September 14, 2008
Elaine Meinel Supkis
Today, we had suffocating heat and 100% humidity as Hurricane Ike spun past, over the Great Lakes. Even though I live more than a hundred miles away from this epic storm, the effects of its passage were obvious even this far away. So I took a series of pictures during the day which shows the massive size and strange effects of this great hurricane.
UPDATE: violent winds tonight as part of former hurricane Ike has made a sudden swerve right towards my mountain! Had to run around in the dark with the dogs and Fluff, stowing away anything that is loose or putting inside the lawn furniture, etc. Even the chickens are complaining to me, sleepily. 50 mph winds is pretty strong, actually. What a storm!
Here is the position of the hurricane as it passed far to the west of where I live:
I live where Massachusetts and Vermont border New York. The rain is far, far from my home. The picture below is from noon, the first clouds came scrambling in from the south. The winds, which were minor in the morning, suddenly began to get quite gusty. I was on the ladder, two stories up, working on the gutters when I had to stop due to the increasingly blustery winds.
By mid-afternoon, the temperatures on my normally cool mountain reached nearly 90 degrees F. This is abnormal even in high summer. And with the strong winds, very unusual. This picture below is from 2 pm.
The high cirrus clouds were always visible throughout the afternoon. But gradually, much lower clouds began to race towards us, heading toward Canada. Some very low, very dark little clouds scuttled right overhead, one by one, like little black sheep.
By 4 pm, the light changed. People watching hurricanes from afar often mention the eerie light changes. It is quite stunning. The thick humidity that masked the nearby hills from my view suddenly began to glow. This is similar to the glow we get before a rainbow appears in front of a storm only there was no rain, just an immense amount of humidity.
The sky to the east became soft and pink.
But when I looked straight towards the fading hurricane in the early evening, the sky was prematurely dark and the thick air settled down on us as the wind paused. All was quiet.
It is ten o'clock at night now. And the wind is still gusting again. The moon has a rainbow ring as small clouds continue to scuttle past, all heading northwards still! This was one big storm.
(CNNMoney.com) -- Gas prices are poised to shoot back toward record highs after Hurricane Ike's direct hit to the heart of the nation's oil refineries, analysts said.
The average price of gasoline nationwide has already shot up 12 cents in the past two days to $3.795 a gallon, according to figures released by the AAA Sunday. And the average price of gas is now at or above $4 in Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and South Carolina.
In addition, Hurricane Ike could turn out to be the third-most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history, according to preliminary forecasts from a firm that does loss estimates for the insurance industry.
The US nearly shut down in June as gas prices made travel nearly impossibly expensive. I noticed the lack of cars going up and down Rt. 22. I have a great view of that minor highway and it was like a grave yard. When gas prices fell, everyone jumped back into their cars and there was a sense of optimism. But now, we are right back where we were in June.
Bush has announced he will release oil from the reserves but this is stupid, of course. He only knows how to do the dumbest things. The problem isn't a lack of oil. The problem is, the refineries in the Gulf are messed up. And getting things going it going to take a while! This is the nature of major hurricanes. We can't evade this.
Price freezes coupled with rationing WOULD work but the US doesn't want the harsh solutions of the seventies. We want to have fun, not be responsible or fair. So we will have to live with rank price gouging and hoarding of gasoline. This will deplete the US economy further but this doesn't seem to bother our rulers very much. After all, they make lots of money by allowing hoarding and price gouging.
Among the coastal Texas residents who found themselves in trouble after Ike hit were Paul and Kathi Norton. They overslept as Ike closed in on their home, so they decided to tough it out because their evacuation route was already flooded.
Though their Crystal Beach, Texas, home, about 20 miles northeast of Galveston, was on 14-foot stilts, the couple was concerned, they told CNN affiliate KHOU-TV in Houston, Texas.
"My husband made me wear a life jacket inside our house," Kathi Norton said. "Thank God for that, or I couldn't be here."
Early Saturday, about two hours before Ike officially made landfall, high winds and rising floodwaters began battering their home. The house began collapsing, and "if the flagpole wouldn't have stopped the house, the house would've crushed us," Kathi Norton said.
"It took the floor up, buckled down and took it right off the piling. And we dove out the door and grabbed the staircase, and we floated off," Kathi Norton told KHOU on Sunday after the couple was delivered in a National Guard helicopter to an evacuation point in Texas City, Texas.
No possessions are worth losing one's life. Living is a one-time thing. Getting or keeping stuff is an activity. But living is more than a mere activity. It is literally life and death. Many people pretended they wanted to leave but forgot or fell asleep or something. But the honest truth is, most wanted to guard their possessions. As if they could contest with the mighty powers of Mother Nature when she is shoving miles of ocean on shore.
Cries of adulation — and hunger — followed Haitian-born singer Wyclef Jean and actor Matt Damon as they toured flood-ravaged Gonaives on Sunday to call attention to widespread suffering in the marooned city. Tropical Storm Hanna and Hurricane Ike submerged the Haitian city and cut off roadways. Where waters have receded, streets remain a stinking mud bath and homes are carpeted with muck and encrusted pots, pans and laundry.
"I'm speechless, I can't believe it," said Damon, looking down from a U.N. helicopter at people living on the rooftops of flooded homes.
Haiti is one of the basket case countries. Even tropical storms now cause terrible devastation. This is due to deforestation as well as overpopulation. The US isn't overpopulated. But it does have concentrations of populations in inappropriate places. And the costs of these hurricanes grows each storm as more people park more stuff in the path of obvious destruction.
(AP) -- Hurricane Ike and its remnants are now being blamed in at least 16 deaths in the U.S. And the number is expected to climb.
Most of the fatalities have occurred outside Texas as the storm moved northward. The number includes two golfers killed by a falling tree in Nashville and a woman killed by a tree in Ohio.
The Gulf energy industry has begun assessing its damage. At least 10 oil and gas platforms were destroyed and some pipelines were damaged.
I see videos shot from the air that clearly shows many houses utterly smashed. And dead people don't call for help or wave down rescuers. They won't be found for months. It took several months for the victims of Hurricane Katrina to be found and a number of them were never counted, being swept to sea. When the death toll from a hurricane is greater when it weakens to a tropical depression, we can be certain the people who bore the brunt of the worst of it, are uncounted.
I expect the number to climb rapidly as the water recedes.