Archive for September 17th, 2008|Daily archive page


We have been enjoying a few days of tropical inactivity after a “whirlwind” bout with some storms.  The news about Ike has tapered down greatly but lest we forget, there are many, many people suffering over that storm.  By the time Ike lost its hurricane status we had gone for 29 straight days with at least one named storm – Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike.

By the end of next week there will probably be at least one named storm out there again.  Experts have been keeping an eye on the Madden/Julian Oscillation (MJO) which is an observed oscillation of tropical convection that is not well understood.  Interpretations are that within 3 to 6 days conditions will again be “ripe” for the development of tropical disturbances that have the potential to develop further – some eventually into named storms.  Understanding the graphical representations of the Madden-Julian Oscillation is not easy but I’m providing a link for those of you who are inclined to dig in deep or those who are simply curious about it.  If you are a meteorologist or a physicist (or just curious), I recommend you click on the “expert discussions.”


I received an e-mail today from the daughter of the owner of the “lone house standing” in Gilchrist.  I have asked her permission to put her comments in the main body of this web-log and will do so if she agrees.  I know that so many of you have been concerned.  The occupants evacuated and are A.O.K.  I will attempt to learn the extent of the damage but I doubt that they know at this time.  I don’t expect that they have been able to return to assess the damage.  I am very relieved to know that they didn’t try to ride out that storm even though they surely would have survived if they had stayed inside.  Now – let’s all hope that none of their neighbors got swept away with their homes.  In my opinion, if there are no fatalities among the Gilchrist residents, it will be a miracle.  It may very well be that all of them, knowing the hurricane history of that peninsula, decided to get out of there.  The location of her comment is at the end of my September 16 post titled Location of Gilchrist, Texas House – Some Clues.


Finally, I learned from another sharp reader that the gentleman who first guided me to the location of the house was correct when he said that the house was a few blocks east of Rollover.  I interpreted that to be Rollover Street when in fact, Rollover is also the name of the bridge.  That is just too logical for me to have caught on.  LOL

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.

Location of Gilchrist House Confirmed!

Thanks to images posted by Dr. Jeff Masters this morning on the site, aerial images before and after have confirmed the location of the lonely little house that seems to have survived the ravages of Ike.  I have reworked the scale of the images he posted and placed red arrows marking the house that has been being addressed in this web-log.  It confirms the suspicions of myself and others that the house was either rebuilt or replaced between the time that Google loaded it’s images and today.  After I post the before and after images I will paste in Dr. Masters’ specific comments about Gilchrist.  Remember, for an enlarged view – left click two times.

Why did Gilchrist get destroyed

and Will Gilchrist be rebuilt?

By Dr. Jeff Masters

“It’s rare to see a town so completely destroyed by a hurricane, to the point where you can’t even see the wreckage. The neighboring towns of Crystal Beach, to the south, and High Island, to the north, were also mostly destroyed, but weren’t swept clean of nearly all structures and wreckage. This is because Gilchrist was built in an unusually vulnerable place. It’s bad enough to situate your town on a low-lying peninsula, as was the case for Crystal Beach. But in Gilchrist’s case, the town was located at the narrowest point of the Bolivar Peninsula, at a point where it was only a few hundred meters wide (Figure 2). Not only did Gilchrist suffer a head-on assault by Ike’s direct storm surge of 14+ feet, topped by 20′ high battering waves, the town also suffered a reverse surge once the hurricane had passed. As Ike moved to the north, the counter-clockwise flow of wind around the storm pushed Galveston Bay’s waters back across the town of Gilchrist from northwest to southeast. This second surge of water likely finished off anything the main storm surge had left.

I hope the government will see fit to buy up the land that was once the town of Gilchrist and make it into a park. Building a town in Gilchrist’s location makes as much sense as building a town on the sides of an active volcano. (Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who have done just that, such as on the slopes of Vesuvius in Italy). If past history is any guide, Gilchrist will be rebuilt, and it will take another mighty hurricane to permanently take down the town. That was the case for the town of Indianola, Texas, which lay in a vulnerable low-lying location on the shores of Matagorda Bay in the mid-1800’s. Indianola was the second largest port in the state of Texas, and home to 5,000 people. In 1875, a powerful Category 3 hurricane piled up a huge storm surge as it came ashore in Indianola. The surge destroyed 3/4 of the town’s 2,000 buildings, and killed 176 people. The city was rebuilt, but in 1886, a devastating Category 4 hurricane swept almost the entire town of Indianola into Matagorda Bay, killing another 250 townspeople. The people of Indianola finally gave up and moved elsewhere, and the ruins of their town now lie under fifteen feet of water in Matagorda Bay.”

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.