Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Thoughts on Harvey, Flooding, PTC10 & 93L From an Amtrak Train Northbound Riding Through Stormy Weather from Nearby PTC10. So Which Gets the Name Irma? And Words from a Wise Friend Who Lives in Houston.

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First the basics and then some long discussion below, thoughts I'd like you to think on a bit before making any decisions or getting nervous about another possible landfalling hurricane in about ten days or less depending on which model you asked to the prom.

Leaving Cabo Verde today...
... Invest 93L
Heading this way..

A look at our side of the world.
93L so far away still.
Harvey in the GOM.
Note that long tail..
PTC10 lingering.
Losing the name Irma.
Which would go to 93L it seems.
Rainy, stormy weather.
But no closed circulation.

I have always loved this view ...
Longitudes and latitudes. 

And these are the players.

I'm actually on a train feeling it.
Rainy, windy, gray.
I love it.
Decided it would be a good day for a train ride.
The flags are all straight out right  now.
Trees are moving some.
Layers of low clouds steaming in.
I'm just West of PTC10 ...
It's going out to sea
I'm going North bound.

Below are models.
They change a bit every run.
But basically Westbound.

This is from earlier.

Models show different things on different days. They never agree on timing far out. One model has a well developed "storm" off the coast of South Florida (Miami) and another model has that system down in the Caribbean still. Another model shows a very, well developed HURRICANE off the coast of the Carolinas. I mean HUGE hurricane. We don't rely on models that are 10 days out, but we watch them and then we compare them with history and with current patterns. It's a process. September is a few days away and that's the official start of the Hurricane Season. This season started early so maybe this September is more like October. Whatever it is what it is.

This is my view as I type this...

Believe it or not...
...this is the picture I took the train for..
I checked the schedule against the forecast track.
Knew it would look like this.

I want to say a few things while I have some time being that I am northbound on a train watching the rain fall across the coastal parts of North Carolina.  In the last hour the rain has gotten steadier and the winds have picked up just a bit. It's very dark, gray and weather only a storm chaser would love. I'm way closer to the coast here than in Raleigh so I figured this would give me some time to breathe away from 24/7 watching TWC, looping loops and sharing information and thoughts with meteorologists. I feel pathetic saying I am drained as it's mental exhaustion not the reality of having to rebuild your life. And the people in Houston will have to not only rebuild their lives but the very infrastructure. Few are speaking on it right now, but many roads and bridges will have to be rebuilt. Water, the very weight of the water, sitting on a road way with a current pulling the water constantly all day in one direction ERODES the ROAD. When the water is gone, the real damage will be visible. The clean up will begin and we will hear one tragic story after another about some family that left too late and were washed off the road and died in their vehicle. It's too much for the mind and heart to take in ... every day, the same like that movie. Every day I put on TWC and there's Jim standing there ankle deep in water, all wet, looking exhausted, feeling the pain of the people around him. I want him back in the studio living on coffee and water vapor loops doing what he does so well. Yet, telling the story here, the true tragic drama only Mother Nature can produce is what they are good at and now that the other news outlets have paid attention ....well the story needs to be told. 

Currently Harvey is pulling moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and is connected loosely to #PTC10 off the coast of the Carolinas. It's on the move today whereas Harvey is still hanging around Houston. It's important to watch the tail of Harvey and other assorted moisture down in the BOC as some models develop a weak system and add misery to an area that needs to dry out not be dumped on again. Further East near the Cabo Verde Islands is a well developed wave that is currently known as Invest 93L and behind that one is another wave about to come off the coast of Africa in a few days. Models develop 93L and some models develop the wave behind it. 
These are just the facts currently and things can change over time. However, the models that insisted Harvey would come back together in the BOC and make a move towards the coast were spot on. Despite daily discussion by the NHC at how poorly the remnants of Harvey looked, they left that door open for future development based on a consensus of models and the continuity involved. And the models were right, as sobering as that sounds, the models ended up verifying. It was hard for many of us to believe the long range forecasts for huge, crazy, tremendous amounts of rain and yet the models verified. So, now that we are tired of watching the misery that Harvey caused and watching lives torn apart breaking our hearts you can't dump the vehicle that got us here because we "don't want to hear it"

Life doesn't work that way sadly, we get good news on days we think nothing will happen good and bad news on days when everything seemed to be going good. It is what it is. It IS a busy hurricane season and the forecast threat of systems making landfall has also verified.

Amazingly I have had a lot of friends in Miami complaining to me about people living in Houston and how it's always prone to flooding. Odd to say as it floods in Hollywood Florida often. Yeah, amazing huh? Someone wants to live Down South where winters don't freeze you to death and not in the Twister belt with that "wide open flat sky" or in Earthquake prone San Francisco. Apparently we should start moving the population around and filling up the state of Wyoming with anyone who wants to live with snow half of the year. Land is cheap so you may want to think about moving up there. I'm a beach girl, born and bred in the South and I'll take hurricanes over earthquakes and twisters any day. You can prepare as much as possible and yet once every few decades you get a Camille or Carla or Harvey. Life happen, you roll with the punches, you start over, life goes on but the other years when there were no hurricanes life was good and life will be good again.

I needed a good break before the next wave gets closer to our side of the world. And things can always pop up when you least expect it close in. I mean it's still raining in South Florida and moisture is training from Harvey to the East Coast Low and hovering over the Tampa area almost every day. Some models develop a system, a weak system, in the BOC and take it towards the N GOM. Any system with any sort of moisture there is a bad system and not wanted. The motion of the train and the soulful sound of the whistle...the horn... moans a bit as it takes every curve. Trees are beginning to turn the further North you go and yet the gray, low clouds are making wild patterns in the sky.

I'll be back when something new happens. If anything happens later today I'll update at the top of this blog so check back often. Til then pray for the people of Houston and the inland towns that are not getting coverage but are getting constant rain and some localized flooding as well. Pray for those who have to rebuild. Donate to the Red Cross or any local organization you trust. I believe if you shop at Whole Foods you can go and ask money to be applied to a fund when you check out. And if you live in Hurricane's not too late to prepare because we may be facing another hurricane that wants to make landfall in about 10 days and better safe than sorry. Be like a Boy Scout and be prepared! When looking at the those crazy scenarios for a hurricane along the East Coast of the US over the next few days know the name Irma replaced Irene. Can't make this up... 

Besos BobbiStorm
@bobbistorm on Twitter

Ps I'm in Brooklyn for a wedding in my son-in-law's family. I want to have some happy time, party time, see my grandson and my daughters dressed up and share the joy with a wonderful family. The Carolinian Train on Amtrak has wifi that's a bit slow but working nice. I can loop. Then I'll take the plane back to Raleigh Thursday. Just a nice break away from staring endlessly at loops, TWC, staring and thinking how we could have done better warning people of the reality of what the models were forecasting. Sometimes the models don't do a good job, other times they do a great job. The rainfall totals were if anything underdone not overdone. Go figure. 

My friend Betty Collette wrote this online to her friends who are all praying for her and others but can't wrap their head around how the 4th largest city in the USA floods like this. .. She has a good grasp of weather and is a great writer so I'll let her explain. We went to school together; Middle School in Miami when it was called Jr. High and Miami girls know weather and hurricanes. She ended up living in Houston and she loves it there. This week is not the best example of what Houston has to offer and yet when you watch regular people going out in skiffs, rowboats, kayaks and jet skis to try and help their neighbors who need help.... you get a feel for what it's like to live in that part of the world. 

"For those not affected by Harvey but are wondering how bad it really is in the Houston area and why, this is for you.
First of all, this is being called a catastrophic flooding event, not simply serious or even severe. Catastrophic. Not even a 100-year flood (which we seem to get pretty regularly these days) but a flood of the millennium.
Houston is flat. Houston is exceedingly large in area. There's a LOT of concrete and buildings, not an abundance of green areas (but we're trying), and heavy clay soil. The area is criss-crossed by untold number of waterways - dry most of the time and often ignored - and new construction requires building retention ponds nearby (also empty most of the time).
Most of the time, when it rains here, everything works as it is designed without too many problems. When we get a lot of rain, concrete and clay soil don't absorb water and the runoff heads to ditches, retention ponds, creeks and bayous. It's not unusual to have street flooding when drainage systems are overwhelmed but it usually goes down fairly quickly. We are known for many low spots in major roads and drivers regularly ignore warning signs and/or media reports, choosing instead to drive through...and suffer the consequences (from ruining their car to drowning).
Then comes Hurricane Harvey.
All kinds of weather people predicted exactly what ended up happening - Harvey strengthened to a Cat 4 right before coming ashore and proceeded to stall as intensity diminished. Unfortunately it stalled right where the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico continued to feed the storm. The right side, known as the dirty side, continues absorbing water and building the outer rain bands while another front tries to push it down from the north, resulting in continuing the counterclockwise motion of a tropical storm. And so all of this weather sits on top of Houston, the 4th largest city in our country.
Now..mix weather and geography...and we end up with catastrophic flooding.
The big question I've heard asked is why didn't you all evacuate? Uh, no. First rule of hurricanes - evacuate from storm surge and wind, not rain. Besides, evacuation was tried when Hurricane Rita threatened us. People jumped in their cars and promptly got trapped in a massive traffic jam lasting almost 24 hours. They ran out of gas, and food, and patience. It was hot, Texas hot. No bathrooms. Around 100 people died in this fruitless evacuation, fruitless because Rita turned away and ignored Houston.
So why didn't everyone prepare for this? Actually most people did but even though massive flooding was expected, Houston is so very large that you simply cannot predict exact spots of flooding. Many spots now flooded have NEVER flooded, even in the recent hundred-year-floods. There has been so much rainfall that it simply overwhelms everything designed to move it away. And the rain fact, the flash flood warning has been extended to *Wednesday*. That is 3 more days of this because the remnants of Harvey are not going away anytime soon. Plus, as the rain falls on Houston it is still raining to the west of us and waterways there drain toward the Houston area, AND the storm continues to push Gulf waters toward land making it difficult for waters to drain into the Gulf.
Sounds crazy, doesn't it? A perfect storm. Truly, a catastrophic event.
Can you even begin to imagine shutting down a city this size for days on end? Businesses closed. Schools closed. Cannot drive without running into roads closed by flooding. Airports closed as runways are under water. You see the pictures and videos and news reports and wonder, How? Why? You can plan as much as you can, but sometimes it's simply not enough.
Instead, you just pitch in and help where you can, doing what you can. For some of us, it's keeping others informed. For others, if you can get out, it's rescuing some, feeding others, volunteering however you can. The news stations continue to show regular citizens helping others, bringing in boats to rescue those stuck in flooded homes. That is the Houston spirit we know and love. We are very thankful for all the emergency responders, many on their way from out of state but also for Houston firefighters, police, Coast Guard, National Guard and more.
We will survive. We will. We will be fine, just a bit soggy for a while. We are thankful that most of what has been lost is just "stuff" and VERY thankful that we are providing a welcome break from dismal news coverage of the hate and division in our country. Nothing like a good disaster to bring us all together. "😉

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