Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What's On Your Space Blanket? Plus - Big storm in Brooklyn

So, remember how a couple of weeks ago, I ended up breaking out a space blanket that I've been carrying around for years? I was glad I had it - of course I'd decided not to carry a jacket that day because I knew it was one of the things in my first aid kit (I've got one from Adventure Medical Kits), but I didn't actually expect to use it.

Turned out that it didn't just keep me & the other jacketless paddler nice and warm while we sat on an island waiting for a line of thunderstorms - it also provided some reading material!

Yes, it's not just a space blanket - it's a space blanket and wilderness survival emergency manual!

Maybe I'm just overly easy to amuse, but I found it really fascinating. There was all sorts of stuff - how to make a couple of different kinds of shelters, how to start a fire using a lens or a car battery (ok, most campers & paddlers don't usually have a car battery handy but I assume the idea was that this space blanket would be a very good item to have in a kit you keep in your car in case it, say, slides off the road in a snowstorm or something) - all sorts of stuff!

Here's a few samples -

I never expected my space blanket to be quite so informative!

And speaking of storms, we had a doozy this morning. If you're in the US, you may have heard about it. I'm fine, the tornado did actually hit the Flatbush neighborhood which, er, yes, happens to be right around where I live, but it was a few blocks away & with a tornado, that's far enough. I never realized before that one of the nice things about not having a car was that if you don't have a car, there's no way your car can get crushed by a tree. Yeesh. It's good it was at least early, when there weren't as many people on their way to work.

I have to say that I have never, ever, ever sat & wondered about the likelihood of tornadoes. I do wonder how things would be if we ever got hit by a really major hurricane - I think I'm far enough inland that my building wouldn't get flooded, but a big one could foul things up pretty badly - but never tornadoes.

The storm actually did wake me up, but by the time I was leaving for work, it was mostly done. Getting to work was interesting - took me about 3 hours, mostly on foot. There's a project that's been just going wrong every possible way, and I just sort of had to get there, even though the entire subway system was paralyzed. The subways are pretty reliable in most inclement weather, but one thing they just can't handle is a freakish amount of water coming down at once, and I think we had something like 3 inches in an hour.

Fortunately for me, the only requirement was that I appear in the office ready to work a full day at some point. I had a choice between hoofing it to downtown Brooklyn (where there would be a better chance of at least some limited train service into Manhattan) or cramming myself into a bus with about a hundred other cranky, sweaty people.

Guess which one I chose?

Yup. Clip-clop, clip-clop.

Kept it to a mosey. It was hot, I needed to not be totally pooped when I got to work, and besides, I ended up walking a route I'd never walked before, and there were some interesting things to see. May even have taken some pictures!

Yes, it may sound strange, but I actually found that I enjoyed my three-hour commute.

Glad the return trip is going to be by subway, though.

I'm going to close by posting the National Weather Service Public Information Statement that I found on Weather Underground.

... National Weather Service meteorologists confirm EF-2 tornado in New York City today...

National Weather Service meteorologists along with New York City emergency management officials have confirmed that a tornado skipped along an approximate 9 mile long path from Staten Island to Brooklyn early this morning.

The tornado first touched down in Staten Island at approximately 6:22 am in the vicinity of St. Austins place in the Livingston - Randall Manor area. The tornado moved east... with additional damage occurring in the Tompkinsville area. Most of the damage in Staten Island was to trees... and estimated to be EF-1... with winds of 86 to 100 mph.

The tornado headed east across the verrazano Narrows... and touched down again in Brooklyn at Bay Ridge. This occurred sometime just after 6:30 am on Bay Ridge Avenue between third and fourth avenues... and continued on an east-northeast path across 68th street between third and fourth avenues. Eleven homes in this section had
moderate to severe roof damage. The storm continued to move east-northeast into Leif Ericson Park square... where severe damage to trees occurred. As the tornado lifted... it tore off the roof of the nissan car dealership at the corner of 66th street and fifth Avenue. The tornado returned to the ground farther northeast... with scattered tree damage along 6th Avenue. Based on the assessed damage... this tornadic damage is classified as EF-2 with estimated wind speeds of 111 to 135 mph.

The tornado returned to the ground as another pocket of significant damage occurred on 58th street between fifth and sixth avenues. The roof was ripped off of 5 homes... and tree damage indicates strong EF-1 damage.

The tornado then headed east... and touched down again in the Flatbush vicinity at approximately 6:40 am. Numerous trees... approximately 30... were uprooted along ocean Avenue between beverley Road and church Avenue. The damage also extended to the west to Argyle Road.

The National Weather Service had issued a Tornado Warning for portions of Staten Island and Brooklyn at 6:28 am. A second Tornado Warning was issued at 6:50 am for sections of Brooklyn... Queens... and Nassau County.

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