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blew our tops

July 10 2016 at 12:43 AM

Bob Pointer  (Login FTG2)
Forum Member

Response to Bad storm in Evansville

The storm seemed to come straight at the ship from the south. It was quick and strong. One minute the skies started turning very dark, And suddenly violent winds hit the ship. If you have ever seen manhole covers being blown up in the air from pressure of lots of rain building up in the sewers, that is exactly what happened to us. The winds came straight into the bow doors at speeds exceeding 60 mph. The resultant pressure blew off the tank deck vent covers, all of them. Then tons of rain came pouring into the ship. Ron managed to close the overhead door at the bow to prevent even more flooding of the tank deck. I had secured the wheel house just before it hit and had a view of the storm's violence. The overhead canopy forward of the wheel house began flapping violently and one by one the cable ties snapped. The metal support poles bent like plasti as the cover beat against them I thought we were going to lose the entire cover. For a brief moment I thought of being the hero and going out to secure it. By that time the metal support poles were banging around and the rain was horizontal. That hero thought was very short lived.
The river had white caps and large waves were hitting the ship. It actually started rocking a little.
Having been through two hurricanes on the ocean where winds were over 106 mph and we were taking 46 degree rolls, this storm did not frighten me. A few minutes later lightning and very loud thunder started up. I could hear the static electricity popping in the superstructure when the lightning flashed. It makes a strange zzzippppp sound. The First Jack was waving violently and was coming apart at the end. The cargo hatch cover was flapping and starting to rip on the starboard side. Finally the rain was so hard you could not see any further than the railing forward of the wheel house. We lost power. I saw something large fly off the forward deck into the river. I could not identify it.
I had my portable radio on the weather channel to see if there were any tornado warnings. If there was one, we could not have seen it in the rain shaft.
Gradually it started letting up. About that time I heard hail hitting the ship but it was small and did not last long.
Lightning was still very close so we kept visitors in the ward room until it died down.
John Engstrom started one generator so we could visually inspect the interior and lock down the ship. Lots of water but no damage inside.
The LST is a tough old gal and has been through a lot worse. She will be just fine.

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