Saturday, September 6, 2008

Waiting for Tropical Storm Hanna

So, the past 24 hours or so we've been waiting for this storm that kinda didn't happen.

Yesterday morning, I got off work. Pretty clear conditions. I stayed up for a while thinking something might happen early (I kind of had my facts wrong, too - it happens).

Finally get some sleep, but we wake up kinda early. Got maybe 4 hours sleep tops. Because we're still expecting this thing to happen sometime today.

Then we get the info that Hanna's supposed to make landfall at 2am around Wilmington (for those not from here, it's a coastal town near the NC/SC border) and at around 2am Sunday morning, it's supposed to be long gone, through Virginia. OK.

We go to the store for some stuff, thinking we were going to need to stock up and all that good stuff. The local Food Lion has these metal shutters over their windows, not real shutters but rather some kind of paneling they just threw up real ghetto-like. I wish I'd gotten pictures. Oh, and a sign that said "Yes we're open", one of those Coca-Cola banners smaller stores have. Epic fail for not saying "I assure you we're open" ("Clerks." reference). It didn't even need to be shoe polish on a bedsheet, just the words - would it be too much to ask? Oh well. We scored the bare necessities. You know... bread, milk, bologna, cheapo frozen pizzas, Whoppers (Hershey's, not Burger King's), etc.

We get home. Still no rain. It's a pretty nice day out. Hardly a cloud in the sky. And everyone's making like it's Hurricane Floyd (1999) all over again.

We decide to make it a movie night. First up was Layer Cake, a pretty good British gangster flick starring Daniel Craig (the recent James Bond) and Colm Meaney (best known as the transporter chief and handyman from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine). I love seeing Star Trek actors curse, drink, do drugs, or otherwise engage in behaviour they never would on a G/PG television program.

Then we watched WWE Friday Night SmackDown! on the DVR. Decent show, but it sucks Mick Foley's no longer on commentary, I loved his personal style. And that Edge is taking a break (read: Undertaker sent him to Hell at Summerslam), he always puts on a good show. Undertaker's uber-awesome dramatic entry was interrupted by a storm update, which of course we skipped because it was by then three hours outdated. We got treated to a pretty good match between MVP and Shelton Benjamin, two heels who usually put on good matches. Jeff Hardy's talents got wasted on a mostly worthless act they call "The Brian Kendrick". The guy's got talent, but in trying to build him as a heel, they just have him steal matches. Boring. Shelton Benjamin is a heel and still puts on good matches, but then he's established. Main event sucked - long story short, Triple H got punk'd by half the locker room. Boring. He still pinned Khali after a Pedigree. Oh, and there were a couple Diva matches.

Checked the weather again. Nothing too big, still pretty calm.

Next movie up, Ready to Rumble. SmackDown! didn't really fulfill our pro wrestling fix, so we watched this 90 minute ad for WCW (WWE's competition in the 90s which they now own). Pretty good movie along the lines of Joe Dirt. A couple of losers travel 3 hours to see a taping of WCW Monday Nitro only to see their hero lose his title, so they track him down and find out he's an even bigger loser than they are, but they don't give up, ultimately taking him to Las Vegas in an attempt to win his belt (and respect) back. It was better than I thought it would be at the start - and half an hour in. For a while it was looking pretty bad. I'm not sure if it gives a better or worse depiction of pro wrestling than exists in reality. I really need to read more books on the backstage politics and technical side; while I do enjoy watching as a fan, I'm much more interested in the production of the show. (Yes, I'd love to work for WWE - just as a tech guy though. Meeting some of the legends and superstars wouldn't be a bad bonus either.)

So anyway, movie ends and my wife pretty much declares the storm a no-show and heads to bed. And here I am, 6:30 in the morning, typing away the PG-side of the night's events. I'm hearing a bit of wind outside, but looking at's live radar, which is even better than what they show on TV (Google Maps with a live radar = pure win) and it looks like TS Hanna went farther inland than originally anticipated. It's probably pretty wet in Raleigh, and Greenville might be seeing some drippage, but it's still mostly dry here. We've had some light rain.

Here's a screenshot of wunderground's map, with some notes of my own.

The red circles is about where TS Hanna hit land, just south of Wilmington. I think technically the eye of the storm landed on our side of the border, but I'm not sure. Close enough anyway, and I'm sure Myrtle Beach (SC city/tourist trap just south of the border) got hit with some rainfall earlier. It actually hasn't reached Raleigh yet, but should any time now. The thin red lines are my guesses (from having watched it all night) as to where the worst of it will go. The red star (directly south of Washington) is approximately where we are. Chocowinity, NC - zip code 27817 - if you'd like to look it up.

We will get wet by the time it's passed us by, but it won't be as bad as we thought.

What we have to worry about is Hurricane Ike, which is right behind Hanna. Earlier I mentioned Hurricane Floyd, but people who were here when that hit said it wasn't even that bad, it's just that it too was right behind another hurricane, Dennis, so the one-two punch is what did the damage. We've got a tropical storm followed by a hurricane followed by a tropical storm (Josephine's the third one). And of course it all depends on what path they will follow when they reach us. Experts are almost certain it'll hit Florida, but the question is whether it will follow the Atlantic seaboard up and hit the Carolinas or continue through the Gulf and tear up the Gulf states. And then there's Josephine, can't forget about that one.

It's not too tough tracking the storms, really. You see these guys on TV and they sound so smart, but nowadays Joe Citizen has access to many of the same resources. You can use the more popular (The Weather Channel) but I find to be more direct, easier to get at the relevant information for a quick drive-by check. Or you can be a real nerd and check both. But tracking storms isn't the important part, preparing for them is. Both phones charged, we have water, we have food, we have flashlights. As long as we have power, we can watch the news or go online for information, but if we lose power, we have the Net on our phones. No live radar or any bells and whistles, but we can get basic info.

So to our friends and family, we're safe from Hanna, I think it's safe to say. Ike and Josephine though... we'll have to keep you posted on that. (And that strong wind I heard earlier is gone now.)

Last note: It's coming a little more to the east now, but rather than Raleigh getting the eye, I think it's going to pass through Wilson. Not too far off. Greenville isn't going to fare much worse than I initially thought, and we still look clear. But I'm only seeing the front band, or arm making a huge arc to the west, from Fayetteville through Chapel Hill and up into Richmond, VA. There should be a trailing band or arm that will probably slap us later in the day, but that should be weaker.

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