Wednesday, October 31, 2012

SANDY DAMAGE PHOTOS - HURRICANE SANDY HITS BETHESDA, MARYLAND - WASHINGTON, DC AREA - SUPERSTORM PHOTO GALLERY

Here is a photo gallery of Hurricane Sandy in Bethesda, and the damage the superstorm left behind.  It was minimal compared to what happened in New York and New Jersey.  In fact, there just wasn't that much damage here at all.
Water was starting to pool in the Westwood
Shopping Center parking lot at 8 AM Monday
Last minute shoppers dashed into
Giant as the storm hit
Fashion Craft Cleaners was open
...and Starbucks...
Sandy doesn't like Thai food
Sandy does what you've always wanted to
do to bossy parking signs in Bethesda
They've fallen, and they can't get up!


WHERE IS SANDY? WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY AFTER THE SUPERSTORM - POTOMAC RIVER FLOODING, AIRPORT OPENINGS AND CLOSINGS, AMTRAK

BETHESDA STORM CENTER

SANDY UPDATE

Bethesda may have dodged a bullet, but flooding remains a serious issue here and throughout the DC area today.  At 3 AM, the Potomac River was only 4" away from flood stage at Little Falls.  It is expected to reach and surpass flood stage within hours.  Then it is expected to recede into Thursday.  Potomac flooding also means creek flooding, so continue to drive with caution near waterways like Little Falls Stream, Booze Creek, etc.

WHERE IS SANDY?

Superstorm Sandy is currently near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at this hour.  It will continue northward, and its cloud mass currently stretches from the Great Lakes to New England.  Sandy continues to dump snow to its southwest, with one Western Maryland town having 29" so far.

BETHESDA FORECAST

Mostly cloudy today, with highs in the mid-50s.  Breeze SW, 10-15 MPH.

TRANSIT, TRAVEL, TRAINS, AIRPORTS

Reagan National, Dulles and BWI airports are open.

Newark Liberty and JFK Airports in New York opened at 7 AM this morning.  Call your airline to confirm your flight before leaving home.

Amtrak service has resumed between DC and Philadelphia, but not to New York.  Amtrak is operating south of DC, but not to Chicago.  Again, call ahead, as this could change at any time.

Vamoose Bus has resumed service to New York City from Waverly Street in downtown Bethesda.

Metro subway, Metrobus, Ride On, MARC, MTA bus, Maryland commuter buses, and MTA light rail and subway are all operating this morning.

ETC.

Little Falls Parkway has reopened.

Early voting in Maryland: 8 AM - 9 PM today.

Stay tuned for more, and make sure to follow me on Twitter at @BethesdaRow for all the latest Sandy coverage!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

VAMOOSE BUS TO RESTORE BETHESDA - NYC BUS SERVICE WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31

Vamoose Bus has announced it will restore bus service between downtown Bethesda and New York City tomorrow.

Which is pretty impressive, given that their route travels directly through and into the states hardest hit by Sandy.  The company says to expect some delays, especially due to closures on the New Jersey Turnpike.

But bus service it is, and a good bargain if you need to get to NYC to visit family after the storm tomorrow, for example.  Great work by Vamoose, and the men and women who have been working around the clock to keep roads open for the rest of us: police, firefighters, road crews, rest stop employees, and many more - thank you!

MICROSOFT SURFACE TABLET (PHOTOS) AT BETHESDA MICROSOFT POP-UP KIOSK

Another Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row Exclusive

The long-awaited Microsoft Surface tablet went on sale Friday morning at the Microsoft Kiosk in Bethesda's Westfield Montgomery Mall.

A sizeable number of people were giving the new tablet a workout, although no one actually made a purchase while I was there.

I'll have more photos and commentary once Sandy passes out of the area, but wanted to post a couple of photos here for you.

WHICH BETHESDA RESTAURANTS ARE OPEN?

Note:  If you don't see your favorite Bethesda restaurant on here, that doesn't necessarily mean it's closed.  It may just be that I don't know they're open yet!

OPEN:

American Tap Room
Capital Teas
Bold Bite,
Lilit Cafe
Mon Ami Gabi
Jaleo Bethesda
Parkers
Yamas Grill
BGR
Nando's Peri-Peri
Georgetown Bagelry
Bethesda Bagels
Zen Tara Tea












METRO SUBWAY AND METROBUS SERVICE TO RESUME TODAY AT 2 PM

WMATA has announced it will resume Metrobus and Metro subway service this afternoon at 2 PM.  Both will operate on a Sunday schedule.  Montgomery County is silent so far as to whether or not it will resume Ride On bus service at the same time.

Of course, all of this is useless for people who are already at work, or took the day off.  At least New York City has a legitimate reason why it couldn't operate its subways this morning!  The decision to cancel Metro today in the first place was made too early.

SUPERSTORM SANDY ROUGHS UP MARYLAND, DC; FLOODING STILL AHEAD; NYC, NJ, BREEZY, ROCKAWAY DEVASTATED

BETHESDA STORM CENTER

SANDY UPDATE

Today will be a day of damage assessment in Bethesda, and the DC area.  We've taken damage for sure, and it's too early to know just how much.  But we can also be thankful that we clearly did not take the beating that New York City and New Jersey did.

Over the night, winds in Bethesda significantly decreased after 1:00 AM.  Some forecasters are saying we could still have occasional gusts up to 50 MPH through the evening.  In general, though, expect winds to peak in the high 20s today.  We could get 4-5" more rain before Sandy moves on.  And a crest is moving down the Potomac River from Harpers Ferry.  That will cause flooding down here eventually, particularly tomorrow into Thursday.  Other streams are likely to flood, and Little Falls Parkway remains closed between River Road and Massachusetts Avenue.

So far, Pepco has done a pretty good job.  The primary outages reported were mostly in North Bethesda and the River Road/Wilson Lane area.  Obviously, the risk of outages remains as trees can still fall.

Strosniders received a new shipment last night, including flashlights, lanterns, window covers, chainsaws, and the ever-elusive D batteries.

Scott Graham of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue service said that MCFRS responded to 324 calls Monday, and another 47 calls since midnight.

The top wind gust reported in Montgomery County was 76 MPH in Laytonsville.  By comparison, the top wind speed recorded anywhere in the U.S. last night was 120 MPH, in Mount Washington, NH.

Sandy was perhaps the best forecast storm in history.  It followed the Euro model track almost exactly.  It made landfall 5 miles south of Atlantic City.  It also produced the predicted snow west of us:  17" so far in Davis, WV!

West Virginia and Western Maryland highways experienced whiteout conditions last night.  Not surprising, given that Sandy was centered near Lancaster, PA at one point.  According to the National Hurricane Center, Sandy remains "next door" in Pennsylvania this morning.

Finally, we have a lot to be thankful for here.  In flooded Breezy Point/Rockaway Beach in NYC, over 50 structures burnt down when flooding prevented firefighters from reaching the area in great numbers.  One resident said on Twitter that he and 100 other families are now homeless.  At least part of the Rockaway Boardwalk was also destroyed.  Once home to a famous amusement park, Rockaway remains home to several of Robert Moses' significant infrastructure projects.  So it is definitely sad to hear of this tragedy in a great American community.

We're not done with Sandy yet, but the news from states north of us reminds us it could have been far worse.

Stay tuned here and on Twitter at @BethesdaRow for updates!

Monday, October 29, 2012

ARE CONSTRUCTION CRANES SAFE DURING HURRICANE SANDY?

With two massive cranes looming over downtown Bethesda recently, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has wondered how cranes handle hurricanes.

I did some research, and it turns out that they are designed specifically for such events.

In addition to being built to withstand hurricane-force winds, crane operators will disengage the crane's turntable, allowing it to spin freely in the gusting wind.

When cranes have collapsed during storms, it has rarely been just the wind that caused it.  Rust, metal fatigue, failure of the tie-downs, and multidirectional, high-wind events have been fingered as culprits in such disasters.  Surprisingly, they are quite rare.

Of course, like a plane crash, the rarity doesn't help if you happen to be on board!

OCEAN CITY, MD PIER COLLAPSES, IS DESTROYED - UPDATE

A sad update to an earlier story: the damaged fishing pier at Ocean City has collapsed.  Only a few supports are left sticking up out of the ocean.

LIST OF FLASH-FLOOD-PRONE BETHESDA ROADS DURING HURRICANE SANDY

Watch out for these spots that have flooded during past storms in Bethesda:

Little Falls Parkway (the portion between Massachusetts Avenue and River Road was closed last night already)

Small River Road bridge just east of Ridgefield Road, next to Kenwood Station shopping center

Another small bridge on River Road just west of Willard Avenue

Yet another small bridge on River Road just east of Royal Dominion Dr. and Holton Arms

And wouldn't you know it, one more small bridge west of the Beltway, where River Road crosses Cabin John Creek

Booze Creek can flood along Burning Tree Road (same creek that passes below River Road by Holton Arms)

Dalecarlia Parkway

There are also random places in downtown Bethesda that can have standing water, depending on stormwater issues.  These include Wisconsin/Montgomery Aves. intersection, and Bradley Blvd./Arlington Road intersection.

Sometimes there's no way around these points to your destination.  But having this list will at least make you aware of potential danger as you approach these spots.  If it's all clear, it's safe to go ahead.  But if standing water - or even worse, rushing water - is present, TURN AROUND!

In the last 10 years, drivers have literally been swept out of their cars on Goldsboro, Little Falls Parkway near Mass. Ave., and the little bridge near Kenwood Station on River Road.

Stay in if you can, stay alert if you can't!

And stay tuned here and on Twitter at @BethesdaRow for the latest on Hurricane Sandy in Bethesda.

HURRICANE SANDY WILL HIT MARYLAND, DC TONIGHT - UPDATE, STATS - 23' WAVES IN NJ, SNOW FALLING IN WEST VIRGINIA

BETHESDA STORM CENTER

SANDY UPDATE

Hurricane Sandy is strengthening, and has just begun the northwestern turn that will bring it ashore this evening.  Sandy is likely to hit the New Jersey coast, where waves of 23' have been measured this morning.

By the time that happens  - during the late evening rush hour or later - expect 4-8 inches of rain, and winds of 40-60 MPH throughout.  There is a flash flood warning in effect, as well as a high wind warning.

Plan to stay indoors this evening, and stay tuned here and on Twitter at @BethesdaRow for Sandy updates.

Here is the latest data on Sandy:

LOCATION:  385 miles SSE of New York City

WINDS:  85 MPH

MOVING:  NW at 20 MPH

Latest developments:

+Bethesda Circulator service canceled today

+Suburban Hospital ED open; surgeries as scheduled

+17" of rainfall over the Chesapeake Bay as of 7 AM, according to Weather Channel

+Currently snowing in Beckley, Bluefield West Virginia, and in Marion, Virginia

+Coast Guard on rescue mission after ship in path of Sandy radios distress call off Atlantic Coast

+Flood warning for Philadelphia and suburbs

+N end of Atlantic City boardwalk collapsing

+Ocean City, MD fishing pier damaged, in danger of collapse

Sunday, October 28, 2012

HURRICANE SANDY PANIC BUYING IN BETHESDA CONTINUES TO CAUSE SHORTAGES OF WATER, BATTERIES AND MORE (PHOTOS)

PLUS:
WHAT ITEMS ARE
YOU BUYING THE
MOST OF IN
BETHESDA?

I KNOW THE ANSWERS!

Another Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row Exclusive

Saturday was far from a day of rest for Bethesda residents gathering supplies ahead of Hurricane Sandy's devastating arrival Monday.  Drivers sat in long lines at gas stations in downtown Bethesda, and over on River Road.  Demand was so high that Sunoco ran out of fuel, but called in a new tanker by mid-evening Saturday.  C and D size batteries, and bottled water remain the most-ransacked items in Bethesda.

Strosniders on Arlington Road said they are expecting a fresh shipment of those batteries today.  Bottled water shortages spread from Bethesda Row to the Arlington Road Safeway, to the Westbard Giant.

You've heard a lot about lists from the authorities and media.

But what is actually on a Bethesda hurricane shopping list?

I've gathered the answers for you, based upon the most-purchased items at grocery stores across town.

TOP SELLERS IN BETHESDA:

1. Bottled water
2. C/D batteries
3. Milk
4. Paper towels
5. Peanut butter
6. Ritz crackers
7. SPAM
8. Tortilla chips
9. Ramen noodles
10. DVDs

Enjoy this photo gallery of fellow residents furiously preparing for Hurricane Sandy, vicariously from your easy chair (unless you haven't finished shopping yet!).
Water aisle at Arlington Rd. Safeway
Westbard Giant water aisle
Westbard paper towel aisle
Peanut Butter aisle
Bethesda is crackers about Ritz
Bethesda is grabbing handfuls of DVDs, but even a
killer storm can't sell them on trash like
Angels & Demons with Tom Hanks
Lines formed at gas stations Saturday,
and some even ran out of gas
Don't "panic" about Sandy:
Follow @BethesdaRow
on Twitter!

LATEST FORECAST: HURRICANE SANDY WILL HIT MARYLAND, DC HARD BUT EVEN WORSE IN BALTIMORE, DELMARVA, PHILADELPHIA, NJ, NYC, LONG ISLAND

BETHESDA STORM CENTER

SANDY UPDATE

The latest predicted track for Hurricane Sandy is only slightly better news for Maryland and the DC area.  Rather than the very-worst-case scenario of a landfall between Norfolk and Delaware, Sandy is now expected to slam directly into the New Jersey coast.

What does this mean?  We will still have wind damage, falling trees, power outages, and transportation disruptions.  Don't be fooled; this is still potentially one of the worst storms in Mid-Atlantic history.

The difference is that many forecasters - and remember, these are just forecasts! - have trimmed our threat levels a notch.  We are now expected to get 4-8" of rain, with some saying 4-6", in the DC area.  And some are predicting wind gusts of 60 MPH, rather than the 70 MPH we were hearing on Saturday.

In contrast, the same models are showing 8" of rain, with 12" in hard-hit areas, and wind gusts of 70+ MPH for the Delmarva Peninsula, New Jersey, New York City, Long Island, and possibly Baltimore.  Charm City is on the southern edge of the new track, but all we know for sure is that Baltimore will have slightly worse conditions than the DC area, should this track hold.

60 MPH is still enough to blow window panes out, and knock over trees and power lines.

Another change, is that the worst peak of the storm for us has moved later into Monday evening, and into the late night hours.  Conditions will begin to deteriorate today in the DC and Maryland area.  I'm sure you can hear the winds starting to pick up intermittently, even as you read this.

Monday morning rush hour will be unpleasant, but the evening will be the one to cause the most concern.  I noticed that Sandy has slowed by 3 MPH just since 5:00 AM, so you have to factor those kinds of speed variables into the timing.

Tropical wind and rain conditions will continue in the DC area and Maryland suburbs into Thursday.  This could have a potential impact on Halloween.

Here is the latest data on Sandy:

LOCATION:  395 miles E of Charleston, SC

WINDS:  75 MPH

MOVING:  NE at 10 MPH

Are you following
@BethesdaRow
on Twitter for the
latest hyperlocal
coverage of
Hurricane Sandy?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

HIMALAYAN HERITAGE RESTAURANT TO REPLACE QUEEN BEE CAFE ON BETHESDA AVENUE (PHOTOS)

ADAMS MORGAN
FAVORITE TO OPEN
BETHESDA SPINOFF
NEXT WEEK

Another Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row Exclusive

Greek cuisine at 4925 Bethesda Avenue is being replaced by recipes from much farther east next week.

Himalayan Heritage will bring its Nepalese and Indian menu to the space next week, right next to the Nest Cafe.  If the name sounds familiar, it's because it is:  Himalayan Heritage already has one restaurant in Adams Morgan.

A spokesperson for the DC restaurant told me by phone that the Bethesda location is scheduled to open November 2.  The sign is already up, and the dining room is decorated.

HURRICANE SANDY PANIC IN BETHESDA, MARYLAND LEADS TO BARE SHELVES, BOTTLED WATER AND BATTERY SHORTAGES AT SOME GROCERY STORES (PHOTOS)

PANICKED SHOPPERS
STRIP GROCERY SHELVES
BARE

Another Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row Exclusive
The bottled water aisle at
the Bethesda Row Giant
Friday evening
The frightening weather predictions of Hurricane Sandy are causing mild panic in downtown Bethesda.  Friday night, the Bethesda Row Giant's water aisle was stripped bare, and C and D batteries were also sold out.
It does a body good.
Empty milk shelves
at the Arlington Rd. Safeway
Safeway on Arlington Road had some water left, but no more lowfat or 2% milk.  The other Safeway - on Old Georgetown Road - was well-stocked in every department.  CVS on Arlington Road had plenty of bottled water and batteries.
C and D batteries are the
most in demand
All of this panic buying was taking place a full 3 days before Sandy is expected to hit our area, on Monday.

Two important things to do ahead of the storm, in preparation for extensive power outages, are to fill your gas tank, and withdraw the amount of cash you think you'll need to squeak by for the week.

Both gas pumps (as we already found a few months ago!) and ATMs can be forced to close without power.

Stay tuned here and at
 @BethesdaRow on Twitter
for all the latest
  Sandy information

WHEN HURRICANE SANDY HITS MARYLAND, DC, PLAN FOR "UNPRECEDENTED" WEATHER CONDITIONS - FRANKENSTORM UPDATE

BETHESDA STORM CENTER

SANDY UPDATE

Over the night, Hurricane Sandy weakened into Tropical Storm Sandy.  But don't be fooled:  Sandy is already a hurricane again.

The word most common in the latest predictions is "unprecedented."  Sandy may make landfall Monday as a Category 2 hurricane in the worst case scenario.  One forecast predicts that we could experience 48 straight hours of 70 MPH wind gusts.  Some forecasters now expect 8" of rain - that's a 2" increase since yesterday - and isolated pockets of up to 12".

We are now under a flood watch through 8:00 AM Tuesday.  The only positive news is that the latest model is showing the very worst flooding now slightly north of DC's latitude.  The bad news is that the storm will have serious impacts hundreds of miles from its center.

Let's hope Sandy stays weak.  But the storm's slowing speed does give it more ability to gain power from the ocean below it.  Fortunately, the Atlantic is not as warm as the Caribbean.  Alas, Sandy is already carrying a heavy load of tropical moisture with it as it travels toward us.

Here are the latest stats for Sandy:

LOCATION:  350 miles SE of Charleston, SC

WINDS:  70 MPH

MOVING:  NNE at 10 MPH

Make sure to follow @BethesdaRow
on Twitter, as well as this blog,
 for hyperlocal coverage
 of Sandy in Bethesda

Friday, October 26, 2012

VINO VOLO SIGNS ARE UP AT BETHESDA ROW, EXCLUSIVE INTERIOR PHOTOS!

Another Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row Exclusive

The construction of the (not-so-distant) future Vino Volo wine bar at Bethesda Row is picking up steam.

Now many of the interior details hinted at in the renderings I previously posted are in place.

100 MONTADITOS TO OPEN AT BETHESDA ROW - EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS

WINDOW GRAPHICS
UP ON ELM STREET

Another Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row Exclusive

Spanish restaurant chain 100 Montaditos is bringing 100 little sandwiches, as you might have surmised from the name, to Bethesda Row.

You might say 100 Montaditos is the Luke's Lobster of sandwiches - small portions of high quality ingredients.  And while those sandwiches are not Taylor Gourmet-sized, the Spanish upstart does import bread - only it's from Spain, not Philadelphia.  Yes, the bread is coming directly from Spain.
This sandwich roll has cleverly disguised
himself as a scientist
The fillings will be familiar to Jaleo diners, but you can also get hot dogs and hamburgers for an American entree.

In my opinion, you can never have too many Spanish restaurants, but is it too much to have a second one so close to Jaleo?  I guess we'll find out in a few months.

I'm looking forward to the opening, and appreciate the creative marketing and social media approach the company is taking.  Ultimately, it sounds like a good fit for the European atmosphere around Bethesda Row.

WILL HURRICANE SANDY HIT MARYLAND, DC AREA? LATEST MODEL SAYS YES! EAST COAST FRANKENSTORM

BETHESDA STORM CENTER

SANDY UPDATE

The historically-most-accurate Euro model of Hurrricane Sandy is now predicting an almost-certain East Coast landfall by the storm, between Monday and Tuesday.  Our area is within the red zone that stretches from Norfolk, VA to Nova Scotia.  We are almost sure to be hit by Sandy, either directly or in passing.

Remember the three possible scenarios I mentioned yesterday, and how we'd have to wait until certain atmospheric trends played out, to know which track it would take?

Those have been whittled down to one by the latest Euro model.  What changed?  In addition to the jet stream staying too far west, a dominating clockwise current northeast of the U.S. is likely to hurl Sandy westward, and right into the Eastern seaboard.

Barring the chance that Sandy slips eastward before hitting that northeast high pressure system, we are now almost certainly in for a wild and wooly Monday.  Our worst case scenario would be Sandy making landfall between Norfolk and Delaware.  Aside from the danger of Sandy actually coming up the Chesapeake Bay, those located west, north and northwest of the landfall point will be the hardest hit.  And that would include the DC area.

In such a scenario, this could be a historic Mid-Atlantic storm.  Even if that doesn't happen, this pre-Halloween Frankenstorm will still cause power outages, falling trees, flooding and disruption of rail and air transportation in the Northeast Corridor.  Adding to flooding concerns, we will have a Full Moon when Sandy makes landfall.  Tides will already be higher as a result.  Forecasts call for 6" of rainfall; currently, Sandy is producing rainfall of 12-20" in the Carribean.

Continue to monitor the hurricane reports, as the final turn eastward by Sandy as it moves up the coast is the one thing the Euro model hasn't - and can't - show in advance.

One other point on flooding:  If you are in a residential neighborhood, make sure the gutters along your street are free of leaves.  Leaf collection is a couple of weeks off; leaf piles in the gutter can cause streets to flood by slowing and preventing normal function by stormwater systems.

Bottom line:  Frankenstorm may deliver pre-Halloween screams.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Here's the latest on Sandy:

LOCATION:  485 miles SSE of Charleston, SC

WINDS:  80 MPH

MOVING:  NW at 13 MPH

Latest Developments:

+HURRICANE WATCH FOR NW BAHAMAS

+TROPICAL STORM WATCH BETWEEN
SAVANNAH RIVER AND
OREGON INLET, NC

Thursday, October 25, 2012

MATHNASIUM INSTALLS LIGHTED SIGN (PHOTO)

The sign has gone up at Mathnasium on Fairmont Avenue.  You may remember this math tutoring center just moved into the space last month.

WEAR A COSTUME, GET A FREE CUPCAKE AT FRAÎCHE CUPCAKERY THIS WEEKEND, AND ON HALLOWEEN!

Another Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row Exclusive

Fraiche Cupcakery is in the Halloween spirit:  wear your costume to their shop at the Wildwood Center on Old Georgetown Road this Saturday and Sunday or on Halloween, and receive a FREE cupcake.

With the ominous weather forecast, you may want to claim your cupcake this weekend, before the storm and power outages hit early next week!

MAKE MEANING LEASES SPACE AT BETHESDA ROW (PHOTOS)

KATIE HOLMES-APPROVED
FAMILY ACTIVITY CENTER
TO OPEN ON
BETHESDA AVENUE

Another Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row Exclusive

Bachelors like me may be disappointed, but moms across Bethesda will be excited to hear that New York City's Make Meaning is coming to Bethesda Row.
Make Meaning will be to the left of
Aveda spa, next to the alley
Make Meaning is sort of a cross between Build-A-Bear and Kidville, but with activities for all generations of the family.  I'll go out on a limb and say that Make Meaning is definitely geared towards the female members of the family; activities include cake decorating, glass, jewelry, candles, ceramics, soap and paper.  Yeah, those typical guy activities for the weekend, right?

Seriously, though, Make Meaning is also an event space geared towards the ladies.  You can have your baby shower there.  In fact, Melissa Joan Hart just had hers at one of Make Meaning's NYC locations.

Probably the most famous mom to stop by Make Meaning was Katie Holmes.

Staff members they call Associate Creativity Enthusiasts will help you not only with activities, but to plan your event.

Make Meaning is membership-based, with individual and family memberships available.

With Aveda spa next door, and Paper Source next to that, it sounds like Make Meaning will be a hangout for artistic Bethesda moms around Bethesda Row.

HURRICANE SANDY UPDATE: 3 SCENARIOS FOR BETHESDA, DC AREA

BETHESDA STORM CENTER

SANDY UPDATE

Sandy met expectations yesterday, strengthening into a hurricane even earlier in the day than expected.  Currently a Category 2 storm, Sandy has already hit Jamaica and Cuba.

What now for the U.S. East Coast?

The outcome is just as up in the air as it was yesterday at this hour.

But atmospheric conditions suggest 3 likely outcomes.

The worst case scenario is a direct hit to Maryland, via the Chesapeake Bay.  Based on current behavior, Sandy should arrive here after 8:00 AM Monday morning.  So we have a few days to track how this is going, and prepare accordingly.

Even under milder Scenario 2, Sandy will give a Winnie the Pooh-worthy blustery day - or 2 or 3.  We could still have some wind damage and power outages, but not a direct hit.

Finally, Scenario 3 finds us escaping unscathed, with no storms at all, and a return to cooler fall weather.  It all depends on that low pressure system, and if it stays over us through Monday.  That would push Sandy away from the East Coast and out to sea.

Right now, you may want to think about securing or bringing in any objects in your yard, or on your apartment balcony, as we get closer to Monday.  That would include Halloween decorations, for example.

Let's hope for the best, as a direct hit would make for a scary Halloween indeed!

Here are the latest stats for Sandy:

LOCATION:  40 miles E of Holguin, Cuba

WINDS:  105 MPH

MOVING:  N at 18 MPH

Latest Developments:

+TROPICAL STORM WARNING
S OF FLAGLER BEACH, FL

+AIR FORCE RECON PLANE
TO FLY NEAR SANDY
LATER THIS A.M.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

VINO VOLO BETHESDA ROW EXTERIOR TAKING SHAPE (PHOTOS)

EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS!

The highly-anticipated Bethesda Row wine bar Vino Volo is starting to resemble the impressive sketches I posted a few weeks back.

Here are a few shots of the progress:
Reminds me a bit of Redwood on Bethesda
Lane.  What do you think?

BRICKSIDE FOOD AND DRINK - BETHESDA CONSTRUCTION UPDATE (PHOTOS)

EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS!

Renovation of the future home of Brickside Food and Drink continues on Cordell Avenue.
The elevated porch dining area is coming
along nicely above the street
This is a new window in the front
of the restaurant

HOW DID A CAR GOING 93 MPH ON I-66/I-495 MANAGE TO REACH THE GATE OF WALTER REED IN BETHESDA?

DO WE HAVE THE
RIGHT POLICIES
IN PLACE FOR
TODAY'S THREATS?

While most attention was understandably focused on the shot fired by a guard at a threatening vehicle yesterday at Walter Reed, I was perplexed by what happened long before the car reached the medical center gate.

According to the police statement, the suspect's vehicle was traveling 93 MPH in Virginia, and was being pursued by the Virginia State Police.  But the report went on to say that the state troopers ended the pursuit at the Maryland state line, on the Beltway.

I had always thought that rule had been updated.  The old getaway over the state line trick from TV, right?  The Duke boys are being pursued by Sheriff Little in Chickasaw County.  They elude capture, and cross the county line.  The sheriff dutifully, if not willingly, screeches to a halt at the border.  Throws his hat.  Kicks his cruiser for good measure.  "Dagnabbit!"

It's one of the oldest gimmicks in TV and film.

So did Virginia State Troopers actually have to do that yesterday, albeit in less dramatic fashion?

From what we've been told, apparently so.

I had no idea someone could go 93 MPH, deliberately evade police, and put the lives of those troopers and other motorists at risk, and make a crossjurisdictional getaway.  So I had to look it up.

The DC Metropolitan Police handbook states:

"The Code of Maryland S2-305 provides that a police officer may enter Maryland in fresh pursuit in order to arrest a person on the grounds that he/she is believed to have committed a felony in the pursuing officer's state."

Surely, in a state with such harsh driver penalties like Virginia, yesterday's suspect would be eligible for arrest by Virginia police, right?

From what I can tell, the answer is no.

Virginia is unusual, in that it makes violations like reckless driving a criminal offense.  And in Virginia, if you speed over 80 MPH, you are automatically going to be charged with reckless driving.

But reckless driving is only a criminal misdemeanor in Virginia.

So it appears that the Virginia State Police correctly followed their procedures by the book, and radioed ahead to the county and state.

In fact, it sounds like everyone followed procedure yesterday, and fortunately, it was a minor incident.

But had this been a terrorist attack, there would be Monday morning, armchair quarterbacking going on today.

Should cross-border pursuit policies be changed?  Was this an example of why the county council blundered in canceling the county's police helicopter program?  Could a potential terrorist vehicle travel that many miles across our region, and reach its target on any given day at 93 MPH?

These are questions that are worthy of consideration.

WHEN WILL HURRICANE SANDY HIT BETHESDA AND THE DC AREA? - BETHESDA WEATHER UPDATE

BETHESDA STORM CENTER

SANDY UPDATE

Tropical Storm Sandy is currently steaming directly towards Jamaica, and is expected to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane before the end of the day.

Will Sandy hit the DC area, and the East Coast in general?  Yes, on Sunday and Monday in some degree, based on two forecast models.  Worse yet, the European model that has historically been the most accurate, is predicting a close shave for the Mid-Atlantic northward.  One Accuweather track even shows it going directly up the Chesapeake Bay.

What a low pressure front does this weekend will ultimately decide our fate.  If it stays over us, Sandy will be forced out to sea.  But if it tracks westward of the East Coast, Sandy could land a formidable punch to the DC area.

Here are the latest stats on TS Sandy:

LOCATION:  190 miles south of Kingston, Jamaica

WINDS:  70 MPH

MOVING: N at 14 MPH

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS:

+SCHOOLS ACROSS JAMAICA
 ARE CLOSED TODAY

+TROPICAL STORM WATCH JUST
 ISSUED FOR SE FL, UPPER KEYS

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS AT BETHESDA ROW (PHOTOS)

IS IT TOO EARLY,
OR
NEVER TOO SOON
FOR
HOLIDAY LIGHTS?

Another Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row Exclusive

Busy elves were stringing lights around anything standing still at Bethesda Row into the evening last night.

The early decorating doesn't bother me, although I usually wait until my other favorite season of the year - Halloween - is over.

However, some Bethesda Row patrons expressed displeasure with early holiday trimming last year via social media.  This is just the reality of marketing today, in that seasons get stretched, and you can't please everybody.  Even McDonald's has just added Holiday Pies and beverages to their menu in Bethesda.

So, whether you're a Clark Griswold, or an Ebeneezer Scrooge, you'll have little choice but to embrace the holiday spirit around Bethesda Row.  Starting today!

BOURBON AND BOURBON ICE CREAM TASTING IN BETHESDA THURSDAY!

EXTRAORDINARY
HAPPY HOUR
EVENT AT
BETHESDA
DOUBLETREE HOTEL

Another Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row Exclusive

The Wine Bar at the Bethesda Doubletree hotel is inviting everyone 21 and older to an extraordinary tasting event during Happy Hour this Thursday, October 25 at 6 PM.

First, bourbon master John Vickers Smith will conduct an expert bourbon tasting.

Next will come something you've likely never seen or tasted before:  a demonstration and tasting of liquid nitrogen-infused Vanilla Bourbon ice cream, by the hotel's Executive Chef Mente.

In addition, there will be Bourbon Pulled Pork BBQ Sliders.

Don't miss this one-of-a-kind Happy Hour event this Thursday, at the Doubletree Wine Bar.

IS SYLENE OPENING A BETHESDA LOCATION?

Another Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row Exclusive

A vacant space on the ground floor of the Lionsgate condominium building has been leased by the owner of the Sylene lingerie boutique in Chevy Chase.  An employee of the Lionsgate confirmed the new boutique will sell women's apparel, but whether this will be a Sylene shop, or a separate fashion enterprise, has not yet been announced.  Stay tuned for more details, but I wanted to pass the news along to you as soon as possible.

SHA EXPANDS CONTROVERSIAL BETHESDA SIDEWALK CONSTRUCTION TO OLD GEORGETOWN ROAD (PHOTOS)

Even as citizen complaints continue regarding dangerously-unfinished sidewalk projects on Wisconsin Avenue, the Maryland State Highway Administration is starting a similar project on Old Georgetown Road at Woodmont Avenue.

One has to wonder why additional ADA retrofit projects are being started, when uneven-surfaced, unfinished projects still await completion elsewhere in town.

ASSAULT REPORTED FROM WESTBARD CIRCLE IN BETHESDA SATURDAY

Another Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row Exclusive

One day before a 21-year-old female jogger was sexually assaulted on the Capital Crescent Trail, an unspecified type of assault was reported to police a few blocks away.

Saturday's assault was reported from the 5300 block of Westbard Circle in Bethesda.  That is the Kenwood Place condominium complex off of Westbard Avenue.

The assault comes about a month after a pepper spray assault and robbery blocks away at Massachusetts Avenue and Baltimore Avenue.  There was also a recent robbery on Cammack Drive on October 6 [previously reported here], and a burglary in the 6000 block of Massachusetts Avenue on October 15.

An assault could simply be a domestic violence incident, or a fight between intoxicated individuals.  So Saturday's assault is not a cause for alarm, unless details emerge to suggest otherwise.  But given the serious nature of the nearby trail assault the following day, and the September pepper spray assault/robbery, any assaults reported in that area of Bethesda are worthy of attention.

In related news, Park Police are now conducting extra patrols along the CCT.  But the best advice at this time is to avoid using the CCT after dark.  Period.

Monday, October 22, 2012

BETHESDA ROW ARTS FESTIVAL PHOTO GALLERY 2012

Here are a few photos from the 2012 Bethesda Row Arts Festival, with more to come!
WMATA was brilliant to shut down Metro
during a major, annual event

Remember when we had
Ben & Jerry's in Bethesda?
My favorite artist at the
festival was R. Michael Wommack
He grew up in Levittown.  Timeless design
that defines the phrase, "American Dream."
I have a feeling David Brooks had
something to do with this
I've got the green light for a crab
cake sandwich
Jim.  Bob.  Jimi. ...Cutlery?
"That is now, man.  That is
now!"