September 15, 2004
Ivan the Terrible

Man. Has this been a crappy hurricane season or what? And it's just September 15. To Mac and everyone else in the path of Ivan, please stay safe. Over here in Houston, where we're waaaaaay overdue to get creamed by one of these suckers, we know fully well that there but for the grace of God go we.

Oh, and you can expect gas prices to go up after Ivan goes away, thanks to all of the refineries and rigs that have been closed down in preparation for it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 15, 2004 to National news | TrackBack

Given the nature of hurricanes, Houston may be too far inland and too far west to feel the full force of a hurricane. Galveston would be more likely to take a full hit, but it seems that any storm would have to veer further west than usual for even that to happen.

Of course, NYC is overdue for an earthquake, but that's another discussion.

Posted by: William Hughes on September 15, 2004 11:46 AM

Hurricane Alicia hit here pretty hard in 1983, and Hurricane Gilbert was headed here in 1988 before veering west into Mexico. Houston is not a common target for hurricanes, but we're definitely in their range, and every expert you ask will tell you it's just a matter of time.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on September 15, 2004 12:41 PM

A 5 coming ashore at Galveston would still be a 5 by the time it gets to downtown. Camille came ashore a 5 and didn't drop to a 3 until Jackson, MS. That's about 125 miles or so. I consider that exceedingly small comfort.

FWIW, there were - I think - 19 storms, cat 1 or better, hitting in the Houston area (100nm radius) in the last century. That's one every 5 years or so and the last one was in '89, 15 years ago.

The worst case scenario is a strong storm, think Camille again, with the eastern edge of the eyewall in the vicinity of I-45. Anywhere around Galveston Bay or the Ship Channel would be under 15-25' of water. Not pretty.

Incidentally, check out if you want to look up hurricane tracks. The data goes back to 1851.

Posted by: Charles M on September 15, 2004 1:03 PM

I actually did check out the web site Charles mentioned in his post immediately after my original comment, so I did learn about the chances of such an event occuring. There is more of a history of hurricanes in Corpus Christi or Brownsville, but there have been wind gusts of close to 140 MPH in Houston in the last century.

Posted by: William Hughes on September 15, 2004 1:38 PM

Thanks, Chuck. Hopefully, this will just turn out to be a big rainstorm, and my apartment is in a pretty safe area, but [knock on wood]. Fifty miles south, things might be pretty rough.

Posted by: Mac Thomason on September 15, 2004 2:03 PM

Geez, William....

There is more of a history of hurricanes in Corpus Christi or Brownsville, but there have been wind gusts of close to 140 MPH in Houston in the last century.

Are you trying to jinx us?

Posted by: Patrick on September 15, 2004 3:46 PM

I was a kid living on a small farm near San Marcos when Hurricane Allen hit the south Texas coast. We were pretty far inland, but what we got was bad enough. We had five tornados in one night and rain like I had never seen before. So yeah, I agree with those above that no hurricane hitting Galveston is going to lose much force by the time it hits Houston.

My prayers for those living on and near the north Gulf shore in the next few days. Stay safe y'all.

Posted by: FHC on September 15, 2004 3:55 PM

So far, there's still power in New Orleans, and not much rain. Some wind, of course, but nothing like what Mobile is gonna suffer. My thoughts and prayers go out to those taking a direct hit.

Providing the levees hold, this soup bowl of a city is not gonna fill up. However, escaping the full brunt of the storm is still no excuse not to get drunk.

Posted by: oyster on September 15, 2004 7:38 PM