:: Friday, August 13, 2004 ::
Watched it approach the SW coast of Florida today. This hurricane was different. Mainly because it was as powerful as Andrew about ten years ago. And also for the fact that I had been through the area where it hit. Landfall was near North Captiva Island, Florida, with 145 mph/ 233kph winds and 10-foot / 3meter waves. I was pretty much right there four months ago.
I saw video of the Southernmost Point marker in Key West that I have a pic of me standing at. Water was crashing over the breakwall to the left of the pic, with people hiding behind the marker, water and spray going around it. I also saw the Naples Pier. Huge waves brushing the underside of the walk way and fierce winds. Surfers too. A major contrast to when I was there. When they were reading out the names of the places in the storm's path that had been evacuated, I knew them. Sanibel Island, Naples, Sarasota, Collier County, Ft. Myers, Key West, Orlando and so on.
I brought up the best radar going, the short range base reflectivity radar belonging to the US federal NOAA National Weather Service in the states and selected early in the afternoon the one for Key West that was getting the brunt of the storm, and then the one for Tampa Bay. The massive swirl was staggering. It covered a great deal of the state as the coloured and pixelated animation marched forward. At 1130pm Eastern, Key West Radar is now clear. The Duval St Webcam is quiet and dry looking, but the Friday night crowds you sometimes see outside of Sloppy Joe's are not there. Tampa has some rain happening. Orlando and Daytona are a different story. Same time, they are having Charley pass by and have 90mph winds and driving rain. Initial estimates, not sure how they calculate them so early, is $15 billion USD in damages. No word on casualties at this point.
Mother Nature can do some wild stuff.
:: Mike Wood 23:30 [+] ::