Archive for September 11th, 2008|Daily archive page







What follows is the complete 8:19 PM Central Daylight Time statement from the Galveston Office of the National Hurricane Center.  This was for immediate broadcast.  It is very long.  I am posting the entire statement for the benefit of those who know details of the following areas from having lived there or having family and/or friends there.  This addresses the following counties:  BRAZORIA-CHAMBERS-GALVESTON-HARRIS-JACKSON-LIBERTY-MATAGORDA. Continue reading

Warning From Galveston Office of the Hurricane Center – 4:19 pm CDT, Sept. 11, 2008

Above I have posted an image showing all of the hurricanes and tropical storms that have come within 50 statute miles of Houston, Texas from 1928 through 2007.  Many verified events occurred before 1928, including the most infamous 1900 Galveston hurricane.  LEFT CLICKING ON THE IMAGE WILL ENLARGE IT.  I prepared this chart using a program with a menu whereby I could select the city and pick the time frame.  For your information, Galveston is 45.2 statute miles from the center of Houston (as the crow flies).

It illustrates that those cities are indeed in hurricane territory and that no one should be surprised that a storm such as Ike is now threatening them (and others).   Just as it is where I live in Florida, it goes with the territory.  People who live in that coastal area should not be reading this now unless they have gotten out of there.  If you are currently somewhere else along the Texas and West Louisiana coast, please be prepared to seek higher ground inland.  My opinion is that the sooner you make a move, the better.  Why risk it?  Of course there are hazards involved in evacuating too and you must be sober, wide awake, and thus alert.

Though I expect this to be renewed/revised soon, here is an EXCERPT from the most recent official statement by the Galveston office of the National Hurricane Center:

Statement as of 4:19 PM CDT on September 11, 2008

… Storm surge and storm tide…

Tide levels will begin rising Friday morning and will exceed
5 feet above mean lower low water along the Upper Texas coast and
along the shorelines of the bays by mid to late morning Friday.
Water levels will rise rapidly beginning late afternoon Friday as
the storm surge moves in with water levels peaking Friday night
and early Saturday. Maximum storm tide levels are highly dependent
on the track of the storm and variations in the track of only 15
miles can make differences of several feet more or less from some
of these values.

Maximum water levels forecast:

Gulf-facing coastline west of Sargent… 5 to 8 feet

Shoreline of Matagorda Bay… 5 to 8 feet

Gulf-facing coastline Sargent to High Island
including Galveston Island… … 12 to 16 feet

Shoreline of Galveston Bay… 15 to 22 feet

Life threatening inundation likely!

All neighborhoods… and possibly entire coastal communities…
will be inundated during the period of peak storm tide. Persons
not heeding evacuation orders in single family one or two story
homes will face certain death. Many residences of average
construction directly on the coast will be destroyed. Widespread
and devastating personal property damage is likely elsewhere.
Vehicles left behind will likely be swept away. Numerous roads
will be swamped… some may be washed away by the water. Entire
flood prone coastal communities will be cutoff. Water levels may
exceed 9 feet for more than a mile inland. Coastal residents in
multi-story facilities risk being cutoff. Conditions will be
worsened by battering waves. Such waves will exacerbate property
damage… with massive destruction of homes… including those of
block construction. Damage from beach erosion could take years to


Moving along under a light breeze - working upwind with sails sheeted in close.

Please left-click this image for enlargement.

In order to changes gears for a moment, I’ve inserted a photo of a form of travel, recreation, and sport that utilizes the wind.  The image above is of my little sloop, Nature’s Way.  It was taken by my wife from a position onshore.  The craft has a fixed shoal draft keel that accounts for one-third of the weight (displacement) of the craft (1,100 pounds).  In spite of the keel, she is very easy to launch from the trailer and also easy to retrieve – pretty much a one-person job.  I wish for everyone that they could experience such peace as is provided by sailing in fair weather.  However, experienced sailors know that when the wind picks up, the force from it increases exponentially.  If they don’t know that fact and the wind velocity increases more quickly than they anticipate they are likely to some day find themselves in a position where they have waited too long to reduce the sail area.  Then they will have their hands full – especially if sailing solo.

This image shows the craft moving 45° “off the wind.”  In other words, under skillful hands the boat is being “pulled” as well as pushed by the wind in a general upwind direction.  Most sailboats with this type of rig can sail 45° off the wind but no closer than that.  However, by zig-zagging from one tack point to the other, the boat can reach an upwind objective.  It reminds me of working upslope on a mountain trail by taking a switchback route, rather than climbing directly upward.  SO, DON’T THINK THAT SAILBOATS ONLY SAIL IN THE GENERAL DIRECTION OF THE WIND – THEY CAN ALSO SAIL IN A GENERAL UPWIND DIRECTION AS IS BEING DONE IN THIS IMAGE (though there is about a 90° degree arc – 45° degrees on either side of the wind-line that they can’t sail effectively).  To be thorough I must add that some extremely well-designed boats with well-cut sails can get closer to the wind with a skillful skipper.

A sailboat can also sail nicely broadside to the wind.  That position is called a beam reach.  In time, for those of you who are interested, I will probably post a little tutorial on the points of sailing.  For now, I hope the image below with some elaborations will whet your appetite.  To reach it you must click the enticement to read on when you reach it at the end of the next paragraph.  Now – LET’S DISCUSS THE POWER OF A STORM’S WIND OR ANY OTHER WIND ACCORDING TO ITS VELOCITY:

There are some widespread misconceptions about the relationship between the wind’s velocity and the force it is able to exert.  Doubling the wind velocity quadruples the air’s potential force upon a surface that it strikes at right angles.  Early on in my teaching career it because quite apparent to me that most people assume that doubling the velocity simply doubles the force.  But that is far from true.  For example, a 110 mph wind has 4 times the potential force of a 55 mph wind! Continue reading