Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene in Baltimore (Post #5)

10:30am: Still getting some good wind and gusts from the NW. Walked around downtown earlier this morning and the wind is still whipping between the buildings. Rain is over but it's still overcast. Lots of pictures posted of down trees in the city, some good ones at the Baltimore Sun. A couple of big ones are down by the Homewood campus of JHU.  A tree fell across the Falls Road on ramp to the JFX earlier this morning.

The metro is back up and running at least to Rogers Avenue. The Light Rail will be back up at noon, but you can probably expect delays due to the wind and debris. Good news is the Yankees and Orioles will be playing a doubleheader today, and while it's windy the weather is nice right now.

Downtown this morning, everything looks clear.

Irene casualty in Preston Gardens

Hurricane Irene in Baltimore (Post #4)

7:30am (Sunday): Baltimore Skyline headquarters survived the night with no loss of power. The rain really picked up after 11pm and the wind began to give that telltale howl. The rain came down horizontally and at time it felt like the HQ was running through a carwash. The street signs and light poles were swaying and rattling and trash was blowing and flowing down the streets (although that last one is no different than any other rainy Baltimore day). There is a billboard that we can see from here, and the rain blowing into it was streaming around the sides like a waterfall.

The wind has now shifted to the NW as the storm passes by. Irene is heading toward NYC as we speak and the eye is now sitting off the Jersey coast. In Baltimore, we are now experiencing the back end of the hurricane, but the winds are still nasty. is reporting 28MPH winds with gusts up to 40MPH in Baltimore. Irene dumped somewhere over 3 inches of rain on us, and knocked out power to over 60,000 residents in the city. WBAL is reporting downed trees around the city, but not too much flooding.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene in Baltimore (Post #3)

6:45pm: Wind and rain has picked up considerably. According to there are 20 MPH winds and gusts up to 33 MPH in the Baltimore area. A heavy, steady rain is now falling downtown, but still a lot of people are out on the roads. Took the dog out not too long ago, and he did not like that at all. The eye of Irene is right along the NC/VA border moving to the NNE. WBAL is reporting just about an inch of rain has fallen in Baltimore, but the brunt of the storm is on the way and will continue overnight.

At Baltimore Skyline Headquarters we're stocked up for the storm. Cellphones are charged up, bottled water aplenty, and candles at the ready in case the power in downtown Baltimore goes out. There was cookie baking earlier, and as you can see by the picture below the beer supplies are plentiful. Keep dry out there!

Stocked fridge at Baltimore Skyline Headquarters

Hurricane Irene in Baltimore (Post #2)

2:45pm: Three hours later and the rain and wind are more steady now. There was a period for a while where the rain stopped as a band passed by. Currently Irene is sitting north of the Outer Banks and by this evening will be right off the Virginia Capes, but its leading edge is soaking much of Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, and now Maryland. The rain and wind is expected to get heavier as Irene approaches throughout the day. Irene will be getting closer to our area right when high tide is expected in the Upper Patapsco around 6pm. This could be bad news for the folks in Fells Point and other areas right along the Harbor.

Hurricane Irene in Baltimore (Post #1)

11:45am: The first bands of rain started to come through Baltimore. Nothing more than a steady drizzle, but the skies looked ominous. The wind has picked up and there are frequent gusts. In downtown there is still a decent amount of traffic on the roads, but the smart folks have removed their cars from being parked on the street. There are still a lot of people walking around. The Charmulator is shutting down at 4pm, Light Rail at 6pm and Metro subway and bus at 9pm.

Dark clouds over N Charles Street

Windy in Preston Gardens

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Obligatory Earthquake Post

So that was odd huh? Sure earthquakes in the Mid-Atlantic aren't rare, but the ones we're used to are the hardly noticeable earthly tremors, but not today. Right before 2pm an earthquake centered near Richmond at a deep of nearly 4 miles hit the Richter scale at 5.8. The rippling effect was felt in Baltimore and as far north as New York and far south as South Carolina.

Sitting in my office today, I felt the odd sensation that the room was trembling like a truck was rolling down the street, although there was no truck. Then my office began to rattle, as I stood up I noticed the unnerving feeling of the ground under foot moving. Next thing I knew our whole building was out the door and into the streets on the Hopkins Medical Campus. Street signs were still waving for moments after the 15 seconds or so of earth quaking. It was nearly an hour before we were allowed back inside our offices, after who I can only assume was Johns Hopkins maintenance's crack Earthquake Squad checked out all of our buildings.

Having watched the news, there doesn't seem to be much damage, other than some buildings losing some bricks and roof ornamentation. Cornice work at a Fells Point church came crashing to the street, and some derelict buildings saw some partial collapse, but nothing worse.

Unfortunately MARC and Amtrak travel was haywire this afternoon with major delays, and even well after rush hour things have not returned to normal.

Now that we've survived the first noticeable earthquake in a long time, what next? Oh wait, Hurricane Irene seems to be bearing right towards us...great.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Construction Updates in Midtown

UB School of Law is getting tall, and still has 4 more floors to go before it's topped off.

The new School of Law redefines the view toward Penn Station. From the south the station is almost completely blocked from view, but the approach no longer looks barren.

Lyric additions coming along nicely, performances that will utilize the new space have already been set for the new season at the Lyric.

The Varsity, UB's new apartment tower is growing fast

The 11-story building will be hard to miss surrounded by 3.5 story townhouses.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Water is Back On

photo by me
I snapped this photo yesterday on the way home for work. After much time and effort, the two fountains in Preston Gardens are now flowing again. According to the Downtown Partnership, these fountains have not worked in over 30 years. The return of the fountains is a part of an ongoing effort to turn Preston Gardens from the once underutilized - and often thought overgrown median - into a revitalized park in the center of downtown. New tables and chairs, plants, and flower baskets have been added over the last few months. The grass is often mowed and the landscaping is taken care of by a full time groundskeepers.

Free poetry on Tuesday afternoons has brought more atmosphere to Preston Gardens, which is now a destination lunch spot for many in the surrounding buildings. The sloshing of the fountain waters now adds to the ambiance, and helps to drown out some of the other city sounds.

The Downtown Partnership still has more plans for Preston Gardens, but more concrete details have not been made available other than the Master Plan that was released in the spring. What has been mentioned here before is the need for better traffic mitigation surrounding the park to make it easily accessible from both the western and eastern approaches. Traffic continues to zoom down lower St Paul Place (except when it comes to a standstill at rush hour), and the approach (and look of the park) from upper St Paul Place is still less than ideal. A redo of the upper side median, and better crosswalks all around would do much to improve this access. Other than that, things are looking good!