Proof Hurricane Ike is serious trouble for Texas

The Texas/Arkansas game has been postponed. For that to happen is as rare as spotting a horny toad any more. They used to be everywhere--if not hippy- hopping around, flattened on the road. Horned frogs, not football games. I'll never forget the fragrance of horny toad pancakes baking on the asphalt every summer.

This is really serious. If Ike hits the refineries in and around Houston, which was just predicted on the ten o'clock news, then the world's largest refinery(ies) are forfeit. Not to mention putting the population in peril. Predicting category 3 at least, and wherever it hits, it's heading toward Austin. It will remain category 3 and 2 for quite a ways into Texas. That sounds severe, until you remember that there's a big old alluvial plain that stretches all the way to Austin to the west, and South Texas shares the Chihuahuan Desert with Mexico. Austin sits on the Balcones Fault, a very old, crumbly one, which is why we have so many springs and caves and the Hill Country. The fault marks a distinct change in elevation, with all of West Texas sprawled atop the Edwards Plateau and into New Mexico. I've always said that you could divide Texas into four discrete states, arranged primarily by geology. Western High Plains, Northern ag/lumber, South desert, East swamps.

We will feel this one. It will be horrible for the folks on the coast, but we are water starved. I've put my new special umbrella to work this summer. I've been wanting to purchase one for the last 14 years, ever since Australia. Finally did, and I'm glad. It blocks 90% of UVA and UVB rays and we've had a very sunny summer.

I recall a hurricane my family rode out on Matagorda Bay in 1950-51 or so, don't remember the name. Daddy was minister of the First Christian Church in Bay City, and it was small, but solidly built with brick. We lived next door in a tiny frame house. We had evidently picked up a hobo sign "kind preacher lives here," or the like, and on occasion while Daddy was next door in the church, we'd hear a knock at the back door, and my mom would serve up a big plate of food, open the screen door, and pass it out to a down-and-out, but always polite man who would sit on the back porch and enjoy a good home-cooked meal.

"Doctor Pepper, or Coke?" she would quietly inquire.

When the hurricane warning came, we opened the church to scores of Latino families who lived in adobe huts in the surrounding South Texas area. Not much bedding, but when the palm trees started blowing away, we were ALL glad to have a little space to try to sleep on the floor. No one panicked, we just rode out the night together. It was one of the many powerful learning moments in my life.

Update -- if Ike hits around Galveston (just S of Houston), then we will likely get flooding, winds 50-80 mph gusting higher, possible tornadoes (hurricanes frequently spawn tornados), and the like.


Suzz said...

My thoughts and prayers are with the my Texas friends. Have my fingers crossed that this storm will downgrade before hitting land. Stay safe.

Kay Dennison said...

What Suzz said goes for me, too!

kokopelliwoman said...

Thank you both, suzz and kay. It's still coming, but current tracking predicts it will swing a little further north after landfall, and may not be quite so bad here. Austin is already filling with evacuees, there's a massive exodus from the entire length of the coast. That's about 600-700 miles.
We have several large, emergency stocked, civic buildings that held Rita and some Katrina folks and managed to keep them fed, watered, and sheltered for a while in good order and friendly surroundings. I can't help but remember the aftermath of Katrina, when some parishes met evacuees with shotguns. That magnitudes more stress than Austin had to deal with, but I would hope that Texans would share what they have with other Texans in dire straits. Austinites flocked to volunteer with the evacuees. UT-Austin accepted many Loyola students for that fall semester, the UT students made them feel welcome, as far as I could tell.

Thanks for sending caring vibes--that's a big help--we'll all give of our spirit, and that's the most comforting gift of all.