Tuesday, August 5, 2008

j/d goes for a drive

edouard, take one ...

i woke up at dawn to check out his stats, and was disappointed to see he turned northwards too early for me to make it out to the location where tornadoes would be the most likely. since i had already packed for the day, however, i decided to head to galveston and see what i could see.

not so photogenic, this storm ... in fact, it was pretty much a whitewash. i hung out on the seawall for a while and tried to find the weather channel van, but no such luck. then i noticed the ferry was actually still running ... that seemed fun, so i decided to go to bolivar and head eastward on 87 for a while. again, not so photogenic.

i took this shot from hwy 124, south of winnie :

the rest were even less interesting.

winds were sustained at probably 30-35 mph. it was cool to just sit and watch the low cloud banks streak across the sky for a while, though. and the roads were eerily deserted. after checking the radar imagery on my phone, i could see that i was close to the 'eye' ... after weighing a few options, i decided to head north to i-10 and drive westward straight into the heaviest rain and winds just inside the center of circulation.

yeah, i know.

this almost proved fatal, as i encountered extremely heavy rains and winds gusting strongly enough to cause my truck to nearly capsize. and capsize is the correct term here, as i was hydroplaning most of the way back to houston! at one point, visibility was near zero, i was in the left lane, a semi-tractor was next to me on my right, and we drove under a bridge .... which contained a low spot on the freeway ... and straight into about 3 feet of water!

i had about one second to prepare. inhaled deep and stomped the clutch. thought of everyone and everyplace i love in 4 milliseconds. 60mph to zero in a flash of white water. i could feel my truck floating and swerving. remembered i JUST paid it off and almost broke a smile!! quick downshift. somehow grabbed the road. checked mirrors - no one behind me. understood i wasn't about to be rear-ended. realized i was still alive. realized the truck was somehow ok. realized my shorts were still dry. kept going. exhale. fuuuuuuuuuuuck. that was close. many gods were profoundly thanked and praised.

perhaps i'll go out again later tonight ..... on foot.

l o v e