with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Watching Hurricane Dennis from Tunica, Mississippi

July 10, 2005, 1300 CST, Tunica, Mississippi

The only reason we have a television is to watch the very occassional decent science fiction show and watch the weather channel. And now, we are glued to the television watching the weather channel. Mobile, Alabama, two days behind us, is now being battered with 2-5 inches of rain an hour and winds growing faster and faster. Hurricane Dennis is a Category 4, and now really in the record books.

It arrived in the record books as a collect of the first four storms of the hurricane season were all worthy of a name, which is the first time in recorded history. Tropical Storm Cindy smacked Mobile with moderate winds and minimum damage, mostly power outages and a few leaky roofs only a week and a half ago.

Then Dennis broken again into the record books as the earliest recorded hurricane to make US landfall this early in the hurricane season. I guess they usually don’t arrive until August or September.

Now, Hurricane Dennis is again in the record books as the most powerful storm to hit the US Gulf Coast area in recorded history.

Great for us.

Winds are expected to be 140 miles per hour with gusts even higher. It is scheduled to smack into the coast line within the next hour or two, and while it might pull back a little, it will swirl up tornados, flooding, heavy winds, and all kinds of fun weather as it crawls up the center of the country.

We choose the Memphis area because they have no history of getting any impact from the hurricanes that we could find. Usually the hurricane forces and storms are pushed over towards the east, traveling up the east coast. Now, this thing is slated to direct itself towards Memphis. Figures.

Later: 1730 CST

Well, Hurricane Dennis struck just east of Mobile between Pensacola and Destin, Florida. The little wobble that took it a smidge to the east was enough to have Mobile, Alabama, “dodge the bullet” as described by a Weather Channel reporter. But the fury of the storm is not done.

Currently, Hurricane Dennis is between us and Mobile and headed towards us. We will wait and watch the storm approach us, while the Gulf Coast area is done with the storm and begins clean up and damage assessment. If we really get frustrated with the wait, we can head further west and then descend down south and creep around the storm, but the cost of gas just to get here was incredibly expensive, so waiting for the storm to pass and then head back might be the smartest idea.

We’re not sure what is coming at us. Estimates right now are of winds between 40-70 miles per hour and several inches of rain. This we can handle. Unfortunately, tornados are spawning all over the place, and that we can’t handle. So we wait and watch and hope the storm burns itself out or turns and heads east, away from us.

It looks like it might hit us tomorrow afternoon.

And of course, our trauma never ends.

This morning we took our two laptops with WIFI to the office to run email and such. Brent’s computer locks up the moment he attempts to connect to the WIFI node. He has no problems connecting to our WIFI node, which isn’t connected to the Internet, but his computer crashes every time with the campground node. I was able to connect, but it was incredibly slow and tedious.

We wandered around the campground and found some sites that had a really good WIFI signal and talked the RV resort folks into letting us move. But we couldn’t move “too close” to the best signal range because that area is for RVs without pets. Brent told the truth and said we had a cat, and told them that the cat never goes outside. But that didn’t matter to them. A pet is a pet and you have to stay in the pet area. I asked if there was a no smoking area. There was not. Only restrictions for pets. Assholes.

So we packed things up and moved to the new spot, and Brent couldn’t get a signal at all. He finally went back to the office to work and every time he tries to connect, the computer locks up. Damn.

I was able to get a VERY weak signal from my desk in the trailer. But it takes four to six tries to generate a single web page. It keeps timing out. I finally decided to just get some email work done. I spent 30 minutes trying to get email, and then writing an email for work, reviewing and editing it carefully because while I wanted to make a point, I didn’t want the anger and frustration of the past few days to be “read into” by pointed email. Just as I hit send, the famous blue screen of death hit and my laptop crashed, again. I knew I was on borrowed time, but I thought maybe it might just work long enough.

So I’m trying to get it to work again, but I’m not sure how long it will last. The server is working but it has no WIFI connection.


I’m so angry, I have to stop now before blue flames come off my keyboard and through the Internet to singe your precious and delicate ears….that only some of you have. The rest have the imagination to recognize the words even from a distance.

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