Saturday, September 9, 2017

Hurricane Season in Florida - Irma, Jose, Katia

Like everyone else this last week, I've been watching the events surrounding #HurricaneIrma as they've unfolded, from the time it began in the Caribbean up til today (Sept. 9th). What happens from here is not yet set in stone (10:00am), and Irma's path has changed several times over the course of the last few days.

First reports were that Irma would hit the eastern side of Florida; subsequent reports showed it striding purposefully up the direct center of Florida; and then, the path predicted was for the western seaboard of Florida. At this moment, it's set to come down on the southeastern part of Florida (outer edges of the Miami area), but hurricane warnings for Eastern Florida have been cancelled by the National Weather Service, and warnings for the western side of Florida were issued.

Still, anything can happen, and considering the fact that there are 2 more tropical storms riding the wake of Irma nobody really knows. From early report, it seems as though Katia has been downgraded to a tropical depression, but Jose still is a really strong storm, though it's believed the storm will weaken over the next few days. But ... Jose is moving towards the same Caribbean islands already decimated by Irma ... they seriously don't need any more storms.

Here I am, sitting in my home in Canada which you'd think would not affect me as much as those in or around the south eastern US, but in fact, I feel as though there's a bunch of ants in my pants. I can't sit still for worrying about our friends and family in the southern US. Sometimes I feel like the waiting is worse than if we were there, in our home in Florida. We have a home in the very middle of Florida and while we were a little concerned it wouldn't be there after Irma, with Irma veering towards the west coast we might not lose everything.

But the house was the least of our concerns ... we have neighbours on either side of us in Florida that are more like family, than "just neighbours". We're really worried about them. They're older ... and I was afraid they wouldn't evacuate when they needed to. With the expected change in Irma's trajectory, I can breathe a little easier.  The winds in our area will still be incredibly strong, and probably pretty dangerous, but it sounds as if they'd be less likely to flatten all those manufactured homes in our area.

Things can change though ... so we won't know for sure til it's all over.

Of course, the change to the west coast path may save our home from total destruction (probably still see some damage) but ... we have local friends from our own town that own a place on the west coast, a short drive from Tampa. And while they're currently at home in Canada, that's still a scary thought. They've been winter Floridians for 5+ years ... I'd hate to see them lose their home there (but better than their lives). They live much closer to the coast so the area could also suffer flooding. A little south of that I have friends in Fort Myers ... worried about them too, and a family member and hist wife and daughter in Bonita Springs (next door to Fort Myers).

And we have long-time friends in north-west Georgia ... Irma is supposed to be heading there too. And extended family living in Texas.

I expect the worry is not leaving me anytime soon, but with many prayers being directed at the southern US, everyone will survive the coming days.

(images from National Weather Service)

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