Monday, August 25, 2008

Fay was no lady

Jacksonville got hit fairly hard by Tropical Storm Fay, but arguably not as hard as some of the more southern portions of Florida. We had high winds - but never at hurricane strength - and local flooding. A few roofs got blown away and for a time roughly 80,000 households in Jacksonville were without power.

But as a tropical storm that threatened to become a hurricane yet which never quite lived up to her potential, Fay was a bit of a pleasant disappointment.

Deb and I had planned to move the Mighty Bluebird out of our workshop because we have large overhanging trees here. Trees are a good thing in the summer as they keep the temperatures down but a really, really bad thing when they threaten to come crashing down and to crush buildings and vehicles. We had actually - no kidding - planned to move to a friend's bar because the bar has a large, open parking lot and hey ... if the power went out we had a deal to run our generator and to swap diesel-generated electricity for beer. That's the capitalistic system at its best, in my book! As things transpired the winds from Fay never got high enough to warrant moving, so we stayed put.

Interestingly, our local county government, in their infinite wisdom, closed two of the largest and most heavily traveled bridges in this area for about 2 days, when winds got to be over 40mph. We could have still gotten out of town because there are perhaps seven local bridges that cross the St. John's River, but the prospect of being trapped if the storm had intensified wasn't an attractive idea at all. I guess the moral of the story is to plan ahead and not to wait until the last minute to leave. This area has been spared from major hurricane damage for about the last 40 years and I fear that folks are getting complacent.

Crazy Fay wandered around the state of Florida like a bag lady looking for her long lost drinking buddies. She crossed the Florida Keys and was at one point was expected to stay out into the Gulf of Mexico for most of her life. Then she stalled and came ashore around Cape Coral, and took her time crossing the state. Regaining her strength over land - something that you seldom see hurricanes do - Fay drifted slowly out into the Atlantic. Then she decided to wander up the coast and to come back ashore somewhere slightly south of us! Egads!

As I write this the remnants of Fay are up into Georgia or Tennessee or Kentucky somewhere, bringing much-needed rain to an area that has been hit by a drought.

It was fun Fay. Now don't let the door hit you on the way out, Old Girl.

Here's downtown Jacksonville, so you can see that someone had some serious water. I heard that the local cops were doing patrols with an airboat in some areas near the river:

Here's a view out of the front window of the Wanderlodge during some of the rain:

We were driving over to the Broken Spoke (neighborhood bar) and the cops were blocking Cesery, which is a fairly major road in these parts. Never mind that the traffic lights were out, there was a power line down across Cesery, blocking traffic.

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