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.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

All Are Different

 I've endured a few hurricanes, and tropical storms. Bonnie was my first. The storm developed rapidly, came ashore overnight, and tracked to the north during the day. By that evening, the winds were over, and I had to tarp my roof. 

Another storm, which I don't remember the name, went ashore to the near west, brought a lot of wind, but little rain. The aftermath was a short period of time without electricity, and a plethora of the huge mosquitoes that live in the saltwater marshes to the south. While priming my well, after the electricity was returned, I literally had to rake them off my arms and face to finish my project. 

The many tropical storms were usually periods of high wind, torrential rains, maybe a brief time without electricity, and only some leaf raking. Flooding was usually the lower areas, and soon drained. 

Rita was the first major hurricane. I ran from that one. I ended up in Northeast Texas in a small motel. It was agonizing to deal with, but the storm traveled rapidly to the north, and I went home within two days. The damage was terrible, since my area hadn't had a major hurricane in decades. People forget, the older building codes didn't cover many of the structures, trees were allowed to grow near power lines, and hurricane force winds piled the entire mess up. I was on the west side of the storm, so the surge didn't affect my area. Other than a few missing roof shingles, and a large broken branch, the only damage was my health, since the intense heat, and long work hours, were exhausting. 

Ike was the next major hurricane. I stayed for that one, and soon found out my plan B to leave if the storm seemed too intense was not a working plan. You can't venture out in hurricane force winds, and watching horizontal winds send large debris whipping across what little was visible in the night without electricity guaranteed I wouldn't make that mistake. The deep train engine rumble of passing tornadoes was something to hear. If I hadn't known better, I could have assumed I lived near a railroad track. Since I was on the east side of the storm, the surge damage was something to behold. Ditches 30 miles from the coast were polluted with salt water. The majority of the nearby Bolivar Peninsula was reduced to a large expanse of mostly empty sand. Structures that had been there for decades were piled across Galveston Bay among the large trees denuded by the wind. 

We soon had Humberto, which formed quickly, and came ashore in the early morning. I was on the fringe, but was reminded of the power of even a small storm, when first rain band reached my house. It was as though something large slapped the side of the house, which startled me. The storm moved quickly, so the next round of storms passed to the east. I had no damage, but there was plenty only about five miles to the east. 

Harvey was officially a tropical storm, when the worst of the rains fell, which lasted for days. A strong hurricane at landfall, and without any steering currents, it slowly worked up the coast and inundated all of Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana.  I had 42 inches of rain, and in a nearby city, the total was at 60 inches. Most roads were impassable for days, and even anticipating electricity was a waste of thought. It took days for the water to drain, and some never recovered. I had no damage, but was trapped by flood waters for four days.

Imelda followed the next year and the torrential rains inundated many of the areas harmed by Harvey. I had moved, but a former neighbor told me the water was 18 inches higher than Harvey.  The road where I live flooded, but the worst of the rain bands never made it to my house. That was luck. If they had, some of the locals would have had to deal with flood damaged homes like after Harvey.

Last year's storm Laura was one I watched closely. I would have left, if the track had bobbled. I had tropical force wind, but nothing near hurricane force. About 40 miles to the east was a different story. At the edge of the worst of winds, the town of the home of office of the company I worked for lost some roofs on the storage areas. We spent time cleaning up that mess, and those of our customers. The work at that time reinforced my plan to retire. I'd cleaned up enough of the damage of others, and the thought of doing it again wasn't pleasant. The sodden, stinking piles of moldering debris is bad enough, without adding heat and humidity. I would have seriously considered retiring even earlier if we had faced the same damage of those eighty miles to the east.

Nicholas has been a different critter. The spaghetti models were accurate to landfall, but from then they don't seem to have any consensus. The center of circulation has slowly worked up the coast, and from my perspective, the current trajectory doesn't match the current anticipated trajectory. From what I'm seeing, the storm isn't moving north at all, and is slowly working its way down the coast. Since it's so near the Gulf, I wouldn't be surprised if it move offshore, and gets stronger again. 

Right now, satellite shows the surface circulation has decoupled from the upper atmosphere. There are no strong bands of convection, and the only rain is light, but easily shown as light green on the radar. Still the wind is steady around 20 mph where I live, and nearer the center, it's reported at 40 mph.

I've only been catnapping over the last 36 hours, and will probably do so, until I'm 100% sure this storm won't do something unexpected. They all can, and will. Letting down your guard might have unexpected consequences.


  1. I'll admit, I don't miss that . . .

    1. I'm much further from the coast than I once was. My home can withstand the lower winds at that location, and the elevation is twice as high as the worst of surges. Still, my location requires being wary.

  2. Glad to hear you folks made it through OK without any damage. My hurricane experiences over my years in McAllen are similar. Being 90 miles inland, we don't suffer the wind damage like you folks on the coast do.
    Mostly, the damage we had was flooding. Hurricane Beulah in '67 was one that the old timers talked about for years. So much rain that they invented and built the floodway that empties into the Arroyo Colorado, which they still use today to divert heavy flooding from the Rio Grande River.
    And the skeeters? holy crap. that much rain is a haven/heaven for them.

    1. I grew up in a town that has a hurricane levee keeping out water to around 17 feet in elevation. Ike almost topped it, and it wasn't close to a category 4 storm. Whether one can come in the future is unknown - and the shallow Gulf offshore there might not be able to support such a storm - but I left, and that was one of the reasons.