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The Bay Bridge is now closed due to sustained winds of 62 miles-per-hour and gusts from 72 to 80 miles-per hour.  That was at 7:30 PM and the wind continues to build. We’ve lost a few big limbs from trees around the house, and we can hear trees coming down back behind our fence and around the neighborhood.  The power has blinked a few times, but has fortunately stayed on.  The center of the storm is now back over water and looks to be directly between Cape Henry and Cape May at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay moving north toward Ocean City, Maryland.  That’s still well to our south, so we have lots more to come.

Despite the conditions, I couldn’t resist a hike around the area to watch the storm.  It was quite an adventure. I visited Matapeake Pier and the beach at Terrapin Nature Area.  Winds were sustained at 50 knots while I was out.  I was surprised to see the Bay so rough even though this side of the island is protected from the northeast winds. I’m sure things look a lot more dramatic on the western shore.  There is no storm surge at this time. I’m feeling a lot better about that since winds are now pushing water out of the Bay instead of in.  I shot a few minutes of video while I was out.  For some reason it doesn’t want to embed, so click here or on the photo if you can’t see it:  Hurricane Irene, Kent Island, Maryland

It started raining on Kent Island about 8:30 AM, and has been coming down steadily since. The wind is coming up now, but it’s still little more than a rainy day here.  As of 1:00 PM, wind speeds are 22-knots from the northwest at Thomas Point Light House near Annapolis, and 34-knots at Point Lookout at the mouth of the Potomac River.  I got out and drove around in the truck a few minutes ago.  It is weird seeing all the businesses closed and buildings boarded up on what is usually a busy Saturday afternoon.  It may have been a little over-cautious to require everyone to close so early today, but time will tell.  A few more of our neighbors got out of Dodge this morning, but most are still around.

Traffic is light on Rt 50 and flowing smoothly across the Bay Bridge in both directions.  I heard the directional lane signals are out for reasons unrelated to the weather.  At this time, I see no evidence of a tidal surge.  I’m attaching a photo of the tidal stream across the street from our house. (click photos for high rez)  It’s my usual indicator of tide height.  The charts show predicted low tide about now, so I’d say things look normal.  I would guess we’ve had about an inch of rain so far.  The ground is saturated from storms we had earlier in the week, so I expect we will see some flooding in the area regardless of storm surge.

I saw two businesses open as I was driving around.  They are Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant (our favorite) and No Place Bar & Grill (hmmm).  I am taking this as a sign that God is on our side.