Jeffs713's Tomball & Tropical Weather

Hurricane Ike vs. Galveston

By: jeffs713, 9:51 PM GMT on September 12, 2008

If you are reading this, you are either:

1. Bored out of your mind waiting for Ike to finally get here, and get it over with.

2. Looking for updates on how Ike will impact you.

3. Looking for updates on how Ike will impact everyone in the Houston/Galveston area, and also looking for first-hand accounts.

So.. for #1...

Welcome to the club. This is frustrating. Sorry I can't help more here.

For #2...
Katy, Sugarland, Richmond / Rosenberg area: Winds 50-55 mph, slight damage to trees, slight debris issues.

Bryan / College Station: You might get TS force winds. Maybe.

Galleria, Willowbrook, Tomball area: Expect winds 55-65 mph, moderate damage to untrimmed trees, some debris issues.

Downtown, Spring, The Woodlands, Conroe: Expect winds 65-75 mph sustained, some wind gusts around 85-95. Some moderate damage to untrimmed trees, slight damage to trimmed trees, some debris issues. You might have some shingle loss, but nothing catastrophic.

Kingwood / Humble area: Expect winds at hurricane force sustained, gusts to 95-100. Damage will be similar to Spring and The Woodlands, with slightly more roof/tree damage. Again, nothing catastrophic.

For #3...

I will do that after the storm. For now, I'm doing some very last minute prep (cooking some food that doesn't need to be reheated, laundry, etc.). I *may* make another post later this evening, but doubt it.

Oh... current conditions here (ZIP 77380):
Cloudy, slightly breezy (5-10 mph, gusts to 20), but the clouds are steadily getting darker. Also, it is freakishly quiet outside. VERY creepy. Both of my cats are uneasy, and have not been more than 10 feet from me the entire day.

For all the locals... Be safe, and be calm.

~Jeff

Hurricane Ike vs. the Texas Coast, Round 2!

By: jeffs713, 10:24 PM GMT on September 11, 2008

I am not going to try to attempt to predict exact wind values (like the last blog), as Ike's track is swinging left and right by 20 miles at a time, which makes a large difference in peak winds.

For all of my rough wind data, I sampled several locations around the Houston area (Katy, Downtown, Tomball, The Woodlands, Kingwood) via the National Weather Service's point forecast tool. Directions to use this tool are below:

- A HREF="http://www.nws.noaa.gov/")http://www.nws.noaa.gov/ Link to NWS forecast tool

- Once the page above pulls up, put in your zip code or city name. (77001 is downtown Houston)

- Scroll down, and on the right side of the page, you will see a map of your area, click close to your location on the map. (roughly)

- Once the next page loads, scroll down again, and in the section "Additional Forecasts and Information", click on "Hourly Weather Graph".

- Once the graph loads, you can change the 48-hour block viewed, and see how the winds will be, along with rain. Also, you can scroll to the bottom, and when you mouseover the times on the bottom edge, it will show current conditions for your location.

- To read wind barbs: The "end" of the barb, with the lines and flags, is the direction the wind is coming FROM. A full line = 10 knots (11.5 mph), a half-line is 5 knots, and a flag is 50 knots (57.5 mph). So if the flag is on the top, and the line is vertical, that is north winds. If the flag is upside down, and the line is vertical, it is south winds.

Based on that, here is what to expect:

TS force winds will start all across the Houston area between noon and 6pm. Gusts will begin earlier. Most areas of Houston can expect Hurricane force winds starting at roughly 2am, lasting for 3-6 hours. Gusts in some areas will be above 100 mph.

Areas closer to the eye may experience even higher winds. Overall, expect TS force winds for 18+ hours.

Special note for Bryan / College Station:
As Ike tracks further east, your threat lessens. Expect sustained winds 50-60 mph, with gusts around hurricane force. Some moderate tree damage may occur, along with some occasional loss of shingles and vinyl siding.

Overall damage threat:
With Cat 1 winds, per StormW (thanks again!)...
Mobile homes will be damaged (especially if unanchored), along with trees and shrubbery. Some damage will occur to poorly constructed signs. Some trees (especially weaker/unhealthy trees, and those with root rot in saturated ground) may be downed. Some shingles may be lost, and vinyl siding may also be lost. Both the shingles and vinyl siding will be somewhat dependent upon how well constructed your house is. Also, windows may be broken with flying debris.

Last minute prep for the storm:
A couple of things came to mind last night, that everyone would be well-advised to do:
- Take digital pictures of your electronics and high-value items, and save the pictures either on a USB drive (protected from water), or in another location protected from damage. I also suggest taking pics of your house and any serial numbers on electronics.
- Take digital pictures of your car, too. It is more in danger of debris than your house is.
- Sleep Friday night in an interior area of your house, away from windows. Nothing quite like waking up to howling wind, breaking glass, and a tree branch through your window, coming at you.
- For those with small kids, turn it into a game. Keep their mind off of things, and STAY CALM. Play board games, read to them, whatever. This will make things much easier on them (especially as they may not understand whats going on), and will make things much easier on you afterwards.

And most importantly, I can't stress this enough...

STAY CALM. Panic does nothing, except raise your blood pressure.

~Jeff

PS> Special thanks to StormW, who provided some of the information concerning possible damage to houses.

Hurricane Ike vs. Texas Coast, Round 1

By: jeffs713, 1:34 AM GMT on September 11, 2008

This won't be pretty, but it will work.

First off, my "creds". I have been following the tropics since I was young, and always enjoyed watching storms spin up, and also the raw beauty of a major hurricane from space. But, I also don't want one anywhere near people, as they seem to leave only death and destruction in their wake. I am fairly familiar with most of the major topics/theories/ideas about hurricanes, and try my best to keep up and learn more. I am by no means a professional met, but I try to present reasonable, level-headed advice, and leave forecasting to the pros. Also, I work in the maritime industry (containerized shipping), so how the weather is near a port is very important to me, to say the least.

Currently:
Ike is a category 2 storm, and is widely expected to intensify into a major hurricane. Based on his current level or organization (high), water temps (toasty), and upper air flow (happy for a hurricane, bad for everyone else), there really isn't much to keep Ike from reaching major status.

As for his track, most of the major models have narrowed to a stretch between Corpus Christi and Galveston, with the center in the Port Lavaca / Palacios area.
Weather Underground Model page
Florida State University Tropical Cyclone model page

Do I need to evac?
Generally, if you can drive 10 minutes and be within walking distance of a beach, and you are between High Island and S. Padre Island, you should be either packing, or gone.

If you live in the Houston Metro area, and are south of a line consisting of (going East to West) I-10, Beltway 8 around clockwise to SH 288, you need to listen to your local authorities and if they say evacuate, you go. Its not worth your life. Storm surge will be nasty.

If you live North or West of that line, stay home, and be mindful of the hurricane prep guidelines below.

Prep Links:
City of Houston Office of Emergency Manangement
Galveston County Office of Emergency Management
Hurricane Evacuation Maps
Houston Area Storm Surge Map
NHC suggested hurricane supply kit

Advice:
- If you aren't told to evac, don't jam up the roads for everyone who does need to evac. PLEASE.
- Pack important documents (passports, insurance paperwork, legal documents, etc.) into a secure, watertight container. I personally use a water/fireproof safe, (cost me $40 at Target), but double-bagged Ziploc freezer bags will work too. KEEP THEM WITH YOU.
- Don't forget the pets! Take them with you if possible, and ensure they have plenty of food/water/litter, and remember, if you are freaking out, they will do. Let them calm you down.
- Board up your house if you are close to the coast. If you are not, DO NOT USE TAPE. (it doesn't work) My suggestion is to use outdoor trash bags (the black ones), cut one side so they will spread out over a longer distance, and cover the INSIDE of your windows with them, especially the larger ones. It won't stop the windows from breaking, but it stands a good shot at preventing some debris from getting in, and will also keep water from getting in as badly. Also.. they are handy for cleanup after.
- Make sure someone outside the impact zone has contact information for you, and contact them as soon as you are able after the storm.

Most importantly...

DON'T PANIC.

What will happen to me because of Ike?
With his current track still being up in the air, for argument's sake, I am going to base all of my estimates on a landfall around the Port Lavaca / Victoria area.

A good amount of rain (4-8 inches) will be expected for everywhere in the Houston area.

Katy / Far West Houston: Winds at the high end of TS force, 60-70 mph. Gusts likely over hurricane force. Moderate roof damage, some fence damage, biggest danger is localized flooding and debris.

Galleria: Winds of 55-65 mph, gusts around hurricane force. Damage roughly the same as the Katy area, but with more debris issues.

Sugarland: Winds at the high end of TS force, possible sustained Cat 1 winds (depending on how strong Ike is at landfall). More roof damage, some trees down, major debris issues.

Richmond / Rosenberg: Winds at hurricane force, gusts to 90 mph. Roof damage will be somewhat common, trees will be down, major debris issues.

Willowbrook / Tomball: Winds at 55-65 mph, gusts to hurricane force. Roughly the same damage level as the Galleria area.

Spring / The Woodlands: Winds 50-60 mph, gusts to 70-75. Slightly less roof damage than Willowbrook / Tomball area, but much more tree damage. (most trees are pine, so they will bend, but plenty of gum/oak trees)

Kingwood / Humble: Winds 45-55 mph, gusts to 65-70. Slight roof damage, some fence/tree damage.

Downtown: Winds 55-65 mph gusts to 75-80, some roof damage, major debris issues, especially downtown proper. Winds between buildings will be fierce downtown.

Medical Center / Reliant Center: Winds and damage roughly the same as the Galleria, but much more of a flooding issue.

Pearland: Winds around hurricane force, possibly Cat 2 if Ike makes it to Cat 4. Gusts around 100. Hunker down, its going to be nasty, if you don't evac.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

~Jeff


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

Jeffs713's Tomball & Tropical Weather

About jeffs713

I live near Tomball, Texas (30 miles NW of Houston), and will write about whatever comes to mind. You've been warned.