Monday, February 07, 2005

Mr. Hairy Cane

The last thing I want down here is a Hairy Cane, especially when I'm just buying a new house. Yes, a hurricane, and no, I don't want one. Lori and I actually looked at many places on South Padre Island and we always wanted to be interior, not on the Gulf or bay. That's where the wave action is the worst. We were going to sign on one property that was right in line with a blow-out (land cut) zone and I'm glad it didn't work out. You can see from a map or an aerial picture where these blow-through areas are: there are no dunes in front of the beach and there is wetland channel behind on the bayside created by a former hurricane. We were smart this time, we went with a house constructed with massive pilings and was not in the hurricane blow-out or land cut.

Still, we're only about 4-5 feet above sea level and the water table (interesting factoid: many places on South Padre have a freshwater down there). So of the water raises 4-5 feet we're going to have some issues. I reckon my house couldn't take more than 70 MPH winds, a mere tropical storm, without losing some trim woods and so forth, until I can move in and beef her up good. Fortunately, the bottom story is all garage so flooding is not the bummer issue. The problem is the top story and how to keep it from blowing away. Fortunately, the climatology seems to spare South Texas from major hurricanes and we're counting on that.

I think it was 1967 when Beulah came to South Padre the last Category 4 storm down here. Carla was in 1961. That's it, although Celia (the most damaging ever in Texas) came home to north of Corpus Christi in 1970. That's over 35 years ago since we had anything big. Most hurricanes follow a track to the right towards Houston and Florida instead of to the left into the Rio Grande or the Laguna Madre [more typical for early season hurricanes in June and July, although these three big named storms all came in the Fall]. Some weather folks say South Padre is well nigh due for a Big Hairy Cane. I think not.

Noooo. We want those big hurricanes going to Florida to give us some nice fat waves, while we're surfing in the sun, like always. You just have to remember to be careful of the rip current, which can be quite intense. Flippers do help if you're crazy and into body-surfing, like myself. I've been stuck "in the washing machine" for up to 20 minutes before and beleive me, I come in to the beach to rest for a while. It is truly awesome, the power of the waves. We gladly will welcome any tropical storms below 40 MPH. You wait 12 hours and go, go, go.

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