the Potomac over the next few days as all the water that fell yesterday makes its way downriver.

How did you and your homes hold up in the storm?

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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Totally fine. The rain was persistent but never really voluminous, so no flooding. Drains were clear and working well.

The biggest casualty was lost work and school.

Sadly, I suspect that the traffic deaths in our area attributed to the storm are about the same number as would have happened without the storm.

by Ward 1 Guy on Oct 30, 2012 10:59 am • linkreport

Dupont High Heel Race on 17th Street moved to this Thursday night, race at 9pm.

http://www.highheelracedc.com/HHR/Welcome.html

by Tom Coumaris on Oct 30, 2012 11:45 am • linkreport

It's ironic that the disaster porn on DC tv was continuing to rev up even as the storm was slowing down and the real consequences were happening in NYC.

My building's new roof sprung some leaks, but no other signifocant damage we could see. One small tree down on our block. The much maligned NPS was out this am collecting the big stuff from its pieces of the District.

Collegaues in the 'brubs range from tree down but still power to flickering to spotty outages. On balance, the region seems to have been quite lucky,

by Rich on Oct 30, 2012 12:15 pm • linkreport

Yeah, I think our region fared pretty well. Not sure about parts of FFX county where they were talking on the news about flooding.

One thought about power outages - it's possible the Derecho brought down a large portion of the trees that were rotted/old/ready to come down, so this storm could not do as much damage in that sense.

by MLD on Oct 30, 2012 12:35 pm • linkreport

Yeah, I live in a basement apt of a row house in Columbia Heights and thought for sure battling flooding and PEPCO's stellar performance I would have been doomed. BUT NO! No loss of power or flooding.. False sense of security affirmed.

by M!Lk on Oct 30, 2012 12:40 pm • linkreport

We escaped the wind and surge damage, but we just got a ton of rain and so did the entire Potomac watershed. The river is going to flood, that will be the next challenge.

by Alex B. on Oct 30, 2012 12:40 pm • linkreport

we lost power for 4 hours, all else fine.

IIUC huntington area of FFX hasn't flooded yet.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Oct 30, 2012 12:42 pm • linkreport

While my home is fine, my pocketbook is not. Tourist cancelled scheduled jobs and we don't get paid. I even had a job for Thursday cancel.

by tour guide on Oct 30, 2012 12:55 pm • linkreport

My hometown looks to be alright- both houses seem OK; drydocked boats still in place (so hoping ours is, too). But the rest of the towns on the island fared far worse... the ocean broke through the dunes in a few spots, hundreds of drydocked boats are floating about, & the island's landmark shack was wiped away :/

by Bossi on Oct 30, 2012 1:20 pm • linkreport

What made the storm a super-storm is actually what spared much of the region from a greater impact from the hurricane. There will still be some flooding in the next few days. Fortunately this area wasn't on the other side of Sandy. Most flooding will be from rain and not water that was pushed upstream. The sustained winds yesterday into this morning as well as the bursts easily could have done a lot more damage. It's slightly annoying to hear people act like it wasn't a big deal simply because they didn't notice anything while sitting in their room watching television. Sandy was a hurricane. Sandy's path could not be predicted. The entire point of preparedness is so an event like yesterday isn't a big deal. Imagine if the school systems that closed, employers that were not open, and closed transit had all treated yesterday as normal day. That would have been a huge cluster even with the path Sandy took. Hurricanes should not be taken lightly.

by selxic on Oct 30, 2012 1:30 pm • linkreport

This storm reminded me a lot of Hurricane Floyd.

North Carolina had been hit by a few category 3 and strong category 2 storms during the second-half of the 90s, so we were ready for Floyd's wind and storm surge (at least along the coast and sounds). However, Floyd was much larger (though not stronger) than previous storms.

Larger than four states, Floyd dumped 17 inches of water over a massive area well to the west of the coast. As the water flowed to the ocean, it began to build up in the upper coastal plain, eventually surpassing the 500-year flood stage (20-24 feet above flood level) on most of the state's large river systems. However, it took several days for the water to build up. Some rivers didn't crest until more than a week after the storm made landfall.

The duration and slow/late arrival of the flooding caught a lot of us off-guard. My family lived on the coast (I was at a boarding school in Durham), so we made out OK, but everything between the Piedmont and the sounds was devastated.

by Steven Harrell on Oct 30, 2012 2:03 pm • linkreport

@Steven Harrell:
(I was at a boarding school in Durham)
A fellow S&Mer?

by Gray on Oct 30, 2012 2:11 pm • linkreport

Since I always rip on Pepco on these threads, let me just say "Well done Pepco".

We lost power for only 6 hours of the past 24.

On the down side the series of power surges we have been experiencing independent of the weather for the past week or so has destroyed a brand new heat pump, a blower transformer, and took out a plug transformer to our modem.

So Pepco currently stands at 25% approval in my books, a new high.

by Alger on Oct 30, 2012 2:54 pm • linkreport

@MLD; maybe. Winds were nowhere near as bad near me (Rosslyn) as the derrecho. I'd guess some of them were close to 90 MPH; the blew my patio door it with a deadbolt.

However, weak trees and new transformers can make a huge difference.

by charlie on Oct 30, 2012 3:27 pm • linkreport

Although I don't recall wind reaching 90mph even at the top of buildings in Rosslyn, the gusts from the derecho were stronger, charlie, but the sustained winds last night were impressive. Even without the weight of leaves, everyone should still be careful around trees.

by selxic on Oct 30, 2012 3:52 pm • linkreport

I really hope the city, metro, and the federal government won't be so fast to close a full 12 hours before and 12 hours after any dangerous weather was expected to occur. I have a feeling this had a lot to do with the election Tuesday and no one wanting to look bad.

by aaa on Oct 30, 2012 4:57 pm • linkreport

@aaa
I suspect the closures how more to do with that mid day snow storm a couple of years back where everyone was stuck for hours after work.

I don't know how you can criticize the response as DC came out very well from this. I think a lot of it how to do with the how serious the preparations were. Most of the people who were killed by this seem to have been killed in their cars or otherwise outside their homes. The government closing down made sure that most people stayed inside.

These storms happen so rarely it is not like we can test out different strategies and see what works, i would rather over react then under react.

by nathaniel on Oct 30, 2012 5:04 pm • linkreport

nathaniel -- There are a lot of people out there who are not salaried employees. They get paid by the hour, they get paid in tips, or they own a business. There are no free paid days off for many of these people. I'm sure it was nice for federal workers to kick back for a couple of days. It's not how the rest of the world works, though. If the threshold for keeping this city and the nation's capital open for business is "possible risk of bothersome commute" than I think our emergency policy is seriously misguided. Dangerous weather was forecasted to occur last night -- not all day yesterday and not all day today. There was way too much fearmongerging, and the reaction by metro was no where close to reasonable.

by aaa on Oct 30, 2012 6:28 pm • linkreport

@aaa

You have GOT to be kidding us. A storm that was already incredibly difficult to predict took a last-minute turn around midday yesterday that shifted the brunt from the DC region and moved it towards NYC. Had it not shifted like it did, we would have been absolutely far worse off. To say DC should have rolled the dice and taken a risk is beyond reckless.

by Circle Thomas on Oct 30, 2012 6:40 pm • linkreport

Back during the 2010 blizzard I did t have to work but I didn't get paid either for the time I had free. I was still grateful because a 7 hour shift at work wasn't the risk to my car if I got stuck somewhere or wrecked.

by Drumz on Oct 30, 2012 6:47 pm • linkreport

aaa,

Good thing that 'avoiding a bothersome commute' isn't the threshold then!

by Alex B. on Oct 30, 2012 6:47 pm • linkreport

Situation in Lorton is seemingly ok. Some trees down, some power out, especially along Hooes Rd. Alexandria did well. Almost no flooding of Old Town. Was (happily) surprised to see that.

@aaa: There are a lot of people out there who are not salaried employees.

A few days of income for a few people is no factor when weighing the life and limbs of millions of people. The very reason so few people got hurt (in DC) is that the city was shut down at the appropriate time.

Also, while all government, schools and universities were closed, nobody ordered private business to close. You can not blame the absence of customers on government preparation for a massive weather event. Customers have to decide for themselves whether is it safe to engage in business. Some people win, some people loose. Cab drivers did well slapping a $15 surcharge on rides. I bet ye delivery people do fantastic, especially in areas that have lost power. Theaters tend to do well when power is lost. Malls. Places where people can go are probably very happy with the aftermath of all the power outages.

You can not expect the government to take income considerations into effect when live and limb are at stake. You can only ask people to be reasonable. In fact, I saw gov Christie this morning, not known to be a union-cuddling soft liberal, asking private businesses in NJ to - if possible - give their personnel a day or so off so everybody could recover from the mess. That is reasonable.

Finally, if your government customers were closed the last two days, that does not mean their work stopped. Whatever they needed to order, they will most likely order in the next few days.

by Jasper on Oct 30, 2012 8:05 pm • linkreport

If there hadn't been closures, I imagine there would have been massive early closings. We've seen how that goes.

by selxic on Oct 30, 2012 8:25 pm • linkreport

In the Beacon Hill area of Fairfax County, my neighborhood was without power from around 8:00 PM Monday until 7:00 PM Tuesday. A few traffic lights in the area on Route 1 were out as well, thankfully it was only a few of them and the county blocked left turns and cross traffic at those intersections, which may have inconvenienced some but probably saved a lot of accidents. The outage seems pretty localized, as area stores and restaurants were operating.

Oh, and the phone cable to the house across the street fell, so we'll see how long it takes for that to get fixed.

by another Josh on Oct 31, 2012 10:29 am • linkreport

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