Hurricane Gustav Update #4

Things may be improving slightly for those of us in North-Central Louisiana – but that makes it much worse for those in South-West Louisiana and East Texas, I’m afraid. Gustav’s predicted track has swung slightly West, putting its eye about 70-80 miles from my home at its closest point, instead of the 50-odd miles forecast this morning. That’s excellent from my point of view, because the wind strength in my area will be that much lower. We’re certainly going to get tropical-storm-force winds, but perhaps we’ll be spared the real killer blow we were fearing. Click the chart for a

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Hurricane Gustav Update #3

According to the latest prediction, Gustav’s track has shifted very slightly to the East, so the eye won’t be a direct hit on my home: but I’ll be within 50 miles of it – right in the bad North-East quadrant, where the strongest winds and rain are expected. The map below shows the currently forecast track as a red line. My home is marked with the letter “A” in the red icon. Click the map for a larger view. I won’t be evacuating. Due to my work with the relief teams, we hadn’t considered evacuation, and at the time our

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Hurricane Gustav Update #2

This is looking worse and worse . . . Gustav’s predicted track has jogged slightly to the East. It’s now headed for a direct hit on my home town, sometime on Tuesday. This. Is. Not. Good. If Gustav does clobber us, the contractors who are supposed to start work here on Tuesday, repairing my fire damage, won’t be working: and there’ll be so much more urgent damage that I may take months to get things finished! Our preparations continue. I’m going to try to find some help tomorrow to board up my windows (being partly disabled, it’s a difficult job

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A tip o’ the hat to Sherwin-Williams

I don’t often endorse commercial products or companies, but I have to offer a hat-tip to Sherwin-Williams for their amazingly useful Web tools, and the excellence of the service in two of their stores that I’ve visited recently. As you know, my home was damaged in a fire last week, and amongst other things, the interior will be completely repainted to remove the smell of smoke from the walls. I checked out half-a-dozen paint companies’ Web sites, but found the Sherwin-Williams Color Visualizer by far the most intuitive and useful tool on the Web. It allows you to apply any

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Mexico going from bad to worse?

In early July I wrote about the danger from Mexican drug cartels – a danger now evident on the US side of the border, as well as in Mexico itself. I note that the past couple of weeks have seen things get even worse. Two weekends ago more than 30 people were murdered in the Mexican state of Chihuahua; and today we learn that eleven decapitated bodies have been found outside the city of Merida on the Yucatan peninsula. Friends and readers, allow me to assure you, I know what I’m talking about when I say that the present situation

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Another reason why dogs are so much fun

I’m greatly entertained by a report from England about two surfing Labradors, Branston and Pickle. The pair of chocolate Labradors have become addicted to the sport since owner Mark Berry took them on a trip to the seaside. Without any tuition, the four-legged beach bums have learnt to stand up on a surfboard and ride waves in to the shore. And while the surf was only knee-high and unridable for their human counterparts at West Wittering, West Sussex, the pooches enjoyed tail-high waves to themselves. The surf-mad mutts swim out to where the waves are breaking with Mark, 39, and

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Hurricane Gustav Update #1

I’m part of an emergency response organization, which at the moment is in full swing preparing for Hurricane Gustav. As and when I can, I’ll post updates on what’s happening. (Due to my physical limitations – injury-caused partial disability – I can’t be part of a team in the field: but I’m qualified on radio, have extensive emergency management background, and can help co-ordinate activities, so I’m on board.) Gustav is looking more and more worrying. He’s already up to a Category 4 hurricane as I write these words, and is bearing down on Cuba. I wouldn’t like to be

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Lessons learned from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005

In a comment to my previous post, Pappy asked: Peter, how about a post about what you do to prepare for a hurricane, and also for the influx of “visitors” running from the storm. Funny thing you should ask that, Pappy. In 2005, following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, I posted a number of “lessons learned” to an online forum and an e-mail list to which I belong. For the benefit of those who may be interested, I’ll post all four of them below. I’d be pleased to have readers’ feedback, and I hope they’re of help to you. Remember that

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Preparing for Hurricane Gustav

All of us in Louisiana are battening down our hatches and making preparations for what looks, at the moment, to be the arrival of Hurricane Gustav in a few days time. I’m fairly well prepared anyway, of course. I can feed and look after myself for at least a month, if my house isn’t damaged too badly by the storm. I’m always bemused by the rush of shoppers at the last minute, trying to stock up on essentials. Why can’t they have those basic preparations in place long before hurricane season? I’m also hugely amused by the run on local

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Sarah Palin

I’m enjoying all the fuss about Sarah Palin’s selection as Senator McCain’s vice-presidential running mate. I think she’s a great choice. A strong, independent spirit, not afraid to take on party vested interests; a proven record fighting corruption and the “good-old-boy” network; strong on many positions and values that I regard as very important, even though she has others with which I respectfully disagree; in short, a very strong figure to balance what I perceive as the real weaknesses in McCain himself. I’m hugely amused at the immediate attempt by the Democratic Party and its mouthpieces to portray her as

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