Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I'm just goofing off today ...

So last night, I was informed by someone at the City Council meeting that he had heard we were getting not only a storm this coming weekend but also an astronomical high tide. It's the blue moon, you know.

The blue moon is when we have 2 full moons in one month; the second one is called the blue moon.

I don't know what will happen to the beach if the storm does come, but I have to admit, I'm nervous. I don't even know if the city's Reverse 911 system is working now (it was not working last month) so I would be notified if I needed to leave the island.

I've been thinking about this whole dredging deal and I really think it was obvious from the start that it wasn't really going to happen. If the federal government was that into dredging the channel, it would have been done a while back (although I'm shocked that they are not that into it, seeing as how Coast Guard boats are hitting bottom).

You only had to really listen to those Army Corps guys at those beach alliance meetings to understand how really not into it the USACE really is/was.

So I'm thinking this storm has the potential to do a number on us out here on the island. And it would have happened even if the dredging project had gone swimmingly, since that wasn't scheduled to start until next month.

I'm terribly dismayed that my portent of doom may come to pass.


Robert said...

I just checked the marine weather forecasr and its showing 11-16 ft seas on Friday out of the NE. Winds in 20 30 knot range.
Don't shoot the messenger!


(PS Hope I can live up to your expectations)

Gillian Swart said...

Thanks! We'll see about the expectations (!) and while we're on the topic, I don't mean to not have expectations from Heartquist or Herzog. I just have a history with each of them so I didn't want to comment, either way.

Gillian Swart said...

Bubba, so sorry but I accidentally deleted your comment along with numerous bits of spam!

So to recap, he disagreed with me ("no surprise") and said the USACE doesn't mind dredging, just the nourishment (I actually agree with that, to a point) ... oh, and something about loving my 'doo but that Heartquist has me beat.

Did I miss anything?

Anonymous said...

It's not that the Corp of Engineers or the Federal government isn't 'into' dredging. They've dredged the mouth of the Merrimack several times during my time on Earth.

[And the dredging definitely needs to happen again, and soon. It's not just the shallow water of the mouth that's the problem, it's also the fact that the volume of water traveling through the mouth doesn't change, and neither does the tide cycle, so when you reduce the area that volume has to flow through in a given amount of time it amounts to even worse conditions than normal, larger curents and higher breakers.]

What the Corp is not into is the nourishment project. They know it's a temporary fix at best, it sets a bad precedent for other locations/barrier islands on the Eastern Seaboard, it adds a level of complexity to the dredging project, and the local infighting has been a gigantic turnoff.

This just applies to The Island, mind you; I have an educated guess that the Corps doesn't see nourishing Salisbury in the same way.

And let's be honest, if not politically correct or polite; at best Plum Island is going to be remodeled by Mother Nature. It's happened in the past when the climate was stabler and it's going to happen again. There's no 'if' here, only a 'when'. The game is always tied at the bottom of the 9th and Mother Nature always bats last, and she doesn't care a whit about property values. Allow me to take that honesty a tad further and speculate that if the island was still comprised of tumble-down summer shacks and ramshackle year-round homes this sense of urgency wouldn't exist.

The Corps knows this, and they also know that as the last agency of record to tinker with the beach the microsecond somebody's house falls into the surf they'll be named in a lawsuit. Multiply this up and down the Eastern Seaboard, taking into account myriad beaches threatened by natural processes that may or may not be being enhanced by climate change, and you can see the real issue.

Furthermore, if that numb **** hadn't fought against the project and forced the town into eminent domain, the project MIGHT have come off in time. Instead, it's gonna be a long winter with lots of island residents staining their undershorts every time the wind pipes up and the surf builds.

- The Carrot

macsurf said...

Carrot, as much as I'd like to think it's not true, I also have no doubt if PI was still considered a blue collar, dilapidated fishing colony with low income residents and shabby homes not worth saving, rather than some new hybrid version of Martha's Vineyard, at least in the snooty minds of some new wash ashores to the region, that there would not be such concern about "saving" the island.

Frankly, I have little sympathy for people who build over sized trophy houses on postage stamp size lots, on a VERY fragile and always changing and shifting barrier island, and then want the federal government, with the taxdolars of people who do not even live on the island, to bail them out.

I know that sounds harsh, but to me it's like people who've built their trophy house 50 or 60 miles east of LA in dry montain country where forest fires have been occurring for centuries.

Are people really that stupid? PI has been shifting, eroding, and sometimes rebuilding for centuries.

In all likelihood, as sea levels rise, it will probably be completely under water. And there's not darn thing anybody will be able to about it - not EVEN the federal govt!

But good luck with the coming storm and the full blue moon. The two in concert could make the New Year a real rough ride on old PI

Gillian Swart said...

Thanks, Carrot and macsurf. Of course no one would care as much if it weren't for the wealth over there. My landlord lives on that side of the island, on the basin, but on the bright side for him, this house may become oceanfront property ... sorry, I know that's not funny.

My friend Jean has told me I can race to her house if the worst happens out here (she lives in Newbury, virtually around the corner) so I guess I'll be re-packing the old car trunk, just in case ... much of the stuff I paced last time is still in there.

Anonymous said...


I'm looking at a 10' tide at 11am on Friday morning, followed by a nearly 9' high tide at 11:38 that night. You need to add that to the predicted sea conditions. Remember, the tide is going to raise the water level 10' no matter if the water is flat or the water is calm, so...NOAA is currently predicting 3'-5' seas for Friday with winds out of the northeast. Picture those 5' seas on top of the 10' tide to get an idea of where the water is going to be and what it's going to be doing. I'd expect the waves to pack a punch due to the wind direction and the amount of open sea in that direction.

That tide, BTW, looks to be about 3' higher than average, but that's just based on a quick back of the envelope calculation.

If you're not doing the dog paddle in your living room on Friday morning you probably won't be doing it Friday night either, but I'd hate to be relying on those sandbags. The beachfront is probably going to take a decent beating.

- The Carrot

Bubba said...

oh Gillian,

You missed my entire bit about McCavitt's deciding to follow in the footsteps of ex-presidents and my suggesting that he inject himself into the middle east peace process.

As for why the ACE doesn't like to do nourishment, it's the permitting process and playing nice with state agencies that they find bothersome. The Nbpt ConCom renewed their dredging permit in a single meeting I believe.

Gillian Swart said...

Oh, yeah (Bubba)... ! That was pretty funny, too. And Carrot, well I live on the river side of the island but there is a lot of sodden marsh out there right now. The moon is quite exquisite, though ...

Blue moon, you saw me standing alone ...