Tag Archives: Hurricanes

Atlantic Hurricane Season Starts Today

Today, June 1 marks the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season.

The edge of hurricane Claudette arrives in Pensacola. Photo R. Anderson

The edge of hurricane Claudette arrives in Pensacola.
Photo R. Anderson

I realize for many people not living near the coast this fact does not hold much water.

But, for those people near the shore today marks the start of a six-month period of keeping their eyes on the skies and hoping for another year free from the devastation that a direct hit by a hurricane can cause.

When I lived in Florida I rode out many hurricanes from about 30 miles inland. That central location meant that by the time the storm reached me it was normally just a wind and rain maker.

The Gulf of Mexico churns ahead of the arrival of a hurricane. Photo R. Anderson

The Gulf of Mexico churns ahead of the arrival of a hurricane.
Photo R. Anderson

The highlight of those storms being a water spout that picked up a school of catfish and deposited them in my parents’ yard.

I can still picture my mom running around trying to save all of the fish that were very much out of water.

Since leaving Florida I have had a few vacations cut short due to the pending arrival of storms that I have had to outrun in my car to reach the safety of home and avoid getting stuck. To that end I try to avoid travel during the peak of hurricane season now to minimize the chances of having a trip washed out.

Upon moving to Texas I came a little closer to the shore through my proximity to Galveston Bay. While still around 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico the Bay acts as a direct line for storm surge as demonstrated during Hurricane Ike.

Like moths to the flame news vans like this one on the Seawall in Galveston become a familiar sight before and after the arrival of a hurricane. Photo R. Anderson

Like moths to the flame news vans like this one on the Seawall in Galveston become a familiar sight before and after the arrival of a hurricane.
Photo R. Anderson

In the little over a decade that I have lived in Texas I have evacuated ahead of the storm twice.

The first time included a 17 hour drive to Irving (a drive that normally would take five hours when not ensnared in bumper to bumper traffic) and a more reasonable seven hour drive to Gulfport, Mississippi during the aforementioned Hurricane Ike.

Hurricane Ike marked the closet I ever came to losing everything to a hurricane. Ike made landfall right at the mouth of the Bay which allowed the floodwater and storm surge to push well inland. When I returned back home I realized that the damaging floodwater stopped a mere two miles from my house.

While waiting out the storm in Gulfport I was glued to the television set watching the coverage of the pending storm. Ironically by evacuating east for the storm I actually experienced some of the outer bands of Ike in Gulfport before it made landfall in Texas.

Returning back home was like driving through a foreign land. There were still familiar sites but the parts of buildings strewn everywhere made it clear just how powerful the storm was.

A news van from New Orleans waits for the storm to hit in Pensacola. Photo R. Anderson

A news van from New Orleans waits for the storm to hit in Pensacola.
Photo R. Anderson

One particular comment from the reporters on the seen was the proclamation that the Galveston Hooter’s restaurant was gone.

Truth be told, the Hooter’s was one of many buildings perched on stilts above the water that were picked up and tossed onto the seawall like Tinker Toys.

But for whatever reason the reporter on the scene felt that the most prudent way to help the viewers at home understand the scope of the damage was to focus on the loss of the Hooter’s. The singling out of the Hooter’s made me laugh for some reason which may have just been a coping mechanism since I did not know what I would be coming home to.

To this day when I am driving along the seawall I will stop at the spot where the Hooter’s once stood and in my best Anderson Cooper voice will proclaim that the Hooter’s is gone.

Much like the Hooter's restaurant the 61st Street pier fell victim to the pounding storm surge of Hurricane Ike. While the Hooter's has yet to be rebuilt a new version of the pier has returned to the shore. Photo R. Anderson

Much like the Hooter’s restaurant the 61st Street pier fell victim to the pounding storm surge of Hurricane Ike. While the Hooter’s has yet to be rebuilt a new version of the pier has returned to the shore.
Photo R. Anderson

After Ike the area around me rebuilt and for the most part there are few signs of the furry of the storm.

There are still pockets that have not come back and individuals still dealing with the loss but by and large a first time visitor to Galveston would not really be able to tell that a storm had flooded so much of the island.

The same is true in other places that have had storms hit. After the water recedes the cleanup begins and lives are slowly put back together.

The Flagship Hotel in Galveston was another victim to the power of Ike. The area has since been converted to the Galveston Historic Pleasure Pier. Photo R. Anderson

The Flagship Hotel in Galveston was another victim to the power of Ike. The area has since been converted to the Galveston Historic Pleasure Pier.
Photo R. Anderson

With the exception of Super Storm Sandy it has been a few years since a storm of the major category has made landfall in the United States.

Here’s to hoping for another year where the big storms stay away.

But if a storm does head this way this year I think I will most likely ride it out. It is not that I am being brave or foolish for that matter it is just that after seeing the worst that a storm can do from afar I would rather be up close and relatively safe than battling the thousands of people on the road heading north.

Now if you’ll excuse me I am off to check my hurricane supplies.

Copyright 2015 R. Anderson

Silent Tropics are Good for Residents, Bad for Storm Chasers

This past week several of the local and national news sources that I follow have been filled with story after story bemoaning the fact that this year’s hurricane season has been a dud so far.

Personally, I would think that the fact that there have not been any storms that have turned into hurricanes by the midpoint of the season is a good thing.

But for news stations that make their livings providing continuing continuous coverage of breaking weather events like hurricanes, the lull can certainly hit their bottom line I suppose.

And each of the stories I read this week about the slow start to the season cautioned that with three months left in the season there is still time for a storm to hit so residents along the coast should still keep an eye to the clouds and of course stay tuned into those stations for the breaking news when the storm approaches.

The television news vans have been all gassed up but so far have not had any storms to chase during the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season. This has led to some news stations to complain about the lack of storms. Photo R. Anderson

The television news vans have been all gassed up but so far have not had any storms to chase during the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season. This has led to some news stations to complain about the lack of storms.
Photo R. Anderson

While I am certainly all for staying prepared in the event of a storm, and know that historically September is one of the more active months for storms, the sad for not having a storm to cover yet mentality really irritates me.

Ask people along the coast who are still recovering from past storms if they feel “cheated” by the lack of storms this year and I am sure they will tell you that they are enjoying the break from storms that have a name and winds of at least 74 miles per hour.

Also, despite the lack of named storms certain areas are still receiving record amounts of rain so the argument of needing a tropical storm or hurricane to blow through to bring rain quite frankly does not hold water either.

In Texas there are still drought conditions and more rain is certainly needed but I do not see anyone on the street corners shouting for the arrival of a hurricane to bring it to them.

The media meltdown over the lack of storms to cover is just one example this week of my growing displeasure with the state of media affairs.

I really don’t know who to blame for the lapses in media judgment.  I am in no way placing myself on a pedestal and saying that I am the poster child for what a journalist should be but the lack of fundamentals being shown by the mainstream press really has me concerned for the future of a field that many feel is already facing credibility challenges.

I understand that there are way more media sources now than in the golden age of media where a town would have one newspaper and three television stations to bring them their daily dose of news.

With the expansion of cable systems and the internet there are hundreds if not thousands of daily sources that a person with an internet connection can search to get their news fix.

Some of these sources are offshoots of traditional brick and mortar media outlets and others are part of the new media and citizen journalist movement.

Just as not all brick and mortar journalism sources are good, not all new media is bad. So I am definitely not saying that there is not a place for both in the information age, there just needs to be standards.

And when I see traditional media making lapses in judgment it really makes me wonder whether the fundamentals are still being taught to aspiring journalists before they leave those brick and mortar universities with their degrees in hand.

Aside from the biased weather coverage there was another headline that got my blood boiling this week.

Pete Rose spent just one year north of the border playing in Montreal but it was a memorable year as he hit his 4,000th hit in the Major Leagues. His reaction to another member of that club had some media outlets bending his words.

Pete Rose spent just one year north of the border playing in Montreal but it was a memorable year as he hit his 4,000th hit in the Major Leagues. His reaction to another member of that club had some media outlets bending his words.

Pete Rose, aka “Charlie Hustle”, has been in the news a lot the past few weeks. When the suspensions for the steroid abusers broke, Rose was contacted for his take on the length of suspensions since Rose himself has been a victim of the Major League Baseball disciplinary arm having received a lifetime ban for betting on games he was managing.

Then yesterday as the all-time leader in hits in Major League Baseball, Rose was once again sought out after Ichiro Suzuki hit his 4,000 hit Wednesday night. Now the 4,000 hits combine Ichiro’s time in both Japanese and American professional baseball (2,722 hits in Major League Baseball and 1,278 while playing in Japan’s top league). By contrast, all of Rose’s 4,256 hits were all done in Major League Baseball games.

So, Rose was asked if he felt that Ichiro should be considered the hits leader if he manages to get 257 more hits to surpass Rose’s mark. And Rose stated what many others have stated that only hits made in the Major Leagues should count for MLB stats. But instead of a headline stating that the headline writer for this particular article I read said, “Rose disses Ichiro.”

The article did include around five quotes of Rose saying how much he admired Ichiro by calling him a pure hitter and someone who plays the game the right way.  Those do not sound like “disses” to me.

So once again a misleading headline is put over a story to gain readers. This seems to be happening more and more and makes me wonder if the headline writers even read a story anymore before deciding on a headline.

I guess my rant about the state of media could fall under a headline of “columnist disses media” but it is really more of a call for a more responsible press. Time will tell whether the trends reverse or get worse.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am off to see if the local meteorologists have gotten over their lack of storm depression yet.

 Copyright 2013 R. Anderson

North Winds Blow! South Winds Blow! Typhoons… Hurricanes… Earthquakes! SMOG!

Tomorrow, June 1 marks the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season.

The edge of hurricane Claudette arrives in Pensacola. Photo R. Anderson

The edge of hurricane Claudette arrives in Pensacola.
Photo R. Anderson

I realize for many people not living near the coast this fact does not hold much water. But, for those people near the shore tomorrow marks the start of a six-month period of keeping their eyes on the skies and hoping for another year free from the devastation that a direct hit by a hurricane can cause.

When I lived in Florida I rode out many hurricanes from about 30 miles inland. That central location meant that by the time the storm reached me it was normally just a wind and rain maker.

The Gulf of Mexico churns ahead of the arrival of a hurricane. Photo R. Anderson

The Gulf of Mexico churns ahead of the arrival of a hurricane.
Photo R. Anderson

The highlight of those storms being a water spout that picked up a school of catfish and deposited them in my parents’ yard.  I can still picture my mom running around trying to save all of the fish that were very much out of water.

Since leaving Florida I have had a few vacations cut short due to the pending arrival of storms that I have had to outrun in my car to reach the safety of home and avoid getting stuck. To that end I try to avoid travel during the peak of hurricane season now to minimize the chances of having a trip washed out.

Upon moving to Texas I came a little closer to the shore through my proximity to Galveston Bay. While still around 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico the Bay acts as a direct line for storm surge as demonstrated during Hurricane Ike.

Like moths to the flame news vans like this one on the Seawall in Galveston become a familiar sight before and after the arrival of a hurricane. Photo R. Anderson

Like moths to the flame news vans like this one on the Seawall in Galveston become a familiar sight before and after the arrival of a hurricane.
Photo R. Anderson

In the little over a decade that I have lived in Texas I have evacuated ahead of the storm twice. The first time included a 17 hour drive to Irving (a drive that normally would take five hours when not ensnared in bumper to bumper traffic) and a more reasonable seven hour drive to Gulfport, Mississippi during the aforementioned Hurricane Ike.

Hurricane Ike marked the closet I ever came to losing everything to a hurricane. Ike made landfall right at the mouth of the Bay which allowed the floodwater and storm surge to push well inland.  When I returned back home I realized that the damaging floodwater stopped a mere two miles from my house.

While waiting out the storm in Gulfport I was glued to the television set watching the coverage of the pending storm. Ironically by evacuating east for the storm I actually experienced some of the outer bands of Ike in Gulfport before it made landfall in Texas.

Returning back home was like driving through a foreign land. There were still familiar sites but the parts of buildings strewn everywhere made it clear just how powerful the storm was.

A news van from New Orleans waits for the storm to hit in Pensacola. Photo R. Anderson

A news van from New Orleans waits for the storm to hit in Pensacola.
Photo R. Anderson

One particular comment from the reporters on the seen was the proclamation that the Galveston Hooter’s restaurant was gone.

Truth be told, the Hooter’s was one of many buildings perched on stilts above the water that were picked up and tossed onto the seawall like Tinker Toys. But for whatever reason the reporter on the scene felt that the most prudent way to help the viewers at home understand the scope of the damage was to focus on the loss of the Hooter’s.  The singling out of the Hooter’s made me laugh for some reason which may have just been a coping mechanism since I did not know what I would be coming home to.

To this day when I am driving along the seawall I will stop at the spot where the Hooter’s once stood and in my best Anderson Cooper voice will proclaim that the Hooter’s is gone.

Much like the Hooter's restaurant the 61st Street pier fell victim to the pounding storm surge of Hurricane Ike. While the Hooter's has yet to be rebuilt a new version of the pier has returned to the shore. Photo R. Anderson

Much like the Hooter’s restaurant the 61st Street pier fell victim to the pounding storm surge of Hurricane Ike. While the Hooter’s has yet to be rebuilt a new version of the pier has returned to the shore.
Photo R. Anderson

After Ike the area around me rebuilt and for the most part there are few signs of the furry of the storm.

There are still pockets that have not come back and individuals still dealing with the loss but by and large a first time visitor to Galveston would not really be able to tell that a storm had flooded so much of the island.

The same is true in other places that have had storms hit. After the water recedes the cleanup begins and lives are slowly put back together.

The Flagship Hotel in Galveston was another victim to the power of Ike. The area has since been converted to the Galveston Historic Pleasure Pier. Photo R. Anderson

The Flagship Hotel in Galveston was another victim to the power of Ike. The area has since been converted to the Galveston Historic Pleasure Pier.
Photo R. Anderson

With the exception of Super Storm Sandy it has been a few years since a storm of the major category has made landfall in the United States. Here’s to hoping for another year where the big storms stay away.

But if a storm does head this way this year I think I will most likely ride it out.  It is not that I am being brave or foolish for that matter it is just that after seeing the worst that a storm can do from afar I would rather be up close and relatively safe than battling the thousands of people on the road heading north.

Now if you’ll excuse me I am off to check my hurricane supplies.

Copyright 2013 R. Anderson