Sunday, August 19, 2007

Decisions, Decisions

Should I stay or should I go now
Should I stay or should I go now
If I go there will be trouble
An' if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know
- The Clash, 1981

Today is Sunday, the day I had selected to make a choice as to whether to boogie from the Island. So far, the models and forecasts all push Hurricane Dean further to the south into deep Mexico. You do have to read the fine print, which notes that all hurricanes wobble and inexplicably change course; the final landfall could be off by 50 miles or more. So far, I'm staying, although Monday and Tuesday could be bellwether days.

So far, the Town is under a state of emergency, the County has a call for voluntary evacuation, and even the Governor and President have taken special measures in anticipation of Dean. A bunch of boats and RV's left the Island yesterday, although I'm not aware of any businesses closing. Most renters will honor cancellations and repay deposits or re-book reservations, so ask if you're feeling nervous about things.

TROPICAL UPDATE. Most models now put Dean 250 miles south of South Padre Island, so as the SciGuy at Houston Chronicle says, we might not even feel tropical storm force winds. Science Dude also notes that due to eye-wall replacement cycles, Dean is currently weakening - but don't count on that as the storm approaches Cancun and Cozumel, which was raked by Wilma and many other famous cyclones - they've just finished reconstructing the shoreline there.

The reason for the shift in Dean's forecast track is because of the strong upper level low which can be seen spinning in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, as well as a massive area of high pressure filling in behind it. [This loop requires a ton of memory and a high speed connection, so for a low-res still picture click here and go to Gulf of Mexico-water vapor.] You should see the leading NW edge of Dean in this picture.

Once across the Yucatan, Dean is expected weaken sustantially and then gain some strength before making landfall again near Tampico, Mexico.


Char said...

Well, what ever you and Lori decide, please stay safe!!
I was in Cozumel last October and they had just opened a pier for cruise ships, but they sure did get alot of damage...The largest being the loss in tourism.
So as for the Clash (one of my favs)
If you* go there will be trouble
An’ if you* stay it will (could) be double
So come on and let me know!

Are you gonna stay or gonna go?

Take care!
Char in Littleton

Sam said...

Hey Char long time no hear! So far it looks like perfect weather for sunsets, cheap beer, and margs. Come on down, the water is 82 (a little warm), and we need to make y'all some Chinese good - still have some Dim Sum in the freezer, too. /sam

Sam said...

I'm going to bury this in the comments section but I was really surprised to see Dan Quandt (director of the convention center and emergency communications) quoted in the Island Breeze as saying that a 12 to 17 foot storm surge plus 18 to 20 foot waves would have been coming onto South Padre Island, "essentially looking like a three story building moving in."

What a crock of hooey.

Now Dan we love you baby, but you're obviously not a qualified surfer, meteorologist, or oceanographer and perhaps have been to way too many scary emergency management meetings.

Hurricane Dean is now passing Jamaica and has a predicted surge of 7 to 9 feet plus some waves on top, although much of the wave action is in fact included in the surge measurements!

Doh, I hate that too.

What happens with waves is that they required very deep water to make big, tall waves. Some Katrina waves were measured on deepwater rigs as being as high as 90 feet, being "rogue" waves hardly ever seen in nature. But shallow water slows and cuts them down to size.

If Dan was a surfer he's know that the inside break would only be about 6 feet and that the wash would come up to the dunes but not like a "three story building moving in." If you want a fairly good ride, you might be able to catch a 20-footer in the Ship Channel, but those waves didn't blow right over the Island, they sorta ran out of gas before they got to the Dolphin Cove Restaurant, maybe 30 feet on land.


Everett said...

Hi Sam, The comp model I have been watching puts the mainland landfall some where between Tampico and Vera Cruz. Hope that is where it does go.Then the Mexican govt. could go get all those folks at the US/Mex.border looking for jobs and bring them down to do the clean up! And, BTW, pay them a decent wage like they do to all their cronies in the Capital! Do I know what I'm talking about? Hell No!! Good luck and keep your feet dry.

rnpjr said...

When Dean was predicted to make landfall 60 miles South of SPI as at least a Cat 4, the NWS predicted 18 to 20 foot waves and a 12 foot surge on top of that. Dan did not make that up, nor did I. The Emergency Declaration allows us to do several things. Among them, have emergency meetings, such as our hurricane conference calls with the NWS without having to post a 72 hour notice. It also initiates officially, our emergency management plan as required by law. It kicks in other benefits to the Town should we have a serious problem. People should not read into the declaration more than what it is. We never called for any kind of an evacuation, mandatory or otherwise. We just remained diligent. It is easy sometimes to be whimsical about things when you have only yourself and your personal belongings and/or business to worry about. When you are responsible for a Town, it is a different story. We dodged a bullet, but we learned if we had had a dangerous storm hit us, the resources were there for us. I'm not a surfer either, but I do know what the oceans can do, if pushed by high winds. One only has to look at what Rita did to us when it passed us four hundred miles away from us. I have been through several hurricanes over the years both here on the Island and in Belize in the '60's, complacency is not my style, but then neither is panic.

Best Regards,

Bob Pinkerton Jr.