mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (breathe)
Before the storm

This picture makes me a bit sad. I found it on my extra memory card yesterday; I had forgotten all about it. We took this on Thursday before the storm, when we were on the way out. I was driving and I remembered that I had been meaning to take a picture of this wreath, so I pulled over and Rob rolled down the window (only partway, as you can see!) and took this. This is a marker showing the location of the Galveston orphans' home in 1900. The home was actually across the Seawall from here - it was where Wal-Mart is now. The anniversary of the 1900 storm is September 8th-9th, and this was taken on the 11th, so the wreath was still relatively fresh. When we came back after the storm, just the pole was there - the sign itself, and the wreath, of course, was gone.

I've talked about the story of the orphans here before, I think. Here's a piece that talks about it, from the Galveston paper. (Here's the Wikipedia article on the 1900 storm itself.) It's a very sad story. The nuns tied the children to them with clothesline, hoping to keep them together, and some stories say that that itself caused so many of them to get killed, because the lines snagged on the debris. But knowing what I know now about what the storm this year did to that area - and bear in mind that I lived about a block from here, until September - I can't imagine that many of them would have survived no matter what, with no Seawall to protect them. The Seawall was the only thing that kept that area from being completely underwater in Ike, and of course some water came over anyway. And Ike was a smaller storm.


Note that Ike came in on the night of September 12th-13th. It was three months ago today.

mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Dr Who - blink)

We are starting to cautiously hope that the fact that we haven't seen our apartment building on CNN (or anywhere else) is a good sign. There are some indications that there was a lot less water west of the San Luis. But we haven't seen any pictures whatsoever from down that way, so we don't really know. And we won't be able to get back onto the island for at least a couple of days so the suspense will have to continue.
 

mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Totoro: bus stop)

Not much news out of Galveston yet. We are just waiting to hear. My dad called and said the oak tree in their front yard came down and hit the neighbors' house, but luckily the neighbors weren't there. He lives in the middle of a damn pine forest (on the north side of Houston) and they had pretty severe wind so there are trees down all over the place. Still not much wind here, but a lot of rain. Looking at the radar I'm not sure why there's not more wind.

Morning

Sep. 13th, 2008 08:13 am
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (breathe)
I just woke up - hooray for sleeping pills. It's windy here but not bad, and obviously the power is on. (I've had my cell phone turned off because among the things I forgot to bring was the recharger.) If what Rob is telling me is right, about the storm surge, our apartment has probably been underwater during the night.

Oh man.

Sep. 12th, 2008 04:20 pm
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Totoro: bus stop)
If you really want Ike overload, somebody on the [livejournal.com profile] houstontx  community linked to this mashup site: http://flhurricane.com/ikecoverage.html. The four main Houston stations, the NWS and Weather underground all on one page.

If we're lucky, the hurricane will go a little east of Galveston and we'll get the weak side, by a bit. I don't think we can expect it to miss by much more than that. We are probably going to have a very soggy apartment.

Waiting

Sep. 12th, 2008 12:21 pm
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (umbrellas)

OK, well, here's what I just posted over at TUS:

We are safely in Bryan - a pretty long way inland, although they are expecting big winds and power outages here too. (We just made a expedition to Wal-Mart and they told the cashier while we were standing there that the store would be closed tomorrow.) The pictures of Galveston on the news are really scary-looking. The old-timers and the weather experts always say, "It's not the wind, it's the storm surge," and it sounds like that's correct this time.

The traffic was not too awful - nothing like Rita. Also, during Rita people were pretty hysterical even here and the grocery stores were stripped of all the bottled water and all that kind of thing. It's not at all like that this time - everybody in Galveston was really calm and here too, for the most part. (Although I gather that there are some people in Houston getting worked up about whether they OUGHT to be worried or not. Possibly with good reason.) 
 

We got here in less than five hours and we went by a roundabout route and made a couple of stops, so that's not too bad. I suspect that it would have been longer had we gone straight through Houston. (For those of you who know what I'm talking about, we took highway 6 around to 59, took 59 down to Rosenberg, and cut across to Hempstead on some highway I forget the number of - 379 or something like that. Then highway 6 again to Bryan.)

Jitters

Sep. 10th, 2008 03:55 pm
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (umbrellas)
It's hard to relax with a hurricane breathing down your neck, as it were. We have been reading up on various storms this morning - this article (which also talks about my place of employment) mentions the 1900 storm, which a lot of people know about. Less well-known nowadays is Hurricane Carla in 1961, a very large category 4/5 which came in at Matagorda Bay and did a lot of damage in Galveston. I knew a lot about Carla, but I didn't understand until now how very big it was. I don't actually remember it - I was a toddler - but it's part of the family lore. I may have told that story before, but if not I'll have to explain later, I don't have time now. I still have to work.


Later: the new tracks seem to be shifting our way. Damn. My boss is gone to a meeting about it so we may hear something new when she gets back.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (umbrellas)
In case anybody's wondering, no, we are not evacuating. Nobody in Galveston is, apparently - we just went out and it was very much business as usual, tourists and all. The hurricane watch actually ends at High Island, which is maybe 25 miles east of us. That's not to say we're in the clear, because if you look at all those maps we're still in the "cone of uncertainty" - but we're at the very edge of it so we're just in wait and see mode. And crossing our fingers for everybody in New Orleans.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (umbrellas)
(Sorry, I can never resist being silly.)

Three TV trucks this afternoon (one said CBS News Dallas, and one was the Houston CBS affiliate, which seems sort of redundant) - that's still not very many. I have the local CBS station on though (aka Channel 11) and they are in full-court press mode about the storm - I've been home almost an hour and it's all they've talked about. Also they said they've gotten a million hits on their website, which is interesting. They usually are known locally for having the best hurricane coverage - they are the station that hired away the director of the National Hurricane Center 20 years or so ago to work for them, just for moments like this. He is semi-retired now but he's been on the air today just the same.

Rob is calling this "Hurricane Smitty" which is an old Gaido's joke that nobody else will get, but basically it means it's a little piddly thing. (I thought about trying to explain this expression but it's much too complicated.) We don't live in a spot that should flood from a weak Category 1 storm, and it doesn't sound like the wind will be that bad, so we are staying put unless things change. We don't have to work tomorrow, for sure, and if we get up in the morning and it looks like it's going to be worse than we thought, we should still have time to get out.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (umbrellas)
Exactly one TV truck on the Seawall this morning. Which suggests to me that the Houston media haven't gone on full alert about this yet. But....

Our forecast takes the center of the storm about 50 miles south of the Louisiana coast today, then inland into the upper Texas coast near Galveston mid morning on Tuesday. Squalls are beginning to affect the southeast Louisiana coast this morning, and will spread westward along the Louisiana coast during the day, reaching the upper Texas coast tonight.

That sounds, um, kind of ominous. We haven't decided whether to do the wait-and-see thing or whether to preemptively get the hell out (at least as far as Houston). Stay tuned.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Totoro bus stop)
So, I went to bed thinking this tropical storm was about to hit us (although not terribly worried about it, admittedly), and it did rain quite a bit after I was in bed, but it never was bad enough to wake me up... and before I could really process the fact that that was a bit odd, Rob came in this morning and said that Humberto had turned further east during the night and became a hurricane - nobody at all had predicted that - and gone in just across the mouth of the bay from us, at High Island, and was wreaking all sorts of havoc over towards Beaumont, where nobody expected anything much and probably hadn't, y'know, even brought in the lawn furniture.

But that put us on the dry side, so once it went past us, we were done. The water's all calm this morning and everything. We did get quite a bit of rain, though. It started raining about 4:30 yesterday afternoon - I got really wet getting home - and rained steadily up until the thing went past us around midnight. Not much in the way of wind though, and the power flickered a few times but never did completely go out. (It did turn my computer off and back on a couple of times late in the evening, which can't possibly be good for it, but oh well.)

(Incidentally, the forecaster-types did say that Humberto had the potential to become a hurricane if it stayed off-shore long enough, but nobody seemed to expect it to, really. Predicting what the heck hurricanes are going to do is still a very chancy business.)

Plans

Aug. 16th, 2007 09:53 pm
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (umbrellas)
Inspired by that scary-looking track for Dean that came out this afternoon, we went and spent a godawful amount on groceries - we were going anyway, but we bought extra canned stuff and so forth - and we came up with a tentative plan for what we'll do if we have to evacuate. There's no question of staying here if it really comes right at us - it wouldn't take much of a hurricane to flood this place - but we do have Mom's place, which is also in a flood zone, if it came to anything major, but which is 25 miles or so inland, at least. So that would be the first stage, going there. Yeah, it's half empty, but it does have a bed and some furniture, and electricity and water. No cable, no phone, so it's not exactly a long-term plan, but it'd do for somewhere to sleep. And we might repair further inland, to my aunt's, if it becomes anything big. (Also, as I said to Rob, if we end up getting several days off, we might want to go there just for something to do. It will get boring fast with no internet and no cable.)

Yeah, I know this is early. Dean is still a long way off, but it never hurts to have a plan.

Come to think of it, not everybody knows where I live, so let me explain exactly why it's so much of a concern. After the 1900 hurricane (aka Isaac's Storm, if you've read that), they built a seawall in Galveston, right? It's 12 feet high, and they basically jacked up the whole town to match - and I mean that literally. They put everything up on stilts, and filled in underneath it. All of the east half of Galveston starts out 12 feet above sea level on the Gulf side and then slopes back towards the bay. However, where we live wasn't in town at that time, it was out in the country, and the Seawall didn't come down this far, originally. And later, when they did extend it down here, they didn't do the filling-in part, it just slopes right back down on the back side. And that's where we live, right behind the Seawall, a couple of hundred feet from the Gulf. And I don't know how far we are above sea-level, exactly, but it's not far. Five feet, maybe, at a guess. (Maybe. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find out it was two or three.) And we live in a first-floor apartment. Galveston doesn't normally flood in any major way, because of that sloping-back-to-the bay business, but there's still storm surge. So this is not somewhere you want to be in anything but the tiniest hurricane.

(We were discussing something today that I'd practically forgotten, though. We came to a hurricane party at these very apartments, long before we lived here. Well, it was more of a tropical-storm party, really. We sat in somebody's third-floor apartment till about 4am and got drunk and played Jeopardy! as I recall. And I remember looking down at the pool, and they had taken all the poolside furniture and sunk it in the pool. Wonder if they still do that. Seems like getting it out would be a bitch.)

eek!

Aug. 16th, 2007 04:35 pm
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (umbrellas)
Dean's latest track

That's not right at us but it's too damn close for comfort. I do NOT want to have to evacuate again.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (agnostic)
I've had an ambien and I am hoping I will be able to go to sleep in a while, and then conceivably get my sleep back on schedule. Cross your fingers.

This may well be a sort of "bits and pieces" entry, since my mind is going off in a bunch of different directions, as usual.

I want to record something actually useful that I heard somebody say on CNN today. It was some expert talking about the evacuations in California because of the wildfires, but it would apply just as well to our kind of evacuations - it was what to grab if you have to evacuate in a hurry. They called it the "six P's" although there were really more than six. Luckily they said it a couple of times so I was able to get it all scribbled down:
-- people and pets
-- pills or prescriptions
-- papers, the important kind
-- plastic, as in credit cards, or money
-- your PC - I don't think they meant the whole thing, really, but your data burned to a disc
-- pictures

Also, I am watching "The Dresden Files" which I sort of like, although I don't quite understand why. It's not great, but it's oddly watchable. (I'm told that everybody does not agree with this opinion.)

Oh, and when I read back over what I wrote in the last entry, it reminded me that my 6-year-old cousin Laci really did not know what to make of the box of ashes yesterday. She has presumably been indoctrinated into some varation on evangelical christianity, and I know at least some of those types think that you have to preserve your body after death, because you'll get your same earthly body back when you go to heaven. (Which personally I think is a really appalling idea. Yuck.) Anyway, from the questions Laci was asking, it sounded like maybe she had been told some version of this story. Her mother had to explain to her that Aunt Billie Dell wasn't in that body anyway, she was in heaven and she had a whole new body which wasn't sick any more. Stephanie (the mom) also said later that she figured that my mom and my grandmother were up in heaven watching us and laughing. All I know is, if they were watching, she would be right. They would totally be laughing. Both my mother and grandmother had a fine sense of the ridiculous.

I don't want to go to work tomorrow. I want a day to recover from the weekend, dammit. But I guess I'd better go to bed, since I'm not getting it.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (umbrellas)
We went to Wal-Mart Thursday and it appeared that the Red Cross had beaten us there. At least, that's what we were theorizing. There weren't a lot of items that were completely gone, but a lot of the staples were visibly depeted - not so much the traditional staples like flour and sugar, but more the kind you would use to cook for a modern-day mob - pancake mix, Zatarain's rice dishes, even pizza. And when we left we saw them wheeling out a huge palette full of stuff. There is a shelter in the Methodist church here so I'm assuming that's where it was going.


Overheard in the ER:
-- Nurse to unknown patient down the hall (I'm guessing it was one of the evacuees, who all seemed to be quite elderly), very patiently: "This is a hospital. I'm your nurse."
-- One nurse telling another how much it sucks to work here. (This is really the reason this entry is friendslocked* because saying that, especially right within hearing distance of a patient, could get her in very much trouble. It was really an extremely inappropriate comment, don't you think?)
-- Apparently a lot of people here are on call to go to Louisiana for Search & Rescue ops. It's interesting that they hadn't (as of Friday) been called out.


Not that this is really going to surprise anybody who knows me, but the worst thing about being in the hospital? No computer. I imagine that I might could've borrowed a laptop from work (after all, it wouldn't even be leaving the premises) but I don't think we run to campus-wide wi-fi just yet, so it wouldn't've done me that much good.


I said I was going to have a rant in me soon, and it came out on paper while I watched the news in the hospital the last couple of days. Check Whys & Wherefores - hopefully I'll manage to get it into the computer soon.


*unlocked long after the fact
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Default)
Weather report: surf was up (but not like the first go-round with Ivan), tides were back down towards normal. Lots of surfers, of course. 3 TV trucks - but not the same 3: this time it was CBS, ABC, and a Spanish channel. I figure everybody else sent their trucks to Sabine Pass, or even into the wilds of Louisiana, since that was where it was actually coming in last I heard. Except after it comes in it's supposed to swing over this way and dump a bunch of rain on us. (Jesus, I hope it doesn't go out to sea again! We might never be rid of this damn storm.)

Before somebody from Louisiana decides to slap me, I don't actually think southwest Louisiana is a bit more backwoods than far southeast Texas is, although that's not saying much because in general I think that once you get east of the Houston metropolitan area, that corner of Texas is about as redneck as you can get. (Think Vidor. Jasper. You get the idea.) (Now it's somebody from Orange or Port Arthur who's going to slap me.)

My sister's moving to Austin next week. (Along with her family. There's been some marital friction there of late, so that's not completely a foregone conclusion.) Good, maybe I'll get to go visit once in a while. Ever since they moved to Conroe a couple of years ago I've hardly seen them at all, anyway. I'll hardly know the difference.

And that reminds me that I've sort of been meaning to write a journal entry about my sister and our relationship. I need to get around to doing that. But not tonight.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (umbrellas)
I woke up this morning to reports that Ivan is headed right for us, and there were already three TV trucks (ABC, NBC & Fox) on the Seawall on the way to work. However, it's only a tropical storm, and they're already adjusting the track east again, so we're probably not going to get anything more than a little rain. The last report I saw had it headed for Sabine Pass, which is the Texas-Louisiana border - not more than 100 miles or so away, but far enough away to make a big difference, especially with a small storm.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (umbrellas)
Well, since I keep writing about the weather lately, and it is hurricane season and all, I will keep going, and tell you that we had even higher tides today. They were talking about flooding on Bolivar and down at Jamaica Beach, and they kept saying that it had to do with a strong east wind that was blowing all the water across from Florida. (All the water?) Well, then finally this afternoon they said that that strong east wind had also blown the remnants of Ivan back across the Gulf, and it was somewhere south of New Orleans, and threatening to form back up. And guess what direction it's going?

No TV trucks out there today. (Lotsa surfers again, though.) But if that thing really does become a tropical storm again, those trucks will be back by tomorrow.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (umbrellas)
I explained my theory of weather forecasting by TV trucks last week (see September 15), so I will tell you that there was one out there today, only I really haven't figured out why. There was something weird going on today, though; I got an e-mail with a Coastal Flood Warning. Apparently, for reasons I don't quite understand, the tides are a couple of feet higher than normal. But would they really send a truck down from Houston for high tides?

The whole problem with my theory, of course, is that there are reasons other than the weather for TV trucks to be on the Seawall. Like, well, shark bites. The day after that girl got bitten this summer, there was a traffic jam apparently caused entirely by TV trucks. (Incidentally, somebody told me that that girl is recording an album. I guess she's taking advantage of her 15 minutes.)

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