I'm not going to pretend I'm sorry that Hurrican Ike is not coming here. But I really do feel for the people in its path. As you may or may not know, it's bearing down on Galveston, which was hit by a hurricane in 1900 that resulted in the greatest loss of life of any natural disaster in U.S. history. There is a very fine and—especially if you live on the Gulf Coast—very scary book about that event, Isaac's Storm, by Erik Larson. I happened to be reading it a week before Hurricane Katrina.
Ike is expected to make landfall "late Friday or early Saturday," according to current reports. A hurricane at night is much more frightening than one that arrives in daylight. One can only imagine what it must have been like before modern transportation and communication made it possible to keep such a close eye on these storms. Galveston in 1900 knew that a big storm was coming, but had no idea just how big it would be, and of course when they began to realize the truth it was too late.
While I'm on the subject: even though the storm is hundreds of miles away from here, we're getting some flooding in low-lying areas. My wife took some pictures yesterday (from her car, on the way to work) of flooding on the Mobile Bay causeway, a sort of land bridge across the bay. Much of it is quite low and floods fairly often. You can see the pictures here. I think she took these mostly for our absentee children. If you don't know the area, it may not be apparent, but most of the water you see in these pictures is not supposed to be there—normally there would not be water any closer to the car than 50-100 yards/meters. From what I saw this morning the flooding was probably greater today.Pre-TypePad