Is It Just Me, Or Does the Media Sound Like They Want Jose to Hit the East Coast?

Tropical Storm Watches are in place for parts of the east coast, as of 11:00 PM. A Watch means that Tropical Storm Conditions are POSSIBLE within the next 48 hours. Possible, but not guaranteed.

At 1100 PM EDT (0300 UTC), the center of Hurricane Jose was located near latitude 32.2 North, longitude 71.6 West. Jose is moving toward the north near 9 mph (15 km/h) and this general motion is expected to continue through Monday night. A turn toward the north-northeast is expected on Tuesday. On the forecast track, the center of Jose is forecast to pass well offshore of the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Monday, and pass well east of the Delmarva peninsula Monday night and Tuesday.

2017 storm 12 (That location puts the center of the storm about 305 miles SE of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.)

The storm track at right is from Tropical Tidbits. Click on it for a larger view.

Tropical storm pass “well east” of the East Coast can still drop a lot of rain. 3 to 5 inches wouldn’t seem like a lot to the folks in Houston, but I’m sure it can cause havoc on Long Island.

But everywhere I look the media is drumming up fear for the east coast. I guess that is how they sell clicks.

So I guess the real question, is everyone on Long Island ready for the worst? Is anyone? Somehow I doubt it. And they should be prepared, because the forecasters can’t predict the weather…

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So Are People Ready to Prepare in Advance of a Disaster?

Irma

NHC Forecast for Sept. 8, 2017 at 2AM EDT

The cynic in me says, “Probably not.”

As I mentioned during the aftermath of Harvey, while the good people of Houston and environs were being rescued by the Cajun Navy, and shelters were running short on food about how both FEMA and the Red Cross were overwhelmed after a disaster. This isn’t new. They were overwhelmed after Andrew 25 years ago, and they were overwhelmed after Katrina.

I also mentioned that FEMA recommends you be prepared with AT LEAST 72 hours of food and water, medicines and anything else you need. (They even provide a website that tells you what to put in your disaster kit.)

It is probably too late for the people in South Florida to do much that they haven’t already done. But folks in northern Florida, or Georgia have some time to get ready. As do the people in both North and South Carolina.

Did anyone learn the lessons of Harvey? (Or Katrina? Or Andrew?)

As I write this, at 2 AM on Friday, Hurricane Irma is 535 miles ESE of Miami. Irma is moving WNW at 16 MPH, but is expected to slow some. Click the image above for a larger view of the forecast track.

Water Storage In Advance of a Disaster

I always wonder about why people don’t store water ahead of an emergency. You can go for days or weeks without food. But you can’t go very long without water.

you KNOW a storm is coming, you’re told to put water in the tub. But this fixes things for the squeamish. The WaterBOB holds 100 gallons of water in a state ready for drinking. In your bathtub. Just fill it the day before the storm. (Hat tip Instapundit) 25 bucks for peace of mind? Well worth it to folks in Hurricane Country.

But you can’t carry your bathtub with you if you do need to bug out. The Life Straw will let you drink most sources of water – use your head – without getting sick. It is 15 bucks. (one per family member?) Up to 1000 gallons.

Or the Sawyer products filter – more expensive, but arguably better filtration.

The other way to store water ahead of an emergency is in food-grade barrels or drums. This kit has a 55 gallon barrel, a pump, everything you need – provided you have the room to store it in a garage or somewhere. Additional drums are cheaper. (Most homes in hurricane country don’t have basements.)

Smaller containers are also available.

The standard filter for being in one place is the Big Berkey. This filter has been around for a long time. put the questionable water in the top, and the filtered water is drawn out the bottom.

If you live somewhere like coastal Texas, or Florida, or earthquake country, where you might be facing a regional emergency, then you need to do something besides hope that Walmart has cases of plastic-bottled water AFTER the emergency.

FEMA and Red Cross – once again – are overwhelmed.

This point needs to be upfront. FEMA – the federal .gov – tells you IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that you need to be able to take care of yourself in the event of a disaster. They are telling you to PREPARE ahead of time. Too bad most people don’t listen to them, and instead expect them to do things they say they cannot do. (Links are below)

FEMA was overwhelmed by Hurricane Andrew and by Hurricane Katrina and now it is overwhelmed by Hurricane Harvey. You can hope that a bunch of bureaucrats can take care of everyone in the next disaster OR you can follow the advice that they give and be prepared to take care of yourself and your family. Be prepared with AT LEAST 72 hours of food, water, medicine, etc. Shelters overwhelmed by the number of Harvey victims seeking it – Houston Chronicle

First, they don’t have the food needed for this disaster.

By Monday morning, more than 2,000 flood victims had taken refuge there, and the Red Cross was rationing food. No one between the ages of 10 and 75 who wasn’t sick or pregnant could get a meal.

One of the refugees they portray – who had to change shelters at least once – passed out on either Sunday or Monday (it doesn’t say) due to dehydration. Considering the amount of rain that has fallen on Houston in the past few days, that just seems wrong on several levels.

Cots are in short supply at some shelters. Other shelters are cut off from everything by flood waters. (The Red Cross and FEMA apparently don’t have access to any boats for delivering those supplies.) Supplies at central depots don’t do much good right now, though they will help by the end of he week I’m sure.

So what does FEMA say you are supposed to do? Build A Kit. All in all it is a good list considering how short it is. Don’t want to overwhelm people! But the first 2 items are worth repeating here.

• Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
• Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food

This info is somewhat buried on the Ready.gov website, but it is there. Which is a bit amazing to me. The federal .gov is telling you that you can’t rely on them to save your ass. For AT LEAST 3 days. (Just when you thought you would never see honesty in government!) It is beyond 3 days in Houston, and I would say that they still have a way to go.

Since I am prepared to bug out, and I don’t fancy the idea of carrying gallons of water in a backpack, I have water filtration straws I can carry. I also have fairly industrial-grade water filters if I can stay home. In a hurricane you can catch rain water (which is usually drinkable) with a clean tarp and a clean container to hold the water and some rope or something to suspend the tarp. When metric tons of water have just been dropped on you, there is no reason that anyone should be dealing with dehydration.

Now maybe you can’t stay in your home. Due to flooding in Texas or wildfires in California or whatever. That doesn’t change your responsibility to take care of yourself and your family. But it does require you do a little preparation ahead of time. A backpack. Decent shoes or hiking boots. Supplies of food and source of water. Clothes. Medicine. Whatever.

And yes, I know that not everyone is physically able to walk out of a disaster area. If all the able-bodied people took care of themselves, it would be a lot less work for the city, the state and the feds to deal with who was left. If you look at the Houston Chronicle article, there are the required photos of the elderly and infirm, but if you view the entire gallery there are a lot of able-bodied folks who apparently think it is not their responsibility to take care of themselves in any way. And this just plain wrong.

I would not have evacuated the coast only to stop in Port Arthur

Shelter FloodTo evacuate your home in the face of a hurricane and stop less than 25 miles from the coast, seems like a bit of bad planning to me. Maybe I’m wrong. Flooding forces Port Arthur shelter to evacuate | KiiiTV.com. Flooding was reported at 4 in the morning.

Also I haven’t pulled up a topographic map of the area, but given how close the shelter is to Sabine Lake, I have to believe that this does not count as “high ground.” (See the map below.)

When Tropical Storm Harvey forced Southeast Texas residents to flee their homes some sought refuge at the Bob Bower Civic Center in Port Arthur.

Then the flood waters came rushing inside the shelter.

When I lived in hurricane country, I made it a point to keep my gas tank more than half full. So I could drive a couple of hundred miles anyway – as long as I left soon enough to avoid gridlock. The whole point of evacuating is to get out of the area. Or so it seems to me. (I once drove most of the way to Atlanta from Tampa Bay.)

911 Struggling Under Hurricane Harvey

Actually the fact that it hasn’t failed is kind of a surprise to me. Cellphone and regular phone service seems to be available. All of the 911 centers seem to be reachable, even if they are all overloaded.

It is hard to find 1 story that tells what is happening with 911 in and around Houston right now. But the stories are out there. ‘Need help’: Harvey victims use social media when 911 fails – KMOV.com

Multiple hour waits. Calls dropped. Something like 7 times the number of calls received on an average day. Thousands of rescues. First Responders who’ve been working for 48 hours and are becoming dangerously exhausted.

People are not prepared for the day bad things happen. And Houston is in Hurricane Country. You would think if anyone was prepared for something they would have been. But I saw the same thing in Florida often enough, and I never went through a major hurricane. And I still got the hell out of Dodge, when it made sense.

“We called 911 and it rang and rang and rang and rang,” Fuller said Monday after the water receded and she managed to return safely to her single-story home.

“There’s just no agency in the world that could handle Harvey,” she said. “However, none of us were warned that 911 might not work. It was very frightening.”

It is actually a little surprising that the phone system is still working. Though cellphone batteries are going to be dying soon enough without power to recharge them.

Eventually you have to stop waiting for the government to save you. Luckily, people were looking out for each other. Houston Family Endured Harvey Until House Swamped

They called 911 and got in the queue. They tried to call the Coast Guard, but those lines were busy. Eventually via social media, a rabbi who was organizing some boats, got some citizens to them, and they were moved to higher ground. Then 911 got back to them.

It was the Houston Fire Department, calling to ask if we had gotten to dry ground — 16 hours after I had first called for help.

So what will you do when the 911 system fails or after the battery in your cellphone dies? Can you wait 16 hours for a response for your call for help? You might not have much choice.

Harvey made landfall at 10 PM CDT on Friday. That makes this the end of day 3. The .gov USED to say be prepared for 3 days on your own. They have since upped that number. In a regional disaster it will take more than 3 days to get supplies and response into the area. And at least FEMA seems to have learned something from Katrina and Andrew. They staged some supplies into the area ahead of the storm.

Hurricane Harvey: Now People Want to Blame Houston’s Mayor for Their Problems

I wanted to title this post, “Think for yourselves, Dammit!” But decided that was over the top. And unrealistic in this day and age, where no one wants to take responsibility for their own actions (or inaction) and the consequences that follow.

Blaming the mayor borders on the unbelievable. Or maybe not. If people are too stupid to think for themselves then bad things are going to happen. Hurricane Harvey: Rescuers pluck hundreds from rising floodwaters in Houston-area | abc7ny.com

The image below is of the Graham Combat Killhouse Rules. They are good to remember in an emergency. Nobody is coming to save you. Everything is your responsibility.

SO you bet your personal safety on the advice of politicians? Because they always do such a good job with every other part of .gov, they must understand once in a decade disasters? You deserve what you get.

The Governor of Texas told everyone to get out of the path of Harvey. That apparently wasn’t good enough for the good people in Houston.

The deteriorating situation was bound to provoke questions about the conflicting advice given by the governor and Houston leaders before the hurricane. Gov. Greg Abbott urged people to flee from Harvey’s path, but the Houston mayor issued no evacuation orders and told everyone to stay home.

Now you can argue about whether that was good advice. But it isn’t martial law. You are still free to think for yourself. The Governor told you to leave. That would have taken work. The Mayor said to stay home. That required no work. So you did no work. And now you are disturbed by the outcome. Who is responsible for the choices you made? You are.

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