Heh. So much for Louisville going undefeated.
In other news… check out the current Big Ten standings:
Michigan State 1-0 (4-0)
Minnesota 1-0 (4-0)
Penn State 1-0 (4-0)
Wisconsin 1-0 (4-0)
Ohio State 1-0 (3-1)
Indiana 0-0 (3-0)
Purdue 0-1 (2-1)
Illinois 0-1 (2-2)
Iowa 0-1 (2-2)
Michigan 0-1 (2-2)
Northwestern 0-1 (2-2)
Why, I don’t know what Stewart Mandel is talking about… that’s exactly what I would have predicted… :)
USC 45, Oregon 13, final. Fight on!
The Storm Track ponders the possibility that Rita might do a clockwise loop and return to the Gulf of Mexico. According to Dr. Jeff Masters, “She would no longer be a tropical cyclone at that point, and redevelopment is not expected.” I’m not sure how he can be so confident of that, though. Remember Ivan?
Uncharacteristically, USC is not looking at all sharp against Oregon. It’s 10-0 Ducks in the first quarter.
The Trojans have lost three of four Pac-10 road openers in the Pete Carroll era, and the one they won, last year, was a ridiculously close comeback victory over mediocre Stanford. Is history repeating itself? Ugh. C’mon guys, pick it up! Fight on Trojans!!
UPDATE: Finally, the Trojans are on the board! 13-7 Oregon.
UPDATE 2: It was 13-10 at halftime, and then the Pete Carroll Second Half MagicTM kicked in, so now it’s 31-13 with 10:28 left in the fourth quarter. Oregon is threatening, though.
UPDATE 3: Reggie Bush scores! 38-13!
Hmm, and now there was just a possible clipping penalty on Bush’s TD that didn’t get called. The Oregon fans are not happy.
Does anyone else think the new Allstate commercial, in which the tailgaters’ van explodes, flies 50 feet in the air, and lands back where it started — injuring no one — is in rather poor taste, in light of the recent Hurricane Rita bus explosion, the London bombings, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and, well, common sense? Vehicle explosions aren’t funny, and they aren’t generally harmless.
On the other hand, Dr. Pepper’s “I Would Do Anything For Love” commercial is freakin’ hilarious.
Notre Dame 36, Washington 17, final. Woohoo!
Gooo Irish! Beeeat Boilers!
But now, more immediately… Fight on, Trojans! Beat the Ducks! Or should I say… f**k the Ducks! :)
I’ve been told that my 3L readers might find this website useful for the next week or so: lawschoolclerkship.blogspot.com.
In other news, Minnesota just upset next week’s ND opponent, Purdue, in a double-overtime thriller.
Also, Tennessee at LSU has been postponed to Monday because of Hurricane Rita.
UPDATE: 12-3 Irish at halftime. Washington nearly scored two touchdowns, but first fumbled at the 1 yard line and then gave away an interception in the end zone.
“Significant flooding” in Port Arthur, and wind damage in Beaumont making it look like the city was “bombed out,” according to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX). The phrase “bombed out” is a quote from Beaumont’s mayor, as relayed by the senator.
In other news, Miles O’Brien on CNN rescued a puppy from a collapsed building. Aww.
UPDATE: “No reported deaths at this time” in any of the affected states. –R. David Paulison, acting director, FEMA. Although, as Mad Max points out, Rita took 24 lives before she even got close to land, in that evacuation bus explosion.
Along Louisiana’s coast, hundreds are being rescued from homes in shoreline fishing villages that are flooded with up to six feet of water. The AP also notes that while “most of Rita’s victims are by no means wealthy…they are less likely to live in poverty, more likely to own a car, and less likely to be a member of a minority group than were Katrina’s victims.”
Meanwhile, in the wake of new New Orleans flooding from Rita, the WWL-TV blog quotes the N.O. police chief as saying: “I don’t know if this area (the Lower Ninth Ward) will come back. I don’t know if they can protect this area from the weather.”
UPDATE 2: Also from the WWL-TV blog:
There are a few dozen homes under water [in Lake Charles], but expectations were for far worse damage. … Officials thankful damage wasn’t worse. Most of downtown Lake Charles was spared. …
Some of the worst damage reports from hurricane Rita area coming out of Vinton, on the Texas border, where several fires were burning this morning and the roof was torn off a recreation center.
A riverboat casino and a barge in Lake Charles were knocked loose and floating free. The barge slammed into the Interstate 10 bridge spanning the Calcasieu River, which was closed while authorities inspected the damage.
Trash cans and fallen trees were strewn about downtown Lake Charles and casino parking lots near the lake were under about a foot of water. But fears of serious flooding in the city not far from the Texas line were unfounded.
They weren’t unfounded, they just thankfully didn’t come to pass.
More on the coastal areas:
There’s widespread flooding in coastal parishes along the Gulf of Mexico as Hurricane Rita tore away rooftops and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across southwestern Louisiana.
Authorities had trouble reaching some stranded residents because of blocked roads and savage winds, but there were no immediate reports of deaths or serious injuries.
The region of refineries, ranches and sugarcane fields was largely evacuated ahead of the storm, but some residents stayed behind and were rescued by boat and helicopter.
There were no initial reports of damage to oil refineries along the coast, but industry officials and analysts cautioned it was still too early to assess the full impact.
And, more on New Orleans:
Hurricane Rita produced less rain than expected today in storm-tested New Orleans, but outlying areas south of the city were flooded by a storm surge.
Only about three inches of rain was expected throughout the day from the storm’s outer bands, much less than had been forecast. Weather service meteorologist Phil Grigsby says overall, it looks like New Orleans has lucked out in that it didn’t get the heaviest rainfall.
But south of the city in low-lying Jefferson Parish, a storm surge of 6 to 7 feet swamped some neighborhoods. Residents of Lafitte, a town of 1,600 about 21 miles south of New Orleans, were being evacuated by bus.
Good news: Beaumont, Texas, though hit hard by Hurricane Rita, was not devastated, thanks to the storm’s last-minute right turn. And despite trees and power lines falling, windows breaking and fires burning, Houston and Galveston also escaped the worst (as it became clear yesterday that they would). Rita’s track was really the best-case scenario (to the extent there is such a thing), as the most severe impact was in sparsely populated Cameron Parish, Louisiana, which will limit both the human toll and the structural damage. That said, “parts” of Port Arthur, TX were flooded by the storm surge, even in the left-front quadrant of the eyewall. “It could be pretty bad,” said a city official.
Also, “the oil industry, especially the concentration of refineries in the Houston-Texas City area…escaped major damage.” But there will still be a gas-price spike. “Hurricane Rita turned out to have less punch than Katrina, but its impact will still be felt at the pump.”
Also, let’s not forget that Hurricane Rita is not over. The storm is expected to stall out over northeastern Texas and dump copious amounts of rain on Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana over the next several days. Don’t forget that inland flooding is actually the biggest killer in tropical cyclones, and Rita could be a poster child for that fact. Let’s hope not.
With regard to the coastal impact, let’s be clear about something. I don’t want to hear any carping about how Rita was “overhyped,” or how the evacuations were unnecessary, or how the National Hurricane Center screwed up. That’s all a bunch of bulls**t.
For anyone who heeded the NHC’s constantly repeated directive to look at the “cone” rather than the “black line,” the forecast was accurate — the Texas/Louisiana border region was consistently within the “cone” in recent days. There’s a good reason the NHC emphasizes the “cone” rather than the “line” — hurricanes are unpredictable beasts, and our forecasting technology is simply not good enough yet to be reasonably certain of anything more precise than the “cone.” Also, with regard to the storm’s intensity, the NHC predicted that Rita would weaken during the final day before landfall; they said it would make landfall as either a Cat. 3 or a Cat. 4, and it did. No screw-up there, either.
As for the evacuations of Houston and Galveston, they were absolutely the right decision, because it’s impossible to know for sure at 2-3 days out which portion of the “cone” a storm will head towards, and if it had headed towards Houston/Galveston, it would have been devastating… and if the authorities had waited until they were more certain it was heading towards Houston/Galveston, it would have been too late to evacuate everyone (cc: Ray Nagin). Also, although the weakening was expected, it was not certain. What if it had come ashore as a Cat. 5? If you were Rick Perry or the mayor of one of these cities, would you have taken that chance?
And the “hype” was right on. The reason this storm did less damage than feared is because we got lucky. The precise track it happened to follow took the right-front quadrant over sparsely populated areas, and the extent of weakening caused the more populated, developed areas to see far less damage than they could have if things had gone slightly differently. These are variations that simply cannot be predicted with any accuracy hours — let alone days — in advance, and as we saw with Katrina, it is absolutely essential that authorities prepare for the worst, not assume the best (or split the difference between the two).
Anyone who publicly opines that Rita was “overhyped” is actively and irresponsibly contributing to a dangerous sense of complacency that might convince residents to stay put the next time evacuation orders are issued. The correct thing to say is, “we got lucky,” always emphasizing that the evacuations were absolutely correct, the dire warnings with thoroughly justified, and we might not be so lucky next time.
P.S. Admittedly, I haven’t yet heard these arguments made yet. But I’m sure I will. They have certainly been made after other storms that turned out less bad than they could have been, such as Ivan last year, and I believe the misconception that those lucky outcomes were really examples of hurricane “hype” — i.e., that the storms were never really as threatening as the NHC and local officials said they were — is one of the reasons some people didn’t take Katrina as seriously as they should have. So this post is a pre-emptive strike on my part, attempting to remind people: Let’s not make that mistake again.
I meant to stay awake until landfall, but I fell asleep just after 1:00 AM. Sorry! Here’s the radar view from 2:37 AM CDT/EST, pretty much the precise moment of landfall:
UPDATE: As of 1:10 AM, here’s the latest look at Rita’s wobbles:
In the last hour, Hurricane Rita has started moving a bit faster, and it’s now wobbling due north:
Wobbles are quite common in hurricanes, of course… but this one is potentially significant, as it appears it will keep Port Arthur and Beaumont out of the right-front quadrant. Barring another major westward wobble, landfall will be in Louisiana, and the sparsely populated shoreline of Cameron Parish will be the hardest-hit area. Radar here.