Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Ike Saga Continues... Better News Today...

I am sure you must be weary of hearing about Hurricane Ike day after day! But Ike is the proverbial elephant in the room. We can ignore him, but he is not going away!

I think our situation improved today. When we got up this morning, the storm's predicted landfall had been moved north and east again, moving past us up the coast to Galveston and Houston.

That was really good news for us. If the eye of the storm makes landfall north and east of here, it means we will be on the left side of the hurricane, the "good side" with less wind and less water than the "dirty" side of the storm on the right.

I did not go to meteorology school, but one thing I have noticed since the Weather Channel began tracking this storm is that it rarely has gone where they said it would! I am not saying the Weather Channel always gets it wrong. I am saying in this case, this time, they are getting it wrong -- consistently.

A week ago, they were showing its greatest probability was to turn north at Florida and head up the coast, using pretty much the same path as Hannah, last week's "hurricane of the week". Then they predicted that it would be likely to head due west, toward northen Mexico and Brownsville.

On a daily basis, their choice of destinations for Ike has had to be changed!

One thing I have noticed is that Ike consistently has turned further north and east than they expected.

So I am going to put on my Jeanne Dixon hat and make a prediction: by tomorrow, the Weather Channel will be showing Ike predicted to make landfall somewhere around Beaumont. That is the logical movement, based on the daily adjustments of Ike's course, always to the north and the east.

If my predition is correct, then Galveston and Houston would be on the "good" side of the storm, and in far less danger than if the storm tore a path through Galveston on up to Houston. And we would almost be out of the picture, in that event.

Three years ago, Hurricane Rita was predicted to come up Matagorda Bay and head inland through Wharton County. And this storm seemed stable and predictable throughout the week precediing its landfall. But at the very last minute, it veered sharply to the north and east and landed between Beaumont and the Louisiana border! In that hurricane, most of our babies were still at the Arizona farm and had not been moved over yet. We took the 25 dogs living here and headed off to Odessa -- the only place that had a motel room for Ricky and me, and a kennel facility that could accommodate 25 dogs! When we returned, we saw that not only was there no damage, but our power did not even fail!

Ike could be different, because it is such a massive hurricane. I heard the Weather Channel folk say tonight that Ike was occupying 80% of the Gulf of Mexico right now! Think about the size of this storm! So even if it makes landfall at Beaumont, I don't doubt we will see rain. But we would be far enough away to experience only the outer bands of this hurricane.

We spent today making preparations. We have something of a dormatory of crates in our living room! We have already brought inside the dogs whom we know are fearful of regular thunderstorms. And we have room for many more, who may escape their yards during the storm.

One of our best staff members, Joel Garza, will be staying at the farm tomorrow night, to help Ricky and me with any situations that may arise.

Ironically, today was another beautiful day in south Texas. Sunshine and temperatures in the 80s. And as I write this at almost 1:00 AM Central Daylight Time, the skies are clear and it is a perfect evening outside. The predictions are that this will change radically sometime tomorrow afternoon, as the first bands of rainstorms enter the region.

I am more optimistic tonight than I was last night. I hope that Saturday night I will be writing to say that the storm has come and gone uneventfully, and all is well at Smiling Dog Farms!

Thank you to everyone who has sent emails or made phone calls to us in the past couple days, and to those who offered to help us evacuate.

Jay Hellerich, executive director
smiling dog farms
a 501(c)3 corporation
wharton, texas

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