Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Hurricane Ike LiveBlog, Part 3

Q: What happens when you stick a teacher with penchants for amateur weather forecasting and writing in his house with nothing to do as a tropical system attempts to make landfall in the area?

A: This LiveBlog, of course. *groans from the audience*

Yes, yours truly will be LiveBlogging Hurricane Ike over the course of today, giving you information, analysis, and really anything that pops up in my mind as Hurricane Ike takes aim at the Upper Texas Coast. Yours truly is sitting comfortably in Teaching on Mars HQ (Read: The back bedroom/office of my house) here in the middle of Franklin. Check back in throughout the day to see the posts updated with new information.

Important Links to keep an eye on this weekend:

Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
National Weather Service- Lake Charles Office
National Hurricane Center

0920: I spent last night checking out the weather here and there and snatching some sleep in between. The worst of the weather is past us here in Franklin, but that doesn't mean the threat from Ike is over. Across the coast of Louisiana and Texas there's some serious storm surge flooding, with the National Weather Service reporting people across Orange and Jefferson Counties trapped in their attics and on top of roofs due to the storm surge. Here in Louisiana Lake Charles has experienced a 10 ft storm surge with larger heights down in Cameron, and in Vermilion Parish the flooding is similar to that seen during Hurricane Rita. In Iberia Parish the surge may have crept as far north as the community of Lydia if reports from KATC are correct.

As for us in Franklin, the surge backed up the freshwater in the Franklin Canal enough to have an emergency evacuation of a nursing home on the south side of town, and water spilling into the streets. I decided to take a spin to check it all out and snap some pictures. A police officer stopped me but let me pass when I told him "I'm writing for a weather report on a web site." The power of blogs, eh? My expedition unfortunately didn't succeed as much as I wanted to because there was so many people walking around in the streets, and frankly I wasn't comfortable considering the neighbourhood I was driving around. I managed to snap a couple of pictures and caught some flooding on the north side of the railroad tracks right near my house. As for Bayou Teche, it barely crested above its banks here in town. As for my snapshots, I won't win any Pulitzers, but here you go:

All of this has been cutting into my soccer watching routine, which I still haven't been able to get going since moving over here due to things almost every weekend. As I was milling about looking for flooding, I heard the end of the Liverpool-Manchester United match. Liverpool won 2-1, their first win over Manchester United in over four years and the first at Anfield in almost eight years. Impressive.

Weather Conditions: Winds from the South at 20 mph with a gust about 20 minutes ago that was almost 40 mph. No precipitation (Storm total 1.16 in), and I just saw a peek of the sun a minute ago.

1110: Apart from a couple of gusts, conditions have steadied considerably over here. I talked to my parents, who rode out the storm in their camper, strapped down and with 10,000 lbs of heavy equipment sitting on each end. My mother said they didn't sleep much because the camper still rocked a bit, but they came out alright and never lost power. It's still windy on their end, but not enough to be able to go outside and clean up. According to news reports, the surge didn't get near them as expected, stopping about 10 miles south of their home.

Houston is starting to pick up their heads from the storm and it seems Houston proper just missed the brunt of the storm. The storm surge in Galveston wasn't as bad as previously expected, but 12-14 ft is still nothing to sneeze at. Power outages are widespread with downtown Houston and the Medical Center area being the only places with power in the metro area, and
city water is not confirmed to be drinkable just yet. As for our plucky little Cypriots stuck out in the Gulf, the Houston Chronicle is reporting that they rode out the storm and are now awaiting a ship to come and tow them back in.

Enough weather watching for me for a bit.. The Battle of the Billionaires is about to begin with Chelsea taking on Manchester City on Fox Soccer Channel at noon. See you in a couple of hours.

Weather Conditions: Winds from the South at 20 mph with occasional gusts nearing 35 mph. No precipitation and cloud cover is varying in thickness.

1335: So Chelsea beat Manchester City 3-1. Very enjoyable stuff, as are the weather conditions over here, which slowly improve minute-by-minute. We've even been seeing the sun off and on, and according to the NWS radar, the feeder bands from Ike are now west of Lake Charles, though those are causing quite a large amount of mischief, based on the size of the Tornado Warnings that are being put out. Storm surge flooding is abating slightly but only because we are approaching low tide. As long as the winds continue to be high the water is going to stay onshore. I wonder how I'm going to go to my parents' house tomorrow? I guess I'll be taking the scenic route.

Weather Conditions: Winds from the South at 20 mph with occasional gusts nearing 30 mph. No precipitation and cloud cover is becoming lighter with occasional periods of sunshine.

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