Yep, hurricane season is almost upon us, though I doubt there'll be much to be concerned about before August. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts an above average season, with 13 - 16 named storms, four to six becoming Category 3 or higher.

As NOAA National Hurricane Center director Max Mayfield said, "One hurricane hitting where you live is enough to make it a bad season."
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, May 22, 2006 at 8:07 pm | Edit
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There's not much to do but pray, watch, and wait for now. Our freezer has been full of ice and frozen jugs of water and other potables since the beginning of the season; the cupboards are replete with flashlights, batteries, and non-perishable food; the propane tank (for the grill and camp stove) is nearly full, and our plywood window covers line the garage wall. While I was out today, I filled the car's gas tank, figuring that prices can only go up in the next week or so, and wanting replenish the supply before everyone else has that idea. Other than that, our preparations have mainly comprised lending an occasional hand to a neighbor who is trying to get an outdoor project to a sufficient state that it can withstand abnormal levels of wind and rain. The next project will be some cleaning and organizing, both physical and electronic, in case we lose power for a while. But that's an ongoing effort, anyway....
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, October 19, 2005 at 3:12 pm | Edit
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The terrifying power of panic to disrupt and destroy was best illustrated this week in Iraq, where the stampede provoked by rumor of a suicide bomber killed and injured innocent people in numbers exceeding the wildest expectations of any individual with a bomb in his backpack.

As a far-off planet reflects the fiery sun, panic made its power known here on Wednesday, also. Driving to choir rehearsal on Wednesday night, we could have filled our gas tank easily at any of a number of stations along the way, for the price of $2.69/gallon. On the way home it was a different story. While we had been happily singing, word began to spread that Florida was running out of gasoline. The Orange County School District cancelled all non-essential bus service (sports, field trips) and announced that even with the cutbacks parents might have to begin driving their children to school in another week. This was enough to convince half of Central Florida that they needed to buy gasoline, NOW. Those calm, quiet gas stations we had passed earlier in the evening now had lines of waiting cars that stretched for blocks, and police officers on site to keep order. Prices had jumped at least 10 cents per gallon. A few stations had no linesóbecause they had run out of fuel.

We chose not to join the snaking lines, trusting that our 3/4 full gas tank would see us through until the situation stabilized. During hurricane season, the recommendation is that you don't let your gas tank get below half full. Maybe that's a good idea year 'round, because it wasn't Florida's disaster that caused this shortage.
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, September 3, 2005 at 5:08 pm | Edit
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If you have contacts in the Mississippi area, please check out this friend's plea for locating missing relatives.
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, September 2, 2005 at 7:40 am | Edit
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By this time last year we had already experienced our first major hurricane, Charley, but Frances, Jeanne, and Ivan were September storms. Now we are not even into September, and we are up to K in named storms, with Tropical Depression 13 forming in the Atlantic.

Unless she takes an unexpected turn, the bull's eye of Katrina's target is New Orleans, but even far-away Pittsburgh is preparing for trouble, fearing heavy rains will cause flooding and trouble for the area's dams. Last year the remnants of Ivan made quite a mess of Western Pennsylvania. Our friends in Ohio and Indiana may be in for some rough weather, too. But it's New Orleans that needs our prayers most at the moment.
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, August 28, 2005 at 9:38 pm | Edit
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We awoke to our first hurricane warning of the season: Hurricane Katrina is heading towards South Florida, but that doesn't mean we're in the clear. It doesn't look like anything we need to worry about, but it's worth noting. I observe that the first hurricane warning comes one letter of the alphabet further than the last hurricane warning of last season.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Typhoon Mawar is aimed straight at Janet, and it's a lot stronger than Katrina. I'm trusting the mountains will remove some of its fury before it reaches Kofu. Classes have been cancelled for the first two periods tomorrow, although the teachers still have to come to school.
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, August 25, 2005 at 7:08 am | Edit
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It seems ludicrous, with the thermometer reading a very pleasant 72 degrees, and the rest of our family enduring subzero temperatures and the prospect of up to two feet of snow, but we, too, are under a winter weather advisory. Conditions are expected to change rapidly tomorrow, bringing in the coldest temperatures of the season and the possibility of several hours of hard freeze. Where we live does not usually get the worst of what is predicted, but we'll have to keep a weather eye out. I hope we don't have to pick all the grapefruit off our tree at once!
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, January 22, 2005 at 5:54 pm | Edit
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Here's a particularly appropriate excerpt from my father's as-yet-unpublished autobiography (to give a fancy name to the project he and I were working on when he died):

There was no kindergarten in the Pullman School system and I started first grade at the age of five, my sixth birthday coming before the new year and in time to let me start. I went to the Franklin Elementary School, which was about a half dozen blocks away. This gave me a rather short walk compared with that of many of the students. There were no school busses to the elementary schools in those days. I do not remember much about my first four years in school, although in 1980 I did find it easy to remember that one of my teachers had said that Mt. St. Helens was an extinct volcano.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, October 6, 2004 at 1:22 pm | Edit
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Friday, October 1, 2004. 7:30 a.m. Again, I donít know who gets the credit for this; it appears to be circulating unattributed.



A few random notes: (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, October 1, 2004 at 7:30 am | Edit
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Tuesday, September 28, 2004. 1:00 p.m.  The power is still on, and we are all happy about that. Porter is currently up on the roof, making repairs, and is glad that the pool is looking better this morning. Jonathan, Heather and I have a date to see some friends this afternoon, but we hope to get in some yardwork and a swim, too. Jonathan is not yet very helpful with the yardwork, but makes up for it by being incredibly cute as he tries to handle the rake. And he really enjoys the swimming part afterwards.
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, September 28, 2004 at 1:00 pm | Edit
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9:15 p.m. We didn’t get our swim in. We were just finishing in the front yard when Porter came home. Since we had discovered that we were cooler working outside than we had been sitting inside, Porter decided it was time to take the rest of the plywood down so we could open the windows. During the process Jonathan discovered a stream of water in the gutter and got his shoes soaking wet. Leaving him (with his mother watching, of course) to splash and play in his naked glory, I took his shoes in to clean them up. While I was inside, the phone rang. The cordless phone rang. Wait a minute...the cordless phone doesn’t work unless we have POWER! Sure enough, the power was on; our best guess was that it came on around 6:30. Twenty-nine and a half hours without power this time. We welcomed the return of light and A/C and computing power with 100% gratitude, but also with the usual small percentage of wistfulness, as there is something magical about being without electricity. Hot, and dark, and sometimes frustrating, but also, in a way, fun. Not that I’m in any hurry for more of that fun for a while!

Porter made a trip to Home Depot tonight, as we lost enough shingles this time to require some temporary roof repair. I’m glad the store was open; when Heather and I went out, we found most stores closed, including two of our three grocery stores, and most gas stations.

Jon made it safely home. In fact, his was the call that let us know the power was back.

Jonathan is really happy to have the air conditioning back on; he was one hot and sweaty kid! While the power was off, he’d kept staring at the lights with a puzzled look, as if he couldn’t understand why we didn’t turn them on. When the power came back on, he still focused on the lights; this time with a big smile.

Time for a shower and a night’s sleep. Good night, all!
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, September 27, 2004 at 9:15 pm | Edit
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Monday, September 27, 2004. 4:30 p.m. I apologize for the long delay between updates. Just after 1:00 yesterday afternoon, as the storm was nearly over, we lost power. In fact, we are still without power, making it the longest outage for us of the three hurricanes. Porter is working from a friend’s house, the friend having both power and high-speed connection to share.

The airport opened at noon today, and we took Jon to the airport where we assume he had no trouble catching his flight, though we haven’t heard yet. We chose to take the longer, but mostly-expressway route, as uncontrolled intersections made the other roads difficult to travel. With each hurricane we get better, however: many of the important intersections had working lights, powered by generators.

Jonathan is still enjoying himself, though he is anxious for the pool to be open again. I put some chlorine in, and when it has had a chance to dissipate we may indulge. It looks a little gross, with pump and filter not working, but it should be safe and cool. When they ask Jonathan what he thinks of Florida, he’s going to say, “The people are nice, but it sure is hot and dark there.”

I’m not sure when my next update will be. We’re fine, but if you need to get in touch with us, phone is more reliable at this point than e-mail.

We’re off to do some yardwork. It will make the pool and/or cold shower feel that much better, and help justify all the really soft ice cream we have to eat.
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, September 27, 2004 at 4:30 pm | Edit
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11:30 a.m. Still here, still fine, still have power, wind is anything but still. Impressive gusts, but sustained winds aren’t bad. We jump mostly when a gust pulls the trap door to the attic open and slams it down, or when a metal piece of the chimney cap buckles and snaps back. Daytona Beach is getting pounded by one of the outer bands, while the center of the hurricane heads for Tampa. Take a look at the satellite picture to see how Jeanne is spread over the whole state and more.

I don’t know where this came from originally—it seems to be one of those things that arise spontaneously from the e-mail murk. But there’s a lot of truth in it!
 (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, September 26, 2004 at 11:43 am | Edit
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9:45 a.m.  We should be at church now, but storm—not to mention curfew—made the 40-minute trip an unwise venture. We did, however, have a great time of singing hymns with Heather at the piano, Jon and Porter singing, Jonathan exploring the living room, and me singing while running back and forth between the living room and the kitchen, so that the lemon-blueberry pancakes didn’t burn.
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, September 26, 2004 at 9:45 am | Edit
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11:30 p.m. Okay, now it feels as if I’m preparing for a hurricane: I’m baking a pound cake. I think the Daleys are asleep, but Porter and I are still up, doing odds and ends (like baking, and getting the hall ready for occupation) while keeping track of the storm. It looks as if it will hit here sooner than expected, maybe about 4 a.m. I understand one of the greatest concerns is that so many people have just given up. Like one of our neighbors, who didn’t bother to put up his plywood this time. Compliance with evacuation orders is much, much lower, with many fewer people going to shelters. This despite the fact that the news commentators are saying, “Think the intensity of Charley with the duration of Frances.”

I was worried about Ivan, but Jeanne was weak and wandering for so long that I had all but forgotten about her. However, as we learned from The Hobbit:

It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, September 25, 2004 at 11:30 pm | Edit
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