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storm's coming, ani

fay To my regular readers: You're probably will aware that Tropical Storm Fay is headed to Tampa Bay (hey that rhymes).

Here's the poop on Fay and some other notes on storms in general.

Fay was originally predicted to be a Category 2, meaning a storm able to produce winds from 96 to 110mph in velocity. It's be downgraded to a Category 1 (74 to 95mph).

The storm is moving slowly at 12mph and currently has a wind velocity of 50mph with gusts up to 65mph. Note that this does not break into Category 1 territory.

My limited knowledge and experience concerning tropical storms in Florida is as follows:

  1. Palm trees can really take a pounding because they can bend quite a bit. It is rare that one will break even in the windiest conditions.
  2. Flooding happens almost instantaneously because the state is flat. This is one of the few instances where I appreciate having a 4x4 truck because it's the ultimate in anti-hydroplaning. I'm not kidding.
  3. "Sheeting" from torrential style rain is just as bad as a snow white-out condition, i.e. you can't see anything in front of you.
  4. You stay off all bridges. Period.
  5. The crosswinds are strong enough to turn a car over - but only to those stupid enough to be driving in weather conditions like this.
  6. After every major storm there is at least one trailer park that gets wrecked. And of course you'll always see this on the news.
  7. The power will go out but usually not for long.
  8. Your cell phone is your best friend. Best to make sure it's fully charged and ready to go.
  9. The Red Cross, police and hospitals are totally on top of stuff like this. Said honestly it's amazing how prepared they are.

The last major wreck-all that hit Florida was Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and it really messed things up in the Sunshine State. It was a bona fide catastrophe that caused many to leave vowing never to return.

Florida learned many things from Andrew.

  1. Insurance companies - as crazy as this sounds - can go out of business when enough people's lives get wrecked. Legislation was quickly written and underwriting agencies were put into effect to combat this after Andrew.
  2. Developers and contractors were widely panned for all the homes that were destroyed due to lack of hurricane readiness. As such all new homes in FL are built to a minimum Category 4 spec (most 5). Underneath the siding of each new house is enough concrete to make it look like a fortress - and I'm not kidding.
  3. Nobody, repeat, nobody takes storms lightly anymore - but they used to.

From ago . . .

I dealt with my fair share of storms when living in Connecticut. For all the time I lived there I lived thru one major storm, one weather wack job, a bunch of snowstorms and some oddball summer storms.

There was Hurricane Gloria. Of course, Connecticut received the worst of the storm. Funny that.

The was also a time when a tornado touched down in Windham County in 1992. The reason I label this is a weather wack job is because tornadoes in CT are really, really rare. However when it did happen it was located less than 5 miles from where I was living and threw a rather large oak tree thru someone's roof.

The rest of the major storms of note have been Nor'easters. Whenever they happen they suck. The Blizzard of '78 was a Nor'easter that I remember vaguely (I was only 3 years old) but do remember it. Quite nasty.

There was a winter storm in the very-late 90s that happened - get this - in April. I remember this because I was working in Massachusetts at the time and they had already put away all the plow trucks and covered the sand piles for the year - OOPS. As such, Mass was completely unprepared for it and, well, it was a crappy driving day and we'll leave it at that. 🙂

I do remember a few times when summer storms happened in Connecticut. These are rare, weird and always cause a huge ruckus. The reason for this can be summed up in one word: debris.

When one of those rare gusty summer storms comes by in New England there is nothing but nature's "crap" left behind in its wake. Lots of twigs, sticks, downed trees, acorns, leaves and so on. You may be thinking "Well.. that doesn't sound too bad?" Yeah, it's bad because you've got all this broken wood pounding your car (including the stuff from above that chooses to strategically smack your car when you drive under it). And you have to drive really slow because due to all the leaves and crapola your brakes are now worthless. Sucks? Yes.

Per a conversation I was having with Pop the other day, I learned the reason why all this "crap" occurs. It's because the region doesn't have enough storms. There is (literally) so much dead wood ready to break away in the greenery that when any significant winds come by all this stuff flies into the road.. and the front yard.. and the backyard.. and the rain gutters.. and the parking lots.. and.. well.. everywhere.

Fortunately all this stuff is mostly minor, unless you're "that guy" that had a downed tree in your yard. Yeah we all told you to cut that dead piece of crap down. You didn't listen and now it's conveniently smashed into your lawn. Have fun removing it, jackass.


Things I'm well aware of:

Generally speaking, New England is the safest place in the USA to live weather-wise.

I can't dispute this. The likelihood of truly catastrophic weather hitting the region is slim at best. The worst is the Nor'easters and pretty much nothing else. The region is so familiarized with Nor'easters they know how to deal with them right quick.

Florida does have a crapload dangerous weather happen to it.

I can't dispute this either. Lots of torrential style rain, lots of cloud-to-ground lightning, lots of wind and so on. Happens often.

But like New England, FL knows how to deal with this stuff too. Or I should say now it does. They didn't before Andrew.

This storm is going to be interesting, no doubt about that. It's supposed to land on Tuesday, so I guess we'll see what happens . . .


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