Tag Archives: tidewater

Rainy Days, Floods, and National Security 


Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

We have had a lot of rain here in Hampton Roads since Monday. As of about 3:00 PM yesterday our neighborhood in Virginia Beach has received almost 14 inches of rain since Monday when the remnants of former Tropical Storm Julia arrived. The rain was still falling when I went to bed and I imagined that we are well over 15 inches of rain. To give you an idea just how much rain we had, our yearly rainfall average is 46.5 inches of rain, in the summer we average just under 15 inches, in other words we got a third of our yearly average rainfall in three days. 

Today we have about 50% chance of more rain and schools including the Staff College are operating under a delay even while schools in North Carolina just a few miles from us will be closed due to flooding.

That slow moving system came into contact with a weak cold front and pretty much stalled over the area. Hampton Roads is a low lying coastal area with lost of rivers and streams, in fact before civilization arrived it was pretty much a swamp. Since the early settlers arrived the area has been called the Virginia Tidewater, and may I say that Tidewater is a quaint and somewhat romantic synonym for swamp. As such we frequently have flood conditions any time there is a tropical storm or a Nor’easter. That is simply the way it is.


In our swamp, I live in a town home that was built in the 1980s which the builders as they do so often in these parts built in such a way that water sometimes comes over the foundation and into the house. So I spent yesterday morning de-watering our living room, and again about 11:00 PM when another round of really heavy rain came through. Thankfully little damage was done, mainly because I have tile floors and our furniture is high enough not to sustain damage, but this is the third time in less than six months that we have had to do this.


That is what we live in, a swamp, very prone to flooding, in some places if someone flushes their toilet too long. But that is what you get when you build cities in areas that are prone to flooding that is what you get. Sadly, most of us on the coastlines of this and other nations have done just that, even in good times we flood. But just wait, as sea levels rise due to global warming, something that the United States Navy recognizes even if Congress will not, things will only get worse. As sea levels rise the effects of storms like this, and the run of the mill tropical storms and hurricanes that come through will be greater. The Navy requested funding to begin work to deal with the potential loss of its biggest naval base complex as sea levels rise, but this year Congressional Repulicans blocked the request in the DOD budget. The same is true of our other big base in San Diego, although that fair city does not have to deal with the habitual flood conditions that we endure here. The decision of Congress was  a terribly short sighted move based on the denial of science and empirical evidence and a decision that if continued will harm national security. But then when a majority of the GOP representatives are or represent Fundamentalist Christians who believe that we don’t have to plan for the future because Jesus is coming soon it really doesn’t matter. But I digress…

Naval Station Norfolk, rising seas will submerge the Navy’s largest base if measures are not taken to mitigate the effects of Climate Change

The is a huge economic concern as well. The area is home to one of the largest port and shipbuilding complexes in the nation. 

But our area is not alone. These trends will effect most of the costal area of the United States and the world. This is not simply an environmental issue, it is economic, social, and military issue. Over 70% of the earth’s population lives in what we in the Navy call the littorals. Climate change and the rise in sea levels will cause massive social, economic, and security problems and what we in the Tidewater experienced today will be incredibly mild as whole societies are disrupted.



For the United States the answer is to prepare, and thankfully if we use them we have the resources to alleviate the worst effects of global warming and sea rise. But many nations will not, and the turbulence that this change causes will not leave the United States or Europe uneffected.

What happens this week in Hampton Roads was probably not the result of global warming, but in the effects of it will grow in the coming years. Hampton Roads has always suffered from flooding, but even today with much better storm drain systems we still see the same kind of flooding that affected the region 80-100 years ago.  It is time to actually take this seriously. I do, but sadly too many people turn it into a joke.

Have a great day and stay dry.

Peace

Padre Steve

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Filed under Climate change,, Military, national security, News and current events, weather

A Soggy and Error Filled Night redeemed by the Long Ball: Tides win 11-6

Drying out the infield

Before they were the Norfolk Tides they were known as the Tidewater Tides a reference to the rather quaint sounding name for the south side of the Hampton Roads region.  The Tidewater it is still called by many who forget that the term Tidewater is a rather polite term invented by travel agencies and developers to replace the rather dismal word “swamp.”  In fact the southern part of our region is taken up by the Great Dismal Swamp which is both rather large and rather dismal a good reason that it was named as such by none other than George “I’m on the Greenback” Washington.  Of course there Things in Norfolk went from bad to worse back to just bad before getting much worse before becoming incredibly good unless you play for or are a fan of the Indianapolis Indians.  The weather was lousy even by Hampton Roads standards for this time of year with drizzle and rain falling for most of the game making conditions for those playing on the field rather atrocious. Eventually 7 errors would be committed, 5 by the Tides on this rain filled evening that turned the infield at Harbor Park into muck.

Nolan Reimold beats out an errant throw at first in the 6th inning, Robert Andino and Michael Aubrey scored

The game began inauspiciously for the Tides, starter Zach Britton struggled through the early innings before giving up 4 runs in the 4th inning. Britton loaded the bases giving up a single, a base on balls and a bunt single.  Alex Presley grounded into a force out to score Luke Carlin. With two outs Britton picked off Presley when he got too far off the bag resulting in a run down. During the run down Robert Andino threw the ball away allowing Carlin to reach third and Brian Friday to score.  The pickoff would have been the third out and Britton would have gotten out of the inning giving up just one run.  The next batter was Brandon Moss who tattooed the ball over the right field wall to give the Indians a 4-0 lead. Britton would struggle again in the 4th inning but work his way out of the jam and he would be relieved by Mike Hinckley in the top of the 5th.  Hinckley went three innings allowing only one hit and no runs walking none as striking out 4 Indians.

Nolan Reimold contributed a 3 run home run and hustled on the bases

The Indians would hold that lead into the 6th inning.  Starting pitcher Charlie Morton pitched well for 5 innings limiting the Tides to just 1 hit in the first 5 innings. In the 6th the wheels came off in large part due to the weather doing to the Indians what it had done to the Tides earlier in the game.  Michael Aubrey singled and advanced when Robert Andino got on due an error by Indians Third Baseman Doug Bernier.  Nolan Reimold grounded softly to third base and Bernier went to make the play and threw the ball away into foul territory past first base. Both Aubrey and Andino would score and the score was 4-2. In the 7th Morton walked Paco Figueroa and was taken out of the game in favor of Travis Chick.  Chick had little success. Matt Angle laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to send Figueroa to second. Jeff Salazar singled and Figueroa went to third. Michael Aubrey doubled to score Figueroa and send Salazar to third. Robert Andino singled to score Salazar and was followed by Scott Moore who singled home Aubrey sending Andino to third.  Nolan Reimold grounded in a force out and Andino scored before Chick retired the side with the Tides now leading 6-4.

Jeff Salazar hit his 15th home run of the season

Alberto Castillo relieved Hinckley in the top of the 8th and gave up a single to Brandon Moss and double to Mitch Jones. He got Jim Negrych to ground out which scored Moss and then gave up a double to Jonathan Van Every to score Jones top tie the game at 6.  Castillo got the hook for Jim Hoey and Hoey stuck out both Luke Carlin and Brian Friday swinging to end the inning, the final pitch to Friday registered 98 miles an hour according the scoreboard radar.

A soaking wet Michel Hernandez waits for the grounds crew to do their magic

No with the score tied the Tides went to work and began to beat the Indians senseless. Daniel Moskos replaced Chick and gave up a single to Paco Figueroa. He struck out Matt Angle and with one out faced Jeff Salazar. Salazar leads the Tides in home runs but had not hit one since before he went on the DL.  Jeff plastered a pitch by Moskos far over the right field wall and the Tides led again by a score of 8-6.  The Tides were not done however and after Michael Aubrey popped out Robert Andino doubled off the right field wall.  Andino stole third and Scott Moore walked.  Nolan Reimold stepped to the plate and he too delivered the long ball going the opposite way and sending Moskos’ pitch over the right field wall nearly to the Elizabeth River.  The Tides now led 11-6 and finally and mercifully for the Indians Rhyne Hughes grounded out to end the inning.

Denis Sarfate got the closed out the game striking out two

Denis Sarfate came in to close the game in a non-save situation.  He sent the Indians down in order striking out Doug Bernier and Brian Bixler swinging and got Alex Presley to ground out to second baseman Paco Figueroa who threw to Michael Aubrey at first to end the game.

The win was the second come from behind win for the Tides in as many days and in this game Jim Hoey (3-0 2.16 ERA) got the win and Daniel Moskos (0-4 9.60 ERA) the loss. The Indians had 6 runs on 8 hits with 2 errors leaving 6 men on base, the Tides 11 runs on 11 hits and 5 errors with 8 men stranded.  The teams meet tonight at Harbor Park with Henricus Vanden Hurk newly acquired from the Marlins by the Orioles making his first start for the Tides and Micheal Crotta (5-5 4.88 ERA) on the Hill for the Indians.

Hopefully the weather is better tonight than last night.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under Baseball, Batlimore Orioles, norfolk tides

Has Anyone Seen a Big Wooden Boat and a Lot of Animals? Floods and Rain Outs in Norfolk

rain at harbor parkFlooding at Harbor Park Wednesday- Norfolk Tides Fan Photo Facebook.com

I have never been a big fan of rain.  Yes I know we need it to live, for plants to grow, birds to sing, fish to drink and all of that.   I also know that rain means water coming from the sky and that water coming from the sky usually means that I end up wet or that the baseball game that I want to see get’s rained out.  If I had been a soldier in World War Two I would have stunk up the works a Guadalcanal or any of the other rain and vermin infested hell holes of the South Pacific.  On the other hand I would have done pretty well in North Africa out in the desert with the Afrika Corps.

Now the Hampton Roads area has two basic seasons, cold and wet and warm and wet.  The operative word is wet. In the cold and wet phase which general lasts through April and even May when you are out in the rain you get soaked to the skin and freeze your ass off.  On the other hand in the summer when it is warm and wet or even hot and wet, and I don’t mean like married couple or significant other kind of hot and wet, but the miserable sticky humid and hot weather that makes you feel like a wet postage stamp on a credit card bill.  Unfortunately we are in this part of the year now in Hampton Roads and though we were graced with an incredibly cool and dry May through July, the steam has been turned back on, I’m sloshing through mud to get my garbage out and having a field day using legal biological agents to kill mosquitoes.

A one who worships at the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish, I patently pray to the Deity Herself that no rain will ever cancel a game here, especially now that I am a season ticket holder.  Yesterday it seemed that not only had the Deity not answered my prayers but in fact our adversary the Devil himself seemed to be out to ruin the rest of this short home stand against the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees.  Yesterday not long before the close of business I was readying myself for the jaunt over to Harbor Park for game three in the series.  Just before I was to leave I was talking with my deputy department director when  the heavens opened and unleashed a deluge of which proportions I have not seen since my days at Fort Sam Houston Texas where deluges like this would bring rapid flash flooding inevitably leading people to drive into raging torrents of water that were plainly marked as to how high the water was.  If you have lived in San Antonio you know what I am talking about, I think they have a special segment on hte local news just for such occurrences.

The rain came so hard and fast in Norfolk, Portsmouth as well as parts of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach that flood warnings were issued.   Some places in Norfolk and Portsmouth reported standing water 2-5 feet high after 4-6 inches of rain came down in a relatively short period of time.  Figuring that this deluge had to let up and knowing that the game was already canceled I set out from work for the trip home.  Patently this was the first really bad really bad storm that I have had to commute home from in what seemed to be an event of biblical proportions.  I was beginning to look for a big wooden boat with an old guy looking like John Huston standing at the door beckoning pairs of animals to come in.  What greeted me were roads, including the ground floor of our parking garage flooded.  Trusting the Deity Herself I set out knowing that things would be bad, but not this bad.

There is a reason our area is called “the Tidewater.”  It is simply that it is very low lying, adjacent to the ocean and the word Tidewater is a lot nicer sounding than swamp.  When we get a lot of rain in a short time, there is simply nowhere for it to go.  Low lying areas with which the area abounds flood quickly and low lying intersections and roads with poor drainage become small rivers in which vehicles can become immersed in.  Thankfully I have a good idea where the higher roads are in the area of the hospital and zigged and zagged to avoid deep waters and areas where other drivers were sinking. Only once having to go down a very wide sidewalk to avoid what some rather deep water which I did not feel my 2001 Honda Cr-V could not traverse since it is not amphibious.  I figured that since the sidewalk was as wide as my CR-V and was a good 8-10 inches higher than the flooded intersection that it would do, I drove up and over the curb, drove down my elevated roadway about 100 yards before using a driveway to re-enter the road at a better fording site.  Just before I had left work I had checked the weather and traffic conditions, especially the “Jam Cams” at the Downtown Tunnel.  The cameras showed traffic moving well and only the normal rush hour backlog to get in.  However, by the time I got to the entrance road to the tunnel I saw that it had been closed and traffic divert off of I-264. I decided to pick my way down another main street only to see cars immersed ahead of me.  I made a quick U-turn and headed back to I-264 and headed west away from my house.  I used it to get to I-64 west, which actually is heading east through Chesapeake in order to pick up I-264 to get back to Virginia Beach.  The trip took me about an hour and forty-five minutes.  I understand that some people took 3-4 hours to go less distance than I had traveled.  One amazing thing that I noticed was the lack of accidents on the Interstate highways.  Normally in good weather people around here can’t drive nails much less motor vehicles. Thank the Deity for small favors.

norfolk floodingFlooded Streets in Norfolk- Virginia Pilot Photo

The game was long postponed and Judy and I went to Gordon Biersch and then came home, both exhausted from our day.  It is amazing what nearly two hours on the road fighting downpours and floods will do to you. Today the Tides and Yankees were scheduled for a double header.  Game one had a rain delay but despite this the game was played with the Tides winning 4-2 with solid pitching by Chris Waters, Dennis Safrate, Kam Mickolio and Alberto Castillo.  As Earl Weaver said “Nobody likes to hear it, because it’s dull, but the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.”  A bit after 3 PM with the game over and a 40 minute break between games I left work to try to see game two.  Once again I looked at the weather radar and saw a bit of rain coming up from the southwest.  However, it looked like it would not be heavy and pass by quickly.  When I got to the tunnel it started to rain pretty hard but nothing like the other day.  As I got to the stadium parking lot the rain was already beginning to let up.  I got my Tides Dog with Chili and a beer, found Elliott the Usher and Chip the Usher sitting on the concourse and pulled up a seat.  We talked about our travels yesterday; Elliott the Usher had gotten stuck on a bridge because or water at the foot of it which had flooded a viaduct and Chip the Usher had had to turn around due to high water as well.  As we chatted the grounds crew came out and began to remove the tarp from the field and with the skies lightening we all thought that the game was going to be played.  As the crew moved equipment to mark the batter’s box and foul lines into position an Umpire came out of the Yankees dugout and gave some kind of signal.  When that happened the grounds crew began to put back the tarp and about 10 minutes later we were informed that the game had been canceled.  After the game I picked up a signed card of Tides infielder Justin Turner, who had a double and two RBIs in the first game and is the team leader in hits for the Tides.   I also made my next installment on the 1967 signed Willie Mays that he has reserved for me.

This was disappointing to me to have two chances to see the Tides play be rained out on consecutive days.  I decided to question the Deity about this and was once again informed that “the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike.”  With that I shut up, walked back to the car and started home, with almost no rain whatsoever.  The way I understood things was that the field was not deemed safe to play on due to the latest round of rain.  Next week the Tides come back in town after making a road trip to Charlotte.  The Tides moved back into a game and a half of Durham and three and a half of Gwinnett in the IL South.

Peace, Steve+

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Filed under Baseball, hampton roads and tidewater, Loose thoughts and musings