01 SEP - 9:00 AM
Reports from Metairie (right in my area) indicate 45 MPH winds, not as much rain as expected. Everything seems fine.
Will have photos from the beach soon. If it weren't for the berm, our cars would be under water.
Here we go. Action Reporter Andrea gives us an update.
Virginia poses with the Wind Spirit.
We had a minor crisis. There was a desperate need for bacon. The emergency bacon came through. Thank God.
I'm going to go play in the waves.
Now that I have that out of my system... Some notes.
We watched Gustav from the beginning, and I kept expecting that it would turn away - probably to Texas. With that in mind, we were ready to receive people from Houston and other parts. When it was apparent that it was not going to turn, we started organizing to evacuate. While we continued to watch the storm, we staged various things in the hallway. Unlike Katrina, I completely had my stuff together as I advocate on the Listening to Katrina blog. I was more or less ready to go at a moment's notice. Andrea needs a little more work on her checklist, but she organized quickly. She was not, however, emotionally ready 'to do this again', and was pretty pi$$ed off about it... We worked together and actually ran the 12 hour plan in less than 5 hours. We managed to get on the road before traffic got too exciting. I listened to radio and internet all morning to make sure I knew which routes were best, and we went a little out of our way, but managed to save many hours by doing so. It took about 6 hours to get here, which is actually about average for us. It only takes 4 hours if you drive straight through, but we like to stop now and then.
On Thursday and Friday I went around to each of my clients as our corporate emergency model calls for. I took system copies and reviewed emergency procedures with each client. This was all successful, but there is some room for improvement. Before Gustav came, we already had plans to provide armored cases for each client and some additional materials for their emergency use. We have been so busy lately that this never happened - and will now get top priority as soon as we get back to work. I'll cover the exact preparations as I document them at that time. As it is, there is no fear of loss because I have complete ghosts of every clients operational data in redundant, encrypted hard drives in armored, waterproof cases. After Katrina, we lost ZERO client data, despite losing some locations entirely. We are again poised for a 100% recovery rate. We will be reviewing and refining each client's needs and procedures in the coming week or two.
I am pleased to report that the entire HYST model works perfectly on a personal level. I found that my only issue was in regards to being physically organized. I had some tools scattered here and there, and some other things scattered about because I've been working on a lot of different projects lately. It took me some time to straighten myself out in order to fold all that stuff together like the plan calls for. In the future, I will know that it pays to stay very neatly organized in every respect.
I would like to find a better method of packing and loading than the duffel bag method. That worked pretty well for Katrina, but now that I am organized, I'd actually like to have some larger suitcases or even some hard crates. Andrea packs things into large RubberMaid bins, but they aren't very durable. I'll need to consider some options on that.
I need to pay attention to details more than I do in some cases. I went to use my Swiss Army fuel cans and all the seals were cracked. This is one of those 'fatal flaws'. All 4 of the cans were useless. I filled 2 5 gallon plastic cans - but the plastic cans are lousy. I ought to just pay the money and have a second fuel tank put in my vehicle - but I know where that leads...
Being well organized, we had plenty of room in the vehicles. I could have carried more stuff but didn't. I don't know if that was due to denial or simply being lazy, but we didn't leave anything behind of great value or anything that it would kill me if I never saw it again.
Now we're starting to focus on when we are going back. Still too soon to tell. I don't intend to return with the mass wave of people who are going to return as soon as they can. That'll just be long traffic lines again. I also don't intend to return until I know the power is back on. My female folk get crazy in the heat, so AC is a must. I don't have a generator because I don't play that game.
The only thing I was missing in all my preps was some extra 'C' batteries for my emergency radio. I don't use 'C' batteries very much and had managed to run out of them. That was remedied readily at a local store. No worries.
I've been working on some projects to keep myself occupied and away from Jeraldo Rivera's reports because I end up screaming at the TV. I'm going to go work on some things for the Katrina blog, which I need to update instead of playing with Gustav. I suppose Gustav will become a footnote. We'll have Listening to Katrina and then Talking to Gustav.
I'll have some additional thoughts later. Right now things look good on the home front. We'll have some cleanup to do, but it won't be the nuclear war we were promised yesterday. I guess I won't be buying that new home in the country after all.
Lost power for 5 minutes. Virginia said, "If the lights don't come back on soon, I'll just go to bed.", and the lights instantly came back on. Good trick, that.
Thank God it came back on so fast. I don't know what I'd do without Jeraldo telling us how shitty things are. If I ever catch that man in a dark alley...well...let's just say that I'd hurt my hand.
I was about to break out the flashlights and headlamps. I've got enough flashlights to signal the space station...
Soonest return to Jefferson Parish will be Thursday or Friday according to WWL radio & Parish EOC. All roads to Jefferson Parish closed at this time. Do not return. Power mostly on in Harahan. Maybe my freezer didn't melt... Schools are closed the rest of the week.
Got a visual report on the house. Looks good from the front.
Got another report. Says the trees are trimmed, but standing. That's good.
Photos from earlier:
Going to see the water.
Holding on for dear life.
Here is a 12 meg video of the girls and the beach.
Looking east. You can see that water came to within 4 feet of the top of the dune.
Looking back. (Hi Madeline!)
Our place is on the right with open shutters and unpainted stairway. The stairway was just replaced after Dennis.
Looking out the back door to the bay. Across the bay is the mainland.
Our evacuation vehicles. That's a good picture of my Escape. You
can't see the scratches and dings.
We had a LOT of work done to Andrea's two weeks ago. New tires. New brakes. Full maintenance. Good thing...
Dinner. The burgers last night were better...
The power is now out and I'm running on battery power. I don't know when I'll actually be able to post this... It is now 9:01 PM.