"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again..."

Location: Tampa, FL, United States

Friday, August 13, 2004

Hurricane Charley

Living in Florida, following hurricanes is a must-hobby. At 9am this morning Tampa was the most likely target per the many computer models. By 2pm Sarasota was the target. By dinner time Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Sanibel Island and other small communities were experiencing this Category IV hurricane and its 145mph winds. Smaller than Andrew of '92 but powerful nonetheless.

It's a weird feeling to wake up with the realization that the home you grew up in, the one your parents have lived in since 1954, will likely be an object of demolition within 12 hours. (For various reasons, repair of flood damage would have been imprudent). Then the unexpected happened. The hurricane decided to embarrass the National Hurricane Center experts and the twenty or so computer models and turn to the Northeast. Charley is now introducing itself to Orlando and then eyeing Volusia county for dessert. Here in North Tampa we had about 3/4" of rain and winds topped out on average at 10mph. A few observations...

The Friday the 13th factor: Tampa will always have a soft spot for Friday the 13th. Punta Gordans will hold to the traditional stigma of Friday the 13th.

People aren't too bright: The news stations cater to the largest cross-section of audience it can, to make the most money it can from selling commercials. "There will be a lot of wind, rain and flooding." "Don't drive. It's dangerous." "Be careful." "Seek shelter." "Take care of your pets." It would be nice if the story would be covered without the subtle we're-brighter-and-wiser-than-you overtones that lace the commentary.

The election factor: Was John Kerry sitting around today and thinking up ways of helping the state of Florida himself, to negate the vote-gaining advantage of the Bush-to-Bush emergency relief money that will soon come in? Couldn't a "natural" disaster have hit a state where a Bush wasn't the governor? Makes one want to move back to Cambodia and relive the Christmas eve of 1968, doesn't it?


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