Saturday, September 10, 2011

10 years since yesterday.....Part 2

When we left off we had made it to what would have been our second class of the day. Classes for the day had essentially been put on hold due to the events in New York, DC, and Pennsylvania.

The time is approximately 850am. By this time we learned that these were in fact terrorist attacks. Another plane had crashed near Philadelphia. That several planes were unaccounted for. And that the FAA was closing the airspace around the U.S., nothing comes in nothing goes out. I learned that both towers were hit at separate times. Not at the same time like I had thought before.

We stood around the tv trying to see what we could through all the static. Our paperclip idea, while good, was not enough to catch a good signal. I remember being chosen as the one to hold the damn thing in the tv while everyone else sat down. Thanks. Thankfully our teacher walked in with the antenna. We could finally see what was really going on. Both towers engulfed in smoke, with huge holes in both of then. I had never seen something like that before. We were watching ABCNews now.

At this point I noticed our teacher seemed uneasy. He was in and out of the room, pacing all over the place. We were seated and chatting and cutting up. Talking about who had seen what and when Talking about random things, what we were going to do later blah blah blah. Then the South tower fell. It was now about 902am. It was as if someone had swept up a pile of dust, then dropped it onto the tower. That image has stayed with me since I saw it. We went quiet. A few words were said. Not much else. I remember Peter Jennings saying there was a triage area set up at the base of the towers. The first bits of fear and dread entered my mind.

9/11 was a day of strange feelings for me. This next one came after the first tower fell. Something told me to call my mom and tell her to pick me up. My thinking was since things were getting progressively worse there was no way we were going to have a full day of school. I asked if I could go use the bathroom. Like I said before, our teacher seemed preoccupied. I instead I went and used our payphones to call my mom. I told her that even though it was not officially announced school would let out early I told her it was eventually going to happen. I remember telling her I was a little scared and would rather be with a family member than at school. She called my grandparents.

It was about 920am when I got back to my seat. I remember looking at the North tower and saying to myself 'it would be awesome if this tower survived, we could rub it in the terrorists faces.' Deep inside though, I knew this was wishful thinking. I knew the North tower was doomed to come down. I just knew. At about 928am, we watched in silence a the North tower finally fell. I said to myself 'there it goes'. I remember thinking what now? What are we supposed to do now? Think of all the men who worked on building those towers. All the work they put into it.

You could hear it in the voice of the anchors on tv. They were just as stunned as we were. That was a bit unnerving. Shortly after the collapse ABC started showing events that happened earlier in the day. They replayed the video of the second plane going into the South tower. I did not know the networks were live on the air when the second plane hit. The horror, I thought, to see that on tv. LIVE!.

Eventually we were moved into our cafeteria/auditorium. Where we were told our parents were being called to pick us all up. At this point I am not sure what time it was. I honestly think this was around the time I went into some sort of shock. It was sometime between 930am and 12pm.

I remember seeing someone had put a tv on the stage and several of my classmates had gathered around it. It was on CBSNews coverage. They showed a list of the flights that had been hijacked. Me and a friend decided to go to our library and try to get more info off the internet. But we were quickly turned back. We were told the dioceses didnt want students to use the computers. I was upset, I had just seen people die, what else were they going to protect me from. 

For whatever reason my grandparents took forever getting to the school. Eventually my name was called. It was time to go home. Sort of. I felt slightly better as I got in their car. We had it on newsradio, listing the whole way to their house to the coverage. 

The rest of the day seemed to go by in sort of a blur. I know I was at my grandparents till the lat afternoon, when my mom was able to pick me up and drop me off at home. I spent the rest of the day watching the coverage. Recording bits here and there. We live close to an airport. It was strange not to hear planes taking off. The silence was deafening.

A lot of things changed in my life that day. The realization that something like this could happen anywhere. The realization that I had just seen thousands of people die right in front of me as I watched. That this could have happened to any one of us. The rest of the week I was thrown into depression. I know its strange that a teenager, thousands of miles away would be depressed about this. Well I was. I spent the rest of the week watching the coverage. In the days and months after I watched and read anything about the attacks. I looked up the pictures on the internet. I watched the videos over and over again.

I tell this little story not to gain fame, not to make you feel sorry for me, I tell it because I live this day over and over again every single day. At least once a day I relive the day. Whether through my eyes or someone else. I feel almost cursed by it. I have had nightmares about it. The most recent was last September. I had two of them. Talking about it does help. But who wants to hear someone talk about 9/11 everyday. For me 9/11/01 happened yesterday. The images from that day are still that vivid. Seeing people leap from the buildings, watching the looks on peoples faces as they watched, hearing the stories of the firefighters, police, EMS, ordinary people all of this is burned into my mind. Every year since then, on 9/11, I watch the coverage of the memorials. I watch the specials. I hear the stories. I feel almost called to do this. On this 10th year though it feels different. I dont know why.

The good things that came from that day. Journalism and photography were thrust into my life. The value of volunteering, helping someone whom you dont even know.

I honestly think i could write a book describing that day and how it affected me. In writing this I realized a lot of the events I remember happened within minutes of each other. At the time, it seemed to drag on. The day seemed much longer. Trust me I have much more i could write. But I think I have taken enough of your time. I feel slightly better in writing this. 

Never forget that day. 9/11/2001

NOTE: The reason my math teacher seemed distant that turns out, If I am not mistaken, one of his sons was in New York at the time. Thankfully he was well north of the towers.

10 years since yesterday.....Part 1

NOTE: This will be a blog of rambling. Its my story as i remember it. Its how I wanted to tell it. There will be no edits to keep it short. No pictures, I think its good to use the imagination every now and then. All times are Central unless otherwise noted.

I dont recall much about the days and weeks leading up to 9/11. Im sure the memories are there, just hidden. Memories of what life used to be like. Back then terrorism on the scale of 9/11 was something that happened in that other country, you know the one, that one with all the sand.

Back then the internet was there, a teenager, waiting to grow up. Cell phones were still kind of a new thing. A cell phone with a camera meant you had your self some money. The iPod was still months away. The most advanced piece of handheld technology was something called a "BlackBerry" and a "PalmPilot". Michael Jordan was thinking about retiring....again.

9/11 began like every other school day for me, with dread. I was a sophomore in high school and hated going to school, still do. I was dropped off at my Moms apartment around 6am maybe a tad earlier. I took a nap like I always did to catch up on what sleep I missed. At about 7am I turned on the tv to watch GMA. The plan, was to leave about 730am to reach my school by about 8am. As always though, that plan usually fell apart.


Before we left i had an urge to pop a tape in the VCR and record the rest of GMA. I dont know why, as I look back at what they were going to show, there was nothing that should have sparked my attention.


We walked out of the apt. about 740-745am. Hopped in the car and were on our way. We decided not to listen to the radio (to many commercials), but instead listen to a CD. Santana I believe. Besides the usual traffic jams along the way the ride to school was normal. I walked in, late, got my things from my locker and headed to my first class. Things at this point were still like any other day. No sign that things were already set in motion in New York.


The time was approximately 805-810am. Unknown to me both towers of the World Trade Center had been struck by airplanes. About 30min later a place was flown into the Pentagon in Washington DC. Minutes later I would hear for the first time something was wrong.
My first class of the day was English. I was seated behind my friend Ryan. We chatted and cut up like always. About 840am the loud speaker in our room came to life. The voice on the other side was our school Priest, Father Ron ( I went to a Catholic school by the way). He said that two aircraft had hit both World Trade Center towers. He then said that the Pentagon was hit as well. We held a quick moment of silence, and that was all. Honestly I was in shock, how could two planes hit the WTC at the same time? Let alone the Pentagon. I knew it was a clear day from what I had seen on GMA earlier. I was trying, in my mind, to see how a plane could do this.

My thoughts raced. How could this happen. I remember thinking its remotely possible the New York incident was an accident. But the Pentagon! That was terrorism. I knew it. the lesson plan for the day had been essentially thrown out the window. A teacher from across the way came into our room to speak to our teacher. They discussed a few thing in the hallway. Our teacher came back in and turned on the tv in our room

The tv was very fuzzy. Lots of static. But I could make out that we were seeing the CBS coverage. They had a split screen. The left was New York. The right was the Pentagon. I could barley make out the smoke and flames from both locations. The bell rang, our first class was over.

As me and Ryan made our way out of the classroom we were stopped by a freshman. He asked with a big smile on his face "Fr. Ron was kidding right? Its a joke?". We both told him it was no joke, it was real. I remember telling him to head to his next class that they most likely had a tv on so he could see.

Me and Ryan decided not to take our math books to class since we would likely be watching the tv. I dont know why I thought that. Really the information I was going on really didnt give off signs of a national emergency. As we made our way to class we were intercepted by our math instructor pushing a tv cart. We asked him if this was for our class. He said yes and that class was basically cancelled. As we all made our way into the room our teacher plugged the tv in and left the room to get an antenna. We (my classmates), took it upon ourselves to get the tv on and make a makeshift antenna. A paperclip.

Im going to end part 1 here. Take a break, drink some water. Hopefully you are intrigued enough to read part 2.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Well a very cool thing is happening tomorrow. A new radar is going to be tested in Washington state. Technically its not a new type of radar, but it is the latest addition the the NWS radar network.

All ready to go.
You could call this radar a "gap filling" radar. Before areas between the KATX (Seattle) and KRTX (Portland) radars received poor coverage due to distance between the radars and mountainous regions. Also the radar will scan below 0.5* elevation.

The radar site is located approximately 3 miles east of Copalis Beach in Grays Harbor County. Tomorrow at approximately 9am Pacific time the radar will be turned on for testing. Thankfully due to the radar program I have I will be able to view the data as it comes in! Once testing is finished the radar will be upgraded to Dual Polarity. The radar is expected to go officially go on-line about September 30th.
I will post tomorrow with some of the test images.

Its that time of the season.....

Boy talk about beautiful weather! Currently at 0653 its 65*F at the Pasadena EOC. Its 67* at Hobby and 60* at the Big Airport! Winds a light right no but might increase as the day wears on. The next 5 days look great temperature wise for the Houston area. Highs in the lower 90s with low humidity. Lows in the upper to lower 60s depending where you are. Sadly still no rain in sight.

Tropics Watch!
Hurricane Katia has weakened again. But her forecast track still has her passing well off shore of the East Coast.

There is a new Depression to the East of Katia. Tropical Depression 14 formed Monday afternoon. According to the NHC, 14 is near tropical storm strength. The latest update has 14 at 12.0N, 39.9W. While normally TC (Tropical Cyclones), that form in this area at this time usually under go rapid intensification, the models are showing 14 to slowly gain strength over the next few days. The latest track has 14 potentially passing close to PR and the Virgin Islands.

Tropical Depression 14

The newest area of interest sits in the Southern Gulf of Mexico. The NHC has seen some sighs of organization with this system. They give it a 60% chance of developing into a tropical system. An Airforce Hurricane Hunter will investigate later today. Early models show this system, whether it develops or not, will either move West into Mexico or track East toward the Northern Gulf. Basically leaving Texas high and dry.

NOTE: The "*" used after the temperatures above is to represent the degree symbol unless other wise noted.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sleepless nights and Hurricanes....

Well here we go.....

Not sure why but i have apparently started another streak of sleepless nights. When the clock strikes midnight all the sudden im wide awake for about 3-4hrs.

Hurricane Katia is a Category 3 hurricane. With winds at ~120mph. Her track will take her toward the East coast, till about 8am Thursday. When she will take a turn to the North then Northeast away from the U.S. Visible satellite shows a rather impressive looking storm. Her eye is some what visible. On infrared imagery, her structure looks a bit ragged. Her eye is not well formed and it looks like she might be ingesting some dry air (which is bad for a hurricane).

Here locally, our weather has taken a turn for the better. Sort of...Temps have finally started to cool off. Forecast is calling for highs in the upper 80s-mid 90s, lows in the mid to upper 60s the rest of the week. Just last week we were in the middle of a streak of 100+ degree days. There is still a noticeable lack of rain, but  cooler temps are ok for now.

Well hopefully this was not to painful to sure I will get better the more I write. See you later.....

Monday, September 5, 2011

New here....

Well I have finally decided to create my own blog. I know many others who are doing this including a close friend. Usually when I have something to say I either dont have the time or dont have a place to say it. Hopefully this will solve that. This is still new to me so all the profile details will get filled in over time.

Im sure you are thinking this is just another weather blog blah blah blah....Well you are right. But you are also wrong. Yes weather will probably be a main focus from time to time, but there are other things I talk about too. Astronomy, current events, motor sports, some sci-fi stuff here and know general nerd subjects.

Hopefully you enjoy what you read here, all two or three of you.