Saturday, September 13, 2008
The Calm After the Storm
Austin Airwaves, 1:00pmC, Saturday 9/13/08
By now, those with a serious interest in the Hurricane Ike disaster are most likely tuned into CNN or the other networks. Houston's KHOU-TV is being re-broadcast regionally.
From Austin: Not a drop of rain, barely a breeze. 8 to 10 thousand evacuees in eighteenshelters. No major problems. Hotels full, roads full, but moving. Some gas shortages. Somegas price gouging. EOCs worked well. One of Austin's, and Texas' favorite taxes, the Hotel/Motel Bed Tax, has been canceled for the next ten days.
Compared to Katrina: The lessons of Katrina and Rita, and for that matter FEMA, appearto have been largely resolved. (It's also an election year...) By way of example, at this early hour, with winds just now slowing, multiple 500 vehicle military/civilian convoys are en route, each with a1000 national guard troops. Fleets of buses, ambulances, heavy duty vehicles, gas trucks, even fleets of choppers and C-140 "heavy lift" military aircraft, now heading south. The Hero of Katrina, Lt. General Russel Honore (AKA "the Black John Wayne" and "General Over," for his now famous habit of ending his answers with "over.") He now appears to be shilling for the Red Cross. See Spike Lee's deeply, deeply disturbing movie about the Katrina/FEMA disaster, "When the Levees Broke, Acts One & Two" (HBO) at: http://range.wordpress.com/2006/08/25/when-the-levees-broke-acts-i-and-ii-by-spike-lee-hbo/http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/03/arts/television/03leve.html
(NOTE: this film has many ghastly images as in not recommended for kids or sensitive folks orunrepentant, racist Republicans. Or maybe it is...) Many Americans are still very angry abouthow Bush, Brownie, FEMA and the rest of their ilk helped massacre NOLA. I know I am.
From Galveston: How it survived this well is amazing. Several buildings burned to the ground,actually to the water; a few arrests for burglaries, etc. Notably, the memorial to the 1900 Hurricanewhich killed between 8 and 11 thousand (deaths estimates for non-whites were not added untilthe 1970s...) with the Angel of the Ocean, at the east end of Sea Wall Blvd. was completelydestroyed. See: http://www.1900storm.com/
Before: With rising panic in their voices, officials were describing what was expectedto be a "tsunami surge" that was going to "race up the Houston Ship Channel," that wouldpose a "great and grave danger..."
After: Such a mess, but really, it's all pretty minor, not making light of the sitch. Thousands ofwindows, roofs, awnings, trees, business signs, dumpsters and boats thrown about and smashed.What will probably become an iconic image of Ike is the Chase Bank Building with most of itseast side windows, and office contents, now smashed to the ground. "It sounded like a million glass bottles breaking at once," said a survivor. Remarkably, still no reports of casualties. Some hospitals taking on water, isolated fires, power lines on the roads, etc.
KPFT/Pacifica: Still dark 1:00pmC A scary report of a chlorine tank leak in Surfside came early. Later report: leak capped.Buffalo Bayou (AKA "bubbling bayou," because of water bubbling up from manholes...) isstill rising, slowly, at this time. Again, no reports of casualties. Nearby Allen Parkway, siteof what is arguably the coolest event that ever happens in Houston, the Houston Art Car Parade, is deep under water. No signs of Art Boats. Yet.
Brennan's Restaurant, the popular, tony downtown Houston place to be seen: destroyed.
Across the Region: 2 million+ w/o power. Power ON in Central Texas. FEMA initially estimates $7.5 billion in damages. As usual, small towns on the Gulf Coast are largely cut off and rescue, reconn and reporting have just now begun. Some gas price gouging. Prices skyrocket at some locations, notably in Florida, to over $5 a gallon. At least 13% of US gas production is now off-line. Ike is STILL Cat One hurricane as it barrels up the TX/LA state line. Next target? Bryron/CollegeStation. Look out you Aggies!
Human Cost: Remarkably, absolutely remarkably, the death count, at 1 ;00pmC is THREE. Again, rescue and reconn, especially on the island and other low lying areas is just now starting.
"Jim! Amazingly, KHOU-TV is still streaming video live at http://www.khou.com/Very worried for many many Texas friends, in radio and not in radio. I remember well your efforts during katrina...thanks for all you do. Stay safe." debbie s. fresno, ca
Houston "clear channel" AM station http://www.ktrh.com/main.html
Ham Radio Response: Thanks to Allen Sklar, Director of Engineering at Arizona Community Media Foundation in Tempe, AZ for this forward.
The ARRL Letter September 12, 2008
Hurricane Ike Eyeing Galveston Island ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/>
ATTENTION ALL AMATEURS: With Hurricane Ike fast approaching landfall in the Gulf Coast area, Net operations in the upper portions of 80, 40 and 20 meters have been activated. The ARRL asks Amateur Radio operators tobe considerate of these Nets -- if you are asked to change frequencies because you're on a Net for Hurricane Ike operations, please cooperate. HURRICANE IKE EYEING GALVESTON ISLAND Hurricane Ike -- currently a Category 2 hurricane, but expected to reachCategory 3 status sometime today -- is poised to make landfall near Galveston Island around 3 AM early Saturday, if it keeps on its current track and speed. Hams in Texas and Louisiana have had a bit of abreather since Hurricane Gustav <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2008/09/03/10311/?nc=1> came throughtwo weeks ago. ARRL Section leadership in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma,Mississippi and Arkansas reported in ongoing conference calls with ARRL Headquarters that they are ready for Ike. According to ARRL South Texas Section Emergency Coordinator MikeSchwartz, KG5TL, the following counties in South Texas have receivedmandatory evacuation orders: San Patricio, Aransas, Matagorda, Brazoria,Galveston, Chambers, Jefferson, Hardin and Orange. Calhoun, Victoria andJackson have been issued voluntary evacuation orders, while certain ZIPcodes in Harris County -- home of Houston, the country's fourth largestcity -- received mandatory evacuation orders. Schwartz said that Emergency Management Officials in New Braunfels have requested Amateur Radio communications support."People are heading out of town, up Interstate 45, out of Houston, and Interstate 290, to San Antonio," Schwartz said. Austin, the state capital, is in the South Texas Section, and Schwartz said that that city will serve as the State's marshalling center. Schwartz also reported that ARES and RACES groups have been working in tandem "very well" with each other. Amateur Radio operators are providing support to FEMA Region VI during Hurricane Ike, Swan said, "through the establishment of a coordination communications link that state agencies can request FEMA support, as well as to respond to requests from FEMA for information that agencies can use in their response to those impacted by Hurricane Ike." FEMA Region VI covers the states of Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Louisiana. "FEMA has been very pleased with the activity and support of Amateur Radio here in the North Texas Section," Swan said.Swan said that the coordination link "will provide the basis for future interfaces with FEMA as the amateur community in Region VI seeks ways to provide support as a part of the National Response Framework,specifically to the Emergency Support Function #2 of that Framework that deals with communications. It will also serve to identify those areas where Amateur Radio can provide a service to FEMA. The role of Amateur Radio is still evolving, but it is clear that the amateur community can assist in providing interoperability between agencies at the local, state and national level." A 2 meter link has been opened to FEMA Regional Headquarters in Denton, just north of Dallas.
And in closing, this from Houston radio's infamous Scooter: "Still here!"
Friday, September 12, 2008
Goodbye to Galveston? Hurricane Ike "Tinas" Texas
Jim; Thanks for the report. This is the very best news reporting I have seen/read on this issue. Keep me informed, please. Here in Cedarville, CA at 4600 ft elevation Galveston seems worlds away. Stay safe and keep the updates coming!
Dear Campers, Radio Folks, Fam & Friends-
We may be witnessing the destruction of Galveston Island. With the more than 9 hours before official landfall, Ike has now crested Galveston's legendary sea wall. The Jamaica Beach section may fail. Austin shelters are filling up as fast as they are opened. Few problems here. Most common complaint. "Nobody told ME to bring my own bedding!" Houston's Pacifica station KPFT will SIGN OFF at 5:00pmC. They had already reduced power. According to GM Duane Bradley, whom I just got off the phone with, "Nobody's coming in to do their shows...not even the news staff!" They had hoped to keep the station on the air until 8pm to let Ray Hill do his Prison Show, and deliver urgent messages to his thousands of listeners. "It's just not practical," says the practical Bradley. KPFT expects/hopes to sign back on the air tomorrow, mid-day. They will NOT be on-line. Signing off and on is serious business, requires FCC notification, and is always considered "last resort."
This just announced on 90.1FM: "KPFT will suspend broadcast operations at 5pm, Friday September 12 due to the impending hurricane. Original plans to remain on-air until 11pm Friday changed when the station was compelled to switch from its main transmitter to the digital backup unit around midday Friday. In the interest of assuring the safety of our staff and volunteer programmers, some of whom have already been forced to evacuate their homes, it was decided to power the station down before the full storm arrives. We will return to the airwaves when it is both technically possible and safe for staff. The hope is we may be able to do so beginning Saturday morning at 9am. However, this will only be possible if there is power both at the transmitter site and the station, as well as safe road conditions allowing access to the studios."
(5:00:30pm, 90.1FM now silent. Viva Pacifica!)
"Contra Flow" is now part of the local vocabulary. That's when authorities open BOTH sides of the Interstate to northbound tra;00ffic. It's quite impressive to see eight, ten, twelve lanes of traffic, bumper to bumper, all heading, um, to Austin. However, a Houston pal I am on the phone with now, says major Interstate highways, 10 and 45, are not one way yet. Traffic is "not that bad..." This IS Houston, after all. The Rita evacuation of a few years ago is widely considered the worst traffic jam in American history.
Update 5:40pm TX Lt. Guv David Dewhurst is announcing now that they "expect to see Beaumont underwater, Texas City underwater, Galveston underwater, Orange underwater, Port Arthur underwater" tonight. They expect three million+ houses to lose power overnight.
Austin Red Cross is announcing they need 400 more volunteers immediately. Austin Evacuee Count: 4000 and growing quickly. 17 shelters full. Some crowding problems.
Galveston Island radar (live) http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ridge/radar.php?product=N0Z&rid=HGX&loop=no The eye of Ike is 72 miles across! IKE IS BIGGER THAN THE 1900 HURRICANE THAT CAUSED THE DESTRUCTION OF GALVESTON. 20-25 foot surges are expected to "race up the Houston Ship Channel." Only 60% of Galveston residents have left the island. Air rescues continue but will stop shortly. Last call.
http://www.noaawatch.gov/2008/ike.phpBUY GAS NOW. Current prices in Austin running from $3.69 to just under $4.00.
LIFE THREATENING INUNDATION LIKELY! ALL NEIGHBORHOODS...AND POSSIBLY ENTIRE COASTAL COMMUNITIES... WILL BE INUNDATED DURING THE PERIOD OF PEAK STORM TIDE. PERSONS NOT HEEDING EVACUATION ORDERS IN SINGLE FAMILY ONE OR TWO STORY HOMES MAY FACE CERTAIN DEATH. MANY RESIDENCES OF AVERAGE CONSTRUCTION DIRECTLY ON THE COAST WILL BE DESTROYED. WIDESPREAD AND DEVASTATING PERSONAL PROPERTY DAMAGE IS LIKELY ELSEWHERE. VEHICLES LEFT BEHIND WILL LIKELY BE SWEPT AWAY. NUMEROUS ROADS WILL BE SWAMPED...SOME MAY BE WASHED AWAY BY THE WATER. ENTIRE FLOOD PRONE COASTAL COMMUNITIES WILL BE CUTOFF. WATER LEVELS MAY EXCEED 9 FEET FOR MORE THAN A MILE INLAND. COASTAL RESIDENTS IN MULTI-STORY FACILITIES RISK BEING CUTOFF. CONDITIONS WILL BE WORSENED BY BATTERING WAVES CLOSER TO THE COAST. SUCH WAVES WILL EXACERBATE PROPERTY DAMAGE...WITH MASSIVE DESTRUCTION OF HOMES...INCLUDING THOSE OF BLOCK CONSTRUCTION. DAMAGE FROM BEACH EROSION COULD TAKE YEARS TO REPAIR.
Houston "clear channel" powerhouse KTRH-AM station can be heard regionally at 740AM, especially after sunset.
This humorous response from one of Houston's loopier radio wisecrackers...."There is no way I'm going to fuck with Jim Ellinger. One comment from uppity Staci, and now we are poised to be flattened.I always suspected that Ellinger was a plant, and was deep into the Bilderberger Freemason World Domination Illuminati plot.Apparently, he has been in contact with his secret society pals at the H.A.A.R.P. project, and just because he got a bee in his tinfoil bonnet over a volunteer at KPFT, he has arranged to devastate the entire Gulph [sic] Coast Region.Things are not always as they seem. The GRC Executive Council [no such thing-jim] might want to do some background checks on this Ellinger character.I would suggest contacting somebody else from Austin, who might have more information on Mr Ellinger.My contact in Austin is Alex Jones, he has all the inside information, and I'm sure he's familiar with Ellinger.[got that right! jim]Meanwhile, we are hoping to survive Mr. Ellinger's payback, if that is actually his real name. And I hope he's happy, because there's going to be a lot more than six people slaughtered in his vengeful savagery, and I hope Ms Staci is happy with herself for pissing him off. "
Take a look at some the charectors who are staying put and "hunkering down": http://acksisofevil.org/images/ready.jpg
Austin Airwaves #1
Dear Campers, Radio Folks, Fam & Friends-
Well, it looks like Austin is gonna dodge the bullet, but MAN, Houston, and especially Galveston, are really in for a world of hurt. Read this bulletin from the NWS. Local weathermen are freaking out over this language from the usually staid and conservative NWS. Like NOLA during Katrina, the surges are gonna' be the killers. Latest Ike surge projections: 20-25 feet. Galveston Seawall: 17 feet. Houston is four feet above sea level (but "not in a bowl...") and the Houston Ship Canal comes right up to downtown. Check out NOAA's storm surge animation. There are 5 million+ folks in this area. The entirety of Galveston Island is no longer visible on the last map. Texas City, that's where your gasoline comes from, also looks to be heavily damaged. Hundreds of petrochemical and oil facilities in the area. Ike is TWICE as big as Katrina. Landfall at midnight. Flooding in Galveston's Historic District already starting.http://www.noaawatch.gov/2008/ike.php
BUY GAS NOW.
It should be no surprise that Karen ("WMDB,") and all emergency folks state wide, have been called in. "12 by 12." Austin evac centers beginning to fill up. So far, nine of our 75 evac centers are full. Massive, massive traffic flows. Even NASA moved here!! National "ripple effect" already being felt with both Houston airports, the Ship Canal, NASA, gas and oil refineries and 1000+ oil rigs now all closed. cheers,jimAustin, projected high today...100! (on the "dry" or "sinking" side of hurricane...)
Recent dispatch from Houston pal...Hurricane force winds extend 120 miles from the center and the whole thing is something like 700 miles across - this thing is huge. There's no way that we in Houston will miss it, even if it were to take a turn or two. 5 million people in the Houston area alone, but yes, most of us are staying. We, however, do not live in a bowl.It's crazy to have hundreds of petro-chemical plants and several major oil refineries in the same place as hurricanes - and they're all on the water. Expect environmental devastation and of course billions of dollars in property damage.I live about 70 miles from the Gulf so no worry of storm surge, but we are surrounded by 75 ft trees - I guess they've seen this before but still very scary. I selfishly request people to send strength to the trees.We'll try to report out as long as we can before we lose power. I'd better find that one analog telephone we still have...wendy http://www.kpft.org/http://www.khou.com/