Sep 042004

Here’s an update for those of you wondering what things are like here in Tampa right now. So far all is fairly quiet. We had one squall line come through about 2:oopm. The wind kicked up a bit, and there was a very brief shower of rain.

Right now the winds are totally calm, but they were kicking up a bit ago, and it looks as if another squall line is coming through shortly.

Click for a full size image of the Tampa Skyline on 9-4-2004 at 2:30pm

Here at our house, I think everything prudent has been done. All the outdoor furniture is, once again, put away. Potted and hanging plants are moved to safe places, and the back door is sealed. Let me explain that a bit. You have to understand this is a slab house, so we are right on ground level. Out the back is a concrete deck. Its basically in two pieces. The main piece at the house is properly slopped away, but its slopped right to a second piece of deck that goes around the pool and is slightly higher than the main slab.When we get a lot rain, it always looks as if its going to come in the back door. Because the hurricane is moving very slowly, they are expecting a good bit of rain. So, I’ve dug a trench off the side to help with drainage, but I still worry about it coming in the back door. I considered sand bags, but several people told me they were not that good, and they suggested running a seam of silicon around the bottome half of the door. So I’ve done that.

I have some solar panels for heating the pool mounted on the roof of a shed in the back yard. These things would be great sails, so I’ve run some rope straps across them to hopefully keep them down. Also, the pool is drained down in anticipation of the coming deluge.

The storm pulled in come dry air while over the Bahamas late yesterday and became a bit unstable. Forward motion slowed, and the eye became very large and disorganized. It has dropped to category two hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 105mph. As moves across the warm gulf currents between Grand Bahama and Florida, there is an expectation of it regaining some of its composure, but no one is expecting it to go back to being a category 4 storm.

Click for full size imageMost of the projected paths now have Frances coming on a slightly more southerly course, brining the eye closer to Tampa. However, with is moving at only about 5 mph, its going to take a long time to get here. I think that will mean a lot of the strong winds will have dissipated by the time we get the brunt of it. In fact, its only supposed to be a tropical storm by then. But so long as we stay on the southern side of the eye, I think it will have minimum impact on us in terms of the winds.

The rain is another matter altogether. The slow forward motion means everyone is going to get a lot of rain. It looks like it will probably start here in ernest, late tonight or early morning, and rain through until Monday morning sometime. So flooding is our main concern here.

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