8pm Atlantic time: After posting the previous update on Bill, I found out that it was downgraded from a Category 1 Hurricane to a tropical storm, meaning lighter winds up to 40kph and mostly heavy rains. Rains have been forecast for my area with up to 10cm (4 inches) over the next 8-10 hours. That’s a lot of water. Usually the rainfall is forecast here in millimeters, with 10 millimeters in one centimeter.
I drove to a local store earlier and had to go very slow because there was so much water on the pavement. The gravel shoulders of the roads are washing out here on all the hills and on flatter roads small rivers of mud and gravel are building up.
There are no candles left at the store, no propane canisters, no batteries, no bottled water, no matches and no lamp fuel. The store owner has a gas powered generator set up in a shed by the store in case the power goes out, he’ll be able to keep the store open. There is talk of people whose basements are prone to flooding having moved their belongings upstairs and those who were more ambitious have actually dug shallow ditches around their houses to help move water away from the foundations.
Where I am the terrain has a lot of hills and valleys so the people really worried are the ones living in the bottom of the valleys. All the houses are near the ocean here, and the house I’m in right now is only about 30 yards from the Atlantic, but it sits on the slope of a steep hill at about 10 yards above sea level.
When I was driving earlier, visibility was only about 100 yards because the rain was so heavy. Thunder has stopped now but the air feels eerily magnetic. Rain is loud on the roof of the house.
More updates of what it’s like to go through a tropical storm at tag: Blogging Bill. Another update in a few hours.