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September 2004
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Darkflash: Chuck

Seems like an appropriate time to do another Darkflash… this is what I sent out to friends and family on August 13, 2004 at 17:10 UTC when Charlie was heading our way…

Came home from work for lunch and watched the local news. This morning they had the track of Hurricane Charlie coming on land near Tampa and heading well west of us with Melbourne just on the edge of the area due for tropical storm force winds. Which meant we might get that level of winds, but just barely. They’ve revised the track though, and it is heading further east than they thought this morning. We’re now expected to instead definitely have tropical force sustained winds, and might be on the edge of sustained hurricane force winds.

Last night we were in Tampa to take Amy to a Hillary Duff concert. On the way there the other direction was stop and go evacuation traffic, and on the way home we were stuck in the evacuation traffic for a long time. Since we’re on the other coast, we’re not in any evacuation zone or anything, but they are predicting we will get some pretty serious winds and rain and such.

Right now it is still a beautiful day, but we should start seeing some effects here in Melbourne within the next few hours.

I’ve been in some on what was left of hurricanes by the time they got up to DC or NJ or wherever, but this should be a bit more than that.

Unless it tuns again and misses us completely, which it still could.

Anyway, I’ll report what happens a little later.

Storm Fatigue

Well, the 15:00 UTC update from the National Hurrican Center just came out, and their latest forecast track has a big H directly over Melbourne. for Sunday morning. Great. Supposed to be a high Cat 2 or low Cat 3 by then. But that could change. And it could go somewhere else.

The new weather radio we got after the last one sounded its alarm at just after 10 UTC this morning though to announce we were officially under a Hurricane Watch. (Meaning threat of hurricane force conditions within 24 to 36 hours.) I was excited that the weather alarm worked right. Neat stuff. First time I’ve had one. But then again, it means bad things are likely to happen…

The interesting thing though is to look at the hurricane fatigue going on here. When Frances was happening everybody was scambling and figuring out what they were going to do, people were getting out of town… this time everybody is just tired. I know I am. Our plywood is still up, so we don’t have to deal with that. But even here at work everybdoy is sort of blah. Lots of folks are saying they will stay put in their houses even if evacuation notices are given. Nobody is talking about evacuating the whole office like they did last time. Doing a final set of backups to take off site, putting up some tarps in a couple places that have leaked in previous storms, and that is about it. People are going through the motions of what they are supposed to do, but there is a drained feeling about the whole thing. As opposed to a nervous and anxious excitement, the feeling is much more just “oh not again” as people drag their way through the day.

And because this one didn’t shift to be aimed at this area until a few days before expected landfall, as opposed to Frances that seemed like we knew it was coming for years, there is now less than 48 hours until this is expected to hit.

Brandy went out yesterday to load up on supplies in case we ride it out, and if we decide to we could be packed up in the cars in a couple hours to try to get out of the way of it again. And I suppose if the forecasts show it strengthening we might do that. But… first of all, another road trip right now is just not on the list of “things we want to do”, second, time is very short. Roads are likely to get jammed up shortly. We can do back roads again, but where to this time? Or do we just decide to ride it out, risking becoming “one of those idiots who stayed”.

My take right now is that unless it strengthens significantly, or they start recommending evacuations for our area (not just the barrier islands and trailer parks) that we will stay. But Brandy and I will probably be reexamining and discussiong that every few hours. But the point of no return for deciding that is probably early tomorrow morning. We should start seeing wind and rain from this by mid-day tomorrow.

Bleh.

Other Big Screwups

I liked this quick item from the LA Times. Just throws some historical perspective around the incompetence the Bush administration has shown in Iraq by comparing it to the vast incompetence of past presidents in other conflicts. It points out the obvious corollary to the old “History is written by the winners” maxim that mistakes are generally forgotten if in the end the war is won, but are remembered much more clearly if the overall results are negative. The article provides a few examples from various presidencies.

History Can Offer Bush Hope …
(Max Boot, LA Times)

Reading the depressing headlines, one is tempted to ask: Has any president in U.S. history ever botched a war or its aftermath so badly?

Actually, yes. Most wartime presidents have made catastrophic blunders, from James Madison losing his capital to the British in 1814 to Harry Truman getting embroiled with China in 1950.

(via The Volokh Conspiracy)

(Note, Volokh exerpts the entire text of the article, so if you don’t want to bother with the LA Times free registration, you can just read it at Volokh.)