Flooding death toll in Southeast U.S. floods rises to 24; oil slick moving little

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:11 PM GMT on May 04, 2010

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The death toll from last weekend's record flooding in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississippi has risen to 24, making it the deadliest non-tropical storm or hurricane flood disaster in the U.S. since the October 1998 Central Texas floods that killed 31 when a cold front stalled over Texas. As flood waters recede today, the toll from last weekend's floods is expected to grow higher. Particularly hard-hit was the Nashville, Tennessee area, where ten fatalities were reported. The city had its heaviest 1-day and 2-day rainfall amounts in its history over the weekend. A remarkable 7.25" of rain fell on the city Sunday, breaking the record for most rain in a single day (6.60", set September 13, 1979.) Nashville's third greatest day of rainfall on record occurred Saturday, when 6.32" fell. Nashville also eclipsed its greatest 6-hour and 12-hour rainfall events on record, with 5.57" and 7.20", respectively, falling on Sunday. And, only two days into the month, the weekend rains made it the rainiest May in Nashville's history.

Rainfall records were smashed all across Tennessee, Kentucky, and northern Mississippi over the weekend, with amounts as high as 17.73" recorded at Camden, TN, and 17.02" at Brownsville, TN. According to Chris Burt, the author of the excellent book Extreme Weather, the 13.30" that fell on Camden in 24 hours just missed eclipsing the state's all-time 24-hour precipitation record, the 13.60" inches that fell on Milan on September 13, 1982. Jackson, Tennessee had its rainiest day in its 63-year weather history on Sunday, 7.93". Bowling Green Kentucky had its heaviest 2-day precipitation event on record, 9.67". Records in Bowling Green go back to 1870.


Figure 1. Satellite-estimated precipitable water at 23 UTC (7 pm EDT) Sunday, May 2, 2010. Precipitable water is a measure of how much rain would be produced if all the water vapor and cloud moisture through the depth of the atmosphere were to fall as rain. Values above 50 mm (about 2 inches) are frequently associated with flooding. Sunday's precipitable water image showed a tropical disturbance crossed Mexico into the Gulf of Mexico, dragging a plume of very moist air northwards over the Southeast U.S. Image credit: University of Wisconsin GOES Satellite Blog.


Figure 2. Flood forecast for the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. Image credit: NOAA.

The record rains were accompanied by a surge of very warm air that set record high temperature marks at 21 major airports across the Eastern U.S. on Saturday. This is not surprising, since more moisture can evaporate into warmer air, making record-setting rainfall events more likely when record high temperatures are present. Accompanying this warm air was moisture from a tropical disturbance that crossed over Mexico from the tropical East Pacific over the weekend (Figure 1.)

The record rains sent the Cumberland River in downtown Nashville surging to 51.86' this morning, 12' over flood height, and the highest level the river has reached since a flood control project was completed in the early 1960s. The previous post-flood control project record level was 47.6', set on March 15, 1975 (the river hit 56.2' in 1929, before the flood control project was built.) The river has now crested (Figure 2) and is expected to recede below flood stage by Wednesday morning. There are no further rains in the forecast this week for Tennessee. At least four rivers in Tennessee reached their greatest flood heights on record this week. Most remarkable was the Duck River at Centreville, which crested at 47', a full 25 feet above flood stage, and ten feet higher than the previous record crest, achieved in 1948 (to check out the flood heights, use our wundermap for Nashville with the "USGS River" layer turned on.)

Funding issues to take 17 Tennessee streamgages offline
According to the USGS web site, seventeen Tennessee streamflow gages with records going back up to 85 years will stop collecting data on July 1 because of budget cuts. With up to eighteen people in Tennessee dying from flooding this weekend, now hardly seems to be the time to be skimping on monitoring river flow levels by taking 17 of Tennessee's 94 streamflow gages out of service. These gages are critical for proper issuance of flood warnings to people in harm's way. Furthermore, Tennessee and most of the northern 2/3 of the U.S. can expect a much higher incidence of record flooding in coming decades. This will be driven by two factors: increased urban development causing faster run-off, and an increase in very heavy precipitation events due to global warming. Both factors have already contributed to significant increases in flooding events in recent decades over much of the U.S. The USGS web site advertises that users who can contribute funding for the non-Federal share of costs to continue operation of these streamgages should contact Shannon Williams of the USGS Tennessee Water Science Center at 615-837-4755 or swilliam@usgs.gov. Tennessee is not the only state with streamgages at risk of closing down; fully 276 gages in 37 states have been shut down or will be shut down later this year. If you have questions about specific streamgages, click on the state of concern on the USGS web page of threatened stream gages.

Oil spill update
The oil slick from the April 20 explosion and blowout of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon has retreated from the coast, thanks to a slackening of the persistent onshore winds that have affected the northern Gulf of Mexico over the past week. According to the latest NWS marine forecast, winds will be light and variable through Wednesday, resulting in little transport of the oil slick. Winds will then resume a weak onshore flow at 5 - 10 knots, Thursday through Friday, then reverse to blow offshore at 5 - 10 knots over the weekend. The net result of this wind pattern will be little transport of the oil slick. The only areas at risk of landfalling oil over the next five days will be the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana, and the Chandeleur Islands. The latest forecast of Gulf currents from the NOAA HYCOM model (see also this alternative view of the HYCOM ocean current forecast) show weak ocean currents affecting the region during the remainder of the week. These currents will not be strong enough to push any oil southwards into the Loop Current over the next five days, so the Keys and South Florida are safe from oil for now. I'll have a post on the long-range prospects for oil to enter the Loop Current later this week, and a discussion of how a hurricane might affect and be affected by the oil spill.


Figure 3. Forecast location at 6pm CDT Tuesday, May 4, 2010, of the oil slick from the Deepwater Horizon blowout. Image credit: NOAA Office of Response and Restoration. See also the trajectory maps available at State of Louisiana web site.

Jeff Masters

Alice Aycock sculpture (laughingjester)
If you saw my other pics of this sculpture you cam get an idea how high the Cumberland river has risen. when I left it was still getting higher.
Alice Aycock sculpture
Harpeth River Flooding (XMLP)
Harpeth River Flooding
Removing the flood damaged cars and trucks. (laughingjester)
I am a wrecker driver for Martin's wrecker service. We were called to remove the vehicles that got caught in the flooding on interstate I 24 westbound near the Bell Road exit in Nashville Tennessee. Of course this is after the waters had subsided. It was roughly 200, 250 cars and trucks that got caught up in the flood..
Removing the flood damaged cars and trucks.
Nashville Flooding (jadnash)
This is looking east - the Cumberland River is just on the other side of the buildings.
Nashville Flooding
Parking via Mother Nature (jadnash)
This car drove into the swiftly moving water at the Belle Meade Kroger and was thrown up against a parking deck. Luckily someone got a ladder and dropped it down to break the rear window and the driver climbed out safely!
Parking via Mother Nature

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Quoting Grothar:
CycloneOZ

The scary thing about your story is that I believe it is all true! I have led a very adventurous life, not of my own choosing. Those on here who actually know me, know that I am kind of a tough guy, but not at all daring. I must be lacking that particular gene. However, I can't say that I do not enjoy that trait in others. You keep the rest of us entertained. Just, please be careful.


I'll be as careful as I can. I promise.

But no guarantees...
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3753
Quoting NRAamy:
Big Tuna Domo-kun!!!!

:)
Japan is indispensable for avatars :)
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71. JRRP
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Big Tuna Domo-kun!!!!

:)
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
where's the volcano people? does it look different? i know i said this before but that was night vs day. it is smoking from 3 places. 2 white, 1 gray and the gray is further back.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 3 Comments: 1637
Quoting Ossqss:


Poor 2x4 :( J/K



Cruel! but very funny!
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CycloneOZ

The scary thing about your story is that I believe it is all true! I have led a very adventurous life, not of my own choosing. Those on here who actually know me, know that I am kind of a tough guy, but not at all daring. I must be lacking that particular gene. However, I can't say that I do not enjoy that trait in others. You keep the rest of us entertained. Just, please be careful.
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Hmmm ... is it my imagination or are those tropical waves in the Atlantic rather impressive for this early in the year?
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Quoting Ossqss:


Poor 2x4 :(


Goodnight all.
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Quoting CycloneOz:
I took a 2 X 4 to the face this past weekend.

Where's the sympathy for that...or do "on purpose" injuries not count. :D


Poor 2x4 :( J/K

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Quoting Grothar:


I had a friend who liked to get shot out of cannons. No one does it anymore. Just can't find people of his caliber! (Bet you were fun in college, though) Enjoyed your chase the other day, by the way. It really was interesting.


I'm glad you were online with us during that chase! :)

And you're right about me. My fear level is set pretty low, although I was genuinely terrified when that tornado passed by us about a mile down the road!

There was a day in my college years where I did a big "no-no," too!

It was January in Pensacola. The year was 1977. Surf reports on that day were incredible! Thirty foot swells with off shore winds. Pensacola Beach was just like Hawaii's Pipeline!

I was a big-time surfing enthusiast at the time, so I went to the beach with my board. When I got there, I discovered that my brother had "stolen" my full body wetsuit. The only thing I had was a summer suit that left my arms and legs exposed.

It didn't matter to me. I was going for it!

So I suited up and ran to the end of the fishing pier and jumped into the water over the railing at the deep end of the pool.

As soon as I hit the water, I knew I had made a bad mistake. I instantly went into hypothermia.

My arms and legs were barely functioning just seconds after I splashed down.

I tried catching the first wave to get me back into shore...but I couldn't move my arms fast enough...so I only caught the top of the wave.

I tried to back out, but the top of the wave had me good...and it dragged me into the break.

People on the pier started screaming at me! "Get out of there, you're in the break! You're in the death zone!"

But as I turned the board around, a giant set had come in and there was nothing I could do.

I turned the board back to shore and hung on.

The first wave sucked me right up to the top and then broke right where I was.

I was pitched out into the air in a free fall and I landed on the edge of my board right between the legs.

That's the last thing I remember until I woke up on the beach coughing up sea water.

My girl friend who was with me told me what happened after I went unconscious.

I was carried quickly to shore by the current, but I was right next to a big rip. People on the beach could only see my board and they waded in and grabbed it before it went back out with the rip.

Of course, I was leashed to the board. And I was deader than a doornail when they pulled me out of the surf.

My girl friend gave me mouth to mouth while another guy there pounded on my chest.

That's when I woke up.

They told me to stay put and that they'd get an ambulance to take me to the hospital.

But I was so embarrassed, I got up and left...still hacking up the Gulf.

My girl friend broke up with me soon after.

My adventure that day traumatized her too much.

That's just one "near death" experience I've had. There have been others, but none of them have had the effect to stop me from going out there and risking it.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3753
Off topic..


.."I wunder where Gunter Wendt?"..

Sadly..he has passed on.

A true American who gave America's final Handshake to those who touched the Moon,and will be sadly missed.




Guenter Wendt and the Apollo 11 Crew

Within the White Room atop the gantry on Launch Complex 39 Pad A, the Apollo 11 astronauts egress from the Apollo spacecraft after participation in the Countdown Demonstration Test. In the foreground of the photograph is Astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Pad leader Guenter Wendt talks with Neil Armstrong. Astronaut Michael Collins stands to the left of Armstrong.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128667
Quoting Patrap:
Fishermen voice concerns over fine print in BP contracts

I'm not a lawyer (and I can't see that video at work) but it seems that the contracts would be invalid because they were signed under duress.
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Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11351
Quoting Floodman:


I've been having a very interesting few weeks(in the Chinese sense)...actually, not too bad, aside from the Twilight Zone stuff...LOL

And you? How have you been doing?


Personally, everything going very well. Back and neck not good. Last Sunday was a bit like 1968, if you know what I mean. LOL Glad to see you are around more that hurricane season is coming up. We will have to try and keep CycloneOZ out of harm's way this season. Take care and keep mending.
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Quoting CycloneUK:


it's not going to be done for a while and we will be fortunate if it doesn't wake it's neighbors.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 3 Comments: 1637
Fishermen voice concerns over fine print in BP contracts



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128667
Put the high TNA with a strong MJO pulse and you got trouble!
In other news, record warm low of 74 in Melbourne yesterday. It's 84.5 along the Space Coast today. Forecast to be 93 tomorrow.


Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11351
boo boo kiss on Groth's back!

:)
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
Quoting CycloneOz:


I agree! :D

Still, it was a hoot! :)
Quoting CycloneOz:


I agree! :D

Still, it was a hoot! :)


I had a friend who liked to get shot out of cannons. No one does it anymore. Just can't find people of his caliber! (Bet you were fun in college, though) Enjoyed your chase the other day, by the way. It really was interesting.
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Quoting Grothar:


Ah! You don't want to know!! LOL How you been, Flood? for real? Long time no talk.


I've been having a very interesting few weeks(in the Chinese sense)...actually, not too bad, aside from the Twilight Zone stuff...LOL

And you? How have you been doing?
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Quoting dfwWxDude:
Hate that the fishing industry is bearing the brunt of this oil spill ni the gulf economically.

But I think this could be a fascinating look into the effects of over-fishing, if they cannot harvest the gulf for the rest of the summer. Could really allow some marine populations to recover.


If there's anything left to recover, plus your not thinking about what these fish's will eat when main food sources are dead from the oil slick.

Nothing positive will come from this.

The oil is interrupting the food cycle for fish. Fish or mammals that eat the oil sick food source will start to build dangerous levels of pollutants in there system, if they don't die from it first.

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Quoting CycloneOz:
I took a 2 X 4 to the face this past weekend.

Where's the sympathy for that...or do "on purpose" injuries not count. :D



Ummm, self-inflicted 2x4 injury...testing your storm gear, I suppose?
* )
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Quoting CycloneOz:


I agree! :D

Still, it was a hoot! :)


LOL! Save it for the storms man! You don't wanna be out of commission when the real deal comes.
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
Add some Blue Dawn Liquid,,maybe a case to ones 2010 Hurricane Prep Kit.

Never to early to Be Prepared.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128667
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Quoting Floodman:


Es tut mir leid, Grothar, mein freund! How have you been?


Ah! You don't want to know!! LOL How you been, Flood? for real? Long time no talk.
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Quoting hurricanejunky:


Darwin award type injuries don't generally warrant sympathy. Of course we all know you were doing it in the name of research but if you were to just tell a stranger "I took a 2x4 to the face while launching them at myself." I think the reply may prove to be relatively unsympathetic.


I agree! :D

Still, it was a hoot! :)
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3753
That is a really strong MJO pulse!
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A Baconator Double is comfort food,esp Post Tornado.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128667
blog1469 post971 presslord "new estimate: 5000 barrels per day"

post1043 aspectre "Thanks for the heads-up. Certainly closer to other US-affecting offshore blowouts: 8,000to10,000barrels per day averaged over 10days at Santa Barbara; and 11,000to12,000barrels per day averaged over 295days at Ixtoc I, Gulf of Mexico.
The ExxonValdiz wreck spilled ~11million gallons. At 5,000barrels/210,000gallons per day, the DeepwaterHorizon spill will reach that level by June11th.
In 2005, TropicalStorm Arlene reached near-hurricane strength in the Gulf of Mexico on June10th."

Comparisons with the day before TropicalStorm Arlene began spinning on 8June2005

3May2010

7Jun2005

3May2010

7Jun2005

3May2010
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
Quoting Grothar:


You know Flood, I don't want to start anything, but in all this time, you have never once inquired about my back since the incident. I feel a little hurt.


Es tut mir leid, Grothar, mein freund! How have you been?
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Looks like we may see something in late May after all.

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Quoting CycloneOz:
I took a 2 X 4 to the face this past weekend.

Where's the sympathy for that...or do "on purpose" injuries not count. :D


awh.....
you want sympathy for purposely hurting yourself?
poor oz you ok buddy?
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 3 Comments: 1637
Quoting CycloneOz:
I took a 2 X 4 to the face this past weekend.

Where's the sympathy for that...or do "on purpose" injuries not count. :D


Darwin award type injuries don't generally warrant sympathy. Of course we all know you were doing it in the name of research but if you were to just tell a stranger "I took a 2x4 to the face while launching them at myself." I think the reply may prove to be relatively unsympathetic.
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
the tropical wave analysed at 38W south of 10N moving west. this wave will move into south america the next three days
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I took a 2 X 4 to the face this past weekend.

Where's the sympathy for that...or do "on purpose" injuries not count. :D
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3753
Quoting hurricanejunky:


That's great other than the fact that the new abundance of sea life will either be dead or highly toxic for human consumption. That is an interesting thought though.


i was watching jack hanna last night and he said that 1 quart of oil would kill everything in the 300,000 gallon tank that was behind him. some of them would die quickly and the others would go slower.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 3 Comments: 1637
Quoting Grothar:


You know Flood, I don't want to start anything, but in all this time, you have never once inquired about my back since the incident. I feel a little hurt.

Oh, I never knew you hurt your back, hope your alright.
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Quoting Floodman:
Hey Aussie! How you doing? How's the back, brother?

Hey Mate! doing ok, still having my good and bad days. today started out good, at the moment I'm on my medium strength meds, this cold weather ain't doing my back any good. I want summer back. I wish I could win lotto and follow summer between Australia and the Philippine. I have 1 thing keeping me going, a 6 week holiday in the Philippines over Christmas. I'm going to push myself to do something i have always wanted to do while i am there, climb Mount Pinatubo and have a swim in the crater lake.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

A very interesting read.


Excellent!
Member Since: April 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 306
Quoting ahaskeywest:
Jeff: Hoping to get your update on the oil spill asap. Huffington Post is reporting it will be in the loop current in 24 hours. Hoping for better news in Key West.



People really need to get on the same page with this. Our locals in West Palm said that it wouldn't reach the gulf stream anytime in the next 7 days at least.
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Quoting Floodman:
Hey Aussie! How you doing? How's the back, brother?


You know Flood, I don't want to start anything, but in all this time, you have never once inquired about my back since the incident. I feel a little hurt.
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If anyone here has Accuweather Pro, I would strongly suggest that you check out Joe Bastardi's Long Ranger video. He talks about the ECMWF really beating out the CFS in its seasonal forecasts.

Very interesting stuff.
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Is there a countdown clock on the domes being lowered down over the leaks?

Yesterday, they were talking about beginning this coming weekend.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3753
Forgotten in massive cleanup, 11 grieving families



by Tamara Lush / Associated Press

wwltv.com

Posted on May 4, 2010 at 8:01 AM

Updated today at 8:51 AM

NEW ORLEANS -- This was supposed to be one of the best months of Michelle Jones' life: giving birth to her second son, her husband Gordon at her side.

Instead, she must prepare for the birth without her baby's father.

Gordon Jones, 28, was among the 11 who died when an oil rig exploded April 20 in the Gulf of Mexico. Nearly two weeks after the tragedy, relatives of the dead have held memorial services, sued rig operator BP-PLC and grappled with waves of grief as the catastrophe plays out on a worldwide stage -- with barely a mention
of their loved ones' names.

"It seems like people have forgotten," said Michelle Jones, who, at nine months pregnant, will give birth any day.

She and other victims' family members aren't casting blame; they understand the environmental impact is the reason why the spill has gotten so much attention and their loved ones, so little.

Had it been a plane crash or a tornado strike, grieving families and friends could at least to go the place where their loved ones died. They could lay a wreath and pray.

Not so with this disaster. The Deepwater Horizon oil rig was 50 miles south of the Louisiana coast. Because it exploded and burned -- and is now a veritable underwater volcano of toxic, oily sludge -- the final resting place of those 11 victims is a watery, inaccessible grave.

"I hope and I pray that when they get the oil spill cleaned up that they will have some kind of memorial for them and for the families out there," said Janet Woodson, whose 37-year-old brother, Aaron Dale Burkeen, died in the accident. "That's the last place he was at, and I would like to be there."

Unlike another recent workplace tragedy, the West Virginia mine explosion that killed 29, the men who worked on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf were not united by geography. The 11 victims came from three states: Louisiana, Mississippi and even Texas, commuting long distances to work.

Weise, 24, lived in Yorktown, Texas, and drove 10 hours to Louisiana every three weeks to work on the rig. During his three weeks off, the former high school football star spent time with his girlfriend, hunted deer and fished from his boat.

"We celebrated his life on Saturday," said his grandmother, Nelda Winslette. "At the Lutheran church, it was standing room only. That should tell you a little bit about him."

Jason Anderson, a father of two who died during the explosion, was also from Texas.

Four men were from Mississippi: Karl Kleppinger Jr., 38, of Natchez; Dewey Revette, 48, of State Line; Shane Roshto, 22, of Liberty and Burkeen, 37, of Philadelphia.

Kleppinger was a 38-year-old Gulf War vet and a married father of one.

Revette's family declined to comment on Sunday and Roshto's family couldn't be reached. Natalie Roshto, Shane's wife, filed a lawsuit in Louisiana federal court on April 21, saying that she has been suffering post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety since her husband went missing in the explosion.

Burkeen, whose family called him "Bubba," had a wife and two kids. His favorite TV show was Man vs. Wild, said Woodson, his sister.

"We'd joke around. I'd say, 'Bubba, when are you going to be somewhere where you need to survive?"' said Woodson. "And he'd say, 'Anything ever happens to me on that rig, I will make it. I'll float to an island somewhere. Y'all don't give up on me, 'cuz I will make it.'

"We was hoping that we were going to find him, on an island somewhere."

The other men were from Louisiana.

Donald Clark of Newellton was 49. His family is still planning his memorial service.

Stephen Curtis was 40, married and had two teenagers. He taught his son to hunt and play baseball and was active in his church.

Blair Manuel was a 56-year-old engineer from Gonzalez with three daughters. He had season tickets to Louisiana State University baseball and football games, said his mother, Geneva Manuel.

Gordon Jones of Baton Rouge was also an engineer. He was 29, and had gotten off the phone with his wife Michelle just 10 minutes before the explosion.

"He was the glue that bound the family together," said Michelle Jones.

He died just three days before their sixth anniversary.

Newly widowed on the brink of new motherhood, Michelle Jones is relying on those who love her.

"I've got a lot of good family and support," she said, taking a deep breath. "It'll be okay someday."

The day her husband left to work for a two week shift, she said she gave him lots of extra hugs and kisses. He got up early and she followed him around the house and to the garage, hugging him. She thought she was just being emotional because she's pregnant.

"I watched him drive away, from the window," she said.

She thinks it was God's way of allowing her to say goodbye.

All the families are learning that while the unfathomable tragedy of the oil spill unfolds in the Gulf -- and in their hearts -- life must go on.

Courtney Kemp, the widow of 27-year-old Roy Wyatt Kemp of Jonesville who died on the rig, answered the phone on Sunday. The happy squeals of children could be heard in the background.

She told a reporter that she couldn't answer questions about her husband right then.

"We're having a party today," she said, crying. "Our oldest daughter just turned three."

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128667
Quoting Floodman:


I'm searchin gon that right now...let you know in a few minutes...

Regardless, it's going to be bad, particularly in filter feeding populations like oysters and clams and scavenging species like shrimp


I hear ya brother. It's a sickening event, that's for sure. The worst part about it is that it was preventable. Our priorities are certainly backwards.
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
Hey Aussie! How you doing? How's the back, brother?
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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