Tag Archives: Environment

Frances


So… this afternoon, as I was checking what the weather would be like in Victoria for next Wednesday evening’s special event (more info soon!), Carlos happened by my cube and asked if I was checking what the path of Hurricane Frances. For those that don’t know, it’s looking like Florida is going to get hit by another hurricane, even though we’re still recovering from Charley. Come on, I know Charley was because of the botched election, but what’s this one supposed to be for?
I hadn’t even been thinking about it yet, Frances wasn’t supposed to make landfall until a few days after the beginning of Sept. Oh, wait, never mind. Carlos went on to say the airport is probably going to be closed… I can forget about my flight home.
No!!! That’s my vacation we’re talking about here!
My flight is supposed to leave Tampa shortly after 7am Saturday. Looks like there’s hope yet, though. According to the most-recent data weather.com has (this afternoon), it looks like I might just squeeze that flight in after all. Here’s Frances’ projected path:

So far I’ve read that this data is still pretty shaky, so I’ll be keeping you all up-to-date on the status of things. As for my apartment… well, I’ll be ready with the masking tape.

Charley, housewarmings, and Garden State


So the weekend was much fun. Three things.
The first is about what Hurricane Charley foisted upon Port Charlotte and the surrounding area. The second is about my Saturday night housewarming. The third is about Garden State, a movie I saw on Sunday.
Charley. Boy, it really hit Port Charlotte hard. I went with Cam, Melissa, Ron and a handful of others to help Elba (another coworker) clean up her yard. She was luckier than her neighbour (whose roof came apart). Elba only had a tree fall on her house. And her boat.
Driving into the area gave me the feeling of those shots some of you might have seen a few months back about driving through the remains of Chernobyl. First, I saw a few branches on the ground. Then, bent trees. Then street signs bent over. Then an upside-down tool shed (on the tip of its A-frame). Then blown-out billboards, with their signs dangling towards the ground. Then gas stations without numbers for gas prices. Or fluorescent bulbs for that matter. Finally there were buildings you could see right through. Cam’s got pictures up (look for the “catalog” link at the end of his entry).
On the positive side, there were power trucks everywhere I looked, so hopefully people there will be getting their power back soon. I know Elba didn’t have it when we got there.
That night I had my housewarming/Greg’s going-away party. The house was indeed warmed. Note for next time: don’t leave the TV on, it will become the focal point of the room (especially if the Olympics are on). Much fun, think it went quite well, very relaxing.
Sunday I went to see the movie Garden State, which I very much enjoyed. I’d describe it as a complicated, 20-something coming-of-age story. Folks in their 20s and 30s will get much fun out of this film — there are loads of pop culture references going on. It stars Zach Braff (of TV’s “Scrubs”), who also wrote and directed the movie. The soundtrack is great too, including Frou Frou‘s track “Let Go”. (Frou Frou is amazing by the way, but that’s another post).
Update, 12:08pm: Zach Braff has a blog! Nifty. (via NSLog)

Cleanliness: next to godliness (and config control)


Stopped by the Fruitville Starbucks Sunday. This time my cup-name was “Christian”. Guess I’d better start repenting!! 802.11-anything wasn’t set up there either… as it turns out it’s not one of the wireless locations (though given the number of tech employees within a 2 mile radius would be silly not to become one).
Worked late today. Right as I was I was about to leave, talk of a small change ballooned into something much bigger, a topic I guess I’m kinda passionate about these days, config control. Ended up with a few more questions than answers, but at least it’s being thought about.
Tonight I’m doing laundry over at Cam and Melissa‘s because, in addition to all those mobile homes, Hurricane Charley also knocked out the Saturday delivery of my new washer and dryer. Home Depot is still trying to get me a time for the new delivery. Cam, Melissa, thanks a bunch, I’d be pretty stuck without you.

Post Charley

I’m disappointed in Charley. All this prep work and it didn’t even come close!!
Of course my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek. Indeed, after spending the last day over the Gulf of Mexico, Charley made a sudden jog toward the mainland after reaching North Fort Myers (50 miles directly south of here) and started moving NNE on a path which took it through Punta Gorda, Arcadia and onward toward the Magic Kingdom (which it reached by 9pm; thankfully the theme parks had closed by early in the afternoon). It’s expected to head out to the Atlantic Ocean by tomorrow morning.
Ended up leaving Cam and Melissa’s shortly after 7:30pm; snappd a few pictures before I went inside. Things looked pretty much the same as they did before when I left: wet, and maybe a few extra leaves on the ground. [Update, 8:23am Sat]: It looks like Sarasota had a few road closures.
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One of the Sarasota-based ABC reporters drove down to Boca Grande to see what he could see. I think he’s lucky he didn’t see a tree on his hood. [Update, 10:01am Sat]: View map showing relation of Boca Grande to me and to Charley’s path. By the way, if anyone’s still disillusioned about doing all that hurricane prep work and then having it miss them, have a look at this Holiday Inn in Punta Gorda (be sure to check out the video).
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These kids thought it would be a good time to go swimming.
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A nice little shot showing the relationship of the storm to where I live. For those who don’t know — I live just in-between the white square and the “S” of Sarasota.
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NBC affiliate out of Tampa trying to look all serious. Apparently they were bobbling things all day, hanging up on all sorts of callers “for their safety”. Whoops! I love live TV.
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This is about as bad as it got in Sarasota.
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One of the main drives for the apartment complex. Looks pretty much like it always does after it rains.
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Earlier in the day the apartment complex staff went around and overturned the picnic tables.
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Tree debris.
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This little guy didn’t seem to be phased by the whole thing.
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Back at my place. Everything’s still fine, hooray!
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Didn’t move an inch. Box was a little soggy though.
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Extra water for the toilet etc.
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MaskingTapeMan.
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Looking NE, 8:09pm. Can you believe I got to see the sunset? Maybe a decent Friday the 13th after-all. Pretty cool thing about the weather here is it’s so volatile, you could get dumped on, and 15 minutes later it’s all clear.
[picture: Aug 13]
Looking to the SE, 8:09pm.

Live from party central

Over at Cam and Melissa’s now. Charley has since turned into a category 4 storm — winds between 150-160 mph. We haven’t seen those here yet, though we are seeing steady rain and incrementally stronger gusts.
There’s a tornado warning right now for north eastern Sarasota.
The eye of the hurricane is just south of the Lee/Sarasota county border. For about half an hour the local news was speculating that the hurricane might take a turn to the northeast and miss us. But now it’s back to heading up north along the shoreline, which puts us in (relative) danger again.
My lousy attempt at humor… we’ll see if it’s still on my balcony when I get back:

Post-computer packing:

My computer:

The local ABC affiliate gives an overview:

The rain is falling constantly now:

Pre-Charley Prep

[Update, 11:58am Fri]: Added hurricane prep link.
Went out to the grocery store at 9:30 this morning to pick up a few extra bits before Charley arrives. Things are still overcast outside, very little wind. Everyone was being extra-nice to each other, wishing each other a good day, saying sorry for just about any kind of accidental physical contact, etc.
The boarded up Starbucks I mentioned last night which was boarded up but still open (and which Cam visited) — is now closed. So was Subway, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen closed. Publix was super-crowded. Things they were out of: gallon jugs of water, frozen precooked chicken products, and BBQ briquettes. I ended up picking up a loaf of bread, 2 cans of Pringles, 2 frozen pizzas (at least one of which I intend to consume for lunch today, before the power goes out), and a bag of Gardetto Snak-ens (original flavour). I’m set for the next few days.
While I was in the pharmacy beside the grocery store, I saw an old man wander in with his walker, asking for “D” batteries. The store was out, but the people waiting in line suggested Walmart and Target had them.
Looks like about 1/6th of the apts in our complex have their windows taped. Having a place right beside a tree, though, I’m not taking any chances. The news as of 9am this morning states winds could reach 100 miles per hour. I did not see anyone with boards up.
Got my iRiver SlimX 350 mp3-CD player charging. Why would I be doing that, when I’ve got my iPod? Because it’s got an FM tuner in it.
Just got a phone call from Melissa. After I’ve got things secured here, I’ll be heading over there, probably around 2pm or so — and we’ll probably be driving over to pick up Kai. What do we do in a crisis? Well, party of course.
Oh yes — here’s a link to a good article about hurricane prep from USA today (though the time for the advice in it has mostly passed): Protect your home against a hurricane, without wasting time.
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Updates to follow later today (assuming I have access to a computer).

Bonnie and Charley


[Update, 9:33pm Thu]: Added third storm tracker picture of Charley.
[Update, 8:29am Fri]: Added fourth storm tracker picture of Charley
[Update, 10:30am Fri]: Added fifth storm tracker Charley pic.
[Update, 12:37pm Fri]: Added sixth storm tracker image.
Wow, so it’s hurricane time in Sarasota. Hurricane Charley’s just below Cuba right now and moving north quickly — 30 km/hr!
As I said to the family last night over email, I’m kinda excited and a little nervous about this one. Excited because it’ll be my first hurricane. Nervous, because of statements like this one (from StormCarib — the Carribean Hurricane Network):

THERE IS A DISTINCT POSSIBILITY THAT CHARLEY COULD BE NEAR MAJOR HURRICANE STRENGTH WHEN IT MAKES LANDFALL ALONG THE FLORIDA WEST COAST …ESPECIALLY IF IT MAKES LANDFALL FROM THE TAMPA BAY AREA AND SOUTHWARD WHERE THE VERTICAL SHEAR WILL BE LESS.

Whatever the heck shear is. I presume it’s something to do with upward air movement.
Cam and I were discussing today — it’s weird, having so much advance notice of a natural disaster. Up on the west coast, it’s all about the earthquakes — and you rarely get any notice on those. But here, we’ve had at least 24 hours to freak out now, and the major strike isn’t expected for another 24 (we’ll probably get some rain/wind as Tropical Storm Bonnie glides by to the west over the Gulf of Mexico). Cam also made a post about the storm.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the movement of Charley. Here are two three four five six storm tracker images, each separated by 3 hours, courtesy Intellicast:

2pm EST Thu. Click for a larger image

5pm EST Thu. Click for a larger image

8pm EST Thu. Click for a larger image

7am EST Fri. Click for a larger image

9am EST Fri. Click for a larger image

11am EST Fri. Click for a larger image
Click here for an up-to-date image.
As you can see it’s moving pretty quickly, and they still predicting it to hit Florida right over top of the Tampa Bay area. Hold on to your hats!
Shops down the street are boarding up their windows. That new Starbucks just down the street I was talking about a couple of days ago? All boards now. Except for a small bit of spray painted text (“We’re open!”) where the door used to be you wouldn’t even know there was anything there. If things aren’t too hectic on the road I might head down and snap up a photo or two.
As far as preparing my place, there’s not a lot I can do living in my apartment. Being on the third floor, I’m pretty safe from flooding:

That is, if the roof doesn’t rip off. 🙂 Stay tuned for updates…