Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Wilma, Three Days Later

[October 27, 2005]

I watched George W. Bush fly by going down the beach on his way to a meeting with members of a Baptist church relief center. Unfortunately he was out of RPG range, lol.

His chopper was followed relatively closely by a heavy lift and transport helicopter with a really shiny brown paint job and a State Department seal on the nose, which was itself flanked and followed by Blackhawks and what appeared to be gunships riding at altitude overhead.

I've seen Jeb Bush, our esteemed governor, fly by at least three times in his helicopter going up-and-down the beach to meet with different people, of course his flights were unescorted.

4:33 p.m.

the power just came back on, thankfully though I would've preferred another night without lights actually. I think I could live completely without electric lights, but I need electricity for my computer and cable.

8:30 p.m.

Lights are on in most of the local buildings, but no streetlights or peripheral lights yet working. Every night there's been a helicopter or perhaps several helicopters hovering over the darkened city, apparently keeping surveillance looking for lawbreaking. I've never seen a helicopter hover all night in one place, that's rather unusual even for blackout conditions.

Still no air-conditioning, but thankfully the temperatures are still in the 70s though the humidity is rising.

We'll probably have our telephone back within a day or two. That's the advantage of living on the beach in Florida, some places won't be getting their telephone, electricity or water service restored for weeks, but here on the beach almost everything is running again. Doubtless restaurants along the beach will be open by the weekend. I'll be thankful for that.

I'm reading a book, the only newer one I had around, Tim Parks', Medici Money. So far I'm not impressed.

Wilma, Two Days Later

October 26, 2005, 7 a.m. two days after Wilma

Thankfully the weather is perfect here, we get maybe 30 days out of the year that are this perfect, light breeze, low humidity, cool temperatures, 75°F yesterday, about 55°F last night.

I really appreciate the nights without the city lights. It's pretty close to being out in the country or up in the mountains where there's no light pollution. Most people living in the city don't really get to see the night sky. I watched Mars rise over the ocean last night and it's reflection on the water was strong and visible, like the moon. It's nice to know there's other planets out there.

So along that line I had my celestial binoculars scanning the sky for different sites, I got to see dozens of things I never see living here.

In a very real way this has turned into a vacation for me, something I haven't had in years. The day goes by slow and easy, with lots of time to think, or not think about anything. That's what a real vacation is supposed to be isn't it, when you don't have to think about anything?

Of course I'm concerned with the basics, water, food, light but at least those are tangible real concerns as opposed to the plethora of ridiculous concerns usually filling my head. I rather like the idea of being isolated and cut off, even though physically I'm not. But I'm not being constantly inundated and bombarded with a sea of media, Internet, telephone, human interaction etc. I've had those things so long I guess I forgot what it's like to do without them. My cell phone is still working at least for out-of-state calls. But I told everybody not to call me unless they were in dire need of moral support.

Even when we get the power back, I won't be able to charge my phone, since my phone charger got melted, I guess from the water that came in the house before the power cut, or perhaps something else happened. I could go on the Internet through my phone, but that's okay, I don't need to check my e-mail that bad, and I don't even know if I can make a connection.

There is a kind of bliss in being uninformed. I watch the local news on a battery-operated TV because there's nothing else on, everything else has been preempted except the World Series. Go Sox!

Since just a few hours after the storm I've watched dozens of military helicopters fly by, presumably National Guard, mostly at a distance to the west. I've seen lots of news helicopters, but just a few Coast Guard helicopters. Not much work for search and rescue thankfully.

The beaches are now officially closed, the hotel next door shut down even though they had about 40% capacity provided mostly by surfers looking for waves right after the storm, but they're gone now.

It's interesting. without electric light relying mostly on candles, my body has quickly adapted to a non-nocturnal cycle. Usually I'm up all night and sleep all day. That's been the norm for me most of my adult life, but suddenly I'm up automatically just before dawn, and start getting sleepy as the sun goes down. I didn't even watch the World Series last night.

I've often read things about the disruption of the circadian rhythms (sleep cycles), I guess there's something to that stuff.

Last I heard 3.4 million people across South Florida were without power. ABC news through local channel 10 is saying that power is being restored to some places. I did see FP&L trucks rolling slowly by a couple of times early this morning.

At this point I'm looking forward to more days without power, at least one more night so I can do more stargazing.

Water and ice distribution seem to be taking place now. I noticed trucks on the news down in Homestead early this morning, I'm wondering why they aren't using military transport planes to fly in needed supplies to local airports, even the old Homestead Air Force Base, instead of trying to truck things in from Jacksonville, that's ridiculous.

After Andrew I noticed these transport jets continually flying in and out from MIA (Miami international Airport) Opa Locka Airport and the former Homestead Air Force Base.

850,000 without power according to channel 10, gas is hard to find, better have cash if you want some. Yesterday most cities were without water completely, though here in Pompano we've had continuous if extremely low water pressure. Today they say some cities have had their water completely restored, but most of the county is still under a boil water order.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Day after Wilma Hit

[Hurricane Wilma October 25, 2005]

So, it's the first day after hurricane Wilma passed directly over me. It's a beautiful day today about 54° F this morning perfectly clear, no wind. Just another day in paradise.

Of course we've got our share of destruction around here, cars piled up like tinker toys. About 70% of the cars in the parking lot have windows blown out either by the wind itself or flying debris, and there was a lot of flying debris. My neighbor had a giant chunk of aluminum spear right through her hurricane shutters and land in the living room.

Some of the upper floors of my building seem to be blown out. Walls knocked down and such. But the building basically survived intact because the building mandates hurricane shutters for all apartments.

The neighboring buildings that don't mandate hurricane shutters appear to have much more damage.

During the storm, after one window blew out in my apartment, the floor to ceiling tempered glass patio windows began to separate from their aluminum framework by the force of the air pressure which was literally bowing them out about 4 inches letting the wind into the apartment. Luckily we have large vents on our terrace which allowed me to take the pressure off the patio windows. This equalized the aerodynamic pressure inside and outside of the apartment.

In these kinds of winds, a large building acts like a giant wing creating high and low pressure zones as the air moves around it.

When the wind direction changed, the air pressure from this aerodynamic effect shifted almost instantly, that's when most of the windows blew out or were sucked in by the air pressure, windows that were all behind closed shutters I might add. Without the shutters, everything in those apartments would have gone right out the window, much like neighboring buildings experienced.
11:10 a.m.

I just got back upstairs from grilling. Since we have no power and no way to keep meat fresh, it seemed like a good idea to take everything we had in the refrigerator and freezer and throw it on the grill. Nice breeze blowing now come up perfect sunshine in the low 60s. I wound up feeding most of the building staff and some of my neighbors hot dogs and hamburgers. Sirloin burgers wrapped in Virginia bacon actually, I was lucky to get one. The radio says that the local grocery stores are open, so hopefully we'll get some ice soon.

You really appreciate those 20th-century scientific advances like electricity, telephone, the Internet, cable, and HBO when you don't have them. I guess I'll be catching up on my reading, and save the battery time I have left in my computer for these installments. No one knows how long the power will be out, but the beach in Florida is where they usually restore the power first, because that's where the money is.

3:46 p.m.

No water or ice yet available in Broward County except for Fort Lauderdale, which made its own arrangements for ice and water distribution. Apparently this is a result of fueling problem with the trucks bringing the ice. There doesn't seem to be anyone able to pump fuel without electricity , you think they would of thought of that .

I'm sure everyone else out there has better information than I do, since all I can get is the local news and radio on portable battery equipment. But this looks like a screwup since they could have been delivering ice and water all day, most of the major thoroughfares have been cleared by now and there's traffic all over the streets here. The mayor of Broward looks rather hot under the collar overall this. She used the phrase, "Never trust our state again...."

98% of Broward County without power today. More than 3 million people without power in South Florida today.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Tinker Toys

My neighbors, Little red Corvette, RIP (rests in pieces)

Wind Damage to Vehicles.

Projectile and Carport Damage

Cars sliding around the parking lot all morning.

Some of the carports were damaged, some are missing completely, stations and girders all ripped away.

Projectile damage

Still alive, back up and running.

[Update on on Wilma in Broward] October 24, 2005,

Hurricane Wilma departing thankfully, I'm going to venture on the terrace for a look outside and a picture when it's safe.

(The five day delay in posting is due to the Internet along with everything else being DOWN in my area).

How do you rent out a hotel on the beach with no power? Have a hurricane, and the surfers will come from far and wide.

Typical Florida, Hurricane in the morning, hit the beach in the afternoon.

It's late afternoon about 6 p.m., it's still breezy, but the sun is shining and the skies are clear. The last few hours of this day are actually pretty enjoyable.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Wilma Hitting,

Get this in quickly, before the power goes out again, it's bad, pretty damn bad. Waiting for the Windows to blow out.

842 a.m. lost my bedroom window, blown out. Glass on the patio separating from the window about to go. Winds are a good 80 kn, gusting to a hundred.


It's so quiet you can hear a pin drop

It's really interesting I've never been directly in the eye before. Nobody's going to do anything stupid here like go outside and check the vehicles. Getting a few gusts now but that's normal, it's not completely calm in the eye, just in certain places. But it is going dead still for minutes at a time now.

Wind is changing direction I can feel it.

Blogging from inside the eye

Wow! From a freight train to complete silence. I'm in the eye right now.

A lttile bit of freaking out here

But that's to be expectedgetting another really heavy gust coming through can't hear anything. It's definitely not subsiding... definitely NOT!

Wind Is in the House

9 a.m wind is in the house, nothing I could do now but equalize the pressure the best I can.

I lost my power, but I haven't lost the Internet unfortunately my connection relies on the power, boy do I wish I had a backup power supply.

The wind is subsiding a bit but still gusting hard, just had a change of direction completely in the wind.