Batten Down the Hatches, Rita’s Coming

We’re in full hurricane panic mode now, even though there’s as yet no hurricane (just a tropical storm):

In light of Tropical Storm Rita, the University, including the law school, will be CLOSED as of noon today, Monday, September 19th. We will remain closed tomorrow, Tuesday. The library will close at 2:00 p.m. today and will remain closed tomorrow. All events scheduled for this afternoon and tomorrow are cancelled.

Information regarding the Law School’s status, including regarding the resumption of classes on Wednesday, will be available from the following sources which are regularly updated:

The Law School’s Website and the University’s Website

305-284-4551 (Dean of Student’s – recorded message – for messages after the school closes)

305-284-5151 (UM Hotline recorded message)

We have no reason to believe that classes will not resume on Wednesday, but you should check these sources of information for updated information.

Basically, everyone is overcompensating for being suckered last time.

One slightly worrying thing, though: there’s still a lot of debris around from Hurricane Katrina. Even a mere tropical storm could pick that stuff up and fly it about which might cause damage.

I taught my class this morning then, ironically, I met with some students who are visiting here from New Orleans in order to fill them in on the key points from the classes we had held before they joined us. After that it was off to the grocery store as we’d been too busy this weekend to do our usual weekly shop. While I was pulling into lot — and waiting for a space since it was entirely full — I heard them upgrade Miami-Dade county from a hurricane watch to a hurricane warning. The TV fluffheads on the radio segued right into their WERE ALL GOING TO DIE mode, leavened by JUST DO EVERYTHING WE SAY AND YOU’LL BE OK.

Two hours later I had food, about the same amount as I usually buy, but not water, that was basically gone except the expensive stuff. No way I’m buying a case of San Pelligrino to sit out a storm. But no worry, we have a nice big blue plastic jerry can we can fill.

Then it was off to the gas station to queue and refill the gas containers that will power my generator and keep the food fresh if the power goes.

Last time, before Katrina, for the first time in a decade I didn’t prepare — and we got beat up. At the risk of jinxing the Fates, I have to say that this wobbly track still seems to be mostly south of us; more important, though, is when the strengthening is expected:

ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS ARE CONTINUING TO BECOME MORE CONDUCIVE FOR STRENGTHENING…AND ALL FORECAST GUIDANCE SUGGESTS RITA SHOULD INTENSIFY SOME MORE…BEFORE AND AFTER IT REACHES THE GULF OF MEXICO. THE NEW OFFICIAL INTENSITY FORECAST IS ADJUSTED UPWARD AND IS A BLEND BETWEEN THE SHIPS AND GFDL GUIDANCE THROUGH DAY 3…AND SHOWS RITA REACHING CATEGORY TWO STATUS BEFORE REACHING THE GULF OF MEXICO. THERE IS A SLIGHT POSSIBILITY IT COULD STRENGTHEN FASTER THAN FORECAST. ALL INDICATIONS ARE THAT RITA WILL BECOME A MAJOR HURRICANE OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO.

(I wish they wouldn’t use all capitals…) Odds are we will be spared; but it’s not inevitable. It does sound bad for the Keys, though, and even worse for where it goes after it hits the Gulf.

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