Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tropical Cyclone Bill - Expected to hit Texas Coast tonight

We have been watching the tropical disturbance forming in the Gulf of Mexico now for a few days and yesterday it started to organize late in the day.  The barometer was dropping to about 1007 millibars and NOAA was flying a hurricane hunter into it for observations.
Seems that it is has organized and went from a tropical disturbance and now formed into a tropical cyclone.  That threw me for a bit not knowing what the difference is between a tropical depression and a tropical cyclone (especially in the Northern Hemisphere).

I did a bit of research and in the end, cyclone, typhoon and hurricane are all the same darn thing.
That said in all my time on the gulf coast, I don't think I have heard them referenced as Cyclones, but for some reason Tropical Depression Bill is being reported that way.

Deb and I are really carefully watching this storm, mainly because it is going to hit the Texas coast tonight or first thing in the morning.  The challenge is that we can't really leave DreamChaser alone because I expect the water to continue to rise even here in Louisiana and we are not a floating docks, but rather fixed piers so we are needing to adjust lines as the water rises from the wind pushing all that water up from the gulf into the bays, lake Pontchartrain and ultimately up the Tchefuncte river.

That leaves the question of Last Affair.  She is berthed in Galveston Bay right now.  She is secured well and tied on floating docks in a very secure marina.  The issue is that with sustained winds at 40+ for 24 hours straight, it can start to cause havoc on things.  Luckily we still know a lot of folks in the area who have checked on the boat for us.  She is tied secure and still riding out well.  We have added some additional security to the sails being secured by taking a few extra wraps of the jib sheets around the roller furling up half way.  An additional tie around the lower portion and cleating all of those lines well in hopes that the sustained winds don't start to grab that sail and work to unroll or tear it from it's furling.

The main is covered and secured tightly with sail ties, and cover secured well.  Someone also went
over and ensured that the bimini was closed up very tight as well.  I didn't want to ask someone else to take it all off of the boat, but the thought is that as secure and solid at is it (Rigid frame and not webbing to hold certain parts in place) she is a very secure frame.  With the side flaps all zipped tightly it won't allow wind to get in and lift it like a parachute.

I have been watching the newscasts for how the weather is starting to effect the Galveston/Kemah area.  Right now the water is up higher than the highest we have seen it since moving there.  It is already starting to rise above Toddville road.  The Kemah Board walk is already starting to see some breaking waves hitting the dock itself.

Typically when we would walk that back part of the boardwalk, the water is 6-8 feet below the dock even at the highest of tides, so this is certainly up quite a bit and I suspect it will continue to rise at least until the this thing is 50+ miles inland.  Given the counter clockwise rotation of the weather systems, it is going to keep pushing water north and then as it hits landfall South West of Houston, that water will continue to drive that way even after landfall as the wind starts forming as westerlies.

Deb and I may need to split responsibility and have one of us go to check on Last Affair while the other stays here to manage and monitor the lines on Dream Chaser.  Even here in Louisiana, we are up about 3 feet already and we have had to let some line out to accommodate the drift.  Another foot to foot and a half or so and the water will be going over the dock surface.  Our living blocking board is rigged up between posts so even if the water were to go high above the docks, we will still have a good surface to keep us from moving toward or over the dock.   (Thanks Rat for the nice rig and setup you left in your slip when selling your boat.  Rat had the slip we are in before us and let me know what he rigged up and how he set it up.  It works well and he even took a step to automatically adjust the blocking board to rise up and down on blocks in relation to his boat so it would go up even if he was not at the boat.

Below is the weather forecast from Houston showing the details about the disorganized system and what the hurricane hunter plan was reporting on the North and East side of the storm.  Just over 50 mph.  I was looking at Bouy data and ship reporting and there are some reports of 19 foot seas and 54 knot wind gusts out in the Gulf tonight.

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