Guest post: "I had almost forgotten it was hurricane season..."


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(The following is by Gambit guest blogger and New Orleans East resident Clifton Harris, who maintains his own blog, Cliff’s Crib. You can read more of his writing there.)

I had almost forgotten it was hurricane season since I hadn’t been in watch mode. There were some other things I wanted to talk about before my guest duties are over but I couldn’t ignore Edouard sliding right under the state. I have been watching the news but it seems like that storm came out of nowhere. I sure wish Mother Nature would form those things at least east of Cuba so we have some time to plan. There’s no need for a tracking map when it’s already at the front door. I am pretty sure this one is going to miss us but I have some observations.

I noticed state officials seem to be much calmer now since Governor Blanco is no longer in office. After she got burned by the Katrina debacle she was holding press conferences when storms were still in the Atlantic. No one was going to blame her for not being prepared again.

Another thing I noticed is how frequent the weather reporters interrupt programming to give an update now. Do we really need an update every fifteen minutes just to tell us that the storm is still in the same place it was the last update? I realize it’s better to be safe than sorry but if the storm changes direction that fast it was our destiny to get hit by it. All you can do is take down the attic ladder and hope for the best at that point.

Since Katrina I am now an amateur meteorologist. When a system forms I start checking high and low pressure systems, water temperature and cold fronts. I check every computer model and historical map. It’s really fascinating how you can figure out what general direction they are going to travel. If the storm is in the Atlantic I am looking for anything to steer it north. If it’s in the Gulf I want anything to steer it west. I still feel bad when I hope other cities get hit by storms but it’s a dog eat dog world when it comes to tropical weather. The best case scenario is that they all curve north into the ocean and fall apart.

I have to keep on top of storms when they pass tropical depression status. Besides my paranoia, I have two other good reasons. The first reason is gas is too high to not plan ahead. If I don’t need enough gas money for a road trip I can spend that money other places. The second reason is that until we get a test run I will not trust that levee. I have to leave if anything with a tide comes. Anybody who chooses to stay the first time around is crazy in my opinion. Take everything you can’t replace with money and get out of here. If everything goes right we will be back in a few days. The good part about it is that I don’t have to worry about evacuation housing due the all my refugee relatives scattered around the south.

Honestly, I am just trying to make it to November without watching The Weather Channel for more than five minutes or seeing something on the screen so big and scary that I wonder if Nash Roberts is coming out of retirement.


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