WE ARE GOING TO EVACUATE TO ATLANTA. WINDS ARE NOW GUSTING TO 220 MPH. NO NEW POSTS WILL GO UP UNTIL THIS STORM IS OVER. HOPEFULLY, THAT WILL HAPPEN SOON!
I’ve been watching this system since it came out of Cabo Verde a week or so ago. It has concerned me since it first formed.
Initially, I felt that a high pressure system developing across the central U.S, would do what forecasters were saying – keep the system south of the U.S. But as we’ve gone through this Labor Day weekend, the track – that awful dome of uncertainty- has crept steadily north of the Leeward Island and Cuba and Florida.
My first check is usually the National Hurricane Center. Over the years, I’ve found their forecasting to be accurate. They were right about Harvey – but predicted 25 inches of rain, with a possibility of as much as 48 inches, something that appalled them because it seemed so unlikely. Instead, the final total was 52 inches.
My other checks for reliable information are the Weather Channel, the Weather Underground (but they don’t post often enough) Accuweather, and the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel’s hurricane center. I also listen to the planetary empaths, who days before Harvey hit Houston were emailing us. (scroll down to the latest entries)
There’s a lot of talk on all these weather sites about the American and European models for forecasting the paths of these hurricanes. And the spaghetti models have been all over the place – throughout Florida, veering away from Florida and out into the Atlantic, staying South and tracking through the gulf. But most of the models comes through Florida. But the bottom line is alarm: Irma is now a cat 4 hurricane with 140 mph sustained winds and gusts of 165 mph. Its central pressure is 943 mb; Wilma, the strongest hurricane on record, has a mb reading of 882.
Our house is concrete, with a wooden addition added several years after it was built in 1994. There are two skylights that were supposedly built to Hurricane Andrew standards – to withstand cat 5 winds. I somehow doubt this. During Wilma in 2005, which struck us and stalled when it was only a cat 2, those skylights vibrated and hummed and I felt extremely uneasy about being anywhere near them. Fortunately, Wilma, in spite of her stall, moved rather quickly. We were without power for 10 days in the aftermath, our Dusky Conure, Kali, died, and everything commercially was shut down.
Last year, Hurricane Matthew was predicted to hit West Palm Beach as a cat 4 or 5 and, in the 11th hour, veered away from the coast and we got nothing more than a bad thunderstorm and several hours without power. But it tore up the coast, just offshore, and went inland around St. Augustine and the devastation was bad.
Today, we went to the dog beach, taking all three dogs for a fun day in the sun. But we stopped at our local Publix first to buy some sandwiches – and found that the water aisle was cleaned out. Empty. I think that’s the moment when I realized Irma may not be like Matthew. There’s a collective knowing that happens with hurricanes. It’s as if people sense, at some deep level, that they’d better pay attention and stock up. The caveat to this is that Harvey was so recent, the scenes so heartbreaking, that people generally are more aware now. But.
The bottom line here is layered. I don’t think our house, even with hurricane shutters, can withstand winds of 160 mph. We live 39 miles from Lake Okeechobee, the second largest fresh water lake in the U.S., which supplies water to all of South Florida. It’s surrounded and enclosed by more than a 100 miles of a dike built in the 1930s, reinforced in the 1960s, and still at risk. When the lake level reaches 15 feet or higher, water is released into the surrounding canals and rivers, just as it was in Houston, and that potentially puts millions of people at risk.
Astrologically, what concerns me is that in late October 2005, when Wilma hit, Jupiter had just entered Scorpio, which it will enter again on 10/10 this year. My dad had died a month earlier, when Jupiter was in its final degrees of Libra, as it is now. Some of the broad astro patterns were the same. That worries me more than anything.
I really don’t relish the idea of standing on the rooftop of our house with two dogs and two cats and whatever else we can salvage waiting for an airboat rescue.
The day after Harvey devastated Houston, Rob remarked that 52 inches of rain would leave Wellington underwater and maybe it was time for us to get the hell outta Dodge.
And go where? Back several years ago, it was estimated that the evacuation of the 4 southernmost counties that include the keys, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach – would take 3 days. Now, given the population growth, it probably would take twice that time. The only thing worse than waiting on your rooftop for rescue is being stuck in an endless line of traffic on an interstate as the flood waters around you keep rising.