I am not gonna deny it, I am scared some. I am placing my faith on a forecast of Category 4 and having the eye over water.
Although a Category 4 has winds between 130-156 mph, those are the speed next to the eye and they decrease as the radius from the center increases. I saw a report from the National Hurricane Center about Irma passing near Puerto Rico and it caught my attention:
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 50 miles (85 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles (295 km). A sustained wind of 55 mph (89 km/h) with a gust to 70 mph (113 km/h) was recently reported at an NOS observing site in San Juan Bay, Puerto Rico.
I did a bit of math and by the time of the report, the coast of PR was 50 miles from the center of the eye and they were not even clocking a sustained wind close to a Cat 1 (74-95 mph) and if the streaming of the local radio stations mean anything, the damage was not as brutal as expected. At 1:51 am they were reporting power losses covering 1 million people. Talk shows were getting calls so it was not all the End of the World.
Am I rationalizing myself into a bit of mental peace? Perhaps. But evacuation died sooner than I expected. There were accident reports all along I-95 and congestion on the Turnpike. Gas was reported getting scarce in Central Florida and the usual staples of water and canned goods. And if you were not planning to evacuate to Alabama and points West-North West and already on your way yesterday, you are gonna be screwed anyway.
Understand that Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties have over 5,350,000 million people who simply cannot be funneled north (same path as the hurricane) in three highways: I-75, I-95 and the Turnpike up to Orlando only. Being caught in the open with only the protection of your car? Hell no!
So pray that Irma’s eye stays on the water 20 miles away when it comes by Miami. That means we can get Category 2 and less winds which we know our infrastructure can withstand. I know my humble abode dealt with a Cat 3 with an old roof and plenty of Cat 2 and Cat 1.
The blog is in the capable hands of J. Kb. when (and if) I go dark. I’ll try to text him updates so he can share with you guys.
And if you feel predisposed to do so, say a prayer or two for South Florida.