Ike Aftermath

Yeah, that one was pretty much no-friggin' joke. More to follow later, but most everybody I know is pretty much intact and happy to be that way. One friend of a friend got a tree through the house, but he and his family were away, so that's some kind of blessing. Still lots of issues with power, water, and fuel in general, but I'm staying with folks who have the first two and who live far enough on the edge of town that the third one will be more readily available when the need really arises later in the week.

Until I can find time to post again with more details (including an interesting thought or three about hurricane physics), y'all should really check out this Doonesbury from Sunday. Great punchline.

  

Hellooooo Soapbox!

Wow, thanks for the intro, Ethan! I confess that I've been keeping tabs on soapbox for a few months now, but haven't taken the initiative to get in touch with Nathaniel and learn how to log on. Thanks to Mike's thesis defense, I had the opportunity to introduce myself to Nathaniel, which I did with remarkable poise and grace.

Anyway, I look forward to posting frequently and commenting regularly. I can't wait to choose my categories! Also, I had a fabulous time at Brian's wedding, and if you want to hear more about it you should talk to Tim (totally sober), to me (mostly sober), to Joel (OK!?!), or to Chris (...).

  

Smoke on the water

Sorry to all for the lack of an update this past week, but things have been a little busy. The last couple days have seen an improvement in the weather, but basically the reason why the fires were so bad earlier in the week was that we had "Santa Ana" weather conditions: hot, dry, strong winds coming from the East, right off the desert. Throw in the fact that we've had something like 25% of the normal rainfall this summer/fall, and 80 mph winds are going to make any fire burn pretty intensely.

So, what started out as large-but-not-crazy-fires grew very quickly, and more importantly jumped around - all it took was one burning palm frond or tumbleweed to get blown a quarter-mile downwind, and all of the sudden the fire took off at that point. What really freaked people out was Friday night/Saturday morning, when the fire zoomed several miles and jumped I-15, a billion-lane freeway. So, I don't know the total, but well over a half-million people were evacuated. Part of the Miramar airbase to our immediate East was evacuated, but the UCSD campus wasn't touched, we just had a constant rain of ash, and breathing sucked. (K said it reminder her of Katmandu, where she had a chonic cough for the 6 weeks she was there, but cleared up within an hour of leaving the city.) Some places farther closer to the fires/more directly downwind got an inch+ of ash, like a powdery snow (that would choke you if you took a step).

Here's another description, if you feel like reading. The days kinda run together for me - Mary says she didn't notice it until Sunday, I noticed it Friday afternoon but we're on the top of a hill. As of yesterday they started opening up some of the evac areas, but even though they can go back in, the water is polluted/shut off, and things are a mess. There was a lot of charity this past week, hopefully people remember that it's still needed.

Finally, a big thank you to all the firefighters, local and from Norcal, Wyoming, Oregon, etc.