Friday will be Lousy: I’ve been telling you that for days and its still in the cards. We have upped the temperatures on Thursday to the upper 60’s to near 70. But then the shortwave comes over the top of us. While we won’t have the blizzard warnings they’ve had in the plains, it will be quite chilly and wet. We feel like that the heaviest rain may be over for the Friday night football games but it will still be raining to some degree and it will be chilly…probably upper 40’s and low 50’s. The showers gradually end on Saturday but it will still be chilly. Sunday remains the pick of the weekend with highs in the mid to upper 60’s before another strong system dives down. That will bring some light rain early Monday but, more significantly, much colder air. We probably won’t get out of the 40’s on Monday and look for the first area-wide freeze of the season early in the week. With these up and down temperatures, I hope you got your flu shots .(See Below This Date In History)
Hurricane Ike Still Has Missing persons: Hurricane Ike is a curious thing when related to news reporting. It kinda went away pretty quickly, didn’t it? Did you know that Hurricane Ike is now estimated to be the 3rd costliest hurricane in US history behind Katrina and Andrew? Did you know that there remains some 300 people unaccounted for? The presidential election and the financial meltdown grabbed the headlines but you would think that the national media would make some effort to inform we Americans of the travails of so many of our countrymen. Ask yourself why this has not received more national attention. Here is a list of 147 people missing (some with photos) from the Houston Chronicle and 96 names of missing as compiled by the Laura Recovery center in Galveston. Many I fear are gone. You can see that at least one of the people listed was last seen on the Galveston Seawall. If you can help in locating the whereabouts or fate of these folks, please call. Remember, all of these people have families who want to know what happened to their loved ones. These lists are not complete as they do not include people missing in parts of SE Texas and SW Louisiana.
On This Date in History: In 1918, World War I (The Great War) was winding down. The Americans had gotten into the game and helped turn the tide against the Hun. About 15-20 Million people died in that
global conflict. But, toward the end of the war, another killer was unleashed. What has been called the Spanish Flu Pandemic took about 50 million lives world wide according to the CDC with some estimates as high as 100 million. It got the moniker “Spanish Flu” because it reportedly took 8 million lives in that country in May 1918. However, the origin of the flu is a bit murky and it probably was not Spain. Indeed, researchers today are still trying to learn more about it. A couple of sources claim that it started at Fort Riley, Kansas when a soldier became sick just prior to his shipping out to Europe in March 1918. But, a more reliable source (Stanford University) claims that the virus probably became mutated in China into a strain that was resistant to any treatment. While one of the first cases in the US was the soldier who went to Europe from Fort Riley, Kansas it wasn’t until August 18, 1918 that the killer strain came to the shores of the new world. The Norwegian Liner Bergensfjord arrived in Brooklyn with a full load of passengers, including 100 who became ill on the voyage. Four of those had died and a fifth died after the ship docked making that pour sole the first US death from the Spanish Flu.
In the fall and spring, people in the US were dying daily. One day in Philadelphia, 528 people died and the bodies were collected by horse drawn carts. On “Black Thursday” in Chicago, nearly 400 died. Schools and theatres were closed and it was common to see people wearing face masks. On October 23, 1918, 815 people died from the flu in New York City. The war was certainly an aspect of the world situation that sped up the spread of the virus. Many allies thought it was some sort of biological warfare set loose by the Germans. Curiously, the end of the war in November 1918 may have hastened its spread as people took to the streets to congregate and party to celebrate, thus raising the prospcts of it going from person to person. In the US, the deathtoll has been set between 650,000 and 700,000.
Here’s the kicker…no one knows why this flu was so fatal. It affected about 1/3 of the total world
population. Even President Wilson came down with it. Recently, tissue from a dead soldier who died from the virus was collected in an attempt to better understand it. Mysteriously, the flu pandemic ended abruptly in 1919….though some sources claim 1920. Either way, it came and went and nothing has come close to it again in scale and scope of the suffering it brought. In the US alone, the life expectancy statistics fell by 10 years. Because of the mystery of the Spanish Flu pandemic relating to the virus itself, its origin, its spread and its disappearance, researchers today are quite concerned about something new, like the bird flu. It is the reason why such drastic measures were taken to try to stop any hint of the bird flu in Asia before it could get into the human population and why it remains such a concern today.