Bertha lives on

BY SUSAN KIM | GALVESTON, TX | August 8, 2002



"It’s so flat here that it floods very easily."

—Lynn Sample


Bertha’s still alive and still dropping rain.

So far Louisiana has taken the hardest hit from the nearly week-old storm. The Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness so far reported only localized flooding even though some areas received 10 inches of rain.

Bertha reorganized into a tropical depression as it traveled over the Gulf. The storm moved out of Louisiana Wednesday morning and headed for the Gulf of Mexico, where in Texas it brushed past Houston, Palacios, and Galveston. Corpus Christi had the next “heads-up” from forecasters, who said the storm could make landfall there late Thursday.

On Thursday afternoon, Bertha’s maximum sustained winds were 30 mph, with some minor strengthening possible. The main threat is what it’s been all along – heavy rainfall.

Galveston saw a waterspout, a tornado, and some rain Thursday morning but, thankfully, little damage, residents said.

At least some drought-stricken areas were grateful for the rain. But sometimes dry ground increases the risk of flash flooding, observed Lynn Sample, a member of the First Baptist Church in Palacios.

“It’s so flat here that it floods very easily. And when the ground is really dry it doesn’t absorb the water as readily.”

Many Gulf areas are well prepared during hurricane season, so a tropical depression doesn’t faze people. “I remember one storm we had 17 inches of rain in less than two hours,” said lifelong Galveston resident Stephanie Winfield. “We recovered.”

Other Galveston residents said storms get extra attention because of the deadliest natural disaster ever to strike the United States hit there in 1900. A monstrous hurricane killed 8,000 people – at that time nearly one-fifth of the island’s population.

Now when a storm gets close, people across the nation tend to become riveted, said Galveston resident Peggy Anderson. “I have family that live in Anchorage, Alaska, and they’ll call and ask what’s going on with the storm. Meanwhile it will be 90 degrees and sunny,” she said.

In other storm news, Tropical Storm Christobal was moving away from Florida Thursday.


Related Topics:

Atlantic storm morphs into Javier

Florida prepares for TS Colin

More hurricanes predicted in '16


More links on Tropical Storms

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