OT The Storm

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The excitement could not be at a higher level, if you need proof of this turn on the TV to any local Houston station and you will get 24 hour around the clock coverage. We saw this during Rita 3 years ago and began to see it last week. This week is different however, we are probably going to have strong winds for the first time in 25 years.
For the last 48 hours we have witnessed "on the scene" reporters pointing all the drastic changes that are starting to happen. Tides that would normally be at a certain level are already 3 maybe 4 inches higher than normal. With 105 mph winds this has become a "strong and dangerous" storm as over the last 48 hours the winds have increased by 5 MPH! We have been reminded over and over and over and over again what a Cat 5 storm could do although this one is barely a Cat 2 and expected to be a Cat 1 at land fall. It could however magically be a CAT 4 if the media's wishes come true. Hell, we are way behind everyone else in number of storms, we need a bad one, we are due and we want what is due us. Oh!... back to reality.
I cannot tell you how informative it is to see lines of people waiting for buses to evacuate from Galveston Island. The news coverage there is shockingly thorough. I have learned what a couple of teen age girls think of the whole situation and that they are more behaved than the reporters kids. I have learned just how important it is that a 10 year old boy can take his little dog on the bus ride also. When asked for the 3rd or 4th time how important it was for him to be able to take his pooch he finally came up with, "A Lot". And it only took 5 minutes to get the answer that the reporter was apparently looking for.
Another exciting scene was from a street corner in Galveston where we all witnessed cars going down the street in lighter than normal traffic. Across the street we saw a boarded up fast food place and on our side of the street we saw a Sonic that was open for business. An Exxon station had cars filling up with gas! Oh! Be still my Heart!
If you were wondering, Home Depot has wood and generators, Good to know and well worthy of round the clock coverage. I think I will run out to Home Depot in a few minutes to pick up some stain and get in line.
Countless references and comparisons have been made of this storm to Carla. Carla had its strong effects here 47 years ago and occasionally there is a reference to the most recent storm Alicia, which hit here in 1983. To be honest with you I think we get snow more often than hurricanes. Darn!
I know that soon we will have the relief of seeing our local reporters changing over into their Kmart approved Alaskan King Crab fisherman gear to weather the first sprinkles of precipitation preceding the storm. It goes with out saying that all of them will be go out to the water to stand ankle deep in water and describe how "treacherous" the water is. They will point out that the water goes up and down the coast line as far as the eye can see. As the storm nears the reporters will seamlessly go in to "wind reporting mode". Your apparently cannot really get a grasp of how windy it is unless you watch a reporter do his thing, or go outside your self. Yes the reporters put on a good show and it keeps your attention as you look for the remote to find another channel. "Its really beginning to pick up" yells the reporter, I can hardly stand up in the wind, watch me squat and lean in to the breeze that is hardly strong enough to blow my pony tails or my loose fitting cap. During this interesting display you see a family of 4 from Oklahoma enjoying the beach in the back ground. And for those of you that don't get out much there are countless shots of boats tied up at the docks. I was surprised to notice that there were no cars tied up at the docks.
ANY WAY...... I have personally been through 4 hurricanes in my 54 years, my first 3 were in Corpus Christi before I was 15 years old. Houston has had 1 storm since, and I was in it also. My third storm in Corpus Christi started out as a lot of fun as I leaned at an angle into the early winds in our front yard, 3 hours later I believed that my family and I would be killed. As we stick our heads out the front door for the first time there was nothing quite like seeing an entire complete roof sitting in our front yard and blocking the street. It came from the house across the street . Looking to the left the apartment complex 1 block away is all but gone. Looking right and 3 houses down more houses with walls but no roofs. All of these homes and the apartment complex were less than 6 years old. That was 38 years ago and it still seems like yesterday. Typically a hurricane brings a lot of wide spread and varying degree of destruction and for probably 90% of the people that experience one there is not much to talk about except the reporters on TV. The loss of electricity is typically the biggest problem to the majority. Occasionally a storm is terrible beyond a reporters wildest expectations. More often a storm is built up to be more terrible that it turns out to be. IMHO reporters basically do a disservice to the community. They let their excitement get in the way of facts. They scare most into a panic with exaggerated adjectives that simply are not true. If the reporters were to ever once experience a storm that is terrible I highly suspect that they would cover their next storm from a few hundred miles inland.
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Leon wrote:

We went through the Hurricanes that hit Wilmington North Carolina in the late 1990's.
We found it amusing to watch the reporters show the sea grass and discuss how hard the wind was blowing. One of the favorite spot to show how bad the flooding was, was to show pictures of an area of the county that flooded in a heavy dew.
Another thing was the reporters who would go out on the areas of Wrightsville Beach, which are only marginally suitable for building houses in normal times, and show how the ocean was eroding the beach and threatening the buildings.
I believe the highest spot in the county is only 24 feet above sea level.
I thing the solution to damage in hurricane comes from the bible. If you build you house on the sand expect the wind and wave to wash it away. If you build on a rock (Or high ground) you are not going to have a problem in a hurricane with winds.
With our world of 100% news coverage the reporters have to make everything seem to be the end of the world to maintain the viewers who are use to the violence of TV shows today.
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I live inland in an area hit by the remains of a hurricane in 1954, the wind was not bad but it rained for several days straight after a week of earlier rain, causing floods. Roads were damaged, trailer parks washed out and houses were damaged. After that episode, the government declared ALL areas that were flooded were to become permanent flood zone with no building was to be ever allowed on the lands. It remains that way today. The flood zones are all parks. Plus we have never had a repeat of the earlier hurricane floods.
Why do other governments forget the past and allow houses to be built in unsafe areas?
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That is just SOP for storm reporting. Anyway, I spent a lot of time yesterday trying to determine what they know about the storm path. The conclusion is that Fort Worth may or may not see much. However, did you see that Childress recieved 6 inches of rain yesterday from a Pacific storm? It certainly is a very long way from Childress, Tx, to the Pacific Ocean.
As near as I can tell, we can expect 45 mph winds and 2 inches of rain. We get lots more of each from spring thunderstorms. Jim
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On Fri, 12 Sep 2008 09:39:10 -0500, "Leon"
[lots of stuff I can identify with snipped]
Having been raised in South Florida for 13 years, then living there for four years again 30 years later, and now in North Florida for a second five year tour (total 28 years in Florida), I've had more experience with hurricanes than some folks. I can't even name all the hurricanes I've been through. I know that we were in the eye of two of them in the '60s (meaning they passed right over us), and Charlie in '04 went right over us, too. Anyone who knows anything about hurricanes, however, knows that you can be quite a ways from the eye and still be significantly impacted.
Coverage sure has changed. Back in the day, one usually got one, maybe two updates per day, which, with a storm moving 30 miles per hour or less, is about all you need. Today's 24/7 coverage is ridiculous. Imagine your relative is driving 1000 miles to visit you. Imagine them talking to you on their cell every mile of the way to keep you updated on their progress. It won't take but about 30 minutes for one or both of you decide that you really don't need to hear from them again until lunch or the motel. That's about what 24/7 coverage of hurricanes is like.
I started getting upset with the constant updating phenomenon with Georges in 1998. We were visitng some friends in TN who had friends in Key West. They were practicallly glued to the Commercial Channel (some call it the weather channel, although it probably should be the Whether Channel, because anytime you tune in, there's a 50/50 chance of whether you'll see any actual content or not). I could understand their concern for their friends, but they were nearly 1000 miles away, and there was nothing they could do about it. Their constant, and pointless focus was a huge distraction in our activities. I tried to share my long experience with hurricanes to allay their concerns but the damned Whether Channel was singing its siren song.
A year later, back to South Florida, we got Irene, which was SWMBO's first hurricane. A glancing blow, if you want to call it that (euphemistically or otherwise), the eye passed about 25 miles west of us, but it was less a wind hurricane than a rain hurricane. Broward County was absolutely drenched. The Whether Channel and other media had SWMBO convinced she needed to get out in the gray, blustery, spitty days before its arrival to stock up on milk and plywood--the archetypal staples of hurricane "readiness" (followed closely by flashlight batteries).
We got the hat trick here in Volusia County in 2004 with Charlie, Frances, and Jeanne. By the time of Jeanne, there weren't any tree branches or other detritus left to blow around, so it was fairly benign. We still spent two days without power. No big deal, you say? Try that with a CPAP machine, sometime.
And of course there's Katrina. Poor New Orleans. Unfortunately, everyone (except those who lived it) forgets that Miami got pounded with Katrina first. Yeah, yeah--scale--I know. It all depends on whose ox is being gored. Then, while all the focus was on her devastating effects in NOLA, Miami gets hammered again with Wilma. The condo we lived iin (but not by then, although my mother is still there) still hasn't fully recovered from Wilma.
The recent Fay-asco had/has me so POed I can't see straight. I didn't make the scale, and maybe it needs to be revisited, but technically tropical storms have wind speeds from 39 MPH to 73 MPH. I can assure you that there is a world of difference in those marginal speeds. In the entire coverage of the Fay-asco in Florida (was it two weeks?) I never saw a wind speed reported higher than 40 MPH.
Yeah, there was lots of rain--particularly in Brevard County (the county south of us). But every time I looked outside, my front yard was dead calm--maybe some tops movement in the higher trees around, but not really much more than usual. And yet, the Whether Channel (and everyone else) hammered, hammered, hammered (obligatory WW reference?) about Tropical Storm Fay.
You see, if you sell a tropical storm as sort of a heartbeat away from a hurricane, you have marketing opportunitie$ galore. But if you report it as a barely enhanced tropical depression, you got squadoosh. Follow the money. Thus, we got days and days of "almost a hurricane" coverage, when in truth, it was barely a tropical storm.
Land fall. It hit Key West, it hit Collier County (Naples), it crossed the state (and by the way, the Whether Channel morons were predicting it would increase in strength as it went across, in utter defiance of the laws of hurricane physics and the collective conventional hurricane wisdom developed in the last century), soaked Brevard County, sat off the coast of Daytonoa (just a couple of miles from me), and meandered north toward Jacksonville.
Now, I can assure you from contemporaneous and on-the-scene experience, that it's virtually impossible to claim that it was out to sea at any point between Brevard and Duval (Jacksonville) Counties. Even if one had been able to pinpoint some imaginary spot in the "eye" (which was almost always poorly defined at that point in the storm) as being offshore (for "landfall" counting purposes), a cyclone is so huge that anyone within 100 miles of that spot is laughing wet at the notion that it's not still "ashore."
So how did we jump from two landfalls and a vaguely theoritical potential third at Jacksonville, to four? I maintain it never left the state after Naples (until after crossing the Gulf shore westward from Jacksonville), thus rendering its appearance in Jacksonville as part of the same, second landfall. I'll concede that it might possibly, somehow have been a third landfall at Jax, if the definition or positon was wildly exaggerated, but they were "forecasting" a fourth at that point. It's a miracle.
Don't even get me started on forecast tracks. A tropical wave 2000 miles east of Barbados and they post a predicted track through Florida (almost two weeks hence). Threre will be people in the area around me talking about "the hurricane we're getting." Ludicrous doesn't remotely begin to describe it. And they don't even fill their bathtubs or start stocking up on milk and plywood...
One final thought, which I'm confident will net agreement from Leon based on his report of the reporting: do we really need to see one more idiot in a canoe paddling down a street ankle deep in water? Or however deep it might be?
--
LRod

Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
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LRod wrote: . We still spent two days without power. No big deal, you say?

Next time a electrical outage is coming your way, try a voltage converter and a 12 volt battery for your C-Pap.....I've gone several days and probably could have gone days longer from a single charge on a simple deep cycle battery. The Mrs. refused to go camping with me if I didn't bring my C-pap...it was either the snoring or the not breathing part that inspired her<G>. Rod
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Officials: Flee Ike or 'face certain death'
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Leon wrote:

Well, if the forecast 20-ft+ storm surge really materializes and you're one of those in such low-lying area (to whom the directive/warning was aimed), that's pretty good sum up of likely consequence. And, if one waits to see and it does happen, it'll be too late.
If, otoh, one is farther inland/higher and has good protection, odds are better.
From what I hear/see, the storm surge from Ikey is much higher than what would normally be expected from a Cat 2 and the size of the cyclone is quite large extending the surge area extensively.
So, what are they _supposed_ to say?
"Hang around, hope you can swim?"
--


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The announcement mentioned anything about specific areas.

They may as well have made that announcement a week from now. The area has been evacuating for 2 days. The head line announcement was aimed at the masses. The masses are ahead of the announcement. They need to be targeting individuals that are staying in dangerous areas.
The local government has been making it a "Big Point" for every one to stay put unless you are in a tidal surge area. If every one that is going to be affected by Ike were to evacuate there certainly would be many more deaths. During the last exodus 3 years ago 2 million people evacuated the city and that was started by reckless comments like the one I quoted. Its exactly like yelling "FIRE" in a movie theater with limited exits.
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Leon wrote:

I heard it last night and it was quite specific.
...

That was exactly what the announcement from the hurricane center was after.
It's possible MSNBC didn't translate the message, they I don't get.
--
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My son saw the same head line on sbc.yahoo.com.

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dpb wrote:

As I read it, the statement was offered to shoreline residents.
Maybe after Katrina they decided to clarify the words?
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On Fri, 12 Sep 2008 11:39:48 -0500, "Leon"

rational, panic-avoidance approach to unusual circumstances.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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<Tom Veatch> wrote in message wrote:

Actually, I have to agree. The local government seems to be on top of the situation and is requesting that only people that live in certain zip codes evacuate. They don't want to see a replay of what the media started 3 years ago. I'm sure that if the comment I copy/pasted was a government remark it was certainly taken out of context.
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Leon wrote: ...

If that's all that was given, it certainly was. I saw the actual announcement/warning last night on one of the networks; I forget which. In response to the (inevitable) leading questions it was reiterated repeatedly this was _ONLY_ for those who would be affected by 20+ storm surge, most particularly those in headwaters of inlets, etc. Others on high ground were told to hunker down (or up, maybe :) ).
OTOH, they were adamant that if you're in low area, this'un's gonna' be bad and your chances of riding it out in those areas aren't good.
--
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"dpb" wrote in message

I saw the same thing Leon saw this morning ... it was a headline blurb/link on a website, it was most definitely presented "out of context" (but, you would have only known that if you heard the local evacuation orders, either locally or on national TV, as you apparently did), ... at the time I thought it was totally irresponsible. Still do.
AAMOF, the very same is apparently making its way around the world:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article4738855.ece
Resulting in a panic call from my oldest daughter in Sheffield, UK ... so much for "context"!
(Good thing was that I got to see my new grandson, born Tuesday AM, for the first time ... thank you, Skype!)
--
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Swingman wrote:

In that case that only would confirm my opinion of MSNBC (assuming it was, indeed them, your description makes me wonder) as I just went and looked at their website and if it was there, it isn't now.
The words of the warning were indeed those quoted but the context was clear if reported. I've not heard anything local, this was just a news story at 10 last night on the magnitude of the expected surge owing to the size of the cyclone associated w/ this particular storm (which is pretty impressive, ya' gotta' admit). We're 6-700+ miles away altho have family scattered from Port Arthur, Lake Jackson, Bay City to Brownsville who'll get various amounts of effects.
--
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Congratulations. That pretty much trumps everything else.
Frank
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wrote:

Thanks, Frank! He's the spitting image of his three year old brother. I'm blessed ...
--
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On Fri, 12 Sep 2008 11:39:48 -0500, "Leon"

they may be wrong but they may be right! Haveing been through 2 BAD ones and several false ones I understand where you are coming from but given the shear size of this beast I would be erring on the safe side. JMHO. we hope to hear from ya in a few days. good luck to our houstonians and those from surrounding area's. I realy hope the media is just hyping it up! :-]
skeez
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