Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Don't Like Ike

Ike doesn't look like it's going to be kind. After wandering all over the place, the models are narrowing down the landfall of Hurricane Ike and as of this writing, it's going to hit at the worst possible spot for Houston, about 50 miles south (though of course that could change by morning). That makes Galveston Bay the focal point for the storm surge, not to mention the fact that it's also the quadrant that gets the worst of the wind and rain (the "dirty" side). My house will supposedly be safe through a 20 foot storm surge.

They're closing NASA/JSC at noon Thursday so I have a long weekend - unfortunately it will be spent boarding, shopping, hunkering, and cleaning. I guess I'll start boarding up in the afternoon or Friday morning. My boards are already cut (I did that for Rita 3 years ago) so all I have to do is screw them in. When my house was built they put those plastic drywall screw hole thingies in the mortar between bricks so it's easy to put the board up against the window and then use the power drill to put a few screws in. Unfortunately I can't get to my upstairs windows, but I've got trees and houses in the way of debris (hopefully).

I'm hoping for winds strong enough to ruin the shingles on my roof, but in a manner that I don't get rain damage in the attic. My roof is 20 years old and I'll need to replace it probably sooner than later.

There were already lines at the gas station. I don't have much food in the house (I need to go shopping anyway) but I've got frozen steaks and burgers in case the power goes out.

The 10pm forecast has the storm moving closer to Houston. It's now forecast to hit in Freeport, about 50 miles south of here. That's the worst possible location for a storm to hit (for us) since that means the storm surge at its highest would come right up Galveston Bay, plus that's the rainy/windy/dirty side of the hurricane.

The UT/Arkansas game has been postponed til Sept. 27th, we both had an open date that weekend. That was supposed to be our bye week in between Rice and Oklahoma.

Eric Berger from the Houston Chronicle has been the only voice of reason around here. All the TV weathermen are freaking out. I think they want the hurricane to hit so they can look all professional. Expect all the reporters to be out in the wind and rain telling us we ought to stay out of the wind and rain.

If they call for an evacuation, they'll be using this map. I'm in the green zone which means they'll call for me to leave for a Cat 4 or 5 (zip code 77062). If you look on the map at I-45 coming north from Galveston and go to the black arrowhead after the I-45 symbol, that's Clear Lake City Blvd. I live pretty close to where that brown road segment ends.

Winds are supposed to pick up here around noon Friday, with landfall early Saturday morning. If people wait til Friday they could get stuck on the roads again just like with Rita three years ago (and just a few posts down on this page).

Assuming I have electricity and internet, I'll probably try to liveblog the storm here (if it's worthwhile to do so). If I lose internet, I can at least Twitter (@mgrabois) via cell phone or send text/SMS messages with pictures here.

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