Various events and every day happenings of our quiet life in Port Orange, FL.
Includes community events, travel, home projects, food, gardening and a lot of our pup Rufus.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Florida storms

We woke up this morning to sounds of strong winds. Turned on the news and found we were under a tornado watch. I always forget which is more serious - a watch or a warning. According to A Tornado Watch means that tornadoes are possible in your area and a Tornado Warning means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar and it is time for you to take shelter. So we're ok but it looks like a lot of rain was coming our way according to's photo at 9:30am. I marked our area on the map above, it's the red text.

We've had our fair share of storms over the years, mostly hurricanes. In fall of 2004 when I was up at college, we had the big 4 make landfall in FL - Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. Here's a sat view of Ivan. The media usually plays up the anticipation of the storms, but for this season, the physical damage and affect on human life was very real. I've found it's best to be prepared but not go overboard. Some people flock to the stores buying up all water, canned goods, plywood and other supplies. I'm sure there are some people who don't do anything if a storm's approaching. We like to be prepared ahead of time which means have supplies and have a plan. Even though we are on the grid with most of the city buildings, we do still plan to get a generator that could run the necessities if the power were to go out. We've got family close, so we have other places we can stay if our house is damaged. We've been blessed to not have to exercise our disaster plan. For today's storm, it was work as usual, although I did bring Rufus to work with me so he didn't have to sit at home with all of the wind and rain. He didn't complain.

From Wikipedia, Charley made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane (150 mph winds) near Punta Gorda, FL (southwest coast) on August 13. Charley remained a hurricane across the entire Florida peninsula and passed through Orlando and near Daytona. It made a second landfall in SC on 08/14 and disappeared somewhere near Maine.

Frances made its way on to FL's east coast as a Cat. 2 hurricane (105 mph winds, was 145 mph max) Sept. 5 down near Miami, after sitting off the coast for about 24 hours. Frances was a slow storm which meant lots of wind and flooding rain. It finally moved through FL, touched the Gulf for a moment then went up near Tennessee where it dissipated.

Ivan passed Cuba as a Cat 5 (165 mph) around Sept. 10 and then made landfall in southern Alabama, headed north east across GA, looped back around and hit southern FL. That was a strange one.

About the same time Jeanne was making her way to FL (120 mph winds, cat 3), making landfall close to where Frances had hit a few weeks prior.
Interestingly enough, The World Meterological Organization retired four names in the spring of 2005: Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. They will be replaced in 2010 by Colin, Fiona, Igor, and Julia.

While most of this was going on, DH had come up to visit me at school in Tennessee around Labor Day weekend 09/04. After hearing the number of storms that planned to threaten our area, my parents decided to bring my grandparents up for a visit. I guess many other people had the thought to leave the area at that time for a vacation because I heard the roads were packed. They stayed up in TN for a few days and before they headed back, they filled several gas containers with spare gas and strapped them to the roof of the car just in case. There's usually a gas shortage after this many storms in the area. I'm not sure if they ever had to use the reserve on the way home, but at least they were prepared.

From my records, this photo is of my grandparents stairs after on of the 2004 storms, or it may have been from a previous storm. These stairs leading to the beach have since been rebuilt. The seawall sand support has been rebuilding itself since as well. That's the 2nd or 3rd rebuild of the stairs that I can remember since I've been around. Guess that's part of living on the beach.

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