Log inskip to content

Archive for August, 2008

Gustav Churns Towards Us as Cat 3 Hurricane

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

If you look at the NEXRAD radar at Weather Underground (best weather site online, imo), you can see that we're just starting to see bands of rain - the outlying strips of Gustav making itself known - coming ashore.

Here in Baton Rouge, the weather is calm...very cloudy, slightly dark, and with intermittent sprinkles.  I started my first 12-hour shift about 30 minutes ago, and traffic was light getting here - though there were a lot of people in store parking lots making last minute supply stops.

There's not really any wind, except a weird breeze that you barely feel - otherwise the air - to me, at least - has this "pregnant" feel to it, a certain electricity as well...something is coming, and that much is obvious.

It makes me wonder how my grandfather's family knew a hurricane was on its way.  Living at a time when there was no television, and quite possibly not a radio they could afford on their small, farm home, they had to judge the threat of such a storm coming by changes in nature around them, and the weather itself.  I wonder what signs someone such as my great-grandfather, and his father before him, looked to as portents that a hurricane was eminent.

I've no word on how the evacuations are going in New Orleans, though something I read online said that they were more than 500 buses short.  I don't know if that's true or not, but it is a sobering thought.

I'll update as more happens...for now it's the "calm before the storm".  We should start seeing rain and some wind as the hours pass, but I don't expect to start seeing any hurricane-type activity until more into Monday itself.  I'll be off at 6am, and hope it isn't storming too badly for that early morning drive home.

Grand Isle Residents Get Out

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

One of the always-worst hit areas of any hurricane is the coastal town of Grand Isle, Louisiana.  I wanted to share this interview with Chief Dubois and Mayor Carmadelle from that area to give you an example of how hard an area can be hit - and (to lighten the mood a bit) - share with you what one of the true Cajun accents sounds like (i.e. what you hear in the movies, is not).

Go to this page, and click the first video link, Grand Isle Preps (10pm Update).

Especially note the Chief's and Mayor's manner of saying "tings" rather than "things".  In Cajun French, as in French, there is no "th" sound and Cajun French-speaking or heavily accented Cajuns will never pronounce the "th" on their words - mostly because they cannot.

My grandmother, who learned English in grade school, went to her grave never being able to pronounce a "th" sound and her accent was not even that strong (at least, not to my ear).  As children, we always got a thrill out of trying to make her say "Thumbalina"  - and erupting into giggles when she could only say "Tumbalina".

Just a little Cajun-accent lesson for you, folks, and trying to lighten the mood - as none of us truly feel very chipper right now in southern Louisiana.  I'll be back with more later.

Storm Limbo

Friday, August 29th, 2008

I've been wanting to get on here and update everyone on the insanity that has descended on the southern portion of Louisiana as it lies in the path of Hurricane Gustav.  While everyone would like to keep hopes high and believe it will not hit us, Hurricane Katrina taught us all a very important lesson about waiting 'til the last minute and hoping for the best.

In light of past mistakes, it goes without saying that the State of Louisiana doesn't screw around these days when a potential hurricane threat is eminent.  My office, which - without saying too much - is an agency within in part of the main hub of emergency preparedness, has been running like a kicked beehive since Wednesday.  The stress level is high, and everyone is determined this time to get it right.

Baret went on call last night, and will be working 12-hour shifts (6pm-6am) until sometime after the storm has passed (and depending on how long recovery efforts take).  I begin a similar schedule on Monday, 6pm-6am, providing i.t. support for a small command center that will be located here in our office.  While I'm frustrated that this all falls on a long holiday for me (I was going to have Monday, Labor Day, and Tuesday off), I am trying to stay positive - there are many more people that much more to fear at this point.

New Orleans will likely began official evacuations this weekend, and Contraflow will be started Saturday or Sunday; depending on Gustav's speed.

Though Gustav will be a weaker storm than Katrina, I do worry more for Baton Rouge this time around.  When Katrina hit, Baton Rouge was on her west side.  With hurricanes, everything to the east of its center gets the most damage and devastating effects.  If Gustav continues on the course it seems to be taking, B.R. will be on the east side of this hurricane and will suffer higher winds, more rain, and possible tornadoes.

Right now we are in what I call "storm limbo" - most of the preparations have been made and the initial scramble is over...now we sit and wait.  While the rest of the world goes with their lives - probably not even knowing about any hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico - we all sit in "limbo"; worrying about our loved ones and property, preparing to evacuate, or stocking up on supplies.  Life takes on a strange feeling, as everything is now focused on that storm system in the Gulf and little else.  It's almost surreal.

As I did with Katrina, I will post updates here as they happen and as the storm moves in.  Landfall will be sometime mid- to late-Monday or on Tuesday, from the last I checked (which has been some time).  Please keep all of us in your thoughts and prayers, especially those in New Orleans and further south as well as lower Mississippi, which is also just beginning full recovery from the devastation of Katrina.

Longing

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

Even though I have not been faithful in my blogging, it is not - by any means - because it is not on my mind.  I think about it all the time.  Things happen and I say to myself, "I have to blog that!" and I have countless pages Tabooed and waiting for me to write about. There is just no time.

Screw that, though.  I need to make time.  I love blogging - I have not become disillusioned nor have I lost my enjoyment of blogging.  I miss it intensely and think about it daily.

If my life was busy before, it's a thousand times moreso now.  I work 10 hour days, and by time I come home I'm so tired that I crash by 8-9pm.  Since I don't get home until 6pm, that leaves me only 2 or 3 hours to myself in the evenings.  Weekends are, as ever, social clusterfucks.

There should be no more excuses, though - I must make time to write.  I miss it, and my writing has even matured and changed - something this blog doesn't even reflect because I no longer post to it!  This has to stop.  I must once again join the active blogging world, for me - for my readers, as well (if I even have any left).

Thanks for listening.