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

Day: October 28, 2007


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 onĀ 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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