Gustav came ashore earlier today pretty much as predicted, which was a surprise to me! Watching the progress of a hurricane is normally a 'wait and see' what he/she decides to do type of thing.
There's really very little preparation that can be made other than battening down whatever hatches you can, moving potential flying objects out of the projected winds, and preparing for loss of electricity for a few days. That's about it.
You MUST evacuate if your area will be in the storm surge, so having plenty of gas in your vehicle is a no-brainer.
OUR forecast has changed significantly over the past few hours. Initially, we were expecting heavy rainfall beginning as early as tonight. How long that might have continued depended on whether or not Gustav stalled out just to our north.
It now appears that he is going to continue moving to the northwest, perhaps stalling out in northeast Texas, near the Red River (TX/OK border). Shreveport, LA, will most certainly be affected. Other systems which still are not fully in place will be dictating his movements (or lack thereof). Fast is good, slow is bad.
Our rain chances have been downgraded to less than 20%. That is a huge surprise!!
Now, as far as New Orleans is concerned, so far the levees appear to be holding. A really good thing. The center of Gustav seemed to go directly over Morgan City, approximately 65 miles southwest of New Orleans. I'll be interested in watching the news later to see if the levees continue to hold.
New Orleans is on what we call the 'dirty side' of this storm. Should receive some pretty good-sized rainfall amounts before all is said and done.
Morgan City, on the other hand, is surrounded by levees. I have been trying mightily for the past many hours to send as many strengthening and prayerful thoughts their way as I can that their levees might be strong enough to do the trick in holding back major floodwaters.
Let's talk for just a bit about Hanna. She's now a cat 1 hurricane, and is currently pounding the Bahamas. She waffled tremendously a few days ago, traveling perpendicularly southwest from her projected track, and nobody had anything other than the foggiest idea where she might eventually go.
It now 'appears' (I use that word a lot, don't I?) that she will, indeed, hit the Carolinas with hurricane force winds -- perhaps as strong as a cat 2 (which was, by the way, Gustav's strength when he made landfall in LA earlier), perhaps more. We'll just have to 'wait and see'.
Meanwhile, back out on the Atlantic's ranch, other disturbances are brewing. Yes, it's true, unfortunately. September is normally one of the more active months for hurricane formation. Things have been heating up for quite a while, and now they are coming to fruition. But, we don't have to concern ourselves with those today, right?
What's happening with the telethon? Well, it's still going on, you might be pleased to know. Our local NBC affiliate has its hands full today trying to juggle coverage of Gustav, a big golf tournament, and the telethon. As my mother used to say, "They're busier than two cats trying to cover up."
It's now around 2pm. The sun is shining. I have some things I need to get done before the Astros come on at 3:00. It'll be so unusual to watch them other than on a Sunday! They're playing against the Cubs today in Chicago. Go, Astros! Think we just concluded our most successful August EVER!! Too late, I'm pretty sure, but it's always nice to see your team playing well.
Still haven't written the post I promised you about Labor Day, a taxi-driving story. That will have to wait until later, possibly even tonight. Have a good one!