Back am I at the old keyboard after more than a month. And in looking back over the past year — soon will 2018 come, next week to be exact — likely the largest story where I live and one that was prominent nationally was Hurricane Harvey. Harvey made three landfalls, the last being some 40 miles southeast of where I live as Tropical Storm Harvey. The most extensive damage from Harvey was from a continual rain and flooding, also in my area.
Some 15 or so miles down the road from where I live is Nederland, Texas, which set a new rainfall record of more than 64 inches of rain over five days. The area closest to where I live in Beaumont had a bit more that 54 inches. Permit me to add that the average annual rainfall for the Beaumont metropolitan statistical area is more than 50 inches a year.
Harvey plowed into the central Texas Gulf Coast area near Rockport on Aug. 25. Not much in the way of forecasts came forth to indicate the upper Texas Coast would be hardest hit, though not from hurricane winds, from Harvey. It is also not, I should add, correct to imply Southern Texas was not walloped by the hurricane. It was.
When the storm moved out of the Coastal Bend area some weird natural trickery took place that would make Houston and the Beaumont areas familiar to those who keep up with national news. I present the trickery, as described by the Weather Prediction Center of the weather service’s parent agency NOAA, for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:
“Harvey weakened as it moved north-northwest toward central Texas. Regaining tropical storm status on the 26th, Harvey slowed significantly east of San Antonio. Remaining within Texas borders for 60 hours, Harvey wrapped dry air around its southern and southeast portions of its circulation showing up as a dry slot on satellite imagery and forcing convection with heavy rainfall into its northeast quadrant near Houston near a thermal boundary, appearing extratropical. As Harvey moved east offshore Texas, thunderstorm activity began to focus within its northern and northwestern quadrants which prolonged the heavy rainfall across southeast Texas between the Sabine River and Houston.
“Harvey moved back ashore across southwesternmost Louisiana on the morning of August 29. Harvey weakened to a tropical depression during the evening of August 30 and continued tracking north-northeast, becoming fully extratropical on September 1. “
As I have noted here before, I have long enjoyed the rain. Coming from Southeast Texas, one doesn’t have much of a choice. I suppose one might consider me a “pluviophile,” that being one who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days. It has since snowed here and a cold rain is falling outside now. I am now reexamining my pluviophilia. As it stands, only rainy days that ARE Mondays bring me down.
A whole lot of folks felt a whole lot of hurt this year. Some continue to feel it. They may be spending their days fixing up their waterlogged homes while sleeping in a camping trailer or even a tent.
One of the several people who stirred my interest in storytelling and journalism is the late Charles Kuralt. The bald and comfortably-appearing newsman traveled from town-to-town in search of “real American people” in his “On The Road” segment of the CBS Evening News. That segment celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Kuralt died 20 years ago. Steve Hartman was given the On The Road segment starting in 2011. I bring up Hartman in this missive because of a recent segment that, as sometimes his spots do, tugged at heart strings. But this time, it was in a post-Harvey environment. It happened in Beaumont.
Secret Santa is generic name for one who provides gifts for those who may be unknown to the recipient and the giver. Sometimes, those gifts may be larger than others. I remember of hearing of one Secret Santa in particular who comes out of nowhere and usually gives no less than $100 and sometimes more. This guy may have been featured by CBS in past years, I don’t know. I just know that Hartman of CBS gave this year’s report that Santa is alive and well.
I leave you a link for that piece of story-telling where I live. Hartman visited here in Beaumont a week or so ago when the real Santa was here to spread cheer. Among those involved in helping spread the cheer were a number of Beaumont police officers — a department where my late brother Robert spent more than 30 years — with many of those officers who didn’t have to work due to their homes having been flooded but still came out to do their jobs.
By the way, over the past, I do not know how many years, I have been told there is this war on Christmas. Supposedly we are to believe that saying “Merry Christmas” has been banned among the general public. These right-wing fools like 45 (who lives now in the White House) try to sell such division to a mostly ill-informed base. What an ass. I asked Santa if he would bring me a new president. Perhaps by sometime in 2018. That would really make for a happy new year.