In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog:

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Friday, August 26, 2011


I've been in a few hurricanes. All have been different, but none have been what is hyped on the news.

Bonnie was the first. It was one of those Gulf hurricanes predicted to be a tropical storm, but strengthen rapidly and come ashore as a category 1 hurricane. There were no widespread evacuations and the surge was around 6 feet. The biggest affects were along the coast. It washed away a section of highway on Texas 87, which was determined as too costly to repair and maintain.

Bonnie came ashore during early morning. The sustained winds, when they reached my house, were probably around 65 mph. That's far from the hurricane force winds, but it was still enough to peel sections of roof from my house. I can only describe the sound as like a giant zipper being unzipped. Repairs involved all of the next weekend, but the house stood. The eye passed about 10 miles away. I didn't see the eye, but I did see the clouds become lighter and noticed the wind shift. I was without power for a few days. 

After Bonnie, there was a hurricane about one year later. It was like Bonnie, as far as where it formed and how it behaved. I was far enough from the center that there were only tropical force winds. I didn't receive any damage or lose power.

Another storm struck the west end of Galveston Island a few years later. It was a strange storm since the usual wet Northeast Quadrant was dry. Instead of causing widespread rains, the storm blew in millions of mosquitos from the marsh. Since I was without power for a few days, it was miserable to be outside at night. The mosquitos would cover my skin to where only a little of the skin was visible. I didn't have a generator, so it was misrable in the heat, both day and night. I didn't receive any damage.

Rita was the next memorable storm. I evacuated, but wished I hadn't.(I'll elaborate further into my post.) Damage was minimal and I was without power for about 2 weeks. I had a generator to keep one room cool with a window unit, and power to my water well.

Ike was next. I felt Ike would end up over one hundred miles down the coast, so I didn't evacuate. Eventually, Ike proved me wrong and came ashore about 60 miles away, as the crow flies. The maximum winds at my house were around 85 mph and the eye eventually passed around 40 miles away. Damage was minimal for me, but the tremendous surge of Ike pushed water into places that hadn't been inundated by a surge in around 100 years. The damage was horrific to see. Entire areas literally diappeared and some were killed when they didn't evacuate. I was without power for about a week, but I had a generator to shift between the appliances and keep things somewhat normal.

All in all, sitting through a storm, in my opinion, is much better than the worrying in a strange place. I felt more relaxed during the worst of Ike than I did 300 miles from the coast during Rita.

An old man told me: "You don't run from the wind, but you run from the water." My experience has shown this to be wise in my part of the world. If you're above the highest point of a surge, the winds are not nearly as bad as you would think and you don't have to worry about a storm surge.

Am I saying don't evacuate? No, but I am saying the wisest thing to do is not panic, make logical decisions on your actions and never expect any help from a government agency. Emergency management can be as feckless as any government bureaucracy. Depending on that help can be a lesson in futility. Depend on yourself, keep enough drinking water to last a week, have plenty of non-perishables and never be without a flashlight. It's your friend. When widespread areas are without power, nights are the darkest you'll ever experience.

I've found the best resource after a storm were my friends, neighbors and even strangers. There's a strong effort to regain what once was normal. Everyone pitches in with helping to remove trees, temporary repairs and share the food they would lose if they didn't throw it on the pit after it thawed. Terrible times, become treasured memories. You realize your strengths, and weaknesses, but you increase your faith in yourself and the human race.


  1. I love what you said about the aftermath of a hurricane about people coming together. That's what I've witnessed down where I live. But I wonder about the aftermath of a really bad one in places like NYC. The sheer mass of humanity and its needs would overwhelm any camaraderie.

  2. "You don't run from the wind, you run from the water." Would that advice hold true in a cat 4 or 5 hurricane? Because if I recall, Andrew back in 1992 did almost all of it's damage with the wind, unlike typical hurricanes. Almost like one long sustained, giant tornado.

  3. I think it would, but you have to consider the much higher surge from a category 3, or 4, hurricane. Where I live, the surge of 20 to 25 feet can flood homes over 30 miles from the coast. When you add torrential rains, it's best to run from the water.

    Andrew showed how poor building codes, or lack of inspections, can lead to terrible damage. The same can be said for many areas all along the Gulf Coast. From my experience, well built homes can go through hurricane force winds without any, or minimal damage. When you consider the highest winds are located in a fairly small area around the eye, many areas don't need evacuating.

    When Rita threatened, emergency management officials had a knee jerk reaction to Katrina. They evacuated along the coast from Lake Charles through the greater Houston metroplex. It was a nightmare. People spent days on the highway, only to travel less than a hundred miles. There were no available hotels, or shelters until you reached Oklahoma and Arkansas. When it was all over, Houston only experienced tropical storm force winds and minimal damage, if any. The overall misery on millions of people was unwarranted.