Friday, September 23, 2005

Hurricane Blog #8: Friday, 5 p.m.

We're going to dodge this bullet. But we might get a bit splattered by the impact nonetheless.

It now appears very likely that Hurricane Rita is going to make landfall to the east of Galveston Bay, over toward Beaumont and the Louisiana border. Good news for us.

Bad news for my wife's brother, who lives in Beaumont. And not good at all for the residents of Lake Charles, Louisiana, who are about 30 miles east of the Texas-Louisiana border. Lake Charles happens to be where a lot of the evacuees from Hurricane Katrina had found hotel rooms. Well, a good number of those hotels are on the lake ... right next to the casino riverboats docked beside them. And I think we all remember what the casino barges in Biloxi and Gulfport looked like after Katrina passed through.

We're now worrying more about flooding -- not from the storm surge, but from the rain produced by the hurricane. Rita is considered a "dry" hurricane, and as long as the storm keeps moving quickly, it probably won't dump more than 5-8 inches of water on us. Houston's bayou system can handle that amount of rainfall, with minimal flooding, and even with a small storm surge pushing back the other way.

But as I've mentioned before, hurricane guru Dr. Neil Frank sees high-pressure areas to the west and the east of the hurricane's projected track, each area alternating between strengthening and weakening. The hurricane will continue to move in the direction of the strongest high-pressure area, which means that the storm may well stall somewhere between the two areas. If that stall happens, it could happen anywhere between Galveston and Dallas. If it stalls, somebody is going to get 20-25 inches of rain.

And if that happens over Houston, it'll be Tropical Storm Allison all over again.

Last night on his radio show, Mr. KABC tole me that he didn't recall hearing about Allison in June 2001. Our understanding here in Houston was that this was very definitely a national news story. Please comment and tell me: does anybody remember Houston getting flooded a few months before 9/11? Or did I simply assume that the story was not as big as we thought it was?

Anyway, if the storm permits, I'm going to be back on with Mr. K tonight. Airtime is 9 pm Pacific time (11 pm Houston time). The live audio stream can be found here.

And speaking of live Internet streams, if you want to see video of the local coverage I prefer, go to When you see just how un-photogenic Dr. Neil is, you'll know how good of a meteorologist he really is ...

Next report when the winds pick up.

posted by Gary @ 5:07 PM


At 6:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. Keep us informed about your brother. I gather he did not evacuate. I do not recall Allison and I am a news junkie. I expect we shall hear all about hurricanes from now on. Sharks are popular too but not comparable. Coincidently I had just read "Isaac's Storm" three weeks before Katrina. I can almost hear the wind. We are due for an earthquake so I feel natural disasters all around. I live in LA. Looks like you will dodge this one. Glad you didn't take to the road?


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Location: Houston, Texas

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