Coping: With the “Great Texas Blizzard of Ought ‘14”

image(West Elmwood, Texas) The commute to the UrbanSurvival office this morning was deemed treacherous and writers were urged to stay at home and offline if possible as the Great Texas Blizzard of Ought ‘14 swept through the Outback Region overnight dropping billions of flakes.

“I haven’t seen this many flakes since the 2012 elections,” one local resident told us.

Forecasters, who have named it “Winter Storm Klink” immediately attributed the storm to the effects of global warming

One forecaster, Mortimer Snerd of the Fort Worth forecast office said it was the worst storm he’d seen in his whole career since being hired on in late 2013 .

Another weather expert, Dr. Phil Dirt or MazinWeather, proclaimed the source of the storm as the “Oklahoma Effect Snow.”

As he explained it, cold weather from the Polar Vortex presently centered over Durant, Oklahoma mixes with warm moist air from Guadalajara, Jalisco State, Mexico.

“We’ve complained to Immigration and Customs Enforcement a zillion times,” explained Dr. Phil. “We know that they have a political agenda at the management level, but Texas needs stronger border weather enforcement. All it would take would be a higher wall.   Without it, we could be facing rain from illegally immigrating moisture this spring.

The East Texas Outback was particularly hard-hit by the storm, with some area’s reporting up to a sixteenth of an inch of the dangerous spawn of Klink.

The heavy snowfall overnight may also have contributed to a massive regional power interruption that lasted nearly a 1/10th of a second at the height of the storm.  Local power officials blamed the especially noticeable power bump Thursday night on excessive downloading during the storm.

“We had terrible load problems about 8:17 last evening” said utility spokesman George Westinghouse.  “Even though the Texas grid is independent from the other four power regions in the country and we produce more energy than most other nations, there’s only so much load we can support,” he confirmed.  “The flash outage was likely due to a slow switching relay at the Coldmutha  switch yard combined with too many people downloading videos, making dinner, and having their sound systems up to high,” he explained.

Working on the clock, crews had restored power to 100% of the areas 2,387 residents in 96 milliseconds, although some families reported outages lasting at long as 134 milliseconds.

Government officials in Bradford, Montalba, and unincorporated districts Brushy Creek and Elmwood are holding an emergency meeting at Bubba Jean’s Café in Bradford once roads are passable.  Around at 8:30 this morning they’ll meet with the public to discuss storm recovery efforts.

“We may petition  County Judge Elbert Johnson for an emergency declaration.  Once that’s done, a state declaration should follow as a matter of course.  Things are that bad out here,” said Elmwood activist Willy Survive.  “As soon  as that’s done, we expect federal aid will follow which means FEMA and Xe forces should arrive within weeks to enforce peace during the storm recovery operations.  “Things are so bad, I think governor Perry call up NORTHCOM right away,” said Survive.”Besides, we need a disaster area tax break for local agriculture on 2014 taxes…we haven’t had a decent break since Ike.”

All ready, there have been reports of scattered looking, and minor thefts.  Anderson County Sheriffs are investigating a black cat named Zeus suspected stealing mouthfuls of cat food from an American tabby, Ms Puscilla, up in the headwaters region of Mound Prairie Creek, a known refuge for the endangered Sasquatch last reported there in 1921.

In Washington, Concerned Friends of Cryptoarcheology have organized a demonstration outside the White House today to underscore the Obama administration’s lack of concern the Mound Prairie Sasquatch plight..

imageEast Texas tree farmer George Ure took this reporter on a tour of his farm at daybreak to survey the extensive damage caused by the storm.

Pointing to a surviving stand of trees he  explained that he was not able to find smudge pots in time to prevent extensive damage to his crops by the wintry blast. 

“We reckon there’s been a loss of maybe half a million pine needles, already,” said Ure.  East Texas pine needle exports account for as much as 1/1000th of one percent of Anderson County agriculture exports and officials are worried about the ripple effects on the US Balance of Trade.

Farmers, like Ure, are so desperate for additional smudge pots that prices of them on eBay are running up.

Forecasters have some relief in store for the region in their long range forecast with temperatures expected to zoom up into the mid 60’s by Saturday.

Reporters covering the disaster are running low on supplies, as well.  The officials meeting at Bubba Jean’s have announced some liquid writing supplies should be available at Gaines’ Package Store in Palestine by 11 AM.

Elsewhere, we understand cooler weather is in store for the Northeast.

[No horses were injured during the filming of this report.]

Seriously: Skydiving

imageGeorge II, a/k/a “The Headless Skydiver” made it back from his five-day adventure down at Skydive Spaceland.

Shown right doing is his soon-to-be-patented back-flip exit from a Twin Otter at 14.5.

Reader Steve did send in a correction about the sport which involves voluntarily leaving the safety of a perfectly good airplane which makes no sense whatsoever to George the elder…

George,

If G2 continues as he has been, there is little chance that some whuffo-chic will ‘get her hooks in him’.  The sport tends to consume your energies, and you tend to self-select the significant others that you associate with.  There has been more than a few relationships that received the “Its either me or skydiving” line, resulting in a lot more skydives.

Cheers,

Steve

1st jump 1969

Total jumps 4000+

Hmmm…the sport has its own lingo, turns out.  UrbanDictionary has the definition of a “whuffo” over here….

My reluctance to trust nylon instead of 6061 aluminum is based on 220 pounds of reasons and the sentiment is echoed by reader Fred:

Your talk about not wanting to take up skydiving reminded me of my late father.  He was a private pilot too with about 10,000 hours in the air.  His sister (my Aunt Geneva) asked him if he wore a parachute when he was flying.  His response was that he didn’t, because he might get excited some time and jump out.  Said he’d rather just take his chances on landing it somewhere. 

Yessir, a man after my own liver.  That’d be chicken liver.  From reader Hal…

i’m an old guy with about 200 jumps a number I have arrived at by doing too few jumps over too many years.  I would qualify for a class c license if I went that route, which I have avoided.

There is a concept called “air time” which is how much time you spend in freefall multiplied by your number of jumps.  50 jumps times 2 minutes free fall equals a little over an hour of “airtime” which really isn’t that long.

To even consider base jumping with an A license is simply crazy.  I cannot imagine any serious jumpmaster would advise any jumper to attempt base jumping at that level of experience.  Keep in mind that base jumping is often done without a reserve simply because at that shortened altitude a reserve would never have a chance to open.  He’s already had 2 reserve rides?  A lot of people would consider that to be a high number but hey if you have to go to reserve not too many skydivers will fault you.  ( It may also have something to do with renting gear).

Skydivers fly their chutes just like pilots fly a plane.  So the old adage remains:  there are old pilots and bold pilots…

Yesterday’s regaling of the sport also got this base jumping note from reader Paul:

Hi George,

The BASE jumping you mentioned in your column as being a high antenna on the Gulf Coast could be the LORAN-C antenna tower in Raymondville. It is 700 feet tall, but to me might make an iffy jump because of all the guy wires. A bit too close too the border for my comfort, but then I’m squeamish about Mexico. You can see the antenna on satellite here (note the shadow):

There are others even taller. List here toward end of article; look for the ones that are, or were, 411.48 m, which turns out to be exactly 1350 feet tall. Some have been torn down. How would you like to be the one who changes the light bulbs at the top when they burn out?

G2 tells me base jumpers do go up guyed towers and immediately aim for between the wires. Which, I ‘splained him, is why remaining at home on the safety of the couch makes more sense.   Paul then continued…

Also, Coriolis force on Earth is too weak to effect water in toilet bowls, it only applies to large systems such as hurricanes and cyclones…

Aw, crap!  I didn’t know that and now that I do, I’m flushed with embarrassment.  I will likely spend the weekend with my head in a toilet trying to figure out why it spins, then…

This email on skydiving is interesting, too:

George

Reading about your son got me reminiscing…..

I was airborne in the mil. Static line, C119, C 130, C 141, Huey’s.  Learned to fly while there.   Used to do a lot of crazy things…..

Used to work with some Golden Knights and jump photography. They would jump into our annual farm party near Ft Bragg. Said it was the toughest jump they ever did because the LZ was 10 x 50 and they had to stack in sequence, thread tall pines and power line to hit  a running landing and get out of the way of the next guy. 500-1000 folks would be surrounding the LZ which was in the yard by the house and stage for the band, We’d put all the girls at the end of the LZ to drag them out of the way for the next guy coming in….They loved it.  These guys had balls and were GREAT. No one ever got hurt.

We had a couple of Ag Cat spray planes, and some of the crew used to take 4 jumpers up in the hopper of the 450 (hp) Grumman Biplane. They would climb out on the wings and go all at once from the end of the wings. Pictures look so cool!!

Pictures of this are in this book, Sky Calls – book 3. Plane says Grunion Aeroplane Company on it. Only Ag Cat in the book.

Your son would like this book, it is really cool, full of unreal photos. Oldie Goldie. Classic!  [Looked but couldn’t find it on Amazon or AbeBooks – g]

I also worked with a crew that supplied the Contrasand was prior cargo master on the C- 123 shot down in Nicaragua in IraContra.  Only reason Eu.Hasnfus survived is one of the guys (prior CM) gave him a special chute he built that would deploy in a split second. They flew at 200AGL with tail open so the cargo master could spotmisles coming at them and tell the pilot break left or right. You can’t dodge 6,000mph at 200′. Nobody in DC believe anyone survived until TVtime….. Spies in the camp gave the route, they were waiting for the bird…..

Anyway-I remember jumping etc…. misspellings herein on purpose.

Ciao,  Steve on Somethings….

Steve’s got a book forthcoming – we’ll let you know when it comes out.

Bro-in-law Panama, being a retired SF/Pathfinder, yada yada, has listened to some of G2’s adventures and is not inclined to add to his more than 1,000 jumps.  And that makes the point, I reckon:  As you get older, you do get smarter.

Tomorrow for Peoplenomics readers, some planning ahead notes on “Hard Times Economics…” and if you’re not a subscriber, our massive winter storm coverage continues Monday, same time, same website.  Although we will have breaking news updates throughout the weekend after that 9.6 earthquake….

George    george@ure.net

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