August 29, 2017, 12:32 p.m. Central Time, Tuesday; Hurricane Harvey hit landfall (Rockport, TX) at 10:00 p.m. Central Time, Friday night, about four days ago. From The Wall Street Journal:
In between the thunderstorms sparked by tropical storm Harvey, it looks like I have a 3-hour window before the next thunderstorm to go biking.
YouTube won't allow this particular video to be embedded, so just the YouTube link: Glen Campbell's Galveston. By the way, the music reminds me of one of the tracks in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
The Making of an American Sea
Jack E. Davis
One of my favorite books is The Great Sea, David Abulafia, c. 2011, which I paid full price for in Williston, ND, at "Books on Broadway," my all-time favorite bookstore -- except perhaps second to Powell's in Portland, OR.
But I digress.
With tropical storm Harvey bearing down on us here in Texas, perhaps finding this book in the library today was preordained.
Ironically, the author devotes "Chapter 13" to hurricanes. Yeah, I suppose if I was going to write a book about the Gulf of Mexico, I would include a chapter on hurricanes and place it in chapter thirteen. LOL.
The chapter starts, hopefully not presciently, with a photograph of the devastation of Corpus Christi in 1919. Tropical storm Harvey appears to be making a direct, frontal attack on Corpus Christi with landfall tomorrow (Friday) night or Saturday morning.
According to the author, "hurricane" comes from the Yucatan Maya:
They paid tribute to a no-nonsense, one-legged god named Huracan, the divine source of wind and storms and, appropriately, birth and destruction. Their neighbors to the east and southeast, the Taino and Carib, each had a deity of similar name and disposition. From them the Spanish got a word, huracan, for those incomprehensible tempests they discovered in the New World -- acts of God, as they saw them, that wrecked their ships and settlements.[Speaking of "wrecked," the new TBS television show "wrecked" is worth watching.]
Between 1886 and 2005 there have been 639 hurricanes.
This is slightly more than five on a yearly average. One-third of them either tracked into the Gul or originated there -- nearly two a year. Two many not sound like a lot, yet imagine Californians contending with the same number of major earthquakes every year in the span of a few months. Gulf states are struck by hurricanes fifteen percent more often than all other US states combined, and coastal dwellers in the eastern and northern Gulf, from Key West to Galveston, have to batten down their homes and flee danger more often than any other Americans.1900. Galveston. September. Official figures, over 8,000 lives lost. Erik Larson puts the number at over 10,000. Either count (8,000 or 10,000) is more than the combined tallies of dead in the 1889 Johnstown flood and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
1957. Hurricane Audrey. 500 lives lost. Near the mouth of the Sabine River, Louisiana. In the nearly 50 years between Audrey and Hurricane Katrina, there was no deadlier Gulf hurricane (than Hurricane Audrey). The name Audrey was later retired from usage as an identifier for an Atlantic hurrican.
From the book:
Roughly between Audrey and Katrina, the US coastal population expanded by 70 percent, with the rush to hurricane country the greatest. The Gulf coast population swelled by 150 percent, to fourteen million. The number of housing units soared by 246 percent, double the national increase. Eight of the top ten costliest (adjusted for inlfaiton) hurricanes in the US struck after 2000. Seven were Gulf hurricanes.So, this weekend we will see. The "talking head" expert on television this morning seemed not particularly concerned.
Posted August 27, 2017