Friday, July 16, 2010

Tropical Update/Rent a Photo Booth/My Oil Platform Visit

From the National Hurricane Center -
An area of disturbed weather of the western Caribbean has a 10% chance of developing in the next 48 hours (so not a very good chance). But it will be a rainmaker for Central America and the Yucatan. In the Pacific, Tropical Depression 6E is poorly organized and not expected to strengthen as it moves westward. There is also another area off the coast of Mexico with only a 10% chance of developing in 48 hours.

High pressure is dominating the weather over much of the southern 2/3rds of the country. To the north of particular over the upper Midwest and portions of the Great Lakes, there is a slight risk for severe storms today. The high pressure ridge is weakening slightly but will continue to be fairly dominant over the next 5 days or so. All of the country will have highs that are at least in the 70s. Phoenix and Vegas will sore into the 110+ range. The northern tier of states will have highs in the 70s and 80s. Most of the south and southeast and low elevations of the west will hit the 90s.

Houston, look for more hot and humid weather through the weekend. Sunday, there is a slight chance of storms with some scattered storms on Monday.

Let's do cup or copa, pronounced KOH-pah. What happens when you take a styrofoam copa down 4800 feet below the ocean surface? Find out in the AND MORE section.

I finished my edits on the text for the soon to be released Volume 3 of Let's Learn Spanish with Frank & Paco, my award winning Spanish language DVDs for children. I had to do some slightly different things and it turned out great! You can find Volumes 1 and 2 on the shelf (in the education section) at Barnes & Noble stores or you can order them from,,,, or Our ESL (English as a Second Language) version can be found at

Answer My Poll

Don't forget to answer my latest poll...closes in 2 days...what is your favorite thing about summer. Hopefully, I included your favorite on the list.

Tourette's Doesn't Stop Him
Met an inspiring man at ChickFilA last night. He works 3 businesses even though he has Tourette's Syndrome. In case you are not familiar, Tourette's can manifest physically in any part of the body and is characterized by involuntary spasms/ticks in the body and even outbursts. Stress tends to make it worse. Sean Wolfson grew up in Sugar Land. His symptoms began at the age of 10 and he was shunned by kids who had been his friends. His teachers struggled to work around his condition...sometimes asking him to move to the back of the classroom so he wouldn't distract the other students. With medication and maturity, he gained some control over his condition and began Wolfson Financial in 2005. Now, he also owns a Photo Booth Rentals company and told me that the photo booth rental business for personal purposes has really exploded in the last year. We went to a wedding in January where a photo booth had been rented. Guests were invited to take a series of pictures and the booth printed out two identical strips of the photos--one to keep and one to put in a special memory book for the bride and groom. I loved the idea!!!

So, Sean gave me his card and told me that his 2 hour rental fee of $450 is much lower than the competition that typically charges about at least $695. For full disclosure, he said that if you contact him and tell him you read my blog, he will give me a $100 referral fee. So help me out!!! Ha! Ha! Anyway, you can call him at 281-732-7808 or 832-642-5761 and check out his website at

My Trip to a Gulf Oil Platform
When I worked at FOX 26, Bill Read, now the Director of the National Hurricane Center called to ask me if I would visit the workers on an oil platform and give them a talk about hurricane safety. He normally would do it, but he had a conflict. So I said yes, not realizing that I would be going to the rig that was the furthest out in Gulf...about 125 miles southeast of Galveston. It was quite an experience making the 90 minute trip out on a Sikorsky S80 helicopter. It was a big chopper with pontoons and 2 engines and 2 pilots. And, it held 14 passengers...most of them guys going out to work. I was told that the pilots made the trip out and back 4 times a day! The scenery did not change once we got out over the Gulf...just water as far as the eye could see and a boat or rig here or there. We flew at about 1000 that time the optimal height to minimize turbulence.

We had to wear life jackets during the trip ("just in case") and ear protection. I had taken a dramamine because I expected a lot of turbulence. But it was if I was on dry land once we arrived. There was no movement at all. The platform was on a single ballasted column (with sea water) and held perfectly still. I was told that when a storm passed close by, it might sway a bit. We were treated to lunch in the amazing cafeteria. Most of the workers were there for 30 day stints with 12 hour days. As a parting gift they gave me a plastic cube with a tiny styrofoam cup. They had taken a regular coffee cup and taken it to the bottom where they drilled at 4800 feet. The extreme pressure caused by the tremendous weight of water at that depth had compressed the cup to a tiny fraction of its original size. I think of that often as I hear about the difficulties being faced in trying to fix the BP Horizon leak in the Gulf.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!
Cecilia Sinclair
Wonder Weather Woman

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