Originally posted on April 19 2005
I have a ton of deadlines this week, blogging will be sparse (as usual). To spare you guys from having to read about my fast food experiences for the next week, I am going to revisit a photo I posted when I first started this blog. I took it during the aftermath of Hurricane Claudette which blew through my town back in July of 2003.
Don’t try this at home.
After a storm, stay inside, don’t go driving around sight-seeing!
It was officially registered as a Category 1 hurricane, but near our home wind speeds were recorded at 115 mph, that is before the anemometers broke.
Reports had indicated that the storm only had 80 to 85 mph sustained winds while making landfall. However, Claudette seemed to be strengthening rapidly as it approached the coast. Wind gusts reached well over 90 mph, and in some cases over 100 mph. According to the July 2003 Monthly Summary by the National Hurricane Center, winds were sustained at 90 mph, which leaves it a few miles per hour short of a Category Two Hurricane according to the Saffir-Simpson Scale.
In order for a hurricane to reach Category Two intensity, it must have winds of at least 96 mph. So, in many ways, Claudette was much more than your average minimal hurricane. It also was a vast system that affected a large portion of the Texas coast. Waves were felt for hundreds of miles prior to the storm’s landfall. Tropical storm force winds extended nearly 150 miles from the storm’s center, and its reach could be felt in 15 Texas counties, which is a lot of real estate.
Even after the storm had moved far inland, and dissipated to a tropical low, its circulation held up quite well as it continued to churn to the West into Mexico and Southern Arizona. That was made possible by the ridge of high pressure spinning in the Four Corners area of the United States that was also responsible for hot and dry conditions in the Western United States. These hot and dry conditions created another season of devastating brush fires.
Even though it wasn’t a major hurricane, it was something scary to experience. I have yet to go through a tornado, but I can only imagine what that is like.