. . . and he’s not receiving a warm welcome. As my friend and fellow blogger, Shoreacres mentioned to me in an email, we are hoping this is not the “Ghost of Isaac”, the storm that flattened everything on Galveston Island, TX so many years ago. So let’s think more positively about this storm.
This storm is more like the “Baby of Isaac”, and while the Gulf of Mexico gives strength to these hurricanes, with this blog post, my words and thoughts, I’m not going to give a whole lot of energy to its cause. I’m going to be very, very optimistic as I move forward with this post and then with preparations.
For those of you in other states who are really not getting the inundation of too much information about all the different landfall scenarios and “cones of uncertainty”, let me fill you in. There are about four models to which the weather forecasters continue to refer. Every fifteen minutes, it seems, they are showing each one of those scenarios. And that cone of uncertainty encompasses something like 250 miles from east to west where the storm could actually make landfall. You can see that yellow cone in the photo below.
As of 7:00 this morning, Isaac has not yet formed into a hurricane, because the winds are still only at 65 mile per hour. A hurricane is defined as winds over 70 miles per hour. Overnight the pressures dropped, meaning the storm is trying to pick up strength, but the winds just aren’t jiving with that.
I was up until after midnight last night, mentally noting all the preparations we’ve yet to make. My youngest son, Termite (16), and I started yesterday when I finally realized I wasn’t going to be allowed to stay in the town of Denial any longer. (And if you’re a new reader here, I escape to Denial because we’ve been through some bad hurricanes in the past 7 years, and the uncertainty is rather nerve jerking). And yesterday afternoon, we experienced a first: Parish President Michel Claudet closed the schools. Yep, he surely did. So now Termite will get to help me haul boats out of here to town. That’s another good thing, see?
During the night, the storm only moved 5 degrees N and 5 degrees W overnight. The meteorologist said that means the storm is moving in a N/NW path rather than a W/NW path. What difference does it make? A lot. A move to the north is better for us than a move to the west.
What is the same this morning is the projected path of landfall, which is directly at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Granted, it’s predicted to make landfall only as a Category 1, but my guess is that the roads out of New Orleans will be bumper to bumper with evacuees today. Katrina wasn’t THAT long ago. And of course, all the doomsday folks are noting that the 29th is the 7th anniversary of Katrina; but I would remind those folks that 7 is a very lucky number.
The best-case scenario for my parish and bayou community would be for the storm to stay to the east of us, making landfall where predicted now or farther to the east. (Sorry, all you folks on the Mississippi/Alabama/Florida Gulf coast, but it does have to make landfall somewhere.) And why is that better? Because that puts us on the “wind-damage” side of the storm rather than the “water-damage” side.
However, if the storm makes landfall to the west of us, then that puts us on the “high-water” side of the storm–the storm-surge side. And with a nine-foot surge, some folks might see 4-5 feet of water in their yards/houses.
The silver lining for my family is that our new Bayou Tree House is 12 feet off the ground and will not flood. This will be the first time EVER that we leave knowing the things in our house will not be flooded. But everything downstairs, on the ground, and in the yard must be hauled upstairs and/or secured with ropes in case of high water. (And the same at Camp Dularge.)
And the last good news is that the storm shutters were completed just two weeks ago. When we leave, we will roll them all down and leave the house secure from wind-driven storm debris AND looters. Thank the good Lord for that.
This time, if and when we evacuate, we won’t be going very far at all. All three of our adult children live in “town” within a few miles of each other, which is nice. Termite and I will be hauling three of our five boats there today for safekeeping from the winds. The old pontoon boat will get strapped to her trailer and ride out the storm down here just as she has done many times before.
When it’s time to go, we will pack our suitcases, unload everything from the freezer into the ice chests, grab all the pets (even the chickens?), my hard drives, important documents and head to town.
Hopefully it will only be for overnight, and then we’ll return home and spend a couple days undoing all the preparations and trust this is not another double whammy like Katrina/Rita in 2005 and Gustav/Ike in 2008.
Making preparations and staying optimistic,