Friday, September 9, 2011

Quake, windstorm, floods: Welcome to Virginia

Since moving to our new home in northern Virginia two weeks ago, we’ve survived an earthquake, a hurricane and flooding from a tropical storm. What’s next – locusts?
We moved into our new home in Vienna, Va., on Tuesday Aug. 23. At 1:51 p.m. that day, a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook our neighborhood, the Washington, D.C., area and surrounding states. The epicenter of the quake was about 100 miles south of our house.
The quake didn’t cause much damage, but it created chaos with the nervous Nellies who live around the nation’s capital. (See Washington Post and Wikipedia articles.)
Then, on Saturday Aug. 27, Hurricane Irene hit the area. The storm knocked out power to a lot of neighborhoods in the region, but we were spared. We just had to put up with the sound and the fury of the windstorm from the diminished hurricane. (See Washington Post article.)
But the worst was yet to come.
On Thursday, Sept. 8, we were hit by torrential rain from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee. The unrelenting rain flooded roads, parking lots and some neighborhoods. Three people in the D.C. area drowned in the flash floods. It also created a traffic nightmare for the evening commute. (See Washington Post article.)
Near us, a creek overflowed its banks and flooded Route 7 in the Great Falls and Vienna, Va., area, blocking a major thoroughfare. Buses from the elementary school where our two children attend could not get through to bring students home. Parents were alerted by phone messages and e-mail to pick up their kids themselves.
My wife was stuck in traffic and finally picked them up around 8 p.m. (The school day ended at 4 p.m.)
The backyard of our home turned into a raging river as water raced down the hill behind our property. The water ripped up a stone walkway to a shed and sitting area and turned the area into a muddy mess. Luckily the house was spared and everyone in our household is safe and sound.
At least until the next disaster strikes.

Photo: Our backyard during the flooding caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee on Sept. 8.

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