for a more recent update on Gustav, Click Here
Louisville Forecast: What’s left of Fay moved a bit farther east than anticipated so instead of being on the fringe of the rainfall we get nothing and we’ll have to like it because we don’t have a choice. Dry air will continue to move in behind Fay as it moves northeast. A cold front will have nothing but dry air to work with so rain will be limited, followed by warm and relatively dry weather throughout the Labor Day weekend.
Hurricane Gustav keeps chugging along but for a little while will be officially known as Tropical Storm Gustav. It didn’t let the Haitian peninsula mess it up too
much though. Winds decreased from 90 to 75 mph now 70 mph. The pressure moved up a shade to 992 mb and now to 994mb. It’s eye moved in just a bit and collapsed somewhat but its central circulation is easing offshore and the forecast calls for it to perhaps run into a small piece of Eastern Cuba before moving just south of the Cuban coast between Fidel’s fairyland and Jamaica. Some strengthening is forecast, provided the circulation remains offshore. Most of the tracks on the
Gustav spaghetti model do exactly that as does the official track. Once the storm clears the western tip of Cuba, it moves into the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico where intensification is likely. There is a wide berth of modeling opinion regarding the extent of the increase in strength and no model can accurately predict what level Gustav will reach, maintain or be at landfall. But, over the next 4 or 5 days only land interaction and a weak shear environment will inhibit development. The official forecast now has a hurricane just short of Cat 4 status in the Gulf of Mexico by early next week with a few models still pushing for something close to cat 5. 14 out of 20 models take it to cat 2 or higher. Still looks like a good shot at at big bopper to me.
On This Date In History: Almon Brown Strowger was a late 19th Century undertaker in Kansas City. For some reason, his business was in decline. People were still dying but somehow he missed out on much of the action. Then one day, a good friend passed away. Either through sloppy work or skulduggery, the operator of the local phone exchange failed to notify him and his competitor got the work. Convinced that the operator was in cahoots with the guy across the street, Strowger set out to invent an automatic exchange so that people could contact him directly and avoid operators on the take. Up until the late 19th Century, if one wanted to call someone, they had to crank up the phone for power to talk to an operator. The caller would tell the operator to whom they wished to speak and the operator connected the call. Strowger eliminated that. After filing several patents, Strowger first introduced his Automatic Telephone Exchange in 1892 in La Porte, Indiana. By then he was out of the mortuary business and declared that the “telephone girl would have to go, but she would only be following in the footsteps of the messenger boy whose services were dispensed with by the invention of the telephone.” Strowger wasn’t finished.
In 1896, the Bell System, which until 1894 had a monopoly on all phone systems, came out with a battery at the central exchange that eliminated the need for at-home hand cranking. Around the same time, on this date in 1896, Strowger came out with the first rotary dial phone that was installed in the Milwaukee city hall. It didn’t have holes but instead had what amounted to the sprockets of a half exposed gear. More like a rotary disk. The photo to the above left is the 1897 version. Strowger went on to be a big competitor of the Bell System, until his patents expired in 1914. From that point, his company and Strowger disappeared from history. I suppose he took the money and ran…or rather died. Strowger passed away in 1902. No word on
whether his former competitor in Kansas City got his final bit of business. But, without a competitor, the Bell System didn’t come out with a rotary phone until 1919 and it had the holes with the disc that went all the way around the dial.
Two things. First off, competition inspires invention…Bell had no more competition after Strowger’s death and so dragged its feet on developing a better phone. Second thing…don’t ever make the undertaker mad. His revenge can kill you.