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HURRICANE DEAN - Preparedness/Help - Questions and Advice

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An early attempt to organize the discussion of Dean in case it develops into a major threat.

Below are some excerpts from Eric Berger's posts this morning on one question that comes up again and again - whether to evacuate.

"Now is not the time to decide to evacuate. But now is the time to decide whether you will evacuate if Hurricane Dean approaches the upper Texas coast. I cannot stress enough that it's entirely plausible Dean will make landfall anywhere from central Mexico to the Mississippi River. Texas is as likely a target as anywhere, however. The purpose of this entry is to help guide residents in this decision as I have received a lot of questions this morning. The key, as we'll see below, is whether you live in a storm surge zone. First, however, I want to lay out a possible timeline. The most aggressive model, GFDL, brings Dean to the Texas coast the quickest. Here's a snapshot of where Dean is, according to the model, on Wednesday morning at 1 a.m.:

DeanWed1a.m.jpg

... As you can see, at 1 a.m. next Wednesday it's possible that tropical-storm force winds will be blowing over Galveston Island. Bear in mind this is the fastest model, and the one that brings it closest to Houston. I chose it not to scare people, but to give you an idea of the earliest possible time Dean might begin seriously affecting the area. Now, should you go? The answer lies in where you live, and the extent to which you are comfortable with the structure of your home. Following so closely after Hurricane Katrina, Rita prompted a lot of people to evacuate who normally might not have. Prior to Rita, during a "successful" evacuation, officials planned to get 70 percent to 80 percent of residents out of evacuation zones. Of those who would evacuate, officials planned, about 10 percent to 20 percent would "shadow evacuees" not from the recommended zones. During Rita 85 percent to 90 percent of people left from evacuation zones, and more than half of everyone who left -- 1.5 million people -- were shadow evacuees. That, in part, explains the gridlock.

At the beginning of this year city and county officials took pains to urge residents who live outside of the surge zone to seriously consider not evacuating. Who lives in the surge zone? See the map below. Here's a link to a much larger version.

HurricaneEvacuationMapCitiesIdentified2006.jpg

Residents in the outer zone along the coast are advised to evacuate during any hurricane, those in the middle zone for major hurricanes (Cat 3, 4 and 5) and those in the inner zone for Category 4 and 5 hurricanes. If you live outside a surge zone officials do not recommend evacuation unless you live in a mobile home, or until you've waited for coastal residents to evacuate. Only you know your home. Inland sustained winds are unlikely to be much above 100 mph in most storms, and most homes should withstand this. Problems can arise if tall trees fall on homes (especially pines), from projectiles picked up by wind, and possibly from tornadoes. But I think the advice from public officials is sound."

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I'm not in an evacuation zone, and I wasn't planning on getting out. I live in the Heights.

However, my lab admin is asking what we're all planning in the event that Dean heads this way, and looked at me like I was nuts for saying I was staying.

I have plenty of food and water on hand, charcoal and propane, flashlights, batteries and radio. My cars have gas. The trees have been recently trimmed. I don't know what else I can do, but I'm starting to get a little worried.

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if you have a gas stove, make sure you have some matches. since most of the new ones are sparker lit, if power goes out, so does your ability to use the stove.

EDIT: and a manual can opener

Edited by musicman

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I'm not in an evacuation zone, and I wasn't planning on getting out. I live in the Heights.

However, my lab admin is asking what we're all planning in the event that Dean heads this way, and looked at me like I was nuts for saying I was staying.

I have plenty of food and water on hand, charcoal and propane, flashlights, batteries and radio. My cars have gas. The trees have been recently trimmed. I don't know what else I can do, but I'm starting to get a little worried.

All we need is a weak cold front to push it north.

We will get one. (crosses fingers)

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Who in the world would use a stove in a house without electricty {a/c}? What kind of Yankee are you ;-)
you're more than welcome to come over and boil water since if the electicity is out, the drinking water could become contaminated due to lack of pressure. having a/c could be the least of our worries. ;)
All we need is a weak cold front to push it north.We will get one. (crosses fingers)
where's that HD DVD crystal ball of yours? ;) Edited by musicman

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Just seems a bit risky indoors. Start a fire and say buh-bye to all your belongings.

We have plenty of water. And an outdoor kitchen that runs on propane.

Bring it on, DEAN! I am ready, and I am staying put.

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Yep, got the matches and the manual can opener (we only have a manual can opener - we're Luddites :rolleyes: ) I thought I remember reading somewhere that gas lines could/should be shut off in some circumstances?

I did survive the Great Northeast Blackout of 2004, but I only lost power for a day or so.... not quite the same thing.

What totally stinks is that my husband is overseas right now, and will most likely be stuck there if Dean hits. I'd rather not ride this out by myself.

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Just seems a bit risky indoors. Start a fire and say buh-bye to all your belongings.

sounds like you're having problems with your stove.

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Yep, got the matches and the manual can opener (we only have a manual can opener - we're Luddites :rolleyes: ) I thought I remember reading somewhere that gas lines could/should be shut off in some circumstances?

I did survive the Great Northeast Blackout of 2004, but I only lost power for a day or so.... not quite the same thing.

What totally stinks is that my husband is overseas right now, and will most likely be stuck there if Dean hits. I'd rather not ride this out by myself.

i only have a manual can opener too.

i would say gas is fine unless a tornado comes along (or some other reason the pipes would get destroyed). i remember during alicia we only lost power for 4 days but our across the street neighbors lost it for a week or so. my high school lost it for two weeks and other places even longer. only way you can cool down is to open your windows. (hope yours open and your screens are good too!)

this is when people will be complaining that Centerpoint didn't trim their trees well enough to keep them from damaging power lines.

Edited by musicman

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What totally stinks is that my husband is overseas right now, and will most likely be stuck there if Dean hits. I'd rather not ride this out by myself.

If Dean comes our way, there will be others sticking around in the Heights. I'm in the Heights, didn't leave for Rita, and am not likely to leave for a similar threat. A lot can still happen in the next few days. Come next week, though, if things look scary, be sure to check back on HAIF. I think you'll find some good support here.

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Come next week, though, if things look scary, be sure to check back on HAIF. I think you'll find some good support here.

Anything is better than listening to Frank Billingsly say "hunker down!"

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I live in an apartment building on the 3rd floor, and I always hear this talk about boarding up windows. I don't know how to go about doing that, especially since you can't really access my window without a huge ladder from the ground, and even then the building isn't wood so it would be hard to drive nails in to hold the boards.

I was wondering if you guys think boarding up is important. Is it only important to board it up for a stronger hurricane, or do people do that for all storms?

I think as far as supplies I'd be safe - I've got food and water and a gas barbecue. And I think my building is pretty sturdy. There is one tree across the street that could be a problem, but no large trees in front of my apartment that could hit my window.

The latest models on Wunderground seem to diverge a bit more than before, with most of them showing the storm going south towards the Mexico border and one of them showing it heading more towards LA. I guess we have to wait and see.

at200704_model.gif

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I live in an apartment building on the 3rd floor, and I always hear this talk about boarding up windows. I don't know how to go about doing that, especially since you can't really access my window without a huge ladder from the ground, and even then the building isn't wood so it would be hard to drive nails in to hold the boards.

I was wondering if you guys think boarding up is important. Is it only important to board it up for a stronger hurricane, or do people do that for all storms?

what is the building made of? IMO boarding is only necessary for the stronger type storms, BUT if there is flying debris they are invaluable. i remember my parents having their back sliding door replaced after alicia. it was the old single pane sliding door. with the wind, you could hear/see the glass (and frame) flexing. the big expanses of glass are usually the more dangerous areas of the house.

Edited by musicman

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Musicman you just did me a big favor by reminding me of, ugh, the windows. We haven't started The Window Project yet, unsticking them all, finding/building screens. Every single one is sealed tight, and recently covered with yet another coat of paint by the previous owners. It looks great, but feels like we're entombed. And the oddest thing: people think I'm crazy to want to be able to open my windows. Un-airconditioned East Texas August. Ugh.

We might be living outside on our porch a few days....note to self--get more Off.

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Anything is better than listening to Frank Billingsly say "hunker down!"

My favorite news verbiage from Rita is when Owen Conflenti said something like Rita coming to

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if you have any used milk containers, fill them with water. you can use them for extra water or put them in the freezer to have some ice blocks. also fill any ice chests with extra water.

also a bucket comes in handy in case you need some water to flush toilets. i remember having to get water from outside to do this for one storm.

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Another good preparation item is to have an advance plan for getting in touch with family, friends, and work - you could have limited or complete loss of cell-phone service, land-line service, text messaging, and/or internet access. If you have a family member or friend who can be your primary contact, you can give them contact info for others (e.g., your employer) in advance, so that your primary contact can send messages for you. If nothing else, it can save batteries if you're left with just your cell phone and no electricity.

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Looks like that blue model has shifted back to us.

And we've now got a category 4 on our hands...seems as though 5 is just a matter of time.

Well, I know what I'll be checking every couple of hours for the next few days :)

I've seen the maps above, but what about sticking it out just east of Baytown? I've got family out that way with a generator and tons of food, but also tons of trees...lol. Guess it's not time to start freaking out just YET...let's hope it follows the southern predictions

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I live in an apartment building on the 3rd floor, and I always hear this talk about boarding up windows. I don't know how to go about doing that, especially since you can't really access my window without a huge ladder from the ground, and even then the building isn't wood so it would be hard to drive nails in to hold the boards.
There's not too much you can do if you're in an apartment other than try to hide in the bathroom if it gets too bad.If you have long curtains, you may want to fasten them toegther in front of the window so they'll catch some of the flying glass. I had fairly fuzzy curtains, so a few strips of Velcro got the job done.You can't have enough batteries. And a couple of good flashlights. Good ones. Not ones that are made of plastic. Good, strong, moderately priced ones. The kind that will shine all night without fear, and in the morning you can use it to beat off a pack of roaming dogs if you have to.

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And we've now got a category 4 on our hands...seems as though 5 is just a matter of time.

Well, I know what I'll be checking every couple of hours for the next few days :)

I've seen the maps above, but what about sticking it out just east of Baytown? I've got family out that way with a generator and tons of food, but also tons of trees...lol. Guess it's not time to start freaking out just YET...let's hope it follows the southern predictions

Unless you're talking about Beach City, you're probably ok in that area. The evacuation maps I've seen are based almost entirely on elevation, but distance from open water, the amount of open water, wind direction, and flood risk are also important to consider. Chambers County looks really really bad for storm surge, but if it gets hit with winds out of the north, east, or southeast, then Anahuac won't see a storm surge; if it gets hit with winds out of the west or especially southwest, Anahac gets wiped out.

Also depends on how those trees are situated around your home and whether they're well-trimmed; the more leaves, the more surface area, the higher the likelihood of them being toppled. And of course, weak or dead branches are a big problem. On the other hand, if you've got a really dense canopy, all of the trees together can go a long way toward deflecting a lot of the wind at ground level and reducing the wind pressure exerted on any one tree.

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The Fark headline on this:

Hurricane Dean announces that its gonna gain strength, then it's going to the Gulf of Mexico, and then Texas, and then Georgia, and then Florida, and then all the way to the White House Yeeeeaaaaaaarrrgh

dean_scream_pic.jpg

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Do we really need to hoard mass quantities of food and water here in Houston? Has there ever been a hurricane and you couldn't make it to the store the next day? I was here for Alicia, guess that is the worst I have been through.

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Do we really need to hoard mass quantities of food and water here in Houston? Has there ever been a hurricane and you couldn't make it to the store the next day? I was here for Alicia, guess that is the worst I have been through.

No, you do not need to hoard food and water. You do not need insurance, either. I mean, I was here for Alicia, too, and my house did not blow down. Besides, even if the water became tainted, FEMA would bring you water. Why waste 5 bucks on a lousy case of water?

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It's starting to look more and more that Dean will stay south of us... putting into Mexico or into the lower Texas coast. It's slowing down which is one of the biggest things needed to keep it south of us. Of course it is still several days out and this could change a bit, but it's looking more and more likely that Dean will stay south of Houston.

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As long as it doesn't hit anywhere from say, Kingsville to Freeport.

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Do we really need to hoard mass quantities of food and water here in Houston? Has there ever been a hurricane and you couldn't make it to the store the next day? I was here for Alicia, guess that is the worst I have been through.
How quickly we forget Allison. Some people were stranded for a couple of days. I wasn't one of them because I was on vacation at the time, but when I got back my neighbors and co-workers told some horror stories.And don't think of it as being without food and water for a few days. Think of it as being without food and water for ten meals.I used to have a boss who always reminded us, "civilization is only three meals deep."
No, you do not need to hoard food and water. You do not need insurance, either. I mean, I was here for Alicia, too, and my house did not blow down. Besides, even if the water became tainted, FEMA would bring you water. Why waste 5 bucks on a lousy case of water?
Yeah, look at the great job they did in New Orleans. Or not. (I realize you're being sarcastic, but I had to read it twice. Very subtle.)At the risk of sounding really Texan, in a direct-hit scenario, I have faith in myself only, not my government.Moreover, my primary responsibility is taking care of my family. If I can't shell out $10 in water and $20 in canned food, how can I expect them to have any faith in my ability to take care of them?When I was in my early 20's and didn't care about much in the world I didn't prepare for anything. Now I'm a conservative because I have something to conserve.
It's starting to look more and more that Dean will stay south of us... putting into Mexico or into the lower Texas coast. It's slowing down which is one of the biggest things needed to keep it south of us. Of course it is still several days out and this could change a bit, but it's looking more and more likely that Dean will stay south of Houston.
I'll hold off activating the HAIF hurricane icon, then:HAIFHurricane.gif

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"Yeah, look at the great job they did in New Orleans. Or not. (I realize you're being sarcastic, but I had to read it twice. Very subtle.)

With the amount of rain we've been getting, I felt dry humor was a necessity. ^_^

Edited by RedScare

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It's starting to look more and more that Dean will stay south of us... putting into Mexico or into the lower Texas coast. It's slowing down which is one of the biggest things needed to keep it south of us. Of course it is still several days out and this could change a bit, but it's looking more and more likely that Dean will stay south of Houston.

I can see why you think so, but the average 5 day error for the computer models in 2005 was 285 miles. The straight line distance from Freeport to Brownsville is only 247 miles (A direct hit on Houston would come up from Freeport). The NHC 5 day cone includes Houston, so I'm not planning any cookouts yet. Besides, I've seen so many of those storms take that wicked right turn that I am pretty well convinced that it is NOT going into Mexico.

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Guest Marty
if you have any used milk containers, fill them with water. you can use them for extra water or put them in the freezer to have some ice blocks. also fill any ice chests with extra water.

also a bucket comes in handy in case you need some water to flush toilets. i remember having to get water from outside to do this for one storm.

I have 23, 2 liter soda bottle's in the stand up freezer. Tomorrow Ill start filling up all my ice chest's. I always stock pile non perishable goods you never know what can happen anytime of the year.

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I can see why you think so, but the average 5 day error for the computer models in 2005 was 285 miles. The straight line distance from Freeport to Brownsville is only 247 miles (A direct hit on Houston would come up from Freeport). The NHC 5 day cone includes Houston, so I'm not planning any cookouts yet. Besides, I've seen so many of those storms take that wicked right turn that I am pretty well convinced that it is NOT going into Mexico.

Not only is Red correct about the margin for error being pretty wide, even for the best model, but a hurricane isn't an isolated event. It impacts an area large enough that even if it misses you a bit, it can still be really bad. Let it not be forgotten that NO was on the weak side of the storm.

I tend to have that "wicked right turn" bias, myself, btw.

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Unless you're talking about Beach City, you're probably ok in that area. The evacuation maps I've seen are based almost entirely on elevation, but distance from open water, the amount of open water, wind direction, and flood risk are also important to consider. Chambers County looks really really bad for storm surge, but if it gets hit with winds out of the north, east, or southeast, then Anahuac won't see a storm surge; if it gets hit with winds out of the west or especially southwest, Anahac gets wiped out.

Also depends on how those trees are situated around your home and whether they're well-trimmed; the more leaves, the more surface area, the higher the likelihood of them being toppled. And of course, weak or dead branches are a big problem. On the other hand, if you've got a really dense canopy, all of the trees together can go a long way toward deflecting a lot of the wind at ground level and reducing the wind pressure exerted on any one tree.

Thanks, Niche....I think I'm going to check the elevation on the place, but I know that it's got some distance from the coast. Hopefully this bugger will stay south :) Lord knows we don't need another evacuation which actually kills more people than the d$mn storm! I'm just a nervous nelly after several friends' properties were wiped out by storm surge in MS via Katrina

Models are looking better for us tonight...though I have absolutely no confidence in them, lol

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I'm just a nervous nelly after several friends' properties were wiped out by storm surge in MS via Katrina

Models are looking better for us tonight...though I have absolutely no confidence in them, lol

MS was on the powerful side of the storm, although considering where the media coverage was concentrated, you'd have no way of knowing it. And depending on where exactly your friends' property was, the surge could've been up to 32 feet high. ...but that was in Bay St. Louis, a place that is geographically doomed to having high storm surges.

Galveston Bay is more forgiving.

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I feel bad for all the Mediterranean houses in Houston that will have those lovely red tile roofs torn off in the high winds.

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11news had a story that said some stores are already out of generators

No, you do not need to hoard food and water. You do not need insurance, either. I mean, I was here for Alicia, too, and my house did not blow down. Besides, even if the water became tainted, FEMA would bring you water. Why waste 5 bucks on a lousy case of water?
LOL
It's starting to look more and more that Dean will stay south of us... putting into Mexico or into the lower Texas coast. It's slowing down which is one of the biggest things needed to keep it south of us. Of course it is still several days out and this could change a bit, but it's looking more and more likely that Dean will stay south of Houston.
is your last name billingsley by chance?

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Activate it... it's fun! :D he he

Well, now that Houston is (barely) in the five-day cone, I guess it's OK.

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My dad said plywood was selling like hotcakes at Home Depot. He bought some flashlights.

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Here are a few Hurricane Home Preparation sites, with some useful information on fortifying your home. Note that most of the suggestions are too time consuming and labor intensive to undertake 4 days before landfall. However, it can give you ideas to use before the next one, and can help you decide whether your home is up to the task.

Note that those of you living in homes built with hurricane straps have about a 115 mph rated home. Remember that very few homes in Houston were hit with more than 75 mph winds during Alicia. Your only real concerns (other than flooding) would be to protect windows from storm debris. Look in your attic if you are not sure. You should see galvanized straps holding the rafters to the wall studs.

For the rest of us....

General Home Hurricane Reinforcement

Installing Plywood Hurricane Shutters

PLYLOX Hurricane Clips

Pros & Cons of Various Window Shutters

Right about now, I am wondering why I spent the last 2 weekends building a new arbor for my deck instead of building those board and batten storm shutters I was talking about back in June. Oh, well. Assuming this one stays south of us, I'll get right on that next weekend. :rolleyes:

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Right about now, I am wondering why I spent the last 2 weekends building a new arbor for my deck instead of building those board and batten storm shutters I was talking about back in June. Oh, well. Assuming this one stays south of us, I'll get right on that next weekend. :rolleyes:

it's all about makin' the scare house party central.

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it's all about makin' the scare house party central.

True. Right now, I'm looking for the perfect set of jalepeno lights to hang from the arbor. Hard to find. May have to just go with the Chili Peppers.

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Guest Marty

I am been sitting here with out power for the last 10 minutes my battery back up is beeping away. I usually get about 3 hours out of it.. see you never know what can happen. Some drunk must have hit a telephone pole on Aldine Westfield.

Edit 2:48 am power back on. I heard siren's so something must have happened now back on topic...

Edited by Marty

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