Friday, August 31, 2012

Isaac: Days Four and Five

 Talk about a letdown! Isaac did nothing. Except litter pine cones across the yard.

Yesterday it stayed cloudy all day and the wind gradually died down. My sister stayed home from work and was playing the piano for a little while. The cat is Aisling, and she was not impressed. Right before I took this she walked across the keyboard, then after I took it she bit my sister's elbow.
Early this morning I wake up to pouring rain and a thunderstorm. I mean, pouring down buckets! The pool finally filled up where we don't have to put the hose until Sunday. Tomorrow I have to hook the vacuum up and let it do its thing.

Now the sun is shining, the humidity is through the roof and everything is back to normal. Power never even went out.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hurricane Isaac: Day Three

On the left is the sky at one this afternoon. On the right, it's two hours later.

He's finally here. The wind really kicked up about 3, and started to sprinkle a few minutes later. Nothing like waiting 48 hours for it to get here. Most unusual, for a most unusual storm.

This is our swimming pool. You can see how low the water is. We let it do this on purpose because we're now in the 6-12" rain category and at some point the pool will overflow. Thankfully it won't be getting in the house this time! There's a built up concrete barrier at both French doors designed for hurricane-making-the-pool-overflow.

Here at our house we have a long, long, long history of roof problems during hurricanes, thanks to a very badly done flat roof that we tore down several years ago. But the problems continued until we were able to get a new roof put on the entire house, which finally happened after Gustav punched a hole in the roof of my bedroom. This time the house is good to go, but the chicken coop was another story.

We've had wind since yesterday and he already ripped some of the tar paper up. Eventually there will be shingles on it, but it got too hot to be up there doing shingles. Anywho, my sister and I hatched a plan, carted concrete pavers up there, retacked the tar paper and used pavers to secure crucial seams.

Naturally the first real rain band arrived while we were doing this. At one point we had to hunker down to keep from being blown off the roof. Just another day at our house getting ready for a storm. Not the first time we've nearly been blown off a roof. Won't be the last.

We're all ready to lose our power. Generator's fixed, gas cans are full, board games and lamps are ready. That's what we do when the power goes out and the storm's not over yet, play games. My dad was given a Doctor Who board game for his birthday a couple weeks ago and we haven't gotten a chance to play it yet.

I leave you with a video of the wind, taken around 3:30. The view starts to the left of the driveway, then pans up and to the right to catch the trees behind the house. The wind is barely tropical storm strength at this point. It's going to get worse overnight, because the eye is headed my way.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hurricane Isaac: Days One and Two

I've been blogging on Blogger since 2006. It hit me today that I've never blogged a hurricane, though we survived Gustav in 2008. Granted, that one was a lot to deal with and blogging was the last thing on my mind. Gustav's the one who dropped a tree in my bedroom. Kind of hard to blog when you're without power for five days, without internet for nine and more worried about keeping the water out of the house.

Isaac is proving to be more difficult than usual for the computer models. They're only accurate about eight hours into the future. At this point he's just been upgraded to a category one hurricane with sustained winds of 75 mph. Predicted landfall, which means the center of the storm coming ashore, is between Grand Isle and Port Fourchon, Louisiana. Houma will be getting a direct hit if he does indeed go ashore there.

These are the clouds above my house about forty minutes ago. They don't look anything special and there's no distinct spiral shape to them. A little unfortunate, because spiral band clouds are super cool. But I doubt we'll see any during the daylight. Looking out my window right now they're starting to get a little more dense and have some gray in them.

As the crow flies I live about 130 miles inland, in central Louisiana. For us to get hurricane force winds here the storm has to be a Cat 2 or 3 at landfall and moving pretty fast. Way faster than Isaac's pitiful 1o mph. We've gotten hurricane force winds only three times. Lili in 2002, who came ashore directly south of Lafayette and went straight up I-49. I live off I-49. Rita in 2005 who came ashore as a 3, and Gustav in 2008, a 2 at landfall. None of those storms were much fun, particularly the last two.

Day One of preparation was yesterday. Up here it consists of making sure you have bread, batteries, bottled water, lamp oil and in my house already ground coffee for the French press. We don't usually lose our water, even during Rita, but we always buy some bottled just in case. No such thing as too prepared. Day One also includes gassing up your vehicles and the gas cans for the generator. I had to drive ten miles north of where we live just to find a station that still had gas. Too many people got caught without the last two times and none of us will ever forget how miserable it was. All but one station by the house was already out by the time I left, and the lines were heinously long.

Yesterday I spent nearly an hour waiting in line gassing up my mom's car, putting some in the truck and filling gas cans. It's a normal part of getting ready. Several stations in town were out of gas by mid-afternoon and prices take a pretty significant jump. That's because a little over half the nation's gasoline refining capacity is located on the Gulf Coast, with at least a third of that right here in Louisiana. The refineries are shutting down in preparation for the storm.

The Saints are weathering the storm in Cincinnati and are scheduled to play the Titans Thursday night. However, Isaac's trajectory is still uncertain and he could rain out the game in Nashville. Drew Brees is very good, but even he'd have trouble throwing passes in 50 mph wind.

Today, Day Two, I woke up to wind. This morning it was coming and going, now it's fairly steady with occasional gusts. It will continue to pick up as the day goes on, though we'll probably top out at about 50 mph sustained. Especially if we stay on the west side of Isaac, which is the safer side. The rain will start arriving late this evening most likely. There's a band marching across Mississippi that'll probably make it here.

As a writer, what do I do to get ready? Since I have an Android phone, I'm making sure both my current WIP's are uploaded to my Google Drive with the most recent version for easy access on my phone if I need to look something up. I use Evernote to track stuff and I also have it on my phone. I have plenty of paper, and I'll be filling up my fountain pens this evening. We're planning to lose power, so when it goes off everything will get saved and I'll turn my computer off. Simple as that.

Provided I have power there will be another blog post tomorrow detailing Day Three.