Joe Bastardi, late of Accuweather, now forecasting for a start-up called Weather BELL, thinks (as of this afternoon) that Hurricane Irene is of the “genre” of Hurricane Ike which whacked Galveston in 2008. Same low central pressure calculation (950 mb), he says, and a tighter eye than Ike as Irene moves north “riding a path only seen a couple of times in 200 years.”
The picture above is of the Bolivar Peninsula near Galveston which Ike cleared of vacation homes and the people still in them who had refused to leave. So, while some forecasters are calling hype on Irene, Joe is betting parts of the Northeast Coast are going to look something like the above.
Hope not. But there it is. We shall see.
UPDATE: She did not, in the sense that she did not produce Ike’s storm surge waves that cleared Bolivar. So far, inland flooding is her big story.
UPDATE: As of 9/29: At least ten billion dollars in damages and 40 deaths, so far. Epic flooding of rivers and streams from Irene’s drenching rains, from North Carolina north to Vermont.
People who refused evacuation are now surrounded by rising floodwaters. Albany, NY, as far inland as that is, is having 100-year flooding. Irene was not the wimp some are saying she was.
Galveston is still recovering from Hurricane Ike’s devastation. Which is not so unusual for the island city. It goes through hurricane hits every twenty years or so. But they’re still finding skeletal remains on nearby Bolivar Peninsula, parts of which Ike’s fifteen foot storm surge swept clean.
Not because this last-minute amendment to a passed bill to let state Rep. Wayne Christian (an allegedly conservative Republican) rebuild his beach house on Ike-swept Bolivar Penninsula is particularly unusual. But because, in fact, this is just the sort of thing that gets smuggled into law in the last "chaotic" days of every biennial session. The last days are always "chaotic" because the Lege likes them that way. So much easier to slip stuff through when there’s so much going on that no one is likely to notice until it’s too late. Heh.
Via Lone Star Times.
They loved the sunsets in Gilchrist, the working-class people in the seashore homes, but the people are just about all gone now. Hurricane Ike wiped most of the little village away. Its collection of mainly homes on stilts, just above the flat ground of the narrowest point on Bolivar Peninsula, was just east of devastated Galveston.
The peninsula in general, and Gilchrist in particular, took the fierce right side of the Category 2 hurricane: the 110-mph winds and a storm surge estimated at 15 feet or more (topped by 20-foot high battering waves). Combined, they swept much of Gilchrist clean, as shown in the Accuweather shot above, and in these before and after photos. No one knows how many residents elected to stay to ride out the storm. Apparently few survived. There isn’t even enough debris to search. Gilchrist was one place whose peril was not overestimated.
Via Jeff Masters.
UPDATE: The owners of the lone, surviving house above finally return to it. Turns out the photo is not by Accuweather, but by Smiley N. Pool, now at the Houston Chronicle, formerly of the Austin daily.
The Texas Rainmaker, who did not evacuate, has a good post on the storm, the aftermath, and the continued deprivations in the old (1830s-40s) capital of Texas. His photographs tell the story of downed trees and signage, blocked roads and long lines at gas stations and groceries better than words. Our evacuated friends from Kingwood, on Houston’s northwest side, are still in Austin, but not staying at the rancho as they have two dogs. A wonder they found a hotel that would take the dogs, but they did.
It’s bad enough to have no air-conditioning on a sticky, hot September night in Houston and Galveston, where most neighborhoods have no power and aren’t likely to get any for some days yet.
But the mosquitoes. Yipes. Especially if you hadn’t stocked up on repellant beforehand. And, now, with all that standing water. Fortunately, a cold front is due through Texas this afternoon. These are the last days of summer. A few nights at sixty degrees should cut back on the mosquito population pretty thoroughly. But getting the electricity back on may take longer. Glad we haven’t lost it in Austin.
UPDATE: We actually got some rain overnight. Well, a sprinkle or two. Probably due to the impending cold front more than whatever’s left of Ike, which is way far east of here.
A Galveston landmark, in the city’s East End Historical District, the Sonnentheil House appears to have survived Hurricane Ike handily. And why not? It survived the 1900 hurricane that stripped the island city of many homes, and four others.