I feel as if events are swirling around us without touching us. At this moment, there's no wind, and only an intermittent rain drop or two, si it's easy to feel like relaxing. Of course, it is still early, and this sort of thing is hardly atypical of a tropical storm. Twenty minutes from now, la deluge could arrive, and I could well be looking for two of everything for the ark.
A good deal has been happening around Seabrook, but thankfully not on top of us. Of course, that's not to say that other communities haven't been hit
Surface winds surpassing 60 mph were recorded by the National Weather Service, which issued a tropical storm warning for 325 miles of coastline from Port Aransas to Intracoastal City, La. Because the winds were getting close to hurricane strength -- the threshold is 74 mph -- a hurricane watch also covered the coast from Port O'Connor to High Island, just east of Galveston.
No deaths or serious injuries directly related to the storm had been reported, although a man apparently died about 4:50 p.m. after inexplicably jumping off the causeway into Galveston Bay.
Fay spent most of Friday all dressed up with no place to go. It was held in check by a high-pressure ridge to the north and an upper-level windshear that chopped off the tops of the large clouds. As a result, the storm remained disorganized.
Forecasters said Friday night the center of the storm was expected to make landfall this afternoon near Matagorda Island. The weather service was having a hard time pinpointing the location of the probable landfall because the storm was moving so slowly and erratically. Forecasters said the storm will move north-northwest this morning.
But there was little doubt what Fay would bring when it gets here.
"Really heavy rains," said Gene Hafele, a weather service forecaster.
Most of the serious weather would probably take place north of the storm center's actual point of landfall, the weather service reported.
There is some good news. The storm bears more resemblance to Tropical Storm Frances in 1998 than to Tropical Storm Allison, which inundated the Houston area last year, Hafele said.
He predicted much lighter rainfall than with Allison, which rolled over the Houston area in June 2001, then doubled back a few days later to drench the area again. Some areas received as much as 36 inches. Hafele did express concern that high tides could create problems by reducing the bayous' ability to drain.
A modest strengthening of the storm was expected today amid predictions of 4 to 8 inches of rain, mainly in the Houston-Galveston area to the north of the storm's center, although rains could total as much as 15 inches, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.
I'm hopeful that the worst is past, and it may well be. Honestly, though, there really is no way to be certain. I look out the front window now, and it looks like any other showery Saturday morning. There's even a wee bit o' sunshine poking it's way through the clouds. How bad can that be, right??
For those folks living in the Galveston- Bolivar Peninsula area, they've received much more rain than we have here in Seabrook. Localized flooding has become a serious problem in some coastline communities. Thus far, Seabrook has escaped the worst of it, which probably explains why the TV crews have left town. Hey, if it ain't bleedin', it ain't leadin', and there's (thankfully) no bleeding in Seabrook- at least that I'm aware of.
John Simsen with Galveston County Emergency Management said according to the National Weather Service that some very heavy bands of rain would be whipping through the area by midnight. A band moved over Galveston Island at around 10:00 Friday night that was capable of producing up to six inches of rain an hour. Galveston Emergency Management suspended the call for evacuation due to the heavy rains and high winds.
The rain has been coming down throughout the evening in Freeport and that's the story in other places along with gusty winds. And in some places there is some street flooding.
Some people have left their homes voluntarily, but there has been no mass evacuation. Most people are just riding this one out.
But they're likely to find a lot of roads under water before the night is out. That sort of trouble grew worse as the day went on. Air 11 spotted dozens of drivers facing that dilemma in quite a few locations.
Rising water completely covered some residential streets on Tiki Island. And street flooding has also been a problem in Bayou Vista. For many residents getting home was tricky very tricky.
And many drivers along Highway 6 in Bayou Vista decided it would be better to wait than to risk flooded streets. All day long the heavy surf has threatened homes and roads along the shore.
Things weren't much better in Jamaica Beach where people there were driving at their own risk. And homes were under siege as well.
As for the north jetty on Bolivar Peninsula it normally sits about five feet above the surf, but not Friday.
Galveston County has access to six high-water vehicles from the National Guard, two of which were already on the Bolivar Peninsula Friday night, to help with any evacuations Saturday. They also have a full contingent of law enforcement on standby. In Galveston County people can call 281-309-5027 for help.
I imagine caution will be the order of the day, regardless of where you are. It would be easy to look outside and get a false sense of security. Yes, I've been worried, and I still am. Of course, I would like nothing better than to be proven wrong, and shown that all my worrying was for naught.
It would be nice to be able to dry out....