Nature, Science, & Mathematics: September 2004 Archives

In the Midst of Jeanne

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Here we are in the midst of Jeanne. Tropical Storm winds. The sound is terrifying, and we aren't even near the very worst of it. You just hear that whistling winter sound (those of you in the midwest know what I'm talking about. The winds simply don't relent, and occasionally they increase sounding akin to train passing. I sure hope this is the last of these we have to endure this season, but Lisa doesn't look cooperative, particularly with the little loop-the-loops that this season has given us.

Will keep you updated because it mysterious helps me feel better. Please pray protection on us all. We need it.

Watching now as I see a shelter that needed to abandoned in Melbourne this morning. Please pray for these people. This was a special needs shelter and included heart patients, dialysis patients, those mobility impaired. Oh Good Lord, it is certainly a test of one's faith and hope. I suppose we fall back on love. Holy Mother of God, protect us all.

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An episode of Sponge-Bob Squarepants (could you guess I have a 6-year-old in the house) shows an anchor throwing competition between the inhabitants of Bikini Bottom. Each contestant throws an anchor, and the little fish judge runs around out in the field to avoid the anchor thrown. No matter where he runs the anchor falls on him. So with this season. Jeanne, by all rights should have been a distant memory of the tropical season that never so much as breathed on the United States. But no, it had to follow some weird perturbation of the atmosphere and go out of its way to make landfall in already storm-shocked East Central Florida.

You know, I guess it's kind of a privilege to witness a record season, but why couldn't it be a record season of Oyster recovery or of Pompano catch, or sea turtle recovery. I don't particularly like being in the middle of a meteorological high-water mark. (Pun intended.)

I ramble because I have time to wait and if I don't talk about it, I'll probably just internalize all the stress and let it cultivate over-producing acid cells.

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Hurricane Jeanne

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Oh well, Jeanne is going to visit Florida. We don't know where it will make landfall, but none of the predictions is particularly good for Central Florida. Please pray that it comes quickly, goes quickly and does little damage.

I've noticed that people are so worn down by this season that there wasn't anything at all like the response to the first three. Of course, many people left their houses boarded up from Frances. Perhaps foolishly, I have not boarded up, so please pray for protection for the house and that the patch on the roof holds through the storm. (The roofers were supposed to be here and fix it this morning, but there didn't seem to be much point given the proximity of the next storm.)

Please pray for those in areas that have already been flooded, and pray that no further flooding will occur in this storm. They predict it to move through fairly quickly, which provides some comfort--but it's yet another storm. I'm hoping for merely 80-90 mph winds. Perhaps we will be even more fortunate and only at the fringes of the storm.

Nevertheless, I'd greatly appreciate prayers, particularly late this evening and early tomorrow. One track shows it going directly through Orlando, but I sometimes wonder if they don't just connect the cities with the most prominent names--as the NOAA forecasts show it moving to the west after entering near West Palm Beach/Melbourne.

Oh, we are tired here. Very tired. Not complacent, but I think weary beyond words of facing this yet again. We just had most of the major debris from Charley carted away and here we are facing another.

At any rate, God's will be done.

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Joke--Shamelessly Stolen

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Math joke--very, very amusing, and I'm sure ancient:

from Oro et Laboro

Q: What is a topologist?
A: A person who cannot tell a doughnut from a coffee mug.

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Hurricane Jeanne


While still only a tropical Storm, Jeanne proved to be the deadliest storm of the season so far. Despite Ivan's huge reach and incredible power, it is Jeanne that caused the greatest loss of life.

And it looks as though Jeanne will visit Central Florida after all. For a week, perhaps more, it seemed as if she would wander off into the Atlantic and like Karl be lost to all ken. But not so, after moving well north of us, she rounded on herself and current forecasts have her making landfall at Daytona and then skimming up the entire coast to South Carolina. Needless to say, this is truly monstrous. One prayer is that the course deflect yet again. Another is that if she must hit, she move quickly, like Charley, rather than slowly, like Frances.

Pray God's will in this as in all things, but also pray for the great many people along the eastern coast of the U.S. who need protection from this Hurricane.

While we're talking bizarre meteorological events, you may be aware that Ivan, after his journey inland, returned south, regrouped Tropical Storm strength and found his way up to the Texas/Louisiana coast. Pray for yet more people subject to Ivan the Terrible.

Finally, chances seem good that Lisa will miss all land interests. Please pray that it be so.

A very, very active season with four storms running about at once. (For a while, there was a fifth brewing, but I think it combined with Lisa, if I interpret the NOAA information properly.

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The "Trailing End" of Frances

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The main body of the storm had some effect. But the trail rains are devastating to everyone. I have two large patches of ceiling in the family room that show signs of leaks in the roof. and we have one long rain band that has yet to fully have passed through. Pray that the ceilings do not leak.

More importantly, please pray that Ivan, which is a fast-moving powerful storm does not follow on the same track and take up residense in Florida and the East Coast. Right now that looks so improbable as to be ludicrous. You look at the map and it seems to be skirting the Brazilian/Venezuelan coast. Yet, the predicted courses all come up through that narrow corridor into the Caribbean, somehow keeping the storm in the Atlantic proper. We could really do without even the minimal side effects of such a storm.

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We're Through It

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And we still have power, internet access, water, and all other commodities. The predicted 20 inches did not arrive (praise God). We still have some of the far side rain bands to endure. So far the roof has stood up to the storm (and we have a contractor on line already to come out and fix it). No water flooded into the house (as I had been led to fear, even though we are well out of the 100 year flood plain. Nevertheless, you can never tell about these things. ) Everyone is getting cabin fever, I sure hope tomorrow is better so i can get out of here!

Hope you all had a better Labor Day weekend.

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An "Incoherent" Storm

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It's amazing--the storm has come ashore, and the winds continue unabated at the locality of entry. (Winds declined from 105 mph to 100 mph.) Here we have constant winds of about 55-60 m.p.h with rain harder at some times than at others. So far the patch on the roof is holding--in part, I think because the winds are from the opposite direction. However, when the storm passes and the winds are from the other direction we may not be so fortunate. Continue to pray--the storm moves exceedingly slowly--we have a curfew until at least 9:00 am and it may be longer, so I suspect we shall not be able to make it to Mass. Pray for us if you are able to receive the Lord and join your communion to those of us unable to get out of our houses.

At this writing (6:46 am) the storm center is just north of Lake Okeechobee which is quite a bit south of us and the rain is constant in this particularly arm or band. Pray that it all can flow away and spare us a flood. I can't see outside yet, so I don't know the state of the land around me.

It is all in God's will, and I suppose it could be much worse (and is in the path of the very slow-moving eye). Please keep praying.

Thank you.

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One Rain Band

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Frances approaches, relentlessly and slowly. As in Andrew Marvell's "vaster than empires and more slow." She's a huge and slow behemoth. We experienced one rain band about 11:00 it dissipated in about 15 minutes. Strongish winds now, but nothing most of you haven't experienced in the course of a normal thunderstorm.

Frances is supposed to come ashore between West Palm Beach and Melbourne. The eye is so large and disorganized it may span much of that stretch. So eventually we will get hurricane winds (so the scientists tell us, I remain hopeful that God will ameliorate the worst of these possibilites. Prayer has been powerful in reduding this storm thus far.

So my message, keep praying. The Weather Channel is a good source of info, but they do tend toward the sensationalistic.

Thank heavens Florida Officials had the wisdom to clear people out of places that were likely to be most highly affected. We should not blame officials for taking all necessary action, nor should we become complacent and allow this to affect future actions. For one, I think I'll be looking into investing in some heavy duty installed shutters ASAP after the storm. They may provide only minimal protection, but then I will at least have the comfort of feeling that I have done as much as I can.

All I can say is that clear though it is now, please keep praying and praising God for the great good that is in His will as He breaks this storm apart. Flooding is still a real possibility, and we wait. . . .

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The Problem with Frances

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If Frances were the only storm to have reached Florida this year, it would be bad news. Following less than a month after Charley if comes as particularly difficult news.

I speak from reports of people who have visited their properties in Southern Florida and from what I presently see around me. If Frances were to decide to take a direct route through the already damaged areas of Florida, the potential for harm would be greatly multiplied. We have not yet begun to recover from all the downed trees and removed shingles. While many of these have been picked up from the lawns, etc. and piled carefully to be taken away. In a storm with any sort of wind at all, these objects become projectiles--ready to plunge through glass, or given a high speed wind, even through concrete block.

Some people I know have only this week seen a return of power and water to their houses. (Admittedly this is because of massive bureaucratic bungling, however, it is the reality they face, regardless of the reason. Countless houses near me have had roofs stripped to bare wood. Some have had the wood stripped from the roof. This is to say nothing of the trailers and houses that were completely destroyed or rendered uninhabitable because of the previous storm. We are not in the position to take even the heavy rains that accompany the outer bands of a hurricane.

Naturally, I am quite beside myself with concern about the Storm. The present track seems to have it visiting southern Florida. This is terrible news considering the enormous population of the south, but if it deviates even a little from the course it could bring really bad news to people already hard hit. A friend of mine reported that in areas like Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda, there are long lines of tent cities near the major roads--residences for people whose homes were destroyed in the wake of Charley. Presumably the shelters would handle these people and keep them safe from the storm; however, the wreckage is would be unbelievable in its extent.

Please pray that the storm track in the course of least damage to all people, wherever it may go, and remember in your prayers those who have lost their homes and their lives in these terrible storms. God's hand redeems. God's will rules completely. "If you have the faither of a mustard seed you can say to this mountain, 'Go, be uprooted and plunged into the sea' and it shall be so." Let us count on this as we pray and God's guiding hand shall protect all those around us from harm. There are a great many natural means by which this storm can weaken, pray that it be sheared, pummeled and reduced to insignificance before it touches any land. Pray especially for those most immediately in its path.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Nature, Science, & Mathematics category from September 2004.

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