angiest's WunderBlog

About inland evacuations

By: angiest, 4:20 AM GMT on September 10, 2008

This is a quick entry as it is after 11:00 PM on Tuesday
night and I have to go to work in the morning. But I thought I would put a little something up and then add to it a late time.

In ready through Dr. Masters' blog through Gustav and Ike, I was struck by the number of people who say that people living well inland shouldn't evacuate a hurricane. It may be true that not everyone inland should evacuate, but it is certainly not something that warrants a blanket statement. As I have mentioned in some of my posts, I live in Katy (far West Houston), a good 50+ miles inland. I evacuated for Rita and given the same data I would do so again. I am weighing that decision for Ike now.

When I moved to Houston in 1999 (having been a student here for a few years prior) I decided on roughly what would cause me to evacuate from a storm. Over the years here is what that has morphed into.

A north to northwest moving cat. 3 hurricane making landfall between Bolivar Roads (east end of Galveston) and to the north of Matagorda Bay. In such a situation my home would be in an area that could potentially experience sustained winds of around 100mph. This obvious depends on exact track, speed of motion, etc, and is very hard to make a good guess about, hence this is not an easy decision.

I have a new (8 year old) tract home in an unincorporated area. There are no building codes, no requirement for hurricane straps. For reasons too complex to go into at this moment, I know there is a good chance my roof is not well secured to the walls. I am not confident that it would stand up to those winds, let alone blowing debris. To complicate matters, I have a daughter with cystic fibrosis, and she cannot be without electricity (air conditioning) for any length of time. For these reasons, I have good cause to consider evacuating for a subset of possible storms. Others may have similar concerns. And others may have no such concerns.

If you live in a region at risk for surge, definitely get out. If you love inland, look at your own situation, determine what the risks are and determine whether or not you should evacuate.

I intend to expand this at a later time.

Musings on strong hurricanes moving west.

By: angiest, 3:13 PM GMT on September 07, 2008

I know I will be accused of wish-casting here (I live on the west side of Houston, specifically Katy, for those who know the region), but given the number of posts I have seen that already want to write-off a Texas impact, let me remind everyone of what happened 108 years ago on Monday and Tuesday:

Now, take a good look at that storm's track over Hispaniola (not terribly far south of where Ike is now), and then look at the track across Cuba compared to Ike, and compare it's trek across the Gulf (with the hard left jog roughly south of the Pensacola) with what Ike is forecast to do and what some of the models (notably the GFDL and the HWRF) show it doing at this time.

Is Ike coming to Texas? Probably not. The odds of any particular stretch of coastline being impacted by any particular storm are necessarily low, (the core of the storm is typically small in relationship to the huge size of the coast) but at this point no place in the Gulf except for the Keys are any more or less likely to receive a landfall from Ike than any other place.

By the way, the late summer of 1900 saw an extremely strong Bermuda High stretching far to the West. So, yes, it has happened and it can happen again.

And yes, I know the 1900 storm is rated as a TS over Hispaniola and Cuba, but it turned west while strengthening into a monster cat 4 storm. Unfortunately, it was common knowledge that West Indies storms turned north and didn't enter the Gulf, and certainly, they didn't go West to Texas.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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