God Makes It Up to John McCain

 Congress, Election, Politics, Presidency  Comments Off on God Makes It Up to John McCain
Sep 022008

Apparently some of the krazy kristian kooks had been praying for, and asking others to pray for, rain in Denver during Obama’s acceptance speech. Obviously it didn’t happen, and the Democrats had a perfect evening, so clearly our Republican God was asleep at the switch. But, just when the fundies were about to lose faith, God made it up to them and sent a hurricane to save the day.

Apparently, must to the relief of the McCain campaign, Gustav’s arrival on the Gulf Coast gave Bush and Cheney an excuse to not attend the Republican National Convention. What a world it’s become when it’s seen as a blessing when the sitting President won’t be attending his Party’s national convention.

The Dems brought Bill Clinton back for another if his outstanding speeches.

Of course the storm in Louisiana didn’t deter the Republicans from soaking up the hospitality of the Washington Lobbyists. Watch the report below.

Fay On The Way – 1

 General, Places, Tampa, Weather  Comments Off on Fay On The Way – 1
Aug 182008

Tropical Storm Fay has crossed over Cuba, and is making the turn more toward the north, and heading toward Florida (most likely). I thought I’d give you an update on the storm and my preparations so far.

Fay's Tracking Map as of 2008-08-20

Fay's Tracking Map as of 2008-08-20

The National Hurricane Center uses a series of computer models, along with some good old fashioned human analysis, to try to determine the path of hurricanes. When all the models are plotted against one another, they are usually all wrapped up fairly closely for the track for about 36 hours out, then they variously begin to spread apart from that point on to a greater or lesser degree. This is called the spaghetti plot. The NHC forecasters then take that data, along with their expertise and experience, and plot a “cone of probability for the path of any given storm.

Fay has given them absolute fits, as the model plots have seemed to just explode in different directions right out of the current location point for the storm. This weekend, some of the models have it heading toward northern Florida and the Panhandle, with some taking it well out into the Gulf and heading toward Alabama and Louisiana. Others have had it circling across southern Florida and heading out into the Atlantic, with others between those two extremes. Obviously, the water in the Gulf remains warm, so the longer it’s over the Gulf, the more it can strengthen. This means the best scenario has it getting back on land on the Florida peninsula as soon as possible.

With the storm now past Cuba and the hurricane hunter planes now able to fly more freely through and around the eye of the storm, a better track seems to be emerging, and the models are in a bit more agreement for the 24-36 hour time frame. NHC now has the track bending a bit more to the east with the storm making landfall north of Naples, and tracking to the Northeast across the state. This is a good scenario for Tampa. Due to some sheering, the storm has become more elongated than usual with much less activity on the west side of the storm than the east. The current track puts Tampa well on that week side, and the storm having gone back to being a Tropical Storm by the time is passes us. This doesn’t mean we won’t get some effects, but they will hopefully be mitigated.

However, because of the uncertainty, I made some of the usual preparations yesterday. I stacked and stored all the deck furniture, and made sure loose items outside the house were put up or otherwise secured. I have a great generator, but I’d been slack and not even cranked it for nearly two years. I got it out and drained the old gas out, put in new, and it cranked right up with two pulls. We’ve got all our water bottles filled, and I made sure Lay’s parent’s are good to go on water anyways.

I wasn’t going anywhere near the grocery store yesterday, as the parking lot was packed. I went at AM this morning. It was definitely busier than usual that early, but it wasn’t too bad. We have basic staples, and didn’t need a lot of extra anyway. It was mostly a normal run.

So, we’re about as prepared as we can be, and if the track holds, we shouldn’t have too much of an issue here anyway. I will keep you posted.

2007 Hurricane Season Predictions

 General, Weather  Comments Off on 2007 Hurricane Season Predictions
Apr 032007

William Gray’s forecasting team has updated their forecast for the 2007 Atlantic Hurricane season, and they believe it will a very active season.

They have increased their prediction to 17 tropical storms and 9 hurricanes. We can only hope for a year like 2006, but I think we’re due, so I’m expecting a rough year.

Ernesto Watch Monday Morning

 General, Places, Tampa, Weather  Comments Off on Ernesto Watch Monday Morning
Aug 282006

The Hurricane Center, as of 8am this morning, has moved the track for Ernesto further to the east. This is good news for us here in Tampa, as it will put us on the “backside” of this storm. This also means it will come on shore at nearly the tip of the Florida penennsula, and track over land all the way up the center of the state.

This also means that the storm will be over water only for the amount of time it takes to cross the Florida straits between here and Cuba, so it will have less time to regain its strength and organization. It is still a tropical storm. It is beginning to move on-shore on the east cost of Cuba about now. This should help keep the storm disorganized.

However, they are saying it could get as strong as a Category 2 by the time it gets to Florida. Interestingly enough, they keep Ernesto as a hurricane throughout the time it is over Florida. Then it moves out into the Atlantic, and skims the coast up to Cape Hatteras on the North Carolina Coast as a hurricane.

Hurricane Ernesto Watch Begins

 General, Places, Tampa, Weather  Comments Off on Hurricane Ernesto Watch Begins
Aug 272006

We Floridians started paying attention to Tropical Storm Ernesto several days ago. In was forming up southeast of Puerto Rico. The early forecast tracks had the storm staying south of the islands, and gaining strength. Then it would have crossed Cuba and gone out into the Gulf headed tot he northwest…a beeline for the Louisiana coast.

The track would up being slightly more north, which has caused it to interact with Hispanolia throughout the day today, thus weakening the hurricane back to tropical storm strength.? However, it will most likely regain it’s hurricane status overnight as it gets back over warmer water heading to Cuba.

The first official track this morning had the center line of the storm going right up the mouth of Tampa Bay, and being over Tampa at 8am Thursday morning, as the track has moved increasingly back to the east. The track now has the storm traveling over a good bit of Cuba, which will again weaken the storm. It now turns northward sooner resulting in a currently projected landfall south of us Wednesday afternoon. Should this wind up being the actual track (and it will change a lot more over the next couple of days), the storm will pass by us somewhere between us and Orlando Wednesday night to Thursday morning. Should be over land for that long, it should not pose a huge threat to us.

The worst side of a hurricane is the northeast corner. That generally has the highest winds and most rain. The current track would put us on the west side of the storm after it’s been over land a while. As noted though, the track will change a lot.

I started with some preparations today. We had some inflatables in the pool that Lay’s nephew’s play with. I deflated those and got them put up. We’ve had a lot of rain lately, so the water level in the pool we very high. I started lowering that. Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll get my gas cans refilled for the generator, and I need to find a siphon somewhere. I also need to get my two empty water bottles re-filled, along with taking care of Lay’s mother’s bottles. I’ll do that tomorrow evening.

I was talking with our friend Jeff today, and we might make a reservation at an Orlando hotel in case there is a need to evacuate. We can always cancel it if needed. We will wait until tomorrow, and see how the track is shaping up. That will also determine how much further I go with preparations.

The Four Seasons of Florida

 General, Humor, Places, Tampa  Comments Off on The Four Seasons of Florida
Jun 012006

I have to start this post with a disclaimer. I was raised to be respectful for and appreciative of nature. I was boy scout and loved camping, and my grandfather was a farmer. However, I’m coming to hate these Live Oak trees we have here in Tampa. They are not all that lush and green; the leaves never seem to rot; and they drop stuff the entire year.

People here get way to worked up about these things. You can’t cut them down or have them removed. When I first bought this house, the neighbor had a pretty big oak in her front yard that had been hit by lightening twice. I was dead as a door nail. There was not a single green leaf anywhere on that tree, but she had to pay an arborist to declare the tree dead so that it could be cut down.

That leads me to the four seasons of Florida. Three of them are related the Live Oaks. Around January and especially February is Autumn. This is the season in which most of the leaves drop off and are replaced. (Although live oaks drop leaves continuously to lesser degree.)

There, in May is limb dropping season. I’ve never seen this anywhere but here. The live oaks drop small limbs covered with leaves (so they’re not dead). I don’t know what that’s all about.

Season three in Florida just started today. That’s hurricane season, and it runs until the end of November officially, but last year we had a tropical storm in both December and January.

Season four is around November and December. That’s when the live oaks drop a million little sticks.

So there you have it. The four seasons we experience here in Florida.