Archive for the ‘Damage reports’ Category

ALL O.K. – Irma Update – Cloudman23’s Florida Family

 

     We and all family members (including animal members) are O.K.  No damage to our home.  Much debris to clean up but no hurry for that. Helping others is high on the list.  All neighbors and friends are O.K. as far as I can tell.  In this house the comfort level increased significantly about five hours ago and I’ll take credit for it (just joking about the taking credit part).  Here’s the tale:  I felt terrible for not having the American flag on display yesterday especially since it was 9-11.  That date certainly didn’t escape me.  But it was still too windy.  I put it out in all of its glory at 12:37 pm today and our electricity came back at 12:38.  So the air conditioner is on, the refrigerators and freezers are working and we now have water.  And obviously we have an Internet connection.  And most important of all, my father-in-law has Fox News (the only station his television set receives).   I guess I should have put the flag out sooner!

– AS OF THE TIME OF THIS POSTING –
     My oldest daughter and her husband in Lakeland:  All services have been restored.   
      Her daughter in Lakeland with her husband:  Water but no power.  Estimate for restoration is 6-12 days.  Hope that changes!  9:50 pm 9-12-17 update: Power restored.  Amazing! 
 
      The next daughter in Saint John’s south of Jacksonville with her son:  Everything working.  Her oldest son in Valdosta, Georgia is fine but I have no details.
     The mother of those two daughters (in St. Johns) is in fine shape.  A recent text message indicated that she had services except for Internet.
     My youngest daughter in Lake City with her husband: No damage.  No power, no water – but they have a generator for lights and refrigeration.  9:50 pm 9-12-17 update: I was wrong.  They do not have a generator.   9:50 pm 9-12-17 update: Power restored late AM today, 9-13-17.  Biggest concern now is predicted flooding of the Santa Fe River nearby which will close down Interstate 75 at Fort White, which is near Lake City.  This will freeze their commuting which takes place between Lake City and Gainesville and also interfere drastically with those who are attempting to return from the north.
     My son in Crystal River with his wife.  No damage.  Everything restored.  My wife drove to their future house under construction (6 miles north of here) and it is fine.  The block side walls are up but the roof is not yet on.  She found that the elderly couple living next door were almost out of ice and that he (92) had insulin that must be kept cool.  They now have all of our ice.  If they want, they can come here.
    
     My father-in-law, nearly 97, who has lived with us for over 12 years handled the storm well.  He is not only a veteran of World War II but also a veteran of hurricane Donna (1960), and hurricane Betsy (1965) – both of which were memorable for him at one time.  But, he doesn’t remember them anymore.  However, he does still remember Andrew in 1992 when we all evacuated Homestead together and then came back to what looked like ground zero for that little twerp in North Korea.  The night of Irma’s visit was very loud but he didn’t hear a thing – slept right through it.  I guess that there are times when it is advantageous to have diminished hearing. 
    
     We stored a great amount of water prior to the storm specifically for the purpose of toilet flushing and taking spit bathes.  Praise the Lord for that.  It was difficult to school my father in law in the fundamental mandate, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow.  If it’s brown, flush it down.”  That was really no problem.  We have lots of water remaining in convenient containers as the two photos below show.  Though my little sailboat has 450 pounds of ballast in the keel, I’ve added a boatload of water ballast to her – plus more in the garage in those 20 pound cat litter containers with the big screw-on caps.
    
     Now for the first time we are able to see on television some of the devastation caused by this storm.  It reminds me that everything is relative.  My thoughts and prayers go out to those who are suffering.  Our experience with Andrew taught me that the effects can be far reaching.  The fear, tension, discomfort, and the unknown can really take a toll.  Post traumatic stress disorder is common.  It’s bad enough for those who are healthy and happy; it must be so much worse for those who are not.  Now it’s time to look for those around us who need help.  We have supplies they might be able to use and some energy left.  What’s on my mind right now are the myriad people, many of them volunteers, who are busting their posteriors to help others in need – including those workers who are doing their best to restore services and also for those who are protecting us in so many other ways.  It did not escape me, for example, that the first two Irma-related fatalities in Florida were two law enforcement officers in a head-on crash southeast of Tampa. 
 
 
God bless you all.
 

 

Central American Death Toll Up to 39!

NOAA IMAGE

NOAA IMAGE

LEFT CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE.

The entire post beyond this sentence is taken verbatim from this morning’s weblog by Dr. Jeff Masters’ at http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/.

“One of this hurricane season’s biggest disasters continues to unfold in Central America, where the death toll now stands at 39 from ten days of heavy rains triggered by last week’s Tropical Depression Sixteen and this week’s tropical disturbance 91L. At least 10,000 homes have been destroyed and 250,000 people made homeless by the floods. Hardest hit is Honduras, where 23 are dead and 8 missing in flash floods and landslides. Approximately 60% of the nation’s roads have been damaged, and the flooding is the worst since Hurricane Mitch of 1998 killed 10,000 people there. The past week’s flooding has also killed four in Guatemala, seven in Costa Rica, four in Nicaragua, and four in El Salvador. In Belize, damage is at least $15 million from the floods, and some areas are seeing flooding worse than was experienced during Hurricanes Mitch and Keith. Satellite estimates suggest that up to a foot of rain has fallen over some parts of Central America in the past week. The heavy damage to crops across the region will likely cause severe food shortages in coming months, and substantial international aid will be required.

Rains over the hardest hit areas of Central America have eased in the past day, with only 1-2 inches of rain reported. However, visible satellite loops show that heavy thunderstorm activity continues over the Western Caribbean, and has moved into northeast Honduras and Nicaragua this morning. While there is currently little chance that a tropical cyclone will form in the Western Caribbean over the next five days, persistent low pressure and sporadic heavy rains will continue to affect the region. A strong cold front is expected to push southward into the area next Tuesday or Wednesday, and the tail end of this cold front could serve as the nucleus for a new tropical disturbance that will generate another round of very heavy rains for Honduras and Belize late next week.

Elsewhere in the Tropics, no computer models are forecasting tropical storm development anywhere in the Atlantic over the next seven days.”

Cement Structure No Match For Ike – Update

I posted an item on Sept. 21, 2008 about the elevated structure with cement block exterior walls at the upper level (pictured at the very end of this entry).  That original post is still contained in this web-log.  In this post that you are now reading, I am adding additional comments in “blue” to get you (and me) up to date.  This has gone back and forth and I hope the identity of the building and the stated design of the block walls is correct.  It worries me because anyone in there could have been seriously injured or worse from collapsing cement blocks.  This first photograph is of a cement block structure In the Naranja Lakes Condominium Development near Homestead, Florida.  In this particular structure there was a fatality due to poured concrete headers and blocks coming down upon a resident huddled inside – a real tragedy.  There were at least 3 such fatalities in that neighborhood; it’s amazing that there were not more. TWO INDEPENDENT LEFT CLICKS SHOULD ENLARGE THIS IMAGE A GREAT DEAL.

This next paragraph reflects that I had already made a previous change in the original entry.

It is my understanding that the structure (pictured below) belongs to a yacht club. A reader wrote in after I originally posted this because I had misidentified it as the Houston Yacht Club.  However, he indicated that the Houston Yacht Club is “a three story coral colored structure and while some water entered the first floor it is essentially undamaged.”  You can check out his comment.

Since then, a couple of readers have identified the building as belonging to the Seabrook Sailing Club just north of the Clear Creek channel.  “Kent” adds, “The cinder-block wash-away walls collapsed as designed, leaving the shell structure intact. It was originally built after Hurricane Carla in the early 1960s. Hurricane Alicia did a similar number on the building in 1983. I think the club is trying to decide if they should rebuild on the current shell or scrap it.”  End quote.

Though this building is elevated and held fast on its foundation, the surge was too high and the waves too forceful for the cement block.  I don’t believe this damage can be attributed directly to wind force but rather, the surge with its waves on top.  For those of you who have felt the pounding of moderate surf against your body – imagine what this cement block must have endured before yielding.  I see wires and perhaps some straps but I see no evidence of corefill in the block nor do I see very much rebar reinforcement in the image.  At the time that I wrote this I had no idea that upper level walls were deliberately built to wash away.  If this is true, so much for the contents and/or anyone who might have been unable to get out because they waited too long.  On the other hand, maybe it was just used for storage.  I had heard of “break-away” lower level walls.  In fact I have a friend who built a pole house with that design. For quick information rebar and poured concrete reinforcement read the second paragraph in the following link and click on the photo on the bottom right.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinder_block

Please visit the rest of this web-log go to “blog” at the top of this page or click here.  https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/.  If you are interested in weather, there are some tutorials scattered about and more will be added in time.

Cement Block Structure No Match for Ike

It is my understanding that this structure (below) belongs to a yacht club. A reader wrote in after I originally posted this because I had misidentified it as the Houston Yacht Club.  However, he indicated that the Houston Yacht Club is “a three story coral colored structure and while some water entered the first floor it is essentially undamaged.”  You can check out his comment.

Though this building is elevated and held fast on its foundation, the surge was too high and the waves too forceful for the cement block.  I don’t believe this damage can be attributed directly to wind force but rather, the surge with its waves on top.  For those of you who have felt the pounding of moderate surf against your body – imagine what this cement block must have endured before yielding.  I see wires and perhaps some straps but I see no evidence of corefill in the block nor do I see very much rebar reinforcement in the image.  For quick information on that type of reinforcement read the second paragraph in the following link and click on the photo on the bottom right.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinder_block

A footnote for my regular readers:  You can check for yourself but it looks according to the models as though the tropical disturbance addressed in the previous post is going to move northward.  Still, I fear for those in Hispaniola and Puerto Rico.  The rains are something they don’t need right now.

Please visit the rest of this web-log at https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/.  If you are interested in weather, there are some tutorials scattered about and more will be added in time.

GILCHRIST LONE HOUSE “BEFORE” PHOTO AVAILABLE

If you would like to see a photo of the “Lone House” taken back in May click on the link below.  Some of the dialog is interesting too.

Thanks to “DewDrop” for letting me know about it.

http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-89312

Please visit the rest of this web-log at https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/.  If you are interested in weather, there are some tutorials scattered about and more will be added in time.

Lone Gilchrist House – Why This ONE? – What Now?

Left Click to Enlarge

Things Look Gray for this surviving house. Left Click to Enlarge

FOR IMAGES, VIDEOS, AND INTERVIEWS – READ ON.

Thankfully, no one has asked me, “Why focus on this one house, when so many others were totally destroyed?”  I have asked myself that question and I’m not sure how to answer it.  I suspect it has to do with my regard for the architecture that withstood the force of the surge, the wind, and the backsurge and my curiosity over the building codes, and the type of special measure taken to construct such a strong house.  Then, there is also the curiosity about the history of the house, especially when it became apparent through Google Maps and Google Earth images that the house either underwent a major remodeling or was totally new (as it turns out the latter is the case).  Now, in spite of its survival and the great pains the owners must have taken to make it a secure structure, it looks as though the house might not be reoccupied.  Time will tell.

Yes indeed, THINGS LOOK GRAY!  It’s far from over.  Close to 40 people from that peninsula were fished out of the water in successful rescues but it is feared that many more are lost and will never be found.  There are hearts that are broken and more breakage is on its way.  In my opinion, survivors should be counting their blessings and I’m sure that most of them are.

My house in Homestead, Florida having been totaled in 1992’s Andrew might have played a role in the awe and wonder I felt when I saw photos of the lone house that survived in that Gilchrist neighborhood.  I know what it’s like when a killer storm is bearing down, experiencing the unknowns, wondering if you’ve done enough to protect your loved ones and the structure, and going through the rebuilding process (which in some respects is more of a nightmare than the storms themselves}.  I was very lucky.  I had a job, I had good insurance, and I had resources to purchase a 25′ travel trailer to live in during the year it took to rebuild the house.  I also had an understanding family who knew how to roll with the punches.

The reason why I emphasize that “I had a job” is because after Andrew, many businesses that were destroyed did not revive.  The region suffered a great deal.  Post traumatic issues were abundant, and the divorce rate increased dramatically.

Thanks to a “heads up” from Kimberly, a reader of this web-log, I am able to provide you the following links:

Watch and listen to this video on CNN.com.  You will hear an interview with the house owner’s sister and in addition to current aerial images you will see a before image of the house.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/09/18/ike.last.house.standing/index.html#cnnSTCVideo

For more details read this from CNN.com.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/09/18/ike.last.house.standing/index.html

Listen to an Anderson Cooper interview with the owner of the house, Pam Adams.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/09/18/ike.last.house.standing/index.html#cnnSTCVideo

Please visit the rest of this web-log at https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/.  If you are interested in weather, there are some tutorials scattered about and more will be added in time.

HURRICANE SEASON – IT’S NOT OVER!

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’LL END THIS POST ON A HAPPY NOTE:

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.

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 https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/.  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 WeatherUnderground.com 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

WeatherUnderground.com http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/

“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 https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/.  If you are interested in weather, there are some tutorials scattered about and more will be added in time.

LOCATION OF GILCHRIST, TEXAS HOUSE – SOME CLUES.

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.

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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.

LATE BREAKING INPUT!  A READER FOUND THIS PHOTO IN A SEARCH AND HAS SUGGESTED THAT BEING ON SLIGHTLY HIGHER GROUND MIGHT HAVE BEEN A FACTOR IN SAVING THIS HOUSE!  INTERESTING!  SEE THE IMAGE BELOW:

Please visit the rest of this web-log at https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/.  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 https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/.  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.