Fay fizzle?

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, August 19, 2008, 1:54 AM | comments: 0

It's not looking like Fay will make hurricane status (it has to have winds at 74 mph), which is sort of disappointing for some sick reason. It might get the designation, but it only has about 30 miles of gulf water to pass over at its poorly defined center to strengthen before hitting land. Diana's dad drove down to Naples earlier to look after his special lady friend, so we're hanging out here still in Fort Myers.

The first weird thing is that the house is built of concrete block, so there's no creaking or noise so far. Our wind here hasn't gusted much above 30, which is a lot like any thunderstorm in Northeast Ohio. The impression I get from watching local TV, which is surprisingly not sensational at all, and has not interfered with Olympic coverage on the NBC affiliate, is that this is likely more of a rain event than a wind event. Power outages and down trees are still likely. I went out to the lanai a little bit ago, and what I find staggering isn't the wind, but just the steady driving rain.

What a difference though that having some warning makes. When you get severe thunderstorms and tornadoes back home, it just happens and you have to deal. I think when Charlie just destroyed things here in Southwest Florida a few years ago, people became reasonably alert about this sort of thing. They picked up all of the construction barrels from the freeway earlier today, gated communities (which is most of them around here) opened up all of their gates, presumably for emergency vehicles, people who have roll down shutters have closed them, a few people put up the aluminum shutters, people stocked up on gas for generators... and it all just seems routine. Sanibel, the neighboring island, was mostly evacuated. Tolls on the freeways were waived to allow people to get around more quickly. It's just an orderly process overall.

So while I was hoping for some Jim Cantore wind scenes, it looks like the most I'll get is driving range with wind gusting in the 60 mph range. That's still pretty impressive.


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