THE COASTAL BEND MAGAZINE • January/February 2018 31 30 THE COASTAL BEND MAGAZINE • January/February 2018 “H ey there’s a storm in the gulf,” my Padre Island surfer buddy chatted to me on Tuesday night, August 22nd , a typically calm and humid evening on the island, with barely knee-high surf rippling at Bob Hall Pier. But after forty-seven years and two-and-a-half generations of Coastal Benders like me who have seen one storm after another go into Mexico, take a turn and head north, slide into the Valley, or otherwise just miss us, I gave it a “humph” like most of us did that fair summer Tuesday. Sure, a few folks started stocking water, batteries and canned food, and a few more headed to Home Depot for plywood, but the general demeanor was our standard, “I’m on island time.” Ten days earlier the National Hurricane Center began tracking a tropical wave off the coast of Africa, the ninth system of what would turn out to be the most active hur- ricane season in the U.S. in over a decade. By August 17th, the four-day old system strengthened into Tropical Storm Harvey and brought heavy rain, but little damage, to the Lesser Antilles islands, where the Atlantic Ocean becomes the Caribbean Sea. By the 19th, Harvey had run into a wall of dry air and was downgraded to a tropical depression and then down to a tropical wave. In fact, the hurricane hunter plane could not positively identify a center of circulation (the eye) at all on the 19th.