Hurricanes Everywhere

Over the past 27 years, I have felt the effects of over twenty-five named tropical storms or hurricanes here in the Florida Panhandle. Some of the effects where just the outskirts of the storm, a few were direct hits. I’ve been up to a week without electricity after a storm. I’ve seen boats from harbors dropped two and three blocks inland. And the only major damage my house ever suffered was a stupid little tropical storm that spawned a tornado and dropped a couple trees it. My house is about four miles from the beach.

I have never evacuated for a hurricane. I don’t take them lightly, but I’ve never left. As a matter of fact, I drove through a tropical storm making landfall in 2002, in Alabama to get back home from Mississippi. That’s not as fun as it sounds. LOL. It wasn’t fun at all. I would much rather shelter in place during a storm than be driving in it.

Hurricanes Erin, Opal, and Ivan are the big ones that I have experienced. And as bad as Ivan was on the Florida Panhandle, you should see what it did to Grand Cayman. I saw it firsthand a month or so after on a mission trip. We got pretty lucky here that it weakened before making US landfall. During Opal, I watched a roof from one house fly overhead, crash into the road, break into two smaller pieces and keep moving down the road. I also watched trees snap in the wind. I know it sounds weird, but there’s something exciting about being witness to that kind of natural power.

With all that said, if Hurricane Irma was to head my direction at it’s current strength, I would leave. My undefeated streak of Me vs. Hurricane would come to an end. I have plenty of experience weathering dangerous storms, but I don’t think I would tempt fate with this one. Although, it would be a once in a lifetime experience. I would probably still leave. A couple months ago I posted about Tropical Storm Cindy that made landfall close enough to bring winds, rain, and a couple tornados. I wrote about the hype involved from some of the weather reporters, and how they play things up. Folks, this is not hype. Irma is dangerous.

While Houston, Texas and the surrounding areas continue to recover from Hurricane Harvey, lets keep those in South and Central Florida in our thoughts and prayers as Irma makes landfall sometime between Saturday night and Sunday early morning. This is going to be a disaster for the record books. I have messaged with some of my friends down there that aren’t leaving. Some have jobs that require them to stay, and some are just going to ride it out. Whatever the case, I hope they take care of themselves and stay safe. Oh, and to my friend in Arizona I was chatting with the other day, yes, I would still rather ride out a hurricane if any size than take my chances on an unpredictable earthquake. At least we know when a storm is coming, even if the path of the storm fluctuates some.

Thanks for reading this week. Good day, God bless.


Tropical Storm Cindy and My Crazy Thoughts

This past week we dealt with Tropical Storm Cindy here where I live in Florida. Yes, the landfall was hundreds of miles away to the west, but the rain was far-reaching. With the rain came localized flooding, at least one tornado that caused damage, and over 5 ½ inches of rain right here from June 20th to the 22nd (recorded at the local military base according to Weather Underground’s website). That’s a lot of rain in just 3 days.


Views from my back door after the main part of the storm had passed.

But now I’m going to be controversial. All the hype the different weather sources put out about weather events, is just that, hype. At least most of it is. They need ratings, just like the news channels. They will play it up as much as they can to make sure you tune in. I have to do some research on the subject, but as far as I can tell, someone changed the term “tropical disturbance” to “tropical cyclone.” Why? Because “cyclone” sounds more scary. On a similar note, but going in a completely opposite direction, we got PTSD from changing the way it’s named. It went from “shell shock” to “battle fatigue” to PTSD. People will change the name of something to impact how you view it depending on how they want you to see it. PTSD doesn’t sound near as bad as Shell Shock.

But I digress. I do that from time to time. Let me grab another beer.

The reason I know the Weather Channel, and other weather outlets, hype things up is because I’ve seen it. In Panama City Beach years ago, they did a report about flooding from a parking lot that floods in an average afternoon thunderstorm. The roads were fine, no problems. But the reporter walked through the deepest part of the parking lot talking about how the flooding was affecting us. It was a lie. I saw a reporter on the Weather Channel once talking about how bad the winds were during a particular tropical storm one year. They were reporting from in between two condominium buildings, where the wind is tunneled as it comes off the beach and increases in strength. It’s always windy in that spot. I was on the crew that built the pool for one of those buildings and I know firsthand that the wind right at that exact spot is always much greater than on the beach. Again, they lied. Or at least in both cases, the source of the information was manipulating the truth in such a way that it was not accurate reporting.


Some tornado damage at a local park.

I have lived in the Florida Panhandle for more than 25 years. I’ve sat through every tropical storm and hurricane that has ever come our way. Some storms were worse than others. Some hurricane seasons were worse than others. But the common denominator in every storm, every year, was the reporters for the weather and news channels hyped them all up more than any of them ever turned out to be. The only one here that even came close was Hurricane Opal in 1995. Opal forever changed the landscape of the Emerald Coast. And 1995 was a record-breaking year for named storms at the time.


This guy had a bad day.  But then again, the tree missed the house, so maybe it was a good day.

The point of all this is to take everything with a grain of salt. Have a little common sense, do some research. Understand that not everything is as it appears or is as reported. Not everything is what the name suggests. A tropical cyclone is still just a tropical depression until it becomes a tropical storm. And while I’m on the subject, who renamed the “War Department” to the “Department of Defense” in 1949? Someone that thought War Department sounded too harsh, probably. They still do the same functions despite the name change.

I’ve written enough for the amount of beer I’ve consumed tonight, so I’ll close for this week. Thanks for reading my bizarre ramblings. But I do hope you take some of this to heart and not be fooled by the appearance of things that aren’t true. Good day, God bless.