Otherwise, here are my thoughts. First, it's quite unbelievable that we are pretty much sitting out Hurricane Sandy here in Florida. Second, I think I jinxed the situation with my post on October 15th.
Third, I did have the opportunity to experience Sandy last week during a vacation cruise my wife and I had planned. Just before we left Miami on Sunday October 21st, we did learn that there was a "disturbance" in the general area that our ship was headed. On Monday, October 22nd we were in the Bahamas at NCL's island, Great Stirrup Cay, and while we stayed on board, we could see the weather pick up throughout the day.
Here's a picture of the tender leaving the shelter of the Cay and headed into the open water back towards the ship:
That night the Captain announced we would be skipping our scheduled stop in Ocho Rios, Jamaica on Wednesday October 24th because of a "weather system". At that point, the limited satellite television channels we had available on board had no coverage. Later we learned that a tropical depression had formed Tuesday morning and then quickly a named storm "Sandy" had formed by that evening.
Sandy made landfall in Jamaica on Wednesday, the day we were scheduled to be there:
This was the first direct hit by the eye of hurricane on Jamaica since 1988 when Hurricane Gilbert came ashore.
Our ship had moved at near 20 knots per hour to the west headed for our new port of call, Cozumel. We went from the Bahamas north of Cuba and into the Gulf of Mexico thus bypassing the quickly moving storm to the south.
While in were hundreds of miles from Sandy on Wednesday, Cozumel was very breezy. Our next port was scheduled to be in the Cayman Islands on Thursday. Tuesday we were informed that we would skip that stop and head south of Cozumel to Costa Maya, which is in between Cozumel and Belieze.
Friday's trip back to Miami from Coasta Maya wasn't bad until we got within a few hundred nautical miles of the US and then the ocean picked up. It was a rough night. Here's a picture of the TV in the cabin's sea conditions screen:
There was a bunch of wave crashing and from the camera pointing to the front of the ship, there were some waves that sprayed across the lower deck, but at no point did I feel there ever any danger. Safe in bed was the best place to be and when we arrived into the Cruise Ship channel in Miami on Saturday morning, all was calm. We had missed the brunt of the sideswipe Miami felt on Thursday/Friday.
We wish the Northeast the very best to withstand the impact of Hurricane Sandy Monday/Tuesday. The 15-20 miles per hour winds we have here in Tampa Bay are nothing but a testament to the power and size of the storm.
Remnants of Hurricane Isaac are hanging around off the Louisiana/Mississippi coast and could organize into a tropical descendant. If so, Isaac's daughter would be Nadine and is likely to push to the east towards Florida.
While Isaac pours down on Louisiana and neighboring states, we're at least glad to be able to put on our best Scottish brogue (Star Trek fans will get the reference) and bid adieu to the 11th named storm of the season.
Tropical Storm Isaac has formed. This could be the first storm of the year for Florida to be really concerned about.
As I shared in my earlier post today, the storms that start with the letter "I" have a distruptive history. That coupled with the fact that the Republican National Convention is taking place here in Tampa Bay next week, makes us wonder whether Isaac will blow into town for the RNC.
Hurricane Charley made landfall 2 hours south of here 8 years ago today. $13B in damage.
At the time, the strongest hurricane to hit the US since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
I remember flying back from vacation in New England just in time to put some boards up over my windows and becoming very concerned. The original projected path was up the West coast of Florida headed right at the mouth of Tampa Bay.
Charlie instead took a right turn and came ashore in Punta Gorda, Florida down in Charlotte County. It devastated that community and to this day, is still recovering.
The storm packed 140 MPH winds and was only about six miles wide. We just had some relatively light rain and wind here in Tampa Bay.
Two outcomes for me personally from Charlie:
1. I started this blog (in the form of emails to family & friends).
2. I began to believe it's better to be in the projected path of the storm (the cone of uncertainty) ahead of landfall, than not. It seems to me that these storms act erratically as they get closer to land (such as Charley's right turn)
Frances and Jeanne followed that year making for the most active storm season we've seen in our 20+ years here in Florida.
After a day of rain from Debby, some reports reaching 9-10 inches in the Tampa Bay Area (5 inches here), flooding, power outages and even one death related to the weather, the storm track is still unpredictable.
Below are two images.
One from our local ABC affiliate which shows the "cone of uncertainty" suggesting the storm can go any which way but backwards.
The other is from the Weather Underground which shows the somewhat popular track heading mostly north.
Forming Saturday afternoon, Debby now holds the distinction of being the earliest "4th-named storm" of the season dating back to 1851. Per The Weather Channel, in an average year the 4th storm would occur around mid-to-late August. The previous earliest storm was Dennis forming July 5th, 2005.
The weather system in the Gulf of Mexico has a good chance of forming into the 4th named storm of the season (Hello, Debby) this weekend. The direction the storm will take is undetermined somewhat dependent on where the ol' "jet stream" goes.
In any case, the west coast of Florida (where we are) will likely get rain all weekend and the entire gulf coast line is on alert to keep an eye on things on into early next week.
As we watch the remnants of Beryl, the second named storm of the "pre-season", and only the 3rd time since the 1800s that we've had 2 named storms before the official start of the hurricane season.....it's time to get prepared!
TALLAHASSEE – Governor Rick Scott has proclaimed May 27 – June 2, 2012, as Hurricane Preparedness Week in Florida. All Floridians are urged to take the necessary measures this week to prepare for the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season, beginning June 1.
"As we reflect on the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, we are reminded that it only takes one storm to significantly impact our state," said Governor Scott. "I encourage all Floridians to take the time this important week to prepare their homes, their families and their businesses for the approaching hurricane season."
Various preparedness events will take place throughout the state this week. Residents should consult their local emergency management agency to find out about events in their area. The Florida Division of Emergency Management will participate in activities in Miami, Orlando and Tallahassee (this) week to kick off hurricane season.
"I am grateful for Governor Scott's dedication to building a ‘culture of preparedness' in Florida," said Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Bryan W. Koon.
If you already have a family and business disaster plan and supply kit, now is the time to review, recycle and restock for 2012. If you are creating your first disaster plan and supply kit, use the online tool for help.
More details are available at http://www.floridadisaster.org/index.asp
The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 – November 30.
The name Beryl has been used for six tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of three names used for five tropical storms with none of them becoming a hurricane; the two others are Ana and Arthur.
Tropical Storm Beryl (1982), moved across Atlantic but dissipated north of the Windward Islands; caused moderate damage and 3 deaths in Cape Verde
Tropical Storm Beryl (1988),
formed over Louisiana and drifted into the Gulf of Mexico before making
landfall at New Orleans, causing one death at sea and about $4 million
Tropical Storm Beryl (1994),
went onshore at Panama City, Florida, 12 hours after forming; quickly
went up the eastern states, dropping heavy rain and spawning many
tornadoes; $73 million in damage, mostly in South Carolina
In Ft. Myers Florida: "The government says it uses the Waffle House Index when responding to
disasters like a hurricane or tornado. When emergency management is
deployed, they'll sometimes call the Waffle House in town and find out
if they're still open. If they have a full menu, the index is green. If
they are serving a limited menu, the index is yellow. That means there
is water but no power. If the Waffle House is closed, that's a code red
because that will mean there's no power or water available."