Archive for the ‘ Hurricane Coverage ’ Category

Gustav: Monday liveblogging

12:37pm

Looks like I had a good and ugly hard drive crash, and it dropped my main computer. I tried to stay on during power fluctuations, and I was just a dummy. I’m already dealing with it. We’re ok, and we’re watching the news just like you. There was a lot of wind and rain. New Orleans got hammered pretty good, looked like, and we’ll see how we are in the next few hours.

8:08

Gustav downgraded to a category 2, and it’s made official landfall. Waiting for the confirmation on the exact place. Just had some pretty tough gusts here, too. Further, St. John avenue in Biloxi is underwater, according to wlox.

7:58am

Consistently blowing at 30mph, gusts up to 55+ – now comes with free driving rain!

6:52am

The beach areas are being flooded fairly heavily at this point – up at my house, there’s some fairly heavy gusts to be seen, including broken and falling tree limbs. Winds are west/northwest, but still surprisingly light rain, considering. Sorry it’s been a bit – might take a shower real quick here, in case we lose power.

6:25am

Wind is picking up _quite_ a bit. 50+ mph gusts.

6:15am

Power outages in Pascagoula, south of Hwy. 90, winds steadily increasing. Gustav is 85mi S. of NO. Starting to ramp up here.

5:49am

Just to update about the tornado touchdown, MS power says that there are 62 customers without power in Gulfport, 40 in Moss point, 22 in Lucedale – no reported injuries or death. Tornado was reported by a police officer. Gustav beginning to move into LA in earnest, feeder bands are moving strongly into S. Mississippi.

5:22am

Confirmed tornado touchdown in NE. Gulfport, west of the woolmarket area. Moving west at 70mph. Tornado warning in effect for Hancock county area as well. Should be near Stennis already!

5:10am

Saw a news story via google, thought I’d link it. MUCH gustier now, raining much harder. Reporters are getting turned back at the beach for the most part now. Looking for Jim Cantore!

4:55am

Feeder bands are coming in now. NOLA is getting them already. Here she comes 😀

4:40am

Winds are picking up now – 15 mph steady, 35mph gusts. I can see the cloud cover moving rather swiftly from east to west, and the rain is picking up slightly, too. Watched some footage of the surge coming in down by Long Beach, and approaching Highway 90. Just saw a report that winds are at 117 mph in Venice, LA. I’ll keep looking for updates.

4:15am

Track remains steady, and north-west. Starting to pick up here, and the outer bands are hitting the MS coast right now. More updates when I see a bit more besides the track update and recent radar.

3:25am

I’m hanging out still, not much of a change in our local situation, but it’s getting closer. I’ve started an IRC chat channel in the meantime – #Gustav, on irc.starlink-irc.org. Feel free to join directly, if you’re IRC-savvy, or use the webchat. Also, I’m “razorskissnd” on both aim and yahoo. We’re getting an update in about 40 minutes, so we’ll see a bit more, then. New Orleans is starting to feel those feeders, it looks like. If I find something from that area, I’ll try and post it. I’m watching the live feed of wlox’s hurricane coverage as I multitask – I highly recommend it, as they did an excellent job during Katrina.

Seeya in a bit.

2:30am

Calm before the storm. Just a light drizzle, 15-20 mph winds, looking at about an hour and a half until the primary feeder band hits the shoreline. Add about a half-hour for me, as I’m 8 miles in, and it’s headed in about 15mph. Currently projected as a Cat3, 120 mph. It seems to be still on track to hit around Houma or Morgan City, but may hit closer to New Orleans. It’s still anyone’s game right now – the sudden turns are usually around this time, but we won’t get a current track until 4am or so.

We’ll be watching closely over the next couple hours, but we’re gonna get a good bit of rain and wind, whatever happens. Pray for Louisiana, and for the MS coast too! Don’t be afraid. God preserves! Updates in an hour or so, God willing. I’ll try to get them more frequent once things heat up, so to speak. I have a net-capable cellphone, and may try to get on IRC and/or instant messenger, providing cell service is still up.

Seeya next update, for more Gustav liveblogging.

See also: Fear no Storm!

Well, I have to admit, it feels a bit like 3 years ago, yesterday. Big honkin’ hurricane in the Gulf, fear and agitation as people ponder their own helplessness in the face of the force of nature’s fury. The added weight, this time, of the memories of devastation, destruction, and loss of life. What is brought to mind most clearly at this time, however, is the fact that there are no accidents. There is nothing that is not the express will of God, or that is not His good and perfect will. With this thought in the forefront, we can only think one thing, when facing nature’s wrath.

This is our Father’s world. Do you really know, deep down in your heart of hearts, what the implications of this are? It’s truly a wonderful thing to behold. Not because I’m “smarter”, or more courageous. (As a side note, what else I find interesting is that our church is in the midst of a study of the book of Joshua, my namesake. What is the cardinal principle of this book? Be Strong and Courageous! Why? For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go!) When we look at all things through the prism of God’s glorification of Himself, and His promises to glorify Himself through us, can we submit to fear? Is it even an option for us to buckle beneath pressure, or bemoan our “fate”, as if God did not have a greater glory to involve us in, through it? I cannot imagine such a thing. I cannot wish such a thing. I cannot, because I know the God I serve. When faced with situations that threaten us, tempt us to ditch our faith, and abandon our hope, we can have only one response.

Joy. Does that sound strange to you? Perhaps it shouldn’t.

How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. ~ 2 Cor. 8;2

Didn’t we see that, after the last big storm?

Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” ~ Neh 8:10

Do you see, yet? What gives us strength?

But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You. ~ Psalm 5:11

Who is our shelter? What is the subject of the great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress”? Is this not the same principle?

For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands. ~Psalm 92:4

Even hurricanes are the work of God’s hands. I’ll repeat something I said a long time ago, and has stuck with me ever since.

During the hurricane, it was an adventure. The kind of adventure guys really do like, and don’t really care if anyone thinks they’re crazy for liking. The wind made the house shudder, and shake. The trees’ branches were snapping off right and left, making an awful racket. The rain was driving so hard that it really was painful, when it hit you. Small objects were flying past you at 70+ mph – and all you could do was hold on. I’ll confess – I loved it.

I’m not crazy. I’m a typical guy, I think. I never felt like I was in *real* danger. But I knew I could have been. Adrenaline makes you feel like a million bucks. It’s that feeling you get when you take a curve a hair too fast in a sports car, and get dangerously close to spinning out of it – but you don’t. Your heart races, your blood is pumping so loud in your ears… and you feel alive. Okay, maybe I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie.

Mostly, though, I was in awe of the display of God’s might. Not that this was a “judgment”, or anything. Just the fact that God’s creation is so breathtakingly powerful, and knowing that God created it. If this storm is this powerful… and God made it… what must God be like?

I spent a good bit of the time curled up on the porch, head on my knees, tears in my eyes, and my heart in my throat. I wasn’t scared. I don’t think i was ever scared once, to be honest. It was too freaking cool. I was praising God, all by myself. Just me, and God, in the middle of this mighty storm – and I was singing. Brokenly, but I was singing. It was that awesome. It’s truly an experience I really don’t quite know how to share. God was just… there. He was with me. I’m not going to say I felt His “special hand of protection on me” – although it may well have been. I just know God was present, because His children can always feel it. I can’t explain it any other way.

I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t even worried. I was awestruck by how unbelievably magnificent a thing that His power had wrought. I can’t really say I’d still say the same, had I sustained more damage. We had almost nothing damaged at all. All I know is – that hurricane, from the inside, was quite possibly the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I couldn’t help but fall down and praise. I just couldn’t. I hadn’t told anyone this story yet – not really. Bethany heard it, sort of. I don’t know if I got it across very well to her at the time. It seemed a bit odd a thing to share, really. It’s what happened, though. In the wake of all the devastation, all the pain, and all the loss – I almost feel bad saying I think it was so neat. The actual storm WAS neat. What it did wasn’t so neat. The storm itself… I have never seen anything like it, and likely never will again.

I got to sit and watch the ENTIRE thing from a dry place, I was safe, and I praised God.

I said that back in this post, in Dec. of ’05.

In the midst of a possible dervish of destruction – you know what? God is still in control of things. He’s still the Author and Finisher of our faith. He still has His hand on the tiller. He still “upholds all things by the word of His power” (Heb 1:3). Fear not!

There is a perfect purpose in the midst of these events, no matter whether we can see it or not. So, while I did do some preparation for the hurricane’s landfall in my area, I also know I can’t lose sight of the fact that there is no room for “a spirit of fear” in the heart of a Christian – only for power, and for love, and for a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7). So, if you also find yourself in the path of a storm, or in the midst of difficulty; “Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

I’ve live-blogged the last few hurricanes I’ve been around for – I’ll likely do the same with this one, as long as I can. I’m 8 miles north of the beach, same house as last time, and the same God is still my God 😀 Don’t worry. God’s in control, and His glory will be displayed in this. In the meantime, pray, meditate on His goodness, and even love this awesome display of might in His creation. I assure you – it is a powerful and blessed thing.

Looking Back at Katrina

It’s now 3 months, and 13 days since Katrina, I do believe.

Something like that. I’ve been so swamped… so snowed under by just… life – that I haven’t really had a chance to share anything about it, save for a couple posts.

First, the actual hurricane itself. I watched the vast majority of it from outside in it. I was on my front porch until the eye of the storm passed over, here in Gulfport. After it did … I walked in it, up to Perkinston, which is… let’s see what Mapquest tells me.

25.79 miles. Now, although that’s quite a walk, think about when I walked it. The wind had died down to about 50-60mph when I started, but it was still raining pretty heavily. I started at about 12:30/1:00 pm, and got there about 7:30, I think. Not bad for that far, really. That wind, though. Walking in that is NOT easy.

Anyway, back to my impressions.

During the hurricane, it was an adventure. The kind of adventure guys really do like, and don’t really care if anyone thinks they’re crazy for liking. The wind made the house shudder, and shake. The trees’ branches were snapping off right and left, making an awful racket. The rain was driving so hard that it really was painful, when it hit you. Small objects were flying past you at 70+ mph – and all you could do was hold on. I’ll confess – I loved it.

I’m not crazy. I’m a typical guy, I think. I never felt like I was in *real* danger. But I knew I could have been. Adrenaline makes you feel like a million bucks. It’s that feeling you get when you take a curve a hair too fast in a sports car, and get dangerously close to spinning out of it – but you don’t. Your heart races, your blood is pumping so loud in your ears… and you feel alive. Okay, maybe I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie.

Mostly, though, I was in awe of the display of God’s might. Not that this was a “judgment”, or anything. Just the fact that God’s creation is so breathtakingly powerful, and knowing that God created it. If this storm is this powerful… and God made it… what must God be like?

I spent a good bit of the time curled up on the porch, head on my knees, tears in my eyes, and my heart in my throat. I wasn’t scared. I don’t think i was ever scared once, to be honest. It was too freaking cool. I was praising God, all by myself. Just me, and God, in the middle of this mighty storm – and I was singing. Brokenly, but I was singing. It was that awesome. It’s truly an experience I really don’t quite know how to share. God was just… there. He was with me. I’m not going to say I felt His “special hand of protection on me” – although it may well have been. I just know God was present, because His children can always feel it. I can’t explain it any other way.

I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t even worried. I was awestruck by how unbelievably magnificent a thing that His power had wrought. I can’t really say I’d still say the same, had I sustained more damage. We had almost nothing damaged at all. All I know is – that hurricane, from the inside, was quite possibly the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I couldn’t help but fall down and praise. I just couldn’t. I hadn’t told anyone this story yet – not really. Bethany heard it, sort of. I don’t know if I got it across very well to her at the time. It seemed a bit odd a thing to share, really. It’s what happened, though. In the wake of all the devastation, all the pain, and all the loss – I almost feel bad saying I think it was so neat. The actual storm WAS neat. What it did wasn’t so neat. The storm itself… I have never seen anything like it, and likely never will again.

I got to sit and watch the ENTIRE thing from a dry place, I was safe, and I praised God.

After the hurricane? Well, I can’t say I didn’t think a lot of that was cool, too. I saw the best and worst of people. Down here, I think it was way, way, way more of the best. So many people went out of their way to be friendly, courteous, and to help one another. The churches, and the Christians were absolutely magnificent in their response. The love you saw everywhere was palpable. Bethany’s family were all great to me, and I got to know them all so much better.

So much destruction, but so much love on display. Mississippi is one of the most heavily Christian states of the Union. You could tell, folks. “They will know you are Christians by your love” isn’t just a saying. I saw it. I lived it. It was absolutely awesome, folks.

In the months to follow, as tempers started wearing thin, utilities were still not all up yet, and the FEMA craze hit… it went downhill. Traffic began to get crazy, as the Coast’s population virtually doubled with relief workers and contractors. Lines, the destruction, and just general stress took it’s toll on everyone.

I’d like to make a general note about FEMA, and the outside monetary aid.

First: FEMA was never, and is never, going to save everyone. FEMA is totally, utterly, irrelevant. I don’t think that the people with signs out saying “where are you, FEMA?” really understood what they were doing. They just made me shake my head. Why do you think FEMA is going to save you from whatever position you’re in? I have friends, and family, who have lost everything. They didn’t count on FEMA to save them. They talked to their insurance companies, and started plans to rebuild almost immediately – whether they got their insurance money back, or not. Insurance companies don’t make money by paying you, either, incidentally. Almost without exception, the insurance companies have tried to screw over their policyholders. A few exceptions, but very few that I’ve talked to. I install garage doors. I talk to every single homeowner I put a door in for about their insurance, at some point. Trust me… I hear this a lot.

I just don’t get that “save me, faceless government bureaucrat!” concept. Or the people with signs on their fence: “Why do you keep passing me, Cable One! I want my cable NOW!”

I mean, really. If I were them… they’d be the last person in the county to get cable. Phone, power… same sort of thing. Like I said earlier. The best, and the worst.

As far as jobs go? There’s more jobs here than people. At my work, there is now only 1 regular employee that has been there longer than me. One. The two supervisors, and the office manager have all been there for a decade or so – and they don’t count 😀 But, there’s only *one* other employee that was here before the storm hit. One. The company employs about 15-20 people, and they have an atrocious turnover rate. Not because of anything they do. It’s because of how many jobs there are, right now. You know what the most common thing I’ve heard is? “It’s nothing special to have a job, right now. Everyone is so starving for people that I could get a job in 5 minutes of walking out of here.”

Sad thing is – they’re right. Unemployment should not exist, right now. Every place I know has a hiring sign out. Going through people like that is killer on the experienced help, though. You have to train someone else every week, just about.

I hate to sound too whiny. Work, if you’re in any sort of construction field, is absolutely, positively insanely busy. There aren’t enough people, there isn’t enough hours in the day, and everyone’s cranky. I’ll leave it at that, I guess.

We have Samaritan’s Purse Canada living at our church, and helping all over the Coast. I’ve been married since Katrina. Life, overall, is good. Busy, but good. That’s about all I see, looking back. Life, even with Katrina, is still good. It’s good because our God is so good to us.
You can take that to the bank. He provides all of our needs, and He shows us things in the most surprising of circumstances.

As I heard in church the other day, in a testimony from a woman who lost everything she owned – “the name of the Lord is still higher than the name of Katrina.”

Amen, sister. Amen.

Katrina: Aftermath

Just to get this out of the way, before I go on to anything else:

What I feel about New Orleans, and the tarnish that elements of their population put on the entire southeastern United States, can be summed up by the comments of a member of my Church – my Sunday School teacher, actually.

“I’m actually glad Katrina hit us, too – otherwise, all of the gangbangers shooting at helicopters would be down here.”

I agree, most wholeheartedly. I would rather have the massive devastation Katrina wreaked on us, than the types of people I saw in New Orleans on the news, my one day out of the area.

It’s utterly, completely ridiculous. It’s insane. It’s also intolerable.

Second, I was completely apalled by the national media’s feeding frenzy on politics, while people were dealing with the aftermath of the largest national emergency this country has ever seen. It made me ill. It made me physically, utterly, ill.

CNN did it. ABC did it. Even Fox did it. Everything was sensationalized to score political points. Everything was reported in the worst possible light. Nothing, and I mean nothing, was painted in the light in which it actually appeared. It was painted as if to make completely sure that everyone knew that people were, indeed, depraved, and that nothing whatsoever was being done to help.

You know what? The national media has now completely, absolutely lost any vestige of respect I will ever have for their so-called “objectivity”. They are a pack of hyenas, looking for ratings, and for the most tear-jerking, heart-rending stories, so that they can keep viewers.

Screw you all.

Ahem. The local media, however – Kicker 108, the local country station, has done an absolutely MAGNIFICENT job in keeping people informed, connecting loved ones, getting the news out, and in telling us EXACTLY what we need to know. NPR has done a decent job, but they have the same problem that the national media has – they sensationalize.

The local radio stations have been absolutely awesome in the midst of disaster, and they are a real godsend.

Thank you.

Thank you to the National Guard, who has performed with excellence, with aplomb, and with a smile. Thank you to Mississippi power, who has been absolutely brilliant in restoring power to so much of the community. Thank you, especially, to the scores, hundreds, and thousands of outside power, utility, and tree workers who have done a fabulous job assisting. My hat is off to you all.

Bell South – AWESOME job in getting phone service back so fast. The cell companies have been awesome, too. Cable One, I’ve seen you all over. Great job. Red Cross, Salvation Army, local churches… the list goes on. They’ve all been fantastic. The local FEMA representatives have been great at keeping us informed, and the management of the disaster relief down here has been nothing short of spectacular.

It’s been truly awe-inspiring, watching something so devastated come back to life under the careful, skillful hands of a massive influx of technicians, managers, volunteers, and just plain hard workers.

It’s been a real blessing to watch, and a real blessing to be blessed.

The national media… they’re a pack of vultures.

Haley Barbour, the local mayors, their staffs… they’ve all been working around the clock to put us all back on our feet. President Bush’s compliments were certainly apt, when they were offered to Haley Barbour. He has really done an excellent job.

I’ve seen 98% smiles, here in Southern Mississippi – 2% frowns, 2% bad moods, 2% bad tempers, and 2% despair. 98% of the time, someone has a friendly wave, a cheerful greeting, and a smile to send you on your way.

THAT is what is REALLY happening here. Anyone else who tells you differently is out of their ever-loving mind. I’m here. I’m down on the coast as much as I can get down there, and where I am JUST got power back TODAY. So don’t even think about telling me I’m not in the middle of it. I have been. The media is scavenging horror stories – which, in most cases, are probably true. The other 98% of us – the people who can smile, laugh, wave, and still keep our temper…

We still love each other, and we prove it every day. Several people in our church lost EVERYTHING. They are loved, are being loved, and will be loved – and will be loved right back on their feet. I watched a friend break down while we talked to him, about losing his house – after his cry, he had nothing but a smile and a hug for us. He’ll be ok. We’ll make sure he is. That’s how Mississippi is doing.

We aren’t shooting at rescue copters, I’ll tell you that. We offer them whatever we have to give them – and it’s usually turned down with a smile, and a friendly wave. They’re being taken care of too.

That’s how WE do things down here.

WE’RE OKAY

Alright, folks.

Bethany, her family, and I all made it safe. We got stuck for a few days without a way to get out.

Bethany and I are currently in Bessamer, AL – and we JUST missed my parents, who left this morning. Frustrating, but hey.

What can you do?

We’re safe, sound – a bit travelworn, but ok.

Mom & Dad – the house is ok – the Malibu got a smallish limb in the windshield, but there is NO other damage, save a *very* few shingles.

Steve and Crystal – your house is ok, but there IS a tree on your house. It’s not bad, but we’re going to have to cut it off when you get back, if you aren’t there already. We’re buying a chainsaw while we’re up here, hopefully.

Grandpa and Grandma – your house is completely fine.

Bethany’s house had minor damage, but is still good to go.

All of bethany’s family is perfectly fine. I have some stories to tell, believe you me.

Written from a hotel computer in the lobby 😀

It’s pretty wil down there. NO power, NO phones, NO water, NO gas – but gas is *sometimes* available. Good luck finding it, though.

If you guys are thinking about going back – don’t, unless you don’t have a choice. If you do – bring supplies with you – LOTS of supplies. Okay?

Love you all!

~ Josh & Bethany

P.S. – I’ll work on stories after a shower and something to eat.

Katrina: Monday

4:39 AM

These winds are gusting up to 55-60 mph, looks like. Power has flickered twice, and I’m losing my internet, off and on. I’m going to take a nap, with the phone next to my ear. (Ok, Bethany?)

My eyes are incredibly heavy. Tons of rain, tons of wind, and sorta noisy. I doubt I’ll sleep long, but I’ve been known to sleep through some crazy things.

Should hit in a few hours. Naptime, before it gets here.


3:49 AM

Ok, I spoke too soon – as soon as I posted the preceding, the wind and rain both picked up, and decided to jump up to about 3x what they were.

Internet got really spotty right after, so I’m speedtyping this. The big old trees are whipping around like they’re possessed, and the rain is coming down in discrete, ragged sheets, instead of the steady drizzle it’s been giving us all night.

Plenty of time left before this even gets close, unfortunately. I’ll keep blogging as long as I can.


3:24 AM

This isn’t going to be a Camille – but it’s going to suck.

I’m 8 miles north of Highway 90, in Gulfport – winds are picking up, and rain is getting harder. I lost internet for a few hours, but it’s back up. Quick blog, so you know what’s going on. Hancock county is getting tornadoes, Gulfport is starting to get nailed, now – it’s windy, although not hurricane force yet.

I’m here. I’m ok. I will be ok. I may not be around, internet-wise, but I’ll be here come morning. It’s going to be a wild ride – but I don’t pity Waveland/BSL/Diamondhead. They’re going to get NAILED.

Like I said – winds picking up, rain picking up, tornado warnings all over. Not here, but a lot of other places. Getting a bit noisy – may go out to check soon, in rain gear. (I’ll be careful.)

Be back in a bit, should internet connection permit!

Katrina Blogging: Sunday Night

9:45p

Wind’s about the same – clouds are circulating at a good clip, still with scattered showers.

Just found out that the side screen door wasn’t fastened, on the inside. Fixed 😀

Time to fill up the water bottles.

Yeah, I’m going to do some graphics.


9:15p

Still merely breezy. Occasional rain squalls, but short duration, and low intensity.

Small crowd on IRC, chatting.

Grabbing something to eat, and then I’ll do some graphics.


6:57p

First:

Just talked to a Sherrif’s deputy. I’m riding this one out. Someone else who reads this is likely to do so as well. They don’t have any volunteer cleanup operations planned as yet – but he told me to show up at the Lorraine Rd. station (on your left hand side, just south of I-10), if you want to help – TOMORROW NIGHT. NOT NOW, NOT UNTIL THE STORM BLOWS OVER. I’m not telling anyone to stay now, nor do I suggest it. If you want to help tomorrow, though, I’ll see you there, at some point tomorrow. After I check in with Bethany, of course!

Second:

I have a chat channel set up, on dalnet’s IRC network. Load up your IRC client (or, use trillian’s built-in IRC client), find a server on Dalnet, and join channel #katrina.

Stop by and talk.

I’ll be there until I lose power or connection. Either/or!

Alternatively, stop by my main site, and message me on any of my chat programs. Via trillian, I’m on MSN, ICQ, AIM, and Yahoo. My online status for any of the above can be seen (and I can be contacted through those, as well) on the top right.

Talk to you soon.


5:35p

Checking in from Gulfport, Mississippi, about 7 miles north of the beach.

Katrina is bearing down on the New Orleans area, and will slam into that city with some seriously devastating winds. I’m riding it out, and liveblogging what I can through the night and early morning, as power/connection allows.

This post will be updated, as long as it’s still Sunday.

Hosted by: Dreamhost