An English teacher's blog about his travels and his digital art.

Month: October 2007 (page 1 of 2)

Joyeaux Noel

Yes, Christmas is still two months away, but Noel is hanging around here. His remnants appeared to have left the area after this morning’s early blowout (see previous post). Most of the day was overcast, but there was no rain. . . until about 5:30 this afternoon, when, right in the middle of one of the English classes, there was another heavy rainfall, including a thunderstorm or two in the vicinity. I expected the water to have crept under my apartment door again, but apparently it wasn’t windy enough to aid in the process. (Small delights, so nice.) But even now, at 8 p.m, it’s still raining, though not heavily. There won’t be any baseball games played until probably next week, at this rate. Some of the forecasts I read are calling for 2-4 more inches of rain (more, locally) up through tomorrow night. Below is a map of the rainfall total from the storm so far. Click on the title below the picture to see a larger image. We’re the X on the central southern coast in the 6-9″ category, just missing making it to the 9-12″ mark, but we seem to be gaining.

(Taken from the Weather Underground blog (hope that’s ok).

I was able to go jogging on the access road this morning and took a closer look at the fields. A couple of the outfield chain link fences were almost knocked down by this morning’s furious assault and were not completely toppled only because the palm trees encircling the two fields kept them from going over. Out on the main road, the top half of a once-large tree had been snapped off and was almost blocking traffic. Before I finished my jog, our crack ground crew was hacking it into pieces with their machetes. Other than that, there really isn’t a lot of visible damage and most of the water outside of the fields has drained off. Hopefully, we’ll not get too much more and things will eventually dry out. More later.

After Noel

The BBC reported that 20 people have died in the D.R. due to Noel, most of them east of Santo Domingo, which is our area. I haven’t been out and about, so I don’t know what the rest of the country looks like after the storm, but I imagine it must be devastating in some areas near here.

We are still getting a few intense, but brief, showers (like right now), and it appears that there are only tattered remnants of Noel still bedeviling the island. Most weather reports predict some heavy rain today and tonight, with amounts tapering off by tomorrow. Looks like the worst is over.

My mother asked if we were without power and if we had lanterns or flashlights to use. The answer is no, because we have our own standby generators, making us somewhat self-sufficient as far as having electricity is concerned. The above BBC report states that power went out country-wide briefly. Nothing new, because the power goes out briefly 5 or 6 times a day, as you may have read in one of the posts I made when I first arrived in the country.

Here’s a shot I took when the storm first started coming ashore on Saturday.


As I mentioned above, we are still getting some brief periods of rain and heavy winds, and at the moment we’re in the middle of winds and rain as fierce as any that have preceded. I opened my front door a crack to see what was going on and got pelted with heavy rains blowing horizontally across the balcony and I had a heck of a time getting the door closed again due to the wind. I also just noticed that water is pouring in under my door. I better get my power strip off the floor before I get electrocuted, sitting here in my bare feet. It ain’t over ’til it’s over. More later.

A Few Photos

The rain has stopped for now, so while I’m waiting for the next torrent to begin, here are a couple of photos to amuse you.

The first one is a shot of the wind blowing the rain off the roof of the storage shed next to my room.


And here’s Lake Boca Chica, otherwise known as centerfield.


Another Noel Update

Here’s what the Weather Underground blog had to say this morning about T.S. Noel under the heading of “Noel dumping torrential rains on the Dominican Republic”:

“Tropical Storm Noel hit Haiti this morning just south of the capital of Port-a-Prince, dumping prodigious rains of over one inch per hour over some regions of the island of Hispaniola. The storm’s slow forward speed means that heavy rains will affect the island for several more days. Long range radar out of Puerto Rico shows heavy rains affecting the Dominican Republic. These rains have already exceeded eight inches over a wide area of ocean to the east of Noel’s center, according to rainfall estimates from the Puerto Rico radar. Rainfall amounts of 4-7 inches over southern Puerto Rico have triggered numerous flash floods and landslides.

This morning’s QuikSCAT pass showed top winds of about 50 mph over a small region north of Hispaniola. Wind and storm surge damage should be minimal on Hispaniola from Noel.

The Dominican Republic

The worst of the rains for Puerto Rico are now over, but the flooding situation on Hispaniola today will be extremely serious, particularly in the Dominican Republic. Satellite loops show very vigorous thunderstorms reaching high into the atmosphere roiling over Hispaniola. Early this morning, these thunderstorms dumped about 150 mm (6 inches) of rain in just six hours in a region southwest of the capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo. Santo Domingo reported a visibility of zero at 2am local time during this heavy rain. Rainfall amount of about 12 inches have fallen over the Dominican Republic’s southernmost point, the Barahona Peninsula, according to satellite estimates. The region’s only airport weather station stopped transmitting data at 8pm last night.”

So, it appears we have a couple more days of rain ahead of us, and, yes, it’s been raining all morning. The coaches, however, had the pitchers out throwing under one of the large covered sheds that are there for just that purpose, I guess. They were out for about an hour during the rain, which was falling almost horizontally due to the wind. I’m sure they must have gotten a wee bit wet.

I suppose none of my friends who are Red Sox fans will be reading this too soon, since they were probably up late last night celebrating.

As I’m writing this, it has started to rain as hard as I’ve seen so far. This must be the “inch per hour” type of rainfall that the weather blog was talking about. Actually, the fields are handling all of this pretty well, draining much of the water off before it can form a lake. 🙂

Water, Water Everywhere

It’s a good day for staying in bed. We finally had some thunderstorms in the middle of the night, big boomings and crashings. The wind clawed and scratched at the door and windows, trying to get in, making its way under the door, driving the water before it. Actually, not that much water seeped into my room, most of it staying out on the balcony. Right now the wind is still blowing quite heavily–I would guess something like 40 or 45 mph–and occasional bands of torrential rain parade through. The fields aren’t quite underwater, but they won’t be used for a couple of days, at least. The system is starting to move out of the area, but I’m sure we still have another day’s worth of rain to look forward to. More later.


I’ve been sitting outside on the balcony, lashed by wind and rain, the weather much worse than earlier. (But nothing to cause worry.) Our little tropical depression has blown into something much more severe. Winds are now up to about 30 or 35 mph and the rain continues to pummel the complex. I sincerely love the conditions and I think about what could have been. (How many of us think this way?) If I could do it all over again (or if I have another life after this one), I’d want to be a meteorologist of extreme weather–a tornado chaser or a hurricane hunter or even a volcanologist. This stuff really makes me feel like I’m alive. What the heck, I’m only 59 (almost) going on 25 (more or less), so why not go back to university and get a degree? Anything’s possible. Right? OGM? N’est pas?

Luckily, I’m up on the second floor of the complex, so I don’t feel like I’m going to get flooded out. However, the rain is now being driven horizontally by the wind, and the water is accumulating on the balcony floor; there is nothing to stop it from flowing into my room. No problem, since I’ve gathered everything up onto higher areas, such as my desk, dresser, tables, etc. Honestly, it’s not a big problem.

Oh, oh, this is real time commentary–the rain water IS starting to come in under my door; I just walked out to see what’s going on and my socks are wet. The builders should have included a 1/2 to 1 inch ledge at the door for just such an eventuality. Scuba gear, anyone? Life vests? More later.

Tropical Storm Noel

Hmmmmm, it’s getting worse, according to this report on Weather Underground.

“Tropical Storm Noel continues to represent a serious rainfall threat to the Dominican Republic and Haiti due to the storm’s very slow motion. Noel has essentially stalled out tonight, and is dumping very heavy rains over the southernmost tip of the Dominican Republic–the Barahona Peninsula. Most of Noel’s heaviest rains are still offshore, but these rains will move inland over the island of Hispaniola tonight, and pound the island for at least the next two days. This will result in an extremely dangerous flooding situation in the southern portion of both Haiti and the Dominican Republic, due to the high mountains that will enhance Noel’s rains. Long range radar out of Puerto Rico shows heavy rains affecting Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, and these rains have already exceeded eight inches over a wide area of ocean to the east of Noel’s center. Tonight’s weather discussion from the National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico, called the situation on that island “an increasingly more dangerous and life-threatening event for many areas.” Many flash floods and mudslides have been reported on the island, and with at least 24 more hours of flooding rains expected there, the island can expect millions of dollars in flooding damage from Noel.

The flooding situation on Hispaniola will be far worse. Satellite loops show very vigorous thunderstorms reaching high into the atmosphere have developed on the storm’s northeast side. These thunderstorms will trigger rains of up to 1-2 inches per hour when they move over Hispaniola Monday. With Noel moving very slowly and expected to bring heavy rains to the island for at least two days, a flooding situation as dangerous as occurred in 2004 with Hurricane Jeanne may result. Jeanne passed just north of Haiti as a tropical depression, dumping about 13 inches of rain over the northern mountains. The resulting floods killed over 3,000 people.”

It’s night time here and I’ve finally seen some lightning flashes–so far, we’ve had no thunderstorms. If the system is indeed stalling over the D.R., there will be a lot more rain a’coming, according to the forecast above. Check out the latest infrared map. [EDIT on 11/25/09: The map’s not available. Use imagination :smile:] The pink and dark red areas represent the highest of the cloud tops, meaning more action, more rain, more wind, more thunder, etc., and they’re headed right for Boca Chica. Very cool, but a bit worrisome, though we’re close to the ocean and, thus, are living in very flat country, far from any mountainous regions, so flash floods and mudslides are not going to be a problem. (Tsunamis, of course, would see me running like hell.) Still, I’m very curious about what our fields will look like in the morning light. Maybe I should break out a fishing pole, or, better still, a boat? I’m very aware, though, of the danger posed to our neighbors to the west, the Haitians on the far third of the island. May their god(s) be with them. More later. (Glub, glub.)

Depression Update

I went to Boca Chica earlier to make copies for my classes this coming week. I bought an umbrella and decided to walk to the beach. There were a few (fool?) hardy souls in the water, but most of the restaurants and bars lining the beach were closed. No wonder. The usually placid lagoon was being rocked by 10-15 foot waves crashing over the protective reef that lies a couple of hundred yards offshore. The surf was washing up the beach in places I had never before seen it occur. I suppose the height of the water was the result of a small storm surge propelled by the tropical depression, which is gradually moving to the north-west and toward a possibly fateful meeting with the denuded mountains of Haiti. Because that country has been almost completely deforested, the probability of mudslides and flash floods poses a severe threat to the population. Let’s hope that the impact and potential loss of life is minimal.

Here, we’ve had steady rain all day, punctuated by heavy downpours that have left the baseball fields like small lakes, and the probability of playing baseball tomorrow is slim. Even though the system is moving out of our neighborhood, we are still experiencing rain and wind. Tomorrow’s forecast calls for more of the same. I can only imagine what a hurricane making landfall here must be like. I’m enjoying the experience, but I don’t think I’d like to be around for something more intense. Mas tarde.

Boat Race

I forgot to mention in my previous post that I talked to my friend Nai in Laos this morning (Sunday night there) and his village’s boat racing team won the big race in Vientiane yesterday for the 3rd straight year. I wish I were there to celebrate with the locals, but congratulations to them. Here’s an interesting short article about the race and specifically about a team of ladies who compete every year.


No, I’m not suffering. But, our little area of low pressure has blown up into a tropical depression, soon-to-be Tropical Storm Noel, then Hurricane Noel. At least that’s the current prediction. Overnight we had a steady, but not heavy, rainfall, and on the field nearest my room, the warning track and part of the outfield grass are under water. Play between the various teams in the Instructional League was supposed to start tomorrow, but I’d guess that’s going to be delayed a day or two. At the moment the intensity has picked up a bit. There have been no thunderstorms or heavy winds, and it looks like the system will be long gone from our neck of the woods by the time it attains tropical storm strength. I have to go into Boca Chica today to make some copies for this coming week’s classes, but I certainly won’t be taking a motorcycle taxi! More later.

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