Nov 12, 2012
While most of our state dodged the worst of Sandy, its wind and moisture caused a blizzard across Mountain Maryland.
About 2 feet of snow and 50-mph winds cut our power for four days, while upwards of 4 feet fell at elevations above 2,800 feet. Although we have a wood stove, most people in our county of 28,000 lost electricity to run furnaces. If you’re warm, losing electricity is inconvenience rather than dangerous, so we’ve never felt the need for a backup generator.
Our well pump didn’t work, of course, but we store drinking water for such emergencies. To flush toilets, we melted snow on the wood-stove. By candlelight, our 12-year-old honed her card-shuffling while I progressed in wilderness cookery. Plan ahead, way ahead, I learned: a vegetable soup with tofu took 3.5 hours to thoroughly cook. Hot water for evening dishes? Start mid-afternoon. Morning coffee with the French press? No problem, so long as water is heating by 4 a.m.
Some people recall that a fall cyclone caused loss of life and disastrous flooding in New England only last year and this year the water temperature in the Gulf Stream off the East Coast was said to be a record 9 degrees above the historical mean. One does not have to be a meteorologist to understand how excessive summertime heat strengthened the hurricane.
Far less obvious is that “Nor’easter”-type storms along the East Coast have caused freakish, high-precipitation events in late fall multiple times in recent years (with two this year). Five years ago, also with cold air in place, gloopy snow fell while leaves were still on the trees — greatly increasing the weight on branches, which then crashed onto power lines. That outage here also lasted four days.
Is it just me, or is the Earth using its natural defenses to throw quenching water on the world capital of carbon-burning?
Biz Buzz Best Buy — Tin Roof 2010 Sauvignon Blanc (California). This is one of a small handful of California wines from this grape that taste as if the winemaker ever tasted comparables from other places, and it’s text-book Old World pretty: understated passion-fruit, melon, and fresh fig aromas with a zippy acidic backbone and a pillowy softness. Pair with Chesapeake Bay seafood, or, say, chicken curry. Oh, and — it’s $10!