Monday, June 28, 2010

Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season

The blown-out  BP oil well continues to spew unchecked into the Gulf.  The first named tropical storm of the season has made landfall in Belize and crossed the Yucatan to restrengthen over the Gulf.  While it won't be coming into the area of the oil spill, its outer wind bands are expected to push more oil towards shore.  This will also hamper whatever efforts are being made to contain or clean-up the oil.  Here's an article posted today at the Biloxi Sun Herald:  Tropical Storm Alex Gaining Strength Over the Gulf.

NOAA forecasters have predicted this will be a particularly active season, and I've got a bad feeling about it anyway, not to mention the unthinkable damage to the Gulf that is being caused by the oil spill.  At any rate, whether or not we get a major hit in the Gulf this year or not, the memories of Katrina's destruction in 2005 are still fresh.  Here are a few of my photos from the aftermath:

Nothing but rubble left was left on most of Biloxi's Point Cadet - houses and businesses swept away, boats everywhere left high and dry:

The U.S. Highway 90 bridge that once connected Biloxi's Point Cadet to Ocean Springs was reduced to a broken pile of rubble.

Steel-hulled fishing vessels were scattered all over the woods from where they were trying to take refuge in Bayou Portage.  As it turned out, this area had the worst of the storm surge.

Below: my own cruising sailboat, Intensity.  She was swept into the woods despite all the heavy storm anchors and mooring lines I used to secure her.  When I found her a couple weeks after the storm, she was dismasted, battered, broken and even looted by someone who found her before I did.  I had spent over five years restoring her to immaculate condition, had lived aboard her for a time, and sailed her across the Gulf to the Keys and the East Coast of Florida.

I guess that's enough depressing imagery for one day.  If you live in an area where hurricanes are a threat, now is the time to prepare, not when one is already bearing down on you.  There's an excellent post on JWR's Survival Blog on hurricane preparation, written by a south Florida resident who's been dealing with them for a lifetime.  It also includes a detailed checklist of what you need to be prepared for one of these storms, whether you stay home or leave. Read the full article here:   Hurricane Readiness, by T. in South Florida


  1. Yep, I'm probably going to be one of those souls affected in some way by Alex. Not on SPI or the Intracoastal, I'm about 60 miles upriver of the mouth of the Rio Grande. If it does go in below us, we get the north side of it, generally the worst.

    I think we're pretty good to go on supplies, except for one item - D batteries. We were out during last 'cane 2 years ago (Dolly) and the complaints I heard boiled down to 2 - No A/C and mosquitos.

    I have a couple of O2 battery fans and even though weak, sometimes better than nothing for sleeping with no A/C. Dampened cotton / linen sheets and boxer underwear, should at least be tolerable on the short term. Not really expected to be really bad, but as slow moving as this one is (at least for now) flooding is not only possible, but darn near guaranteed.

    Wish me luck.

  2. Man, I drove that highway 90 bridge many times when I was stationed in Pascagoula. And the loss of your boat must have been heartbreaking. Well, it's our turn this time around. I'm hoping it stays south of the Rio Grande, but I'm ready for it come what may.

  3. Anon., Good luck for sure. Hopefully the forecast is wrong and this thing won't strengthen. But yes, you should be expecting lights out for awhile after it hits.

    Mayberry, Katrina rendered our coast unrecognizable. And you're a waterman, you know that losing a boat is not just losing a material thing. It's like the death of a good friend. Hope this one coming doesn't cause you much grief. The forecast I just saw said it could get to Cat.3 Hurricane status though - not good.

  4. Anon again - Alex was non-event, maybe 3 - 4" max. of rain, a little wind and that was it. I'm inland, so SPI and Brownsville caught more - here, bah.


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