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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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Please watch it all from Jimmy Kimmel--very funny.
This is simply stunning--take the 2 1/2 minutes to watch it all.
The power is finally back on for everyone in South Carolina after the ice storm 10 days ago.
The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina said Saturday morning that their members had finished all their repairs on the grid, getting electricity to the final 200 customers that had been without power since the winter storm on Feb. 12 and 13.
Officials say there still may be scattered outages from the storm with people who will have to repair the wiring going into their own homes.
Read it all.
Some stunning images of the Great Lakes have been captured this winter, as large portions of the massive bodies of water frozen were almost completely froze over for the first time in two decades.
The intense cold snap that gripped much of central Canada and the United States throughout the winter brought thick and widespread ice to the Great Lakes region.
Read it all and look at all the images.
Rob and Kelly Mitchell were prepared for their two sons to have a four-day weekend, but when nasty weather tacked on two additional days, they were caught off guard.
"We had a sitter set up for Friday and I'm off work Monday," said Rob Mitchell, a government contractor and father of Ellis, 7, and Jeremy, 5. "Those days were covered, but we had to scramble to cover the ice days" Wednesday and Thursday.
Read it all from the local paper.
No internet, house and yard is a mess, feels like living in slow motion--KSH.
The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and schools closed, flights were grounded and thousands of people were without power Wednesday as the second ice storm in two weeks slammed the Charleston area.
It could be another tough day in the tri-county area. Light freezing rain and trace amounts of ice accumulation were expected overnight and into early morning.
"That will impact travel Thursday morning," said Blair Holloway, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Charleston.
Read it all from the front page of the local paper.
Oregon replaced Washington, D.C., which had held the top spot for the previous five years as workers sought out government jobs. The nation's capital fell to fourth place last year, tying with South Dakota.
Other top destinations for those seeking to relocate included South Carolina, with 60 percent of moves made for those coming into the state, North Carolina (58 percent), and Nevada (56 percent).
"Business incentives, industrial growth and relatively lower costs of living are attracting jobs and people to the Southeastern and Western states, such as South Dakota, Colorado and Texas," said UCLA economist Michael Stoll.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Travel * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * General Interest Weather * South Carolina * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Watch it all--and enjoy the wonderfully soothing music also.
Watch it all.
In 36 years with three school districts, Bull counts his sick days on one hand -- five -- and tallies just as many in 13 years as a carrier, first as a substitute in 2000 and then as a full-timer in 2007. The temperatures he works in can swing 120 degrees Fahrenheit, from 115 (46 Celsius) in the summer to below zero in the winter’s wind.
Five years ago, the snow and ice were so deep on the road that his power steering gave out. He zigged and zagged and tore through an electric fence, leaving a hole for 50 head of cattle to roam free. He pushed on the gas, nudging the truck out of trouble and on to the nearest farm for help.
“You just never know what might happen,” Bull says over rib-eye and potato salad at his favorite steakhouse.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * General Interest Weather * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
Some areas were hit by the deluge harder than others, but few were spared. This time last year the Greenville area had seen about 21 inches of rain. This year more than 47 inches have fallen so far at the airport, where it's measured.
At the other end of the state, not far from Myrtle Beach, Darel Watts said it's been a struggle at Sugarfoot Organic Farms in Conway.
“Planting was late, and then when we would have a window, it just rained after that and drowned seedlings,” he said. “And once we got things growing it was hard to cultivate, and then we got disease.”
“My mom has been on this property since she was 16, and she's 71, and she said it's the wettest she's ever seen,” Watts said. “When there's a drought, I can irrigate, but I can't wring it dry.”
Read it all from the local paper (emphasis mine).
The start of hurricane season is 6 weeks away, and four independent forecast outlets unanimously agree it will be a busy one.
Colorado State’s Bill Gray and protege Philip Klotzbach, the pioneers of seasonal hurricane forecasting, predict a blockbuster hurricane season, with 18 named storms, 9 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes. (The 1981-2010 30-year averages are 12.1 named storms, 6.4 hurricanes, and 2.7 major hurricanes.)
“We anticipate an above-average Atlantic basin hurricane season due to the combination of an anomalously warm tropical Atlantic and a relatively low likelihood of El Niño,” Klotzbach and Gray write in their outlook, released last week.
Ugh--read it all.
A behemoth storm packing hurricane-force wind gusts and blizzard conditions swept through the Northeast overnight, where more than 650,000 homes and businesses in the densely populated region lost power, roads were impassable and New Englanders awoke Saturday to more than 2 feet of snow.
More than 38 inches of snow fell in Milford in central Connecticut, and an 82-mph wind gust was recorded in nearby Westport. Areas of southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire notched at least 2 feet — with more falling. Airlines scratched more than 5,300 flights through Saturday, and the three major airports serving New York City as well as Boston’s Logan Airport closed.
Read it all.
For anyone wanting to follow the Hurricane Sandy open thread, you'll find it here.
Please post your experiences of Hurricane Sandy in the comments, including links to any interesting storm tracking sites, pictures, news stories, etc.
This storm has the potential to bring severe damage and disruption across much of the East Coast from Delaware to Maine in the coming days. Please be in prayer for all affected.
U.S. meteorologists expect a natural horror show of high wind, heavy rain, extreme tides and maybe snow to the west beginning early Sunday, peaking with the arrival of Hurricane Sandy on Tuesday and lingering past Halloween on Wednesday.
Experts predict at least $1 billion in damage in the United States.
"It's looking like a very serious storm that could be historic," said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the forecasting service Weather Underground. "Mother Nature is not saying, 'Trick or treat.' It's just going to give tricks."
Read it all.
The world is facing a new food crisis as the worst US drought in more than 50 years pushes agricultural commodity prices to record highs.
Corn and soyabean prices surged to record highs on Thursday, surpassing the peaks of the 2007-08 crisis that sparked food riots in more than 30 countries. Wheat prices are not yet at record levels but have rallied more than 50 per cent in five weeks, exceeding prices reached in the wake of Russia’s 2010 export ban.
The drought in the US, which supplies nearly half the world’s exports of corn and much of its soyabeans and wheat, will reverberate well beyond its borders, affecting consumers from Egypt to China.
Read it all (requires subscription).
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Dieting/Food/Nutrition Globalization * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Personal Finance * General Interest Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc. Weather
Is the world on the brink of another food crisis?
It has become a distressingly familiar question. With the price of agricultural staples such as corn, soyabeans and wheat soaring for the third summer in five years, the prospect of another price shock is once again becoming a prominent concern for investors and politicians alike.
The debate marks a dramatic shift from just a few weeks ago, when traders were expecting bumper crops and policy makers were comforting themselves that – if nothing else – falling commodity prices would offer some relief to the troubled global economy.
Read it all (subscription required).
At Cappuccio’s Meats in the Italian Market, the cuts of beef are cutting into the profits.
“Every week when I talk to my suppliers, I’m amazed by how much it’s going up,” said owner Domenick Crimi.
Beef prices soared more than 10 percent last year according to the Department of Agriculture, and they will likely go up at least another 5 percent this year.
Read it all.
The crisis is deepening for some of the 13m East Africans worst-hit by one of the most devastating droughts in 60 years, aid agencies have warned.
World Food Day is being marked nearly three months since the UN declared a famine in parts of the Horn of Africa.
But people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and the newly-formed Republic of South Sudan remain in desperate need of food, water and emergency healthcare.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Dieting/Food/Nutrition Poverty * General Interest Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc. Weather * International News & Commentary Africa Somalia
The Vatican is calling particular attention to the dire circumstances of the peoples of the Horn of Africa, in particular Somalia, who have been facing a severe drought and food crisis since July.
The press office published an informative noted on the "Efforts and Commitment of the Catholic Church in the Horn of Africa," which is issued in conjunction with a press conference held today by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum on the plight of several East African countries.
Presented in a question-and-answer format, the note summarized the situation in countries such as Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia: "A severe drought, conflict and lack of governments have led to massive numbers of people going hungry.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Dieting/Food/Nutrition Poverty * General Interest Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc. Weather * International News & Commentary Africa Somalia * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic
Check them out.
One picture I really liked was this one (maybe because of the red House).
Due to a total loss of power and heavy flooding the area, the Cranford Police Department has been evacuated. Police Chief Eric Mason, who is serving as the emergency management coordinator, was unavaiable to talk to the media regarding the evacuation.
Read it all and check out those pictures.
As the flood waters receded, weary residents across the Northeast began pulling soggy furniture and ruined possessions onto their front lawns as they surveyed the damage wrought by Hurricane Irene.
The mess of destroyed furniture on Paul Postma's front lawn looked like a yard sale gone wrong. Over the weekend, Postma had watched as more than two feet of rain filled the bottom level of his home in Lincoln Park, N.J. On Wednesday, he was using bleach to wipe down the house's mud-soaked walls.
"None of this has value," he said. "At least not anymore."
Read it all.
Check it out and there is a good image there. If you have java, the moving water vaper loop picture is fascinating.
Check it out--ugh.
Anglicans are to meet in Nairobi next week to launch an appeal and advocacy campaign on the food crisis sweeping East Africa.
The meeting which will bring together primates and bishops from the worst hit areas, comes as the UN announced a deepening of the famine in southern Somalia.
The meeting is being organised jointly by the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa and the Anglican Alliance for development, relief and advocacy, through its Africa facilitator, Emmanuel Olatunji.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Culture-Watch Dieting/Food/Nutrition Globalization Poverty * General Interest Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc. Weather * International News & Commentary Africa
All too often the international community, or more specifically the former colonial powers, get blamed for interference, and for the destabilisation and disincentivisation of local initiative in these regions. And yet when children are dying, food and water need to be provided fast, it is often the international community which is best equipped for a rapid response. In Britain, we can be encouraged by the swift response from the Department for International Development, and it is my hope that governments of other nations respond as generously – especially countries of the African Union. They cannot vicariously leave it to Kenya and Ethiopia.
But this is not the only response, and not, ultimately, what is needed to secure a better future for the region. In Eastern Kenya, the people living in the most desperate need are often those outside of the refugee camps. They see the refugees inside benefiting from World Food Programme handouts, while outside they struggle to feed themselves and keep their goats and cattle alive. Despite the horrors of life inside the camps, there is real security there - the promise of food, water, and some medical care. Capacity to provide such shelter should be encouraged but we should not forget there is a real need to ensure for those living on the edge, who year after year must eke out an existence in those dry and barren landscapes, are not forgotten. It is also crucial that people get the support locally so that they don’t have to make such perilous journeys to get aid.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of York John Sentamu * Culture-Watch Dieting/Food/Nutrition Globalization * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * General Interest Weather * International News & Commentary Africa
Mark Shea points us here to see a letter to the editor which begins thus:
The lowest temperature this year was minus 22 in January, while on Tuesday, the high was 103 -- a range of 125 degrees. We Minnesotans take that incredible diversity in stride like few other places in the world.....Now consider--this is "the Letter of the Day" the paper says. What is he arguing for? Guess before you click--KSH.
Economists have found themselves repeatedly making excuses. First it was the snowstorms. Then it was Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster which crimped the supply of parts to car assembly plants in America. Then, as the snow melted, floods ravaged Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee, and tornadoes battered Alabama and Missouri. America has suffered five incidents of extreme weather this year, each inflicting at least $1 billion in damage.
The most important special factor has been petrol. Prices jumped from $3 per gallon at the end of December to $3.90 in early May. That has siphoned off much of the purchasing power that consumers should have extracted from December’s tax agreement and subsequent gains in employment. Total consumer spending rose at just a 6.7% annual rate in the three months to the end of April, but most of that increase was eaten up by inflation. Real spending grew by a paltry 2.2%.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Housing/Real Estate Market Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- * General Interest Weather * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. Asia Japan
I happened to catch this yesterday morning courtesy of the BBC News and when I showed it to family members last night the agreement was it was something else. Watch it all--KSH.
Interstate 70, through central and eastern Missouri, was closed down for a while because of snow and ice. The closure stranded many motorists and workers along the highway. Host Michele Norris speaks to Terri Brackney and Greg Stratton, who work at the Travel Plaza Truck Stop in Warrenton, Mo., and have been stranded there since Monday.
Over 200 trucks parked overnight! Egads! Listen to it all--KSH (Hat tip: Elizabeth).
ABC News has reported: Premier Anna Bligh says Queensland is facing a reconstruction effort of post-war proportions as the state battles possibly the worst natural disaster in the country's history.
The Brisbane River inundated more than 20,000 homes and businesses across the capital when it peaked this morning at 4.46 metres. More than 100,000 homes are without power across the city and to the west in Ipswich where floodwaters are receding rapidly after yesterday's peak. The search for missing people continues in earnest across the Lockyer Valley, where this morning the body of a man was found in a field near Grantham, bringing to 13 the number confirmed dead.
Read it all and continue to pray for those in Australian struggling valiantly to shine Christ's love in this challenging time.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Australia * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Pastoral Care Spirituality/Prayer * General Interest Weather
Like Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the Australian floods come as a salutary reminder that, for all the technological advances of our time and for all the sophistication of modern urban life, there are many ways in which our civilisation is vulnerable and some elements we are still powerless to control.
Read it all.
Ice and sleet and freezing rain-fun, fun, fun.
What a nice picture.
The Rev. Cathi Bencken managed to crack a joke Monday after an apparent lightning strike zapped an iron cross and crumbled the steeple of Trinity Episcopal Church.
“I don’t think it was (because) of anything I said,” she said of the sermon she delivered Sunday.
Neighbors in a nearby downtown apartment told Bencken and other church leaders that lightning hit the church about 3:30 a.m.
Read it all.
Mark Malsick jokes that his summer vacation plans are shot.
That's because the severe weather liaison for the S.C. Climate Office doesn't like how the hurricane season is shaping up.
And neither does anyone else.
El Nino has evaporated. That's a warming trend in Pacific tropical waters which created high- altitude winds shearing hurricanes in this hemisphere the past few years. Meanwhile, the tropical Atlantic is warmer than it was in 2005, the record-breaking year with a record 27 named storms including the devastating hurricane Katrina. And hot seas make for mean storms.
Ugh--read it all from the front page of yesterday's local paper.
As hurricane season looms, forecasters, scientists and residents along the Gulf Coast worry that a major storm could make the oil spill worse.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says a hurricane, or a succession of them, may bring oil up from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico and then push it ashore. Forecasters say a season with multiple storms could send oil farther inland and spread it as far as Cape Hatteras, N.C.
"To think a storm surge could resuscitate a huge sum of oil (from the deep) and deposit it on land is truly catastrophic," says Joe Jaworski, mayor of Galveston, Texas, a city hit by Hurricane Ike in 2008.
Read it all.
There are a lot of fun pictures here.
As many as 50,000 Lowcountry residents are without power this morning as a result of the snow.
An estimated 12,500 people are without power in Charleston and 14,000 more in the Summerville area, according to SCE&G.
Berkeley County Electric Co-op is reporting another 20,000 outages, down from more than 32,000 at its peak early this morning.
The Highway Patrol is urging motorists to stay off the icy and slushy roads unless absolutely necessary.
We lost power and have lots of downed limbs. The yard is a winter wonderland. Wow. Read it all.
Update: The local newspaper photogallery is here and local residents sent in photos there.
Check it out.
Frigid Nights of the sort that we have been experiencing this week beg the question of whether Columbia's homeless have proper shelter.
Fortunately, Columbia's Winter Homeless Shelter, with a little more than 200 beds, is open. But while we suspect the shelter will function better than it ever has before, now that it is operated by The Cooperative Ministry and the USC School of Medicine, it alone isn't enough to meet the needs of the city's homeless. There are an estimated 900 homeless people in Richland County - and that estimate is quite likely low.
While the city and others make gallant efforts to ensure people at least have some place to go to keep warm, the fact is that simply trying to keep homeless people from freezing to death during winter months isn't enough. The Oliver Gospel Mission, which focuses on turning around lives, does what it does well, but its reach is limited; the same can be said for other shelters, programs and advocates who work tirelessly to help the homeless. The bottom line is we aren't doing enough.
Read the whole editorial from South Carolina's largest newspaper.
Watch it all.
In the autumn time feels short, but that there is enough of it, which is paradoxical. Time being a tricky thing to think about is best done alongside Nature, where it seems to make more sense than it does by clock or by calendar. And the memory place that autumn is uses time itself as a container for the things that we keep returning to and trying to understand.
The reflective melancholy of autumn helps me to cope with change and loss, and to find both beauty and necessity in things passing. Ageing has a splendour to it.
Our culture cannot accept that. I think of those lines of Donne: “Nor spring or summer beauty hath such grace/ As I have seen in one autumnal face.”
Read it all.
In terms of numbers, the Anglican Church isn’t a very big player in Samoa.
But the scale of the tsunami disaster is such that no-one with any Pacific connections has been left untouched by it – including some leading figures in the Diocese of Polynesia.
Take Taimalelagi Fagamalama Tuatagaloa-Leota, for example.
Archdeacon Tai, as she’s known to hundreds in this church is a Samoan living in Auckland. She has served as the Anglican Observer at the United Nations, on the Anglican Consultative Council, as a Diocese of Polynesia representative to the General Synod, and earlier this year she was priested.
For her, the impact of the tsunami is profound.
One of her adult sons was in a van that was swept out to sea by the tsunami. He finished up half under the van, impaled by roofing iron. He’s critically injured, and is in Apia hospital.
Read it all.
Quite something--watch it all.
I remember standing at Meeting and Broad streets, the famous Four Corners of Law, thinking this was a historic moment. As a reporter, I felt lucky to be there. As a citizen, however, it was devastating.
A few hours later, I waded onto the barrier islands and witnessed firsthand what looked like a war zone. The power of such a storm made houses on the island look like they had been inside a blender.
In the days to come, the sound of chain saws would dominate our senses as we all witnessed the aftermath of a nightmare.
I remember walking through the rubble of people's homes and wondering how long it would take for us to recover from such a disaster.
Turns out, some of us never will.
Read it all.
An old city, like anyone who has lived a bold life, will have many scars. Over its lifetime, Charleston has weathered plagues, wars, fires, storms and earthquakes — events that left the city in ruins and terrified its residents.
Some scars from these traumatic times are still visible today; others healed outwardly but remain part of the city's collective memory and are as real as the morning light.
Twenty years ago, Hurricane Hugo, a dark mass of spinning winds and vapor as big as the state itself, tore into South Carolina.
Those who went through the storm will never forget the rising waters, the freight-train wail of the winds, the Ben Sawyer Bridge tilting in the marsh, the pines snapped halfway up their trunks, the pink insulation everywhere, the convoys of people coming to help, the exhaustion at the end of a day trying to make things normal again.
Hard to believe it has been two decades. I remember a lot of things, but most of all the sound the wind made. It is a sound I never want to hear again. Read it all--KSH.
A devastating drought is sweeping across Kenya, killing livestock, crops and children. It is stirring up tensions in the ramshackle slums where the water taps have run dry, and spawning ethnic conflict in the hinterland as communities fight over the last remaining pieces of fertile grazing land.
The twin hearts of Kenya’s economy, agriculture and tourism, are especially imperiled. The fabled game animals that safari-goers fly thousands of miles to see are keeling over from hunger and the picturesque savanna is now littered with an unusually large number of sun-bleached bones.
Ethiopia. Sudan. Somalia. Maybe even Niger and Chad. These countries have become almost synonymous with drought and famine. But Kenya? This nation is one of the most developed in Africa, home to a typically robust economy, countless United Nations offices and thousands of aid workers.
The aid community here has been predicting a disaster for months, saying that the rains had failed once again and that this could be the worst drought in more than a decade. But the Kenyan government, paralyzed by infighting and political maneuvering, seemed to shrug off the warnings.
I caught this one coming home last night on the plane. Read it all and look at that remarkable picture.
Giant engineering schemes to reflect sunlight or suck carbon dioxide from the air could be the only way to save the Earth from runaway global warming, according to a group of leading scientists. But they say that these schemes could have their own catastrophic consequences, such as disrupting rainfall patterns, and should be deployed only as a last resort if attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions fail.
The Royal Society, a fellowship of 1,400 of the world’s most eminent scientists, published a report yesterday on the feasibility and possible dangers of technologies for cooling down the Earth, known as geoengineering. The ideas include artificial trees that draw CO2 from the air and mimicking volcanoes by spraying sulphate particles a few miles above the Earth to deflect the Sun’s rays. The most far-fetched would would be to launch trillions of small mirrors into space to act as a sunshield.
A far cheaper solution would be a fleet of 1,500 ships that would suck up seawater and spray it out of tall funnels to create sun-reflecting clouds. However, the report said that these clouds could disrupt rainfall patterns and result in mass starvation in countries dependent on the monsoon.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Globalization Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Energy, Natural Resources * General Interest Weather * International News & Commentary England / UK
(ACNS) 'Continuing exaggerated weather patterns across Southern Africa are a further illustration of the urgent need to tackle global warming' Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said on Tuesday, calling for swift and decisive global action on climate change.
Speaking in the week before the G20 summit, the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town said 'We have had enough of talking. The international community cannot continue to prevaricate while countries like ours are increasingly suffering inestimable human cost, in deaths, displacement, and the destruction of livelihoods. Northern Namibia is experiencing the worst flooding in decades, as is Southern Angola. This year has already seen serious storms, flooding and loss of life in Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa, as well as in Mozambique, where we are told we should expect further flooding, while other parts of the country suffer extensive drought.'
Read it all.
Thousands of shivering, tired residents got out while they could and others prayed that miles of sandbagged levees would hold Friday as the surging Red River threatened to unleash the biggest flood North Dakota's largest city has ever seen.
The agonizing decision to stay or go came as the final hours ticked down before an expected crest Saturday evening, when the ice-laden river could climb as high as 43 feet, nearly 3 feet higher than the record set 112 years ago.
"It's to the point now where I think we've done everything we can," said resident Dave Davis, whose neighborhood was filled with backhoes and tractors building an earthen levee. "The only thing now is divine intervention."
Read it all.
Check it out.
Watch it all.
From the sea-swamped neighborhoods of Galveston to the pine-covered hills north of Houston, people across Southeast Texas awoke Saturday to a stunning tableau of devastation caused by the passage of Hurricane Ike, the first hurricane in a quarter-century to score a direct hit on the state's most populous region.
The official insistence that it could have been much worse — Ike's late eastward drift lessened a storm surge that had been predicted as apocalyptic — was little consolation to residents whose homes were wrecked by water, falling trees and winds that gusted in places well in excess of 100 mph. Or even to those facing an indefinite stay in a hot, dark home that emerged unscathed.
The full extent of the property damage as well as the human toll was still coming into focus late Saturday. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff could not yet put a dollar amount on damage, except to say that it would likely rival some of the "legendary" damage figures of storms past.
"By any measure, it was a huge storm," Chertoff said.
Read it all.
Like many of you we're trying to get word on what's happening in Southeast Texas. My folks and eldest son along with Stacy's family are in Galveston and Harris Counties. We still have our home in League City and many, many friends in the area from our old parish. Our prayers are with you all there.
Here in Louisiana we're seeing damage worse than Gustav and in some cases comparable with Rita. There's flooding on the North Shore, levees breaching down south; the poor River Parishes were just sorting themselves out after Gustav and then took another huge pounding. We have friends in Baton Rouge still without power. There will be good and timely updates on our diocesan website: http://www.edola.org. Bishop Jenkins is working overtime to keep us updated and together.
New Orleans made it through, just some heavy wind gusts and rain. We had the day off from school and work on Friday. I've talked to quite a few people, however, who are thinking seriously about leaving the area; they're worn out. Folks here seem to be taking stock of their lives and situations. "Reflective" is not a mood we often encounter here. I'm still shaken by a former staff member's suicide and was too depressed on Friday to start working on the house and putting my office back together. This morning I went to bring Communion to a parishioner in hospital; this helped me get my bearings. She told me on the way out, "It was so nice to spend time with you and my Jesus." Reminded me why I felt called to parish ministry in the first place. I'm looking forward to seeing the whole crew at Sunday Services.
For friends in Texas and Western Louisiana, do know of our prayers and let us know what you need when you need it. We'll be there for you. And remember no matter how bad it looks, God is faithful and holds you in His hands. Blessings,
--The Reverend Jerry and Stacy Kramer, Church of the Annunciation, New Orleans,
Hurricane Ike's storm surge flooded Galveston's historic district early Saturday, sparked fires and knocked out power.
Heavy winds continued to pummel the coastal region more than four hours after the storm made landfall as a Category 2 storm.
It has since weakened to a Category 1, the National Hurricane Center said in its 9 a.m. ET update.
Galveston County's Emergency Management Coordinator John Simsen urged residents to be patient at a 7 a.m. briefing.
"We have a lot of work to do in terms of damage assessment," he said. "We don't understand yet what we're dealing with ...
Read it all.
For those interested.
Thanks so much for your love and prayers during the run-up to Gustav. Much of the impact area is still without power. We quipped -- but not joked! -- after Katrina that FEMA should put the Southern Baptists in charge. Well apparently they heard us. The Southern Baptists have taken over our parking lot at Annunciation and are cooking 4,000 meals a day. These are being distributed through the Salvation Army. You can see pics of the massive operation up on our website: http://www.annunciationbroadmoor.org
Just checked the weather blogs (http://www.wunderground.com) and Ike looks to be heading into the Gulf. We could be heading home next week just in time for another evacuation. Please keep the prayers coming! We don't like Ike! Know of our prayers daily,
P.S. Thanks again for all who so generously hit the Pay Pal button so we could afford gas and evacuation supplies. Couldn't have made it without you . . . literally!!!
The Reverend Jerry and Stacy Kramer
Church of the Annunciation, New Orleans, LA 70125
Check out our websites: Church http://www.annunciationbroadmoor.orgMission http://www.annunciationmission.org
Hanna's path early Tuesday appeared to be a "meandering" loop across the Turks and Caicos Islands, but atmospheric changes over the western Atlantic are expected to steer the storm northwestward over the next two or three days, according to forecasters.
As of 2 a.m., Hanna was a Category 1 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale with 80 mph top winds.
While the hurricane center forecasters said "only modest changes in intensity are anticipated" over the next day or two, Hanna is expected to gain strength before landfall.
Hanna's line of fire could include the U.S. Atlantic coast from Miami to Massachusetts, according to the hurricane center's long-range forecast map. Charleston, South Carolina appears in the middle of this "cone of uncertainty," with Hanna potentially making landfall there Friday.
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Apparently a Baton Rouge TV station was showing an old clip of the levees breaching during Katrina. Some national media outlets picked up on this and called it "live footage." NOLA.com picked up on this and caused further panic. It seemed to us that some in the media were hoping to have something "major" to report. But the levees in New Orleans are holding. Never thought I'd say this but, "Go Corps!" Gustav is proving to be a "wind event." Lots of tree limbs and power lines down in NOLA. You can check out what's happening in our neighbourhood at http://www.broadmoorimprovement.com.
We still haven't received an assessment from Lafayette which experienced very high winds. A school in Houma is completely gone, probably a tornado. A private levee in Plaquemines is breaching and threatening a subdivision which should be completely evacuated. We're talking hundreds people (awful for them, yes) not thousands. More sensationalism.
Here on the North Shore we're getting some gusts and rain but all is well. Eating chips and salsa. Hearing that power will be restored to much of New Orleans by tomorrow morning. School, etc. has been canceled until Monday to allow for a phased re-entry and clean up.
Thank you for all of your prayers, love, support and encouragement. You've sustained us mightily for these past three years. Please keep all of us, but especially the folks in the River Parishes and along the Mississippi Coast, in your prayers. We're going to need to help those folks.
It's a blessing to have such awesome friends! We've heard from people in the past few days whom we haven't communicated with since Africa days.
Looking forward to a raucous Service of Thanksgiving with my congregation and our neighbourhood when they all drag back into town.
--The Reverend Jerry and Stacy Kramer, Church of the Annuncation, New Orleans
Lashing the southern Bahamas with 75-mph winds, Hanna grew into a Category 1 hurricane Monday afternoon, and with forecasters predicting a turn toward Georgia and South Carolina, Charleston and other coastal counties shifted into storm mode.
Forecasters said Monday that Hanna could make landfall Friday or Saturday somewhere between Florida and North Carolina, with the latest track taking the eye through Savannah.
Right behind Hanna was another storm system that forecasters say could develop into another threatening hurricane by midweek. Its name would be Ike.
"We are now at the height of hurricane season, and for those who have not done so already, it is time to gather supplies and review family emergency plans in order to be prepared," said Cathy Haynes, Charleston County Emergency Preparedness Director.
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We are in the worst of Gustav until about 12p - 1p. Thank you so much for prayers. And God be praised. Much, much better than we had feared. Moving from cautiously optimistic to optimistic. New Orleans will not see hurricane winds. Some 70mph gusts. But sustained 45mph only. Whipping up pretty good here on the North Shore but still have power.
About 100,000 people without power. Concern now tornadoes.
Dry air from Texas kept Gustav from exploding over the Gulf. The eye-wall is breaking up and approaching the coast as only a CAT 2. Sudden turn to the west, hugging the LA coast, good for New Orleans. Storm surge less than anticipated. The parishioner we are staying with insists that angels ripped Gustav apart overnight.
Word is that power workers will be out tonight restoring the downed lines, etc.
2,000,000 people evacuated. Less than 10,000 people left in New Orleans (50,000+ stayed behind during Katrina).NOPD found only 15 people on the streets yesterday. Handicapped/elderly/indigent all moved to safety. No arrests for looting. Pretty good for an area that is still very broken and knee deep in recovery. Biggest problem was slow traffic flow.
Please keep prayers coming. Pray especially for the folks directly on the LA and Mississippi coast where they're getting hammered. We could possibly be home by tomorrow afternoon or thereabouts if things hold the same. Know of our prayers.
--The Reverend Jerry and Stacy Kramer, Church of the Annunciation, New Orleans
We had a $7 pork roast in the fridge which we didn't want to go to waste (my frugal wife still has her first Communion money). So our family is finishing up a nice pre-evacuation dinner at home. It's actually a lovely evening right now. A little sun, a little breeze with some gusts.
Awfully quiet outside! More than 1 million people have bugged out of the area in ample time. The National Guard are here and in place patrolling. Nice to have a new governor who doesn't need adult supervision.
Besides the vastly improved government response, our church and Broadmoor neighbourhood have performed brilliantly. A lot of really amazing and talented people working together -- with some hard earned experience under their belts -- can make all the difference.
None of this would be possible without God's grace and our many, many friends from all over. The emails and text messages (no calls please, need to keep the lines free) have been most encouraging. We're especially grateful to all whose prayers and resources have helped us with the gas, supplies, etc. needed to evacuate.
Personally I've been near catatonic when it's come to packing up. And now I'm having a hard time getting in the car and heading out. Neither Max the guinea pig (who still has terrible PTSD) nor I really want to leave.
Feeling a bit better, however, as the latest weather updates show a weaker Gustav staying a bit more west of us. All good news. I'm praying to be back on campus in a couple days or so. Maybe this will just be a good rehearsal and confidence builder. Last time I thought we'd be back in a few days we spent nearly two years in the parking lot! Whatever comes our way, God is good.
Sign-off blessings from New Orleans,
--The Reverend Jerry and Stacy Kramer serve at Church of the Annunciation, New Orleans
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As forecasters warned Hurricane Gustav could hit Louisiana on Monday with devastating effect, officials pleaded with Gulf Coast residents to flee and Republicans said they'd abbreviate the opening day of their national convention.
As of 5 p.m. ET, the eye of the Category 3 storm was about 215 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, said.
Hurricane-force winds could hit Louisiana's southern coast by sunrise Monday, and the storm's center could hit southwest of New Orleans by early Monday afternoon, CNN meteorologists said.
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Today, on this third anniversary of Katrina, there was so much i wanted to share about the progress we've made thanks to our dear friends, the lessons we've learned along the way, and some really exciting plans for continued Kingdom building and renewal here in New Orleans. Instead, we've spent the day packing up the office and church, making sure our parishioners have made plans, and checking on the more vulnerable members of our Broadmoor community.
For the most part, folks are doing quite well. We're miles ahead of where we were in terms of preparation for Katrina. Even the State appears to have its act together. No major news from our city, however, since "Our Mayor" lives in the Dallas area. All things considered, we're looking really good at this point in the ballgame.
While an official evacuation has yet to be called, the highways going out of town are stacked up with crawling traffic. Our Annunciation/Broadmoor caravan intends to leave for Tennessee on Sunday morning. Stacy and the kids will bug out for Baton Rouge at some point on Saturday.
The Annunciation campus will close officially at 5p today, Friday, and re-open after the storm passes. We have not only Gustav to watch . . . but Hannah as well.
I'm signing off for now...and will begin blogging at http://annunciationbroadmoor.blogspot.com.
Prayers and Blessings from the Big Uneasy,
--(The Rev.) Jerry and Stacy Kramer serve at Church of the Annunciation, New Orleans, LA
National Guard troops stand ready, batteries and water bottles sold briskly, and one small-town mayor spent a sleepless night worrying. The New Orleans area watched as a storm marched across the Caribbean on the eve of Hurricane Katrina's third anniversary.
With forecasters warning that Gustav could strengthen and slam into the Gulf Coast as a major hurricane, a New Orleans still recovering from Hurricane Katrina's devastating hit drew up evacuation plans.
"I'm panicking," said Evelyn Fuselier of Chalmette, whose home was submerged in 14 feet of floodwater when Katrina hit. Fuselier said she's been back in her home one year this month, and called watching Gustav swirl toward the Gulf of Mexico indescribable. "I keep thinking, 'Did the Corps fix the levees?,"Is my house going to flood again?' ... 'Am I going to have to go through all this again?'"
Taking no chances, city officials began preliminary planning to evacuate and lock down the city in hopes of avoiding the catastrophe that followed the 2005 storm. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin left the Democratic National Convention in Denver to return home for the preparations. Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency to lay the groundwork for federal assistance, and put 3,000 National Guard troops on standby.
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Gustav swirled toward Cuba on Wednesday after triggering flooding and landslides that killed at least 22 people in the Caribbean. Its track pointed toward the U.S. Gulf coast, including Louisiana where Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc three years ago.
Oil prices jumped above US$119 a barrel as workers began to evacuate from the offshore rigs responsible for a quarter of U.S. crude production and much of America's natural gas.
"We know it's going to head into the Gulf. After that, we're not sure where it's heading," said Rebecca Waddington, a meteorologist at the Miami-based National Hurricane Center. "For that reason, everyone in Gulf needs to be monitoring the storm. At that point, we're expecting it to be a Category 3 hurricane."
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