Archive for September 16th, 2008|Daily archive page


Please note north arrow.  House is marked with a blue dot.

Please note north arrow. House is marked with a blue dot. Source = Google Earth

Many people interested in a web-log topic forget to check the comments.  A very kind person responded to my questions about the lone house shown in the photo I posted yesterday.  His is one of the comments which you can click upon if you go to the original posting. I have asked the contributor if he minds my posting his comments in the main body of the blog so fewer people will miss it.  I have not yet received a reply but remember, just go to comments and you can read his input.

In my opinion it was especially kind of him to respond in light of the fact that his structure, to the east a little further down the highway and on the other side was swept away.  Even though it apparently was not his permanent residence, it is still very painful to suffer such a loss, particularly, as in his case, when it was a place of many fond family memories.  So, my heart goes out to him.  In my opinion, it would be best for you to read his input before moving on with this.


Apparently, the reason why I could not find the house in last night’s extensive search is because the aerial views available show the structure before it was vastly improved in what was probably a storm-related remodeling.

His cues for identifying the house were the two whitish areas to the east which are slabs of structures no longer there.  Julie’s Market marks the location of the pad on the same side of the highway as the house.  I have it marked in the image.  Notice the diagonal edge on the northwest corner of the slab and the match for the shape of Julie’s in the Google Earth image.  He points out that the patch of dark vegetation west of Julie’s can be seen in both the picture and on Google maps.

I think his zeroing in on Church Street and the house is accurate and his explanation for why the house looks different now is probably right on.  Remember, this man has spent a lot of time over several years in this area.  I expect that, just like my house in Homestead was rebuilt after Andrew and improved in the process, both structurally and architecturally, this house in Gilchrist probably underwent the same after it was damaged during Rita.  We went from a conventional gable end roof to a Boston hip so, just as this house does, our former house looks altogether different in the aerial image.  The remodeled version of the house which you see in the photograph from yesterday’s post (below) has dormers added.  They could very well be false dormers or dormer skylights.  That is what I was looking for last night during my search.

I also think he is correct about the wall.  When I zoomed down upon it very close with Google Earth, it appears to be wider than a conventional fence.  It might have been made of cement block.  Anyway, it’s gone now but perhaps it did provide protection at a critical time before being undercut.  I think he might have gotten a little mixed up in his reference to Rollover.  I found 4 versions of Rollover and those roadways are adjacent to each other and well east of the house site.  But everything else computes for me.  Of course I’ll leave it to you to decide.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to get input from the actual owner of the house?  I’d like to know what measures will be necessary in order to re-occupy the structure and whether or not he/she or they plan to do just that.


Please visit the rest of this web-log at  If you are interested in weather, there are some tutorials scattered about and more will be added in time.

House Appears to Be the Lone Survivor In Its Neighborhood

Why was this house in Gilchrist spared?

Why was this house in Gilchrist spared?

I’m hoping that someone can explain this to me.  I saw a photo of this house this morning in the St. Petersburg Times, print version.  It was not hard to find photos of it on several websites this evening.  I have many questions and no answers.  It was described in the paper and on television as being in Gilchrist, Texas.  I did a Google Earth survey of Gilchrist where I could get an oblique view as well as a vertical view close enough to the surface to easily be able to see the gross details of the structures.   I also did visible scans as close as I could get to the surface using Map Quest and Google Maps.  I was unable, using cues from the photograph, to find the house.  This leads me to believe that it is new.

Was it built under a different set of codes than the totally destroyed dwellings on that beachfront strip?

Was it built by a very smart contractor or owner well beyond the requirements of the existing codes?

Is it safely habitable now?  It appears to me that there is considerable erosion, even undercutting, at the margins of the structure.

If it is not safely habitable can the weaknesses be relatively easily repaired?

Someone on the Weather Channel said that the reason it survived is because it was elevated.  It doesn’t seem likely to me that it was the only elevated house in that lengthy flattened strip.  Why did others not survive?

Could there possibly be some sort of breakwater or wall out of range of the photo that could have protected this structure more than the others?

Wouldn’t it be interesting to know why this house was the lone survivor within the scope of this photo?

Does anyone know the story of this house?

Please visit the rest of this web-log at  If you are interested in weather, there are some tutorial items scattered about and more will be added in time.  At the end of this page there is a cue to click to the previous page or the next page.