Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On the Road: A small intentional community, more records of big tornadoes in the East

I went on the road for the day and visited a few more spots around central Virginia that relate to some of my other posts.

In Culpeper County VA, on SR 229, a few miles north of Culpeper, a tornado touched down on September 24, 2001.  It moved northeast where it briefly intensified to F4 and destroyed at least one home on a private estate which cannot be viewed from public property.  But the whole area is not far from the Blue Ridge, so the idea that severe tornadoes cannot occur near mountains (in the East) or in fall or winter is certainly defeated.  That day, another tornado would reach F3 levels on the western edge of the University of Maryland campus in College Park and track up to Laurel as F1 or F2 in places (see June 14, 2014).

Later today, I drove past the Acorn Community Farm, a small intentional community not too far from the larger Twin Oaks community, described from a tour on this blog April 7, 2012.  This community, which is indeed much smaller (only about 30 members) seems even more remote, on country road 699, which branches off of US 522 right after US522 has joined US33 (south of Mineral) before continuing south.  As the road starts. Two large areas appeared to have been cleared of forest, as if they were going to be developed with homes.  But the road becomes narrow and rural, with small homes and homes and residents who seem self-sufficient and private.  The road becomes a dirt road before going into the woods.  As it approaches the South Anna river (to become a one lane bridge) the farm (with a conservatory for the seed business) appears on the right.  This community is probably less formal and even more into “self-sufficiency” than Twin Oaks, which is large enough to require some bureaucracy.   It is really “in the woods” and remote.  The community might be exposed to floods;  it seems about 20 feet above the creek (or “river”).
Soon, you come to a paved road, and can return to US 522 in about four miles. 
Besides my own ventures, there’s more news on resilience from other natural disasters (after two days of storms earlier this week – a possibly dangerous situation to have the jet stream sink right over the East Coast in mid-summer).

Apparently people in the entire state of California are now faced with water restrictions, with $500 per day fines, as the San Jose Mercury News (“conservative”?) writes, here.   
And in Fort Washington, MD (in southern Prince Georges County) residents of the Piscataway Hills area near the Potomac face possible buyout of their homes only at assessed value if the county cannot rebuild the damaged hillsides, story in Washington Post. (June 3, 2014).   

Update: July 17

There is more news on the Piscataway Hills situation, with a new plan to save some homes, WJLA report here.

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