Mother Nature seems to have it in for us here in the Tidewater region of Virginia this summer. Leaving aside the relentless summer heat that's just business as usual around here, including intermittent blistering 100 degree days, the month of August has hit us with a series of punches that are getting to be a tad bit tedious.
First off, as incongruous as a burning swamp may seem, the Great Dismal Swamp has been raging with wildfires since an August 4 lightning strike, sending a noxious pall of acrid smoke over the area to the point of frequent air quality alerts cautioning us to stay inside. It's incredibly difficult to contain, let alone extinguish, since the underground peat can smolder for months if it can't be overwhelmingly flooded.
Then, last Tuesday, we got rattled with a 5.8 magnitude earthquake up in northern Virginia. Fortunately the Great Dismal wildfire wasn't smoking things up too badly that day, since a lot of buildings in the Tidewater area were evacuated, making it difficult for people to adhere to air quality precautions. It did require inspection of the numerous tunnels and bridge-tunnels that are pretty much the only way in and out of the region to ensure they were still safe, especially considering that the third punch that was bearing down on us could easily have required evacuating the region through said bridge-tunnels.
The winds have generally not been as high or sustained as had been predicted earlier this week – they were anticipating a landfall at Cat 3, and it ended up as a Cat 1 – but a lot of trees are down all over the area, and there were some tornados, one of which heavily damaged three houses in Sandbridge. (Sandbridge, BTW, was under mandatory evacuation.) Power is out over much of the area. For that matter, it's blinking intermittently here right now.
I'm also dreading the very real possibility of my Bradford pear sustaining further damage, following on that major break back in May. The way those branches were whipping around, I'm expecting something to fall off any time. (My apologies for the video below being sideways; I never shot one before and didn't realize that apparently they can't be rotated.)
I just hope Mother Nature gives us a breather before unleashing the plague of frogs that I expect must be imminent. (We already have the locusts.)