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August 5th, 2008
07:07 PM ET

Our dance with Edouard

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/05/edouard2edouard2.jpg caption="A highway sign warns motorists as rains from tropical storm Edouard move across the state along Interstate 10 in Houston."]

Sean Callebs
CNN Correspondent

It really begins with the packing. Covering a hurricane is a world of Gortex and velcro. So, for the second time in two weeks I stuffed rain gear, power bars, and battery powered lights in the suitcase and headed for Texas coast.

The weekend, had been busy, including an 18 mile kayak trip down the Mississippi. So, when they said “Edouard could turn into a hurricane,” I thought, “great, where did Edouard come from?” The radar image showed Edouard staggering through the gulf like an over-served tourist trying to guide his way home from Bourbon Street.

We flew into Houston and headed for Kemah. Think of a very, very small Coney Island. Problem was, Monday evening it was bright and sunny. So, the order - get some rest, chase it in the morning.

At 4:30 am, producer Mike Phelan, photographers Dave Rust and Ken Tillis and I were sent to Port Arthur about a two hour drive. Edouard picked up steam through the night and was poised to make landfall much earlier than had been planned.

The outer bands of the storm punished the mini-vans as we drove through a steady driving rain. When we got to Port Arthur, the storm had the punch of a Richard Simmons right cross. So, turn around - head toward Houston - it will surely be flooding there.

On the way back along I-10 we came across an 18-wheeler that had a run in with Edouard's gusting winds. The truck ran off the interstate on to a frontage road. I asked the Vidor Police Department if anyone was hurt. The officer said, "no, but we could have used the jaws of life to pull the driver's shorts out of his tail-end" (except he didn’t say tail end).

We did a couple of reports from the scene and moved on. About the time we got to the east side of Houston it was nearing noon. The storm had turned north. Turn around again,- the order came.

Trying to stalk a hurricane can be like chasing your shadow. These things move. So, now –our whole crew is driving back to New Orleans. A little wet, a little tired, and with very little to show for our two day dance with Edouard.


Filed under: Behind The Scenes • Sean Callebs • Weather
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Annie Kate

    You sounded like a yo-yo going back and forth trying to catch the storm. I'm hoping there weren't any casualties since the storm never got to hurricane status but it still sounds like the winds were strong enough to do some damage.

    I loved your description of Edouard on the radar track – "Edouard staggering through the gulf like an over-served tourist trying to guide his way home from Bourbon Street." That paints a perfect mental picture of the track of Edouard's as it neared land. Thanks so much for sharing your experience of stalking a hurricane with us!

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    August 5, 2008 at 7:53 pm |