You can tell there is a sizable storm coming to Southeastern Virginia. Yes, the local news is updating reports continuously and the clouds coming up from the south are beginning to look menacing. But there are other indications that we take into account to gauge the severity of the coming weather event.
On the Chesapeake Expressway this afternoon there were more than the normal number of vehicles with plates from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Tennessee loaded with all manner of rooftop carriers, bike racks and trailers with kayaks and motorcycles heading north out of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Given that the weekly beach rentals from Hatteras Island to the north end of Bodie Island are normally either Saturday to Saturday or Sunday to Sunday contracts, the migration of summer beach week cars on a Friday is actually more of an evacuation.
The arrival of power company trucks from out of the area is also an indicator. Dominion Power has agreements with other companies in other states to help restore power should the local teams become overwhelmed. When you start to see bucket trucks from Kentucky and Indiana at staging points you can bet something is up.
There are the more subtle indicators, there are small lines for the ATM and the gas pump. People are filling gas cans for their generators, just in case. The parking lots at the local grocery stores are full and people are scooping up all the eggs, milk and bread on the shelves. I really don’t understand the tradition of making French Toast during a storm, but I will go along with it. Finally, the ABC Stores (where we buy our booze in Virginia) are doing a brisk business because, what is a storm without a party?
My plans for this weekend were to go to Savannah. Obviously, Hermine got there before I could safely head south on I-95. So for now, I am going to bide my time checking conditions as the storm passes through the Carolinas and across the Virginia border before going back out into the Atlantic. If it safe to go to Savannah in the morning, I can head out knowing that I have already been to the gas station and the ATM. For now, I will keep an eye on the radar and enjoy some French Toast.