Friday, September 23, 2005

Hurricanes and Red Cross update

Hurricane Rita is just a few hours from landfall. Thank any deity you pray to it has diminished to a Category 3 storm. It can still cause a lot of damage, but not as much as a Category 4 or 5 could.

Been busy all day and then sat down to watch the DVD box set edition of Ben Hur once I got home. So not been paying that much attention to Hurricane Rita. So am not sure if those talking heads on the Weather Channel has mentioned this little bit of information. Some people are probably wondering why does a hurriane lose power as it approaches landfall. A hurricane is basically a steam engine and it depends upon heat and water vapor to keep going. So as a hurricane approaches any significant landmass, using Northern Hemisphere since that is where cyclones called hurricanes occur, the feeder bands on the Eastern side are swirling in a counter-clockwise direction and passing over land more and more. Hence there is less water vapor and heat to feed the hurricane engine on that side of the storm, so like a car running out of gas so does a hurricane. Another factor is how fast the storm is moving. The faster the storm, the less impact landmass has on those feeder bands before landfall and hence the storm stays stronger. Conversely, the slower moving a storm is the more it will weaken before landfall.

Well we got to the distribution site this morning. The county disaster director was there along with one police cruiser. The Red Cross had folded the check operation the previous afternoon. And incredibly there were no cars waiting at the gate to get in, the police had managed to disperse them before our arrival. So for several hours all we did was watch the gate and make sure any stragglers got the message. As we were doing this, two Red Cross workers showed up. Their bureaucracy had failed to tell them the operation was over, a lady put on her Red Cross vest. Since we had been telling people the place was closed, we quickly suggested to her to pull that vest off. She was quick on the uptake, once the words Red Cross and 'we told them the Red Cross program was closed.' the vest came off in a flash. So a riot was avoided. Have not heard of any riots at any of the places checks were being distributed, but some sites had overt armed guards to keep the people in line. I am glad I was not at one of those sites. Meanwhile it seems where I was not the only place where people were scamming the Red Cross for money. As a result of widespread abuse, even in the face of constantly evolving defenses; the Red Cross suspended writing any checks to Katrina survivors who lost food due to loss of electricity. Hence there we were Friday morning telling the people to call the police to see if they had other information or just go home since we were closed.

So now watching to see if Hurricane Rita will pull any surprises besides those leaking levees in New Orleans. Unfortunately this storm has indirectly claimed 24 lives in Texas when a vehicle transporting elederly people away from Rita's possible landfall caught fire, killing them. Lets pray there are no more deaths from Rita and that Rita continues to fizzle.

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