Friday, August 25, 2017

10:10am Friday: Harvey's Lightning, A Very Bad Sign

Lightning in hurricanes is rare. When it occurs, it almost always means the hurricane is strengthening. I caught this image at 9:45am.
It appears the eye is going to reform into a better, more concentrated structure. This is confirmed on the satellite imagery as the coldest cloud tops are now wrapping around the eye. The image below is from 9:49am.
The central pressure, as the change in the eye occurs, has gone up to 949 mph as of 9:38am. I suspect once the eye rebuilds the pressure will drop rapidly and winds will increase. Maximum sustained winds at the present time are 110 mph. The storm is forecast to remain at tropical storm strength (40mph through Wednesday).

Here is the latest track forecast.
Note that the tropical storm force (~40mph) winds are just about on the coast (orange tint). The hurricane force winds are the brown color. The size of the hurricane force winds will grow a bit before landfall. As noted previously, I believe the speed of the winds will increase. M=major hurricane, H=category 1 or 2 hurricane, S=tropical storm.

Almost indescribable flooding will occur. Between the winds and flooding, parts of the Texas coastal region will be without power and all but uninhabitable for days and, perhaps, weeks. It will be weeks before the rivers, which will exceed previous records, go below flood stages. Some spots may get 40 inches of rain in the pink area.
Tornadoes are possible beginning late this afternoon with the threat continuing through at least Saturday.

So What Do I Do Now?

There are a number of good lists out there. Here are my suggestions. Get them done immediately!
  • Get prescriptions refilled now, especially if your doctor must approve the refill. 
  • If you have a relative at home that requires electricity for life-assistance purposes, you will want to move he or she outside of the higher wind zone. 
  • If you can get an electrician to install a generator, get it done. Do not try to install a generator yourself. 
  • If you don't have a generator, get a power inverter or two. Radio Shack and similar stores sell them. They are a "poor man's generator" and will keep your cell phone, laptop, and similar items charged. Tell the person in the store what you want to run off it so you get one of the right size. Do not try to run the inverter for hours at a time as that is tough on your car's battery. Charge the (for example) cell phone and let the charge run all the way down, then use the inverter to recharge. 
  • Keep your car's gas tank full. 
  • If you live in a 250-year flood plain (you can check at city hall or your library) or on the coast figure out your evacuation strategy now. Make your list of things you will take with you. Be prepared to leave at short notice.
  • Bring in outdoor furniture and other items that could become airborne.
  • Fill a few gas cans (the type you would use for your mower) to have extra in the event of power failures. 
  • Purchase extra food staples. Without power, stores will be closed. Things that require less preparation are better. Bottled water is especially important. Get a Coleman stove.
  • Purchase extra batteries for your cell phone and other essential equipment. 
  • If you need insulin or other medicine that must be kept chilled make plans now. 
  • Consider what you would do if you were without electricity for a two weeks. If you have an invalid living with you that requires electricity, there will be areas that will be without for weeks. Be proactive. 
  • If you live in a heavily wooded area, does someone in your vicinity have a gasoline-powered chain saw? Does it have fuel and a reasonably good chain/blade? Test it, now. 
  • Get to an ATM. Without power, credit card readers and ATMs will not be working. In a disaster, cash is king.
  • If you are in the high wind or flood area, thoroughly photograph your home and possessions now. You will need it for insurance purposes. This includes trees, shrubs, etc. Then, if using a digital camera, upload to internet so it will be there after the storm in case the worse happens. Be nice to insurance adjusters!
Whether you evacuate or not, stockpile some good books, magazines, board games and keep a good attitude. Look at this as one of life's adventures.  

There is nothing wrong with a few prayers!!

Meteorologists with AccuWeather and with the National Weather Service are putting in incredible hours and dealing with incredible stress due to the extremely high stakes with this storm. Insurance companies are already pre-staging people and material to help their policyholders recover from the storm.

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