Oct 062016
 

matthewSo, I’m pretty sure everyone knows Hurricane Matthew is bearing down on Florida, and then on to Georgia and South Carolina. The current forecast track kind of lets North Carolina off the hook. It’s been, and remains, a pretty devastating storm, having already wiped out Haiti, and now battering the Bahama’s. In case you missed it, a christian activist has already blamed Matthew on Orlando Pride, which is this weekend (Oops, postponed due to the storm). Just thought you should know.

Note too that this plot has it becoming a tropical storm and circling back towards Florida next week. Hence the designation of “round 1.”

The last little storm we had come through Tampa knocked out power in the neighborhood about 4am that morning. Fortunately we were back on around Noon, so it wasn’t too bad. However, we realized that, for the first time, we were pretty unprepared. We found one working flashlight in the house, and couldn’t even find  a working lighter for candles. On top of that, the very nice generator I bought a few years back wouldn’t start. Continue reading »

Hurricane Ike Skirts Florida

 Places, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Weather  Comments Off on Hurricane Ike Skirts Florida
Sep 112008
 

Once again, we were very luck here in Tampa, and were bypassed by Ike. Unfortunately, islands in the tropics, and Cuba weren’t so lucky, and Texas is going to take a pretty good wallop. Some areas have received a bit of rain from outer bands of Ike, and there’s been some coastal flooding during high tides.

Ike decayed significantly when passing over Cuba, but has made it back to Status 2 storm. It’s had a little trouble getting reorganized, and hopefully won’t strengthen much more before landfall, but it’s still going to do some damage along the north western Gulf Coast. It’s a wide storm with hurricane force winds out 100 miles, and lots of rain on the “land” side of the storm.

Here in Tampa, we have a few mild showers that may be part of very outer bands of Ike, and during high tides, there is some flooding in low lying areas. I took these two pictures yesterday along Gandy Blvd. on the St. Pete side of the bay. The water at high tide is normally just barely under those mangrove bushes. You can see here, it’s well up over the dirt road that runs along this area.

Ike's High Tide on Gandy

High Tide from Ike 2

So once again, we got off light here in Tampa.

Was Fay a Fizzle?

 Featured, General, Places, Tampa, Weather  Comments Off on Was Fay a Fizzle?
Aug 202008
 

Tropical Storm Fay never quite made it to hurricane strength, but she has definitely dumped a lot of water on some parts of the state, and has caused some power outages and some severe flooding. She certainly gave forecasters a fit.

Tracking map for Fay on 08-20-2008

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Fay wobbled right along the southern coast of Cuba, so she didn’t get a chance to strengthen much there. Then, she came ashore in south Florida before having a chance to reach hurricane status. Throughout that part of her journey, the various computer models were all over the place trying to plot an expected track. Some took her almost straight across south Florida to the Atlantic, some right up along the west coast, and others bending her out across the gulf toward Alabama and Louisiana.

While not strengthening as much as expected before landfall, she went on to actually strengthen a little bit while over land, and maintained a very definite organization while moving across the state. Once again, confounding the computer the models with some taking her up the east coast and into Georgia, and others looping her out into the Atlantic briefly then coming almost due west back across northern Florida.

Here in Tampa, we had some occasionally breezy conditions, and a few very widely scattered showers. I didn’t get any rain here at my house. So while Fay, luckily, hasn’t caused much damage here in the Tampa Bay area, she has caused some serious flooding along the east coast, and certainly given forecasters and their computer models a real run for their money.

Hurricane Season Starts Early?

 General, Weather  Comments Off on Hurricane Season Starts Early?
May 102007
 

Hurricane season isn’t supposed to start for a few more weeks, but we already have our first named storm, Andrea.

Andrea formed from a sub-tropical low pressure system off the coast of Georgia, and yesterday winds topped 40 mph, so the storm got a name. While Andrea has pushed tides up about 2 feet along the east coast from South Carolina to Florida, the impact overall will be minimal.

Andrea is a hybrid mixture of a typical tropical storm and a winter low-pressure system, with the strongest winds and heaviest rains well east of its center. When the storm’s winds topped 40 mph Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center gave it a name.

Forecasters at the hurricane center in Miami said the water is too cool for Andrea to gain much strength and that its center should stay offshore before it falls apart by the weekend.

Still, the hurricane center issued a tropical storm watch from Flagler Beach north into Georgia because Andrea could bring winds of 40 mph or more to the coast.

On Wednesday, Andrea had winds of about 45 mph and was moving about 5 mph.

We had an exceptionally quiet hurricane season last year. The long range forecasts aren’t so good for this year, and if we’ve already used up the “A” name for 2007, we could be in for a rough year.

Tuesday Morning With Alberto

 General, Places, Tampa, Weather  Comments Off on Tuesday Morning With Alberto
Jun 132006
 

This is most likely?the last update about Alberto. It rained some during the night, but not enough to even have to pump water from the pool. I did hear some gusty wind, but nothing major. The sun was out this morning when I got up.

There are some twigs down in the back yard, and I had to clean some small branches out of the pool, but nothing that amounts to anything. In looking at the radar summary, it does look as if another decent sized band of rain will be pulled through here this afternoon and into the evening.

The storm did come in at the Big Bend area, but did not make Hurricane status. I have not heard any reports of serious damage anywhere. Right now, all the worst rain appears to be around Savannah. Having the worst of the rain concentrated on the northeast side of the storm has a lot of it out over open water.

When I woke up this morning, I was flipping around the local channels to see their storm coverage, and it was actually pretty funny to watch the reporters trying to make a story out of this non-event. They so love to be outside leaning into the wind and getting battered around, but none of them could really find any of that, and there were no real dramatic shots for the camera people either.

A barge did get loose and hit the Howard Franklin Bridge (a main connector between here and St. Pete). One lane was closed for a while as they assessed damage, but I think that’s even back open now.

Alberto was never well organized, and is surrounded by dry air, so I’m expecting it will break up pretty fast now that it is over land.

Alberto Monday Night

 General, Places, Tampa, Weather  Comments Off on Alberto Monday Night
Jun 122006
 

I thought I’d provide an update before going to bed tonight.

We had rain on and off all afternoon, but very little wind. It rained hard a couple of times, but not for very long. Tonight the wind seems to be picking up some. I’ve had to pump the pool out again.

The National Weather Service has notched the storm track slightly further north, so we should only get the rain, and some blustery wind.

Tropical Storm Alberto

 General, Places, Tampa, Weather  Comments Off on Tropical Storm Alberto
Jun 122006
 

Hurricane season is off to a roaring start down here. Yesterday, Alberto became the first named storm of the season, and we’re already experiencing the effects.

It started raining some time early this morning, and has rained constantly all morning, with periods of heavy rain. There really hasn’t been much in the way of winds yet.

Interestingly enough, the current forecast by the National Hurricane Center has Alberto becoming a minimal hurricane later today or early tomorrow. However, the forecast track seems to be moving further north, and at last check, Tampa was no longer even in the cone of probability for a strike. However, all the rain is piled up on the northeast side of this thing, so we’re going to get that. But, it’s much needed rain.

Small Room-Small Man

 General, Politics, Presidency, Weather  Comments Off on Small Room-Small Man
Mar 022006
 

It turns out that George Bush wasn’t being completely honest explaining the federal government’s response to Katrina. I know this will come as a big shock to many of you, but when W said that no one thought it would be as bad as it was, and no one could have anticipated the levee breach, he wasn’t telling the whole truth.

The Associated Press seems to have the video tape of a video conference briefing in which FEMA Director, Mike “Brownie” Brown is seen saying, this is going to be the big one. To his credit,?Brownie even raises concerns about the use of the Super Dome as a shelter. The Director of NOAA’s Hurricane Center said that no one could say the levee’s wouldn’t be breached. All the while Bush is sitting in a tiny conference room saying nothing, asking nothing, and finally simply making the statement to the local officials that the federal government will deploy whatever resources it has available. With everyone saying this is as powerful as Andrew, but not like Andrew because Katrina is much bigger, yet Bush doesn’t have a single question.

It appeared that W was viewing this as little more than a distraction to his vacation and something that should be handled by his minions. Then he lies, gets caught, and goes on his merry way with the free pass from our illustrious fourth estate, the main stream media.

Sunday Afternoon Update — Wilma

 Tampa, Weather  Comments Off on Sunday Afternoon Update — Wilma
Oct 232005
 

It is amazingly quiet here today. As of 4PM there is no wind, and while it has been overcast all day, we have yet to have even a drop of rain.

The NOAA forecast track is, as you might expect, beginning to narrow, (and here is a cool animated tracking map on MSNBC) hand has been moved more to the south with landfall right at Naples. However, the main wind field comes off the eye like a giant egg shape with the widest end going out to the northeast. That is going to bring sustained tropical storm force winds through Tampa. The NOAA forecast models still seem to have some disagreement on the forward speed of the storm. Landfall looks like it will happen around 7AM or 8AM tomorrow, and will probably be a category two storm (although some of the NOAA models say there’s a chance it will minimally be a category 3 storm). Most forecasts say we’ll start seeing increased winds during the late evening and continuing through noon tomorrow.

I had put everything away earlier this week, and we have water, food and gas for the generator. I’m going out in a few minutes to gas up the car. That will serve as a "reserve" gas tank for the generator. I’ll pull the generator out later. It is very heavy and cumbersome, so you would not want to be wrestling with that during a downpour. I have a tarp to cover it, and will use one of those bungee straps to hold it on.

Otherwise, it is a very quiet afternoon. Along with a stop at the gas station, I’m going to make a run to the grocery store. We’ve had so much warning, I’m hoping it won’t be a zoo there. Its not that we need much of anything, but they have Coke products on sell at the Albertson’s.

Lay is napping, and I’m watching the San Diego vs. Philadelphia football game.

UPDATED: 10PM — It finally started raining right at 7PM tonight. It has poured rain several time, and been a steady shower in-between. The latest forecast says the increasing intensity will be there, but it will be slower than first expected, so probably a category 2 on landfall tomorrow morning.

Wilma Update — Saturday

 General, Tampa, Weather  Comments Off on Wilma Update — Saturday
Oct 222005
 

I obviously have not been posting a lot lately. I was traveling for work some this week, and had a very interesting trip I’ll write more about later. I may have plenty of time tomorrow to do some updates to the blog.

In the meantime, I thought I would provide an update on Hurricane Wilma based on the most recent NOAA information. How much impact there is on Tampa remains a bit uncertain. Not unusually, with about two days to go before landfall, the “cone of uncertainty” is still a bit large.

The storm has drifted pretty erratically and slowly for quite some time. Yesterday it moved across Cozumel and then onto the Yucatan Peninsula. The slow movement helped weaken the storm, which is good for us, but very bad for those parts of Mexico. It has now settled into a slow northward drift, and is about to emerge into the Gulf. It will have a chance to re-strengthen then, and a low pressure trough dipping down will bring us some cooler weather later in the week, and pick up Wilma and start accelerating her toward Florida. This will also create shear that will hopefully weaken the storm as it approaches.

Right now, the forecast track brings the storm onshore somewhere in South Florida sometime on Monday. According to the NOAA discussion, the computer models have come into some disagreement, and the track has been moved slightly north. North is not good for us, but it still keeps the center of the storm well to our south. Earlier, the models had the storm coming onshore as a Category 1 or 2. Apparently, less shearing is expected, so now the forecast says a Category 2 or 3 when it comes onshore.

It is also projected that, as the shearing occurs, the wind field of the storm will expand, so we will pretty much be getting tropical storm force winds here in Tampa on Monday. That’s assuming the storm stays pretty much on the current forecast track. We will certainly get rain, but that won’t be bad, as we need some rain. I’m guessing this will probably start sometime tomorrow afternoon. It’s been cloudy most of today, but no rain so far.

Congress Wants More Giveaways to Big Oil

 Congress, Corruption, Politics  Comments Off on Congress Wants More Giveaways to Big Oil
Sep 272005
 

Bush’s allies in Congress are using high gas prices as another excuse for massive giveaways to the oil industry. The Los Angeles Times reports that conservative "leaders in Congress announced plans to introduce new legislation or amend existing measures to bestow more tax breaks on the industry and provide other incentives left out of the big energy bill Bush signed into law in August." The oil industry hardly needs the help. Even before Katrina hit, oil companies were flush with cash. ExxonMobil’s profits are expected to exceed $10 billion in the third quarter of 2005, "more net income than any company has ever made in a quarter." Now the industry is using Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to jack up prices — and profit margins — even higher.

A right-wing plan to cut the federal budget by $500 billion over ten years would destroy nearly all existing programs that promote energy efficiency and conservation. The scheme, dubbed "Operation Offset," would eliminate the EnergyStar program, the Hydrogen Fuel initiative, the Freedom Car program, funds for research on renewable energy, and programs that support high-speed rail. A progressive approach would save more money in half the time and would preserve all of those programs. 

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