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calendar   Thursday - August 25, 2005

Miami Vice

A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE SOUTHEAST FLORIDA COAST FROM VERO BEACH SOUTHWARD TO FLORIDA CITY...INCLUDING LAKE OKEECHOBEE. A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION. AT 2 AM EDT...0600Z...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM KATRINA WAS ESTIMATED BY THE MIAMI RADAR NEAR LATITUDE 26.1 NORTH...LONGITUDE 78.4 WEST OR ABOUT 35 MILES… 55 KM...SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF FREEPORT GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND AND ABOUT 110 MILES… 175 KM...EAST OF THE SOUTHEAST COAST OF FLORIDA.

KATRINA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 8 MPH ...13 KM/HR...AND THIS GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS. THIS MOTION WOULD BRING THE CENTER OF KATRINA THROUGH THE REMAINDER OF THE NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS TONIGHT AND INTO THE FLORIDA STRAITS THURSDAY AND THURSDAY NIGHT. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 50 MPH...85 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. KATRINA IS EXPECTED TO BECOME A HURRICANE ON THURSDAY BEFORE REACHING THE SOUTHEAST FLORIDA EAST COAST.  THE RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT THAT WAS ENROUTE TO KATRINA HAS HAD TO ABORT DUE TO COMPUTER PROBLEMS.

TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 70 MILES...110 KM FROM THE CENTER. ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 1000 MB...29.53 INCHES. DUE TO ITS SLOW FORWARD SPEED...KATRINA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE A SIGNIFICANT HEAVY RAINFALL EVENT OVER THE NORTHWEST BAHAMAS...AND SOUTH FLORIDA… WITH TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 6 TO 12 INCHES AND ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 15 TO 20 INCHES POSSIBLE.

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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 08/25/2005 at 07:21 AM   
Filed Under: • Climate-Weather •  
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calendar   Monday - August 15, 2005

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night

Where’s Skipper? Right here. Where has he been? Right here. What happened yesterday? Pull up a chair, kiddies and I’ll tell you a tale ....

Saturday morning dawned bright and full of sunshine with clear skies and forecast for another hot day in St. Louis. All that would change drastically before nightfall. I busied myself in the morning posting stuff here and doing ordinary housecleaning chores. About 1:00 that afternoon, I decided to knock off and enjoy a little R&R. I popped open a beer, settled into my recliner (of “pinkness” fame) and plopped in a DVD. I had just received the Johnny Weissmuller ”Tarzan Classics” collection from Amazon and was eager to go back in time to a day when movies were fun.

I made it through the first movie (of six), “Tarzan The Ape Man” and was starting to get drowsy (after only the third beer? what a lightweight!). It was then that I noticed things had gotten pretty durned quiet outside. The crickets, cicadas and birds were silent and traffic on the street otuside was almost non-existent. I launched myself out of Ye Olde Pinkness and threw open the front door to get some fresh air and see if the world had ended and everyone forgot to tell me.

I wish I hadn’t.

Remember the scene in “Ghostbusters” where the powers of darkness under the control of Zool descended on New York? The sky got real bloody nasty like a cauldron of boiling oil and lightning flashes mixed in to add a little spice to the display. No sooner had I uttered the words, “OH, SHIT!”, than the aforementioned fecal matter hit the ventilator. I barely slammed the door in time before the first winds hit, rocking the apartment. Now, I’ve experienced 70 mph winds before (and even twice that strong during the occasional hurricane down on the Gulf Coast, where I’m originally from) but this crap slammed into the city of St. Louis like a runaway train doing ninety-to-nothing on a track straight to hell. Here’s what KMOX had to say ....

imageimageWinds clocked at 70 mph

(KMOX - August 13, 2005)—The heat wave has broken. . .but so have tree limbs. . .and entire trees. . .in a severe thunderstorm that swept through Saturday afternoon. Winds were clocked at up to 70 miles per hour. Temperatures dropped 20-degrees. Even large trees came down and highway crews are on overtime to get the roads reopened.

The storm has left road accidents in its wake. A tractor-trailer was jackknifed on westbound Interstate 44 at Big Bend. Another tractor-trailer ran off the road on Eastbound 70 in St. Charles and flash flooding blocked even some major interstates. Ameren-UE reports tens of thousands of customers lost power in the storm and have emergency crews working around the clock to restore service.

The good news. . .a second line of storms behind the first, broke up before it could do damage. The first round, though, was enough. It’s left damage it will take days to repair.

Me? I was trying to find a place to hide in my apartment as lightning crashed down from the angry, poltergeist-infected sky crackling into trees all around my apartment. Some strikes as close as twenty feet from my front door. I’m talking blinding flash of light and when my vision clears there is a smoking stump, split in mulitple pieces within spitting distance of my tired old butt. After the third close strike (I could REALLY smell the ozone by then) my bowels and bladder started sending warning signals that perhaps the basement bathroom would be the best place to conduct further business that afternoon. I readily agreed and made a dash for the stairs. About that time (somebody cue up Pat Travers) .... BOOM! BOOM! OUT GO THE LIGHTS! .... KMOX had the report on Sunday ....

Full post-storm power may not be back til Tuesday

(KMOX - August 14, 2005) --Slowly but surely the power is coming back on in and around St. Louis. Saturday’s 70-mile-per-hour thunderstorm left close to a half-million St. Louisans in the dark. With word it may be Tuesday before all power is restored, hundreds of families have been checking into hotels rather than spend the night without light. Florissant has opened its civic center for any resident without power who would like to stay there. And, all over the area, the sound of chainsaws is likely to be with us for several days. Some smaller roads remain closed by downed trees and wires. Amazingly, no injuries are reported following what was one of the heaviest storms in years.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I spent Saturday night in the dark, sweating my buns off as the heat and humidity invaded my previously air-conditioned abode. About midnight Saturday, the worst of the storm had passed and I started to worry about the regfrigator and how certain items might spoil if left inside. Yep, you guessed it. I decided the rest of that beer was too important to let it go bad on me. Besides, I figured it might help me sleep through a night without cool air. It worked very well, I’m proud to say.

I awoke about 10:00am Sunday, still with no power but snoring peacefully on the spare bed in the guest bedroom down in the cellar. There is only a small window, high up on the wall down there and I couldn’t see out too well (my vision was slightly blurred, probably due to some of that beer going bad on me before I had a chance to drink it). I stumbled up the stairs and threw open the kitchen door to see .... rain. Oh yeah, and smashed trees in every direction. My first thought was “Cool!”. My second thought was, “where’s the Excedrin?”

I sweltered in the heat until about 3:00 Sunday afternoon when it became unbearable so I took a cold shower (cold? that’s a joke!) and went for a drive in the Jeep (which had air-conditioning, making it my best friend at the moment). I rode all over town surveying the damage and staying out of the way of police, fire and emergency vehicles that were flying all over the place willy-nilly in pursuit of idiots playing with downed power lines. By the time I got back to my apartment around 5:00pm, power had been restored to our subdivision and A/C was already fighting to drain the humidity and heat from Chez Kelly.

I hope you all had a more pleasant weekend and if you live in the St. Louis area .... I feel your pain. When I left for work this morning, power was still on but cable had not been restored yet. You know what that means .. I have no internet access at home and no cable news. That’s probably a good thing. I’ll be posting here from this .... ahem .... internet cafe (since I would never post from work) during the day but Frank is going to have to help me keep you entertained for a few days. Until then, be aware that this Mother Of All Summer Storms is heading for the East Coast. You have been warned ....

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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 08/15/2005 at 12:37 PM   
Filed Under: • Climate-WeatherPersonal •  
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calendar   Tuesday - August 02, 2005

Nature’s Delicate Balance

OK, gang! Here’s the latest scoop on the cycle of nature in a nutshell: (1) every spring and summer, large amounts of fresh water enter the Gulf Of Mexico from spring melts and rains, (2) this causes algae blooms which create dead zones in the Gulf, fish avoid these areas and they become lifeless, (3) the only cure for these dead zones is .... hurricanes, which stir up the waters and keep things mixed up in the Gulf. And here you thought hurricanes were just an evil plot by Muslims in Africa or caused by global warming. Silly humans! Mother Nature knows what she’s doing ....

NEW ORLEANS (AP)—The dead zone off the coasts of Louisiana and Texas is nearly the size of Connecticut and much larger than federal researchers had predicted earlier this year, according to a new survey. An annual weeklong cruise led by researchers with the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium found an area of low-oxygen measuring 4,564 square miles and extending from the Mississippi River to the Texas border. On average, the dead zone has measured about 4,800 square miles since 1985.

The dead zone, also known as hypoxia, forms each spring and summer as fresh water enters the Gulf of Mexico and causes large algae blooms. The algae die and sink to the bottom of the Gulf, where they decompose, using up oxygen in the deeper, saltier water. Fish avoid the low-oxygen water, and bottom-living organisms are killed. The dead zone could in the long-term affect the overall health of the Gulf’s marine species, said Nancy Rabalais, a leading hypoxia researcher with the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. She said researchers are studying how the dead zone affects the growth and reproduction of marine species. The dead zone could grow much larger this year—perhaps as large as 6,200 square miles—if major storms do not stir up the Gulf in the coming months, Rabalais said.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 08/02/2005 at 12:40 AM   
Filed Under: • Climate-WeatherScience-Technology •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.

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