Daily Illuminator

September 23, 2005: Weather Update

It looks like the worst, and even the second-worst, will miss us completely. Unless the hurricane decides to ignore the forecasters, and they DO that, rather often. So cross your fingers for us.

I'm still on personal alert because my house is considerably more vulnerable than most of Austin. I live in a neighborhood that never should have been built . . . we're in the 25-year floodplain of Onion Creek, and Onion Creek would be considered a river in many places. Supposedly we'll be condemned and bought out in a few years. Right now, if too much rainfall drops in the wrong place over a short period of time, we get inches - or feet - of water across our floors. So the predictions that Rita's going to stall out "someplace unpredictable" and drop a couple of feet of rainfall . . . these are unsettling.

So, of course, I've been rereading my two favorite Big Storm books. Bruce Sterling's Heavy Weather is really about a monster tornado rather than a hurricane, but it's close enough for jazz. John Barnes' Mother of Storms is about hurricanes . . . big hurricanes . . . lots of hurricanes . . . and the havoc that just a bit of global warming could create. Very good book. (Warning: As he often does, Barnes describes some very twisted people doing very bad things. If you are upset by graphic descriptions of either murderous sadism or weather-related megadeaths, SKIP this book.)
-- Steve Jackson

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