“Don’t worry … about a t’ing. ‘Cause every little t’ing’s gonna be alright.” ~ Bob Marley
We’re now closely watching Hurricane Harvey headed our direction from the Gulf of Mexico — to the south of us, thankfully — and due to make landfall late Friday. With next week being the first week of school, and a teenager getting his permit to drive a car, and the solar eclipse, it kinda snuck up on us.
Here we go again.
Houston, Deep Purple
Image Credit: NOAA.org
The last hurricane to hit the Houston area was Hurricane Ike in 2008. A few years earlier, Tropical Storm Allison hovered over Houston and dumped inches and inches of rain not once but twice resulting in some of the worst flooding our city has ever seen. There were a couple in between where I evacuated with three young children to avoid disaster — which never came.
We remember all those weather events quite well.
Neighborhood Kids and Reliable US Post
Tropical Storm Allison 2001 (2nd Pass)
11″ of rain in a single hour.
Hurricane Ike 2008
The inside of our house …
on the outside on the curb.
Houstonians are no strangers to flooding, but our shopping habits for the pre-hurricane-hunker-down may be a little over the top. It was as if a zombie apocalypse was well underway at the neighborhood grocery this morning, and shopping carts were heaped high with bottled water, boxes of ramen noodles and cup-o-soup styros, cans of meat (chicken, tuna, spam, … yech!!), and propane tanks.
There were also lots of gallons of milk and raw cuts from the butcher along with bags of ice, because people are gonna be needin’ to keep all that meat and dairy from spoiling when the power goes out. For several days, perhaps.
Our power grid is already on the wimpy side, so my feeling is that that will be the worst of it for us.
We’re not ice lovers. So we stocked up on zucchini and summer squash, eggplant, and fresh heads of turnip greens and lettuce instead. These will feed not only us but the rabbits too and produce doesn’t necessarily need to be refrigerated. Dry legumes and grains are easily constituted with hot water; we have natural gas burners in the kitchen in addition to the favored induction (electric).
As for clean water, we will keep a few gallons in the kitchen and run tap (in the even of power loss) for drinking and cooking water only. When the electric water pump quits pumping, the water tank holds the pressure for several days, and toilets can be flushed with rainwater from the barrels outside instead of purified water.
I won’t be so bad. Kind of like camping.
The Sun Ate The Moon
Earlier in this same week we witnessed our first eclipse in Houston since 1979 when I was still in grade school — certainly the first for the kids. It was my brother who offered the life-hack of using a pair of binoculars to view the eclipse rather than the pinhole design we cobbled up with cardboard from the bin.
‘Syzygy.’ What a great Scrabble word. If only it had a plural or a seventh letter. Hm.
The big end of the lens absorbed light from the moon-covered sun and resulted in crisp image on the ground that was easy enough to snap a picture with the smartphone.
Houston Eclipse 2017
1:16p, 67% Coverage
Still mostly bright outside, maximum coverage.
My favorite part wasn’t so much looking at the single lens-created image on the ground but all weird-looking miniature eclipses all over the shaded tree areas, diffraction patterns. Pair that with the dimmer, even cooler feel on a cloudless day, and it was nothing short of an exhilarating experience for us all!
Mini Ground Eclipses
I had to turn the news off, because whenever crowds of people all around the country witnessed the eclipse in full glory, do you know what they did? They took their shades off. What do you think the protective lenses were for, people?
I certainly hope you were all smart enough not to do that. I also hope you didn’t sacrifice any virgins to appease the Gods and make the eclipse stop.
Texans — here’s a little diddy to help you through. Go ahead. Press play and do da dance with me. It really will be alright.