Monday, September 27, 2004

The Hurricane Chronicles 2004


Aug 13, 2004

Huh. A hurricane might be coming so Steven Riddle leaves the state.

I'm trying not to worry. Elizabeth was scheduled to fly in to Orlando at the same time the damn thing hits town, so we had her flight changed to Saturday morning. Hope the timing's right.

They're forcasting winds of possibly 120 mph when it hits the coast. They'll still be in the 100 mph range when it gets to us. If it gets to us. Maybe they'll be wrong. Should I hope it hits somewhere else? I shouldn't, really, should I? I certainly don't want it to bother Jeff Miller, who's a little north of here. Besides, I think he's already been dumped on by Bonnie. Nor would I want it to annoy Susan, who I think is in the Pensacola area.

I'm trying to think of someone who deserves to get hit by a hurricane, but there's no point because they're big storms and they don't discriminate against bad people.


we've been praying for all you folks.
Posted by alicia the midwife email at August 13, 2004 01:04 PM

No one deserves a hurricane, so we just pray that those who have to endure it get an extra portion of grace and mercy.
This weekend I am packing up my four kids to move to Michigan. My husband is there already, beginning his first year of med school. So here I am in Florida, with one eye on the west coast and the other eye on lots and lots and lots of cardboard boxes.
Anyway, forces of nature don't discriminate, but God does in that He seems to be so kind as to reach out and lay his palm against our cheeks through harrowing times.
It's a nice touch.
Posted by :~) Julie email at August 13, 2004 02:50 PM

I forget: where are you in Florida?
Alicia, thanks for prayers. This house is old and I fear not up to what might be coming.
Posted by William Luse email at August 13, 2004 04:08 PM

We're safe and sound far west of 75 in Broward. I'll say a prayer for you and yours. Take care!
Posted by :~) Julie email at August 13, 2004 08:41 PM

when our home was hit by a tornado four years ago, my then-four-year-old son said, "don't worry, mommom. God is bigger than the wind."
Posted by smockmomma email at August 14, 2004 12:50 PM

Glad to know my favorite Floridian households (Bill Luse's and Julie D.'s) are doing fine.
Posted by Jeff Culbreath email at August 14, 2004 06:00 PM

Yes, I'm in the Pensacola area. I pray everything is okay with you and yours.
Posted by susan b. email at August 14, 2004 09:07 PM

Hope all is well with you and yours. I'm praying for you and all the other Floridians!
Posted by MamaT email at August 15, 2004 01:21 AM

Looks like Steven escaped with minimal damage. How's your situation?
Posted by TSO email at August 15, 2004 08:12 AM

Still saying a prayer for you and your family.
Posted by The Barrister email at August 16, 2004 12:25 PM

Sure hope you are OK!
Posted by Elena email at August 17, 2004 02:40 PM

My understanding is that the part of ORlando where Mr. Luse lives is one of the harder hit areas and that it may be a week or more befre even basic electricity is available, let alone internet access. I hope and pray that his duaghter was able to make it home safely or that she was in a safe place.Bill, know that all our prayers are with you and your family.
Posted by alicia the midwife email at August 18, 2004 08:59 AM

Prayers from our end--hope things are well for you and yours.
Posted by Dale Price email at August 18, 2004 12:26 PM

Posted by Peony Moss email at August 18, 2004 03:44 PM

Notes on Charley

Aug 21, 2004

Here is the leading edge of the storm as it entered Orlando about 9 P.M. We had lost power (electrical and the TV-computer cable) about fifteen minutes before this photograph was taken, assuming that the time given by the Sentinel is accurate.

I don't have time for a lengthy report, so just a few observations in no necessary order.
First, thanks to those of you who wished us well.
Second, I hope I never have to live through something like that again.

The severity of the storm was a big surprise. Friday afternoon, with it still off the coast but now pretty clear in the direction it would head, my wife and I reluctantly went outside to lower the window canopies and tie them down. We were expecting maybe 80 mph winds max, but still something we'd never experienced. When we came back inside an hour later, the storm had grown from a middling category 2 to a monster cat 4. Unbelievable. We watched on TV as it began its diagonal march across the state. Now I'm thinking 100 mph winds minimum with no idea how this old house (circa 1925) could take it and wishing my wife were in another state. When the eye reached Kissimmee, about parallel to Disney World (as best I remember) we lost power and TV. After that you sit in the dark, watch the spooky weather turn vicious and listen to the various sounds your house can make and you don't know what any of them mean. (That eye, by the way, had broadened into a sort of flying wedge; there was no backside to it, a blessing). The house groaned, creaked, rumbled and vibrated. What belongs to the storm and what to the house? The vibration was most frightening: put the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth and roll it fast and you'll get an idea, though without the resonance reminiscent of a bow pulled across a cello's strings. An acquaintance later told us it was our windows. So maybe they were on the verge of exploding. I don't know. I looked out a window and saw huge oak trees bending in the wind like lissome palms. Better to just sit and wait. But you can't. A little later we're looking out the back door and see the metal canopy over the workshop's been torn off. It's lying on the ground. I think I need to go get it before its picked up and hurled through a window. I open the door and the wind's blowing so hard I can see myself getting killed by a flying tree branch. The winds were at what - 60, 70, 80 mph? I'm no judge. The canopy isn't budging, just hugging the ground. So we leave it lie. The wife doesn't want me out there. We go back to the living room but come back a little later and now the canopy's right outside the back door. That's as far as it got.

The mercy? It was a fast moving storm and seemed over quickly. The damage? To ourselves, not much. Just the canopy and a large plum tree blown over and resting on the orange tree. Took me two days to chop it up with a chain saw and carry it to the curb. Most of my citrus survived. A huge oak tree on the border between our yard and a neighbor's went down. It stayed in his yard. (If your neighbor's oak tree falls on your house, it's your insurance problem, not his.) We were without power for about 48 hours. We slept bathed in sweat. We were lucky, some people still don't have it. Some don't have homes. We never lost water, thank God. We got computer access back today. A week with no TV, no computer. When the TV popped on today, it was to a commercial advertising a machine guaranteed to give you perfect abs, buns and thighs.

The radio was our link to the outside. When the stations tried to return to regular programming a couple days later, I think listeners got pissed. Sean Hannity, Limbaugh, Savage, the whole crowd, got bumped for constant updates on local conditions. People want to know where they can get ice, food, when the electricity's coming back on, where they can go if they've lost their home. The political war ads between Bush and Kerry seemed suddenly trivial.

The piles of tree and house trash will (I'm only guessing) take weeks to clean up.
My neighborhood got hit pretty bad, but on the airport side of town where my parents live it was much worse. After picking Elizabeth up at the airport, we went over to see how they were doing. They lost half the tiles on their roof, a 7,000 dollar repair job. And there was my dad, 80 years old, up on the roof draping a tarp over a leak. If you tell him to stay off the roof, its wasted breath. Hundreds more to cut up and haul away the huge camphor tree that looks to me like it got splintered by a funnel cloud. You've heard the "war zone" cliche. That's what his neighborhood looks like. Every other oak tree uprooted, huge, ancient trees around which two or three men joining hands might span the trunk. It's a miracle how few fell on houses and cars, but a fact of small comfort to those who suffered it. I heard that windgusts were clocked at the airport at 115 mph.

You feel bad when you've got power and someone else doesn't. The old guy next door had to go 3 days longer than I did. He didn't even have a cooler, so I gave him ours and kept him supplied with ice from our freezer so he could drink his Miller High Life cold. He sat in a chair on his front porch as far into the night as he could take it, because his house was a steambox.

My wife loves her air conditioning, but she took its absence well. She's just glad we've got a roof over our heads, our family intact. She worked up a sweat helping me haul the plum tree to the curb, and picking up roof tiles and tree branches from my dad's back yard. She comes through when you need her.
My mother, I think, wanted to know where the birds go during a hurricane. I told her they went to a shelter.


Thank goodness you and yours are okay.
Posted by Peony Moss email at August 21, 2004 09:24 PM

Gee...I wondered where you were?You were surviving.I haven't been reading long enough to know you were in Florida.Thank you for sharing details. I found most interesting how immaterial entertainment and politics are when ya need a glass of cold water.
Blessings,Donna in Wisconsin
Posted by Donna Boucher email at August 22, 2004 08:15 AM

I'm so glad that ya'll are well, and that your damage was pretty minor. We've watched the pictures on the news and wondered if we were actually seeing YOU in the footage. I'm glad it wasn't.
Posted by MamaT email at August 22, 2004 08:44 AM

Awesome picture Mr. Luse! I'm so glad you and your family got through the storm. Hey, they built good houses back in 1925 didn't they!!
Posted by Elena email at August 22, 2004 08:49 AM

woo hoo! sorry to hear about your plum tree - was that the one in the back corner? How did the girls take the storm news?Yeah, radio is what gets you through disasters. some day I will have to figure out how to convert a cassette into a internet sound file and play the first few minutes on air in Los Angeles after the quake. Don't be surprised at how the rest fo the world will tell you all to 'move on' while you are still fighting to clean up.
Posted by alicia email at August 22, 2004 09:59 AM

Thanks,ladies. A rather cursory report, but I'm sick and tired of the Florida weather right now. One daughter was scheduled to come in the night of the 'cane, so we moved her flight to the next morning. After the expected delays, she made it in that afternoon and got to spend a day and a half with no modern conveniences except a cell phone.(The airport, btw, was wall-to-wall with stranded travelers). "Welcome to Orlando" I said. She laughed, but we, her parents, were near tears at the prospect she'd have to spend her break from school with none of the things that make coming home enjoyable - nothing but the company of her parents, which she bravely averred was enough for her. Bernadette was in New York at a golf tournament and calling us every 30 minutes, worried sick. But she played pretty well in spite of it. And yes, they made great houses in the old days.
Posted by William Luse email at August 22, 2004 03:52 PM

A friend indeed is one who would provide access to cold beer. Glad to see you made it through.
Posted by TSO email at August 23, 2004 11:08 AM

So glad to hear that you & yours are all okay, Mr. Luse.
Posted by Sparki email at August 23, 2004 12:50 PM

Thanks Sparki.
Posted by William Luse email at August 23, 2004 03:42 PM

For a cursory report, it's pretty riveting -- especially with that picture to adorn it.
Thank God everyone is alright.
Posted by Paul Cella email at August 24, 2004 03:17 PM

All right, Paul. Twas wondering where you've been.
Posted by William Luse email at August 25, 2004 01:38 AM

Amazing pic!
Glad you're doing well.....will continue to keep you in my prayers.
Posted by Ellyn email at August 25, 2004 07:50 AM

Thanks Ellyn, but save most of your prayers for others. There are people who have lost everything. Hard to imagine.
Posted by William Luse email at August 25, 2004 01:09 PM

See You Soon

Sept 1, 2004

The modest Mr. O'Rama has a book for sale. You can also find the link in his left margin if you try real, real hard. I think he's entertaining enough that you ought to shell out a few bucks to help him pay off his publisher, Jeff Culbreath.

Paul Cella has another article at TCS. Haven't had time to read it yet, but we know he never disappoints.

Quote from Elena: ""As a woman I wonder why so many men think with that small organ between their legs instead of the much more intricate and well developed one between their ears!" If you don't mind, ma'am, I'd like to quibble over your use of "small"...

Christine has a lot of good stuff up over at Laudem Gloriae. So do others of you, but I'm pressed for time.

I'll be gone for a while until we figure out what this hurricane's going to do. If it does what they're predicting, we're in its way again. There are people in this town who still have trees lying on their houses. If it hits at its current strength, it will be worse than Charley. One weather guy on TV superimposed Frances' image over Florida, and it covers the whole state except for the panhandle. And if it comes in at Melbourne, that's a lot closer to us than Punta Gorda. This is freakish. Maybe it's our punishment for re-electing Judge Greer.

Whatever, it's hard to believe it's happening. Somebody out there pray that it weakens, goes away. I'll try, but I'm not sure I'll get through. I always feel like I'm on a party line. A friend tried to find a motel room in North Florida. He finally found one in Montgomery, Alabama. With the angle it's taking, though, it's hard to know which way to run.

Live satellite image.
A tracking map.


Go with God. Praying for your safety.
Posted by :~) Julie email at September 1, 2004 08:44 PM

Take care, Bill. And I'll second the book recommendation!
Posted by Jeff Culbreath email at September 1, 2004 10:24 PM

Can't believe Florida is getting a repeat performance. Your family and Steven Riddle's are in our prayers. Keep us posted.
Wish I'd thought of that response to Elena's post! *grin* She did seem to generalize there didn't she. Hi-larious.
Finally if I were really modest I wouldn't have a book, for sale or otherwise. Isn't "modest blogger" an oxymoron?
Posted by TSO email at September 1, 2004 10:33 PM

You're modest enough for me, TS. It's hard to be totally free of the vain desire for recognition, and no writer save the saint does so. But that's not all there is to it. You want to share your love of life and of God. You want to communicate, and some people like the way you do it. If they buy the book, they know it'll make you feel good. So let them have their pleasure.
Posted by William Luse email at September 2, 2004 03:22 AM

I am going to pray for that hurricane to fade away.God bless you.Donna
Posted by email at September 2, 2004 08:14 AM
yeeks about the hurricane.I have two empty bedrooms if you want to flee to new hampshire! One of the nurses at work last night was agonizing about how she was going to get her daughter (in Venice FL) safely home - all flights are full, Amtrack is full, and her daughter has no car (college student I think). All we can do from here is pray, and that is what we are doing.
Posted by alicia email at September 2, 2004 11:57 AM

Thanks Donna. Better pray hard, Alicia.
Posted by William Luse email at September 2, 2004 02:00 PM

May God be with you and yours--prayers inbound.
I was going to Fort Myers next Wednesday on business.
"Was" being the operative term. Looks like later this month, or October instead.
Posted by Dale Price email at September 2, 2004 05:58 PM

If you stop in Orlando by any chance, stop by to see me. Just email and ask for a phone number.
Maybe the prayers are helping. As of this moment, the storm has diminished by 25 mph. Down to a Cat 3. Could restrengthen, but it won't if you keep praying.
One lady has emailed asking me to leave Florida beause she likes my blog. You've got to love that. And her.
Posted by William Luse email at September 3, 2004 04:04 AM

we love y'all and are praying.
Posted by smockmomma email at September 4, 2004 10:50 AM

Mother Nature’s a Bitch

Sept. 7, 2004

I'm about hurricaned out. Been trapped in my house for two and half days. Cabin fever. Stir crazy. Went to Home Depot this evening just to get out and so I could stare at all the empty shelves where duct tape, batteries, tarps and plywood used to be. A 2 P.M. curfew went into effect Friday afternoon. After that it was 6 P.M. to 6 A.M. Alcohol sales were banned for awhile. I outsmarted them and stocked up ahead of time. We made bags of ice in the freezer and never had to use them because we never lost power. Seems impossible but it's true. Lost cable (and hence the computer) for over 24 hours. Jeff "smash-your-television" Culbreath needs to know I didn't miss the TV. It's no fun watching a hurricane that won't move. It just deepens the aggravation. Don't know what to do with all the ice. Maybe we'll have some people over for mixed drinks. I need to be more sociable anyway.

We were lucky. Or else I'm forced to assume your prayers worked to weaken the storm. Wish I could prove the latter. If it had hit at its one-time full strength of 145mph - I can't even imagine. Charley hit like a fist and moved on. This one just kept hanging around. Official gusts in our area were around 70, but I swear some were stronger, and it went on for almost 3 days. The highest gusts of 125 were reported at Port Canaveral, about parallel to Orlando, and far from the eye.
A few things observed and heard: the top of the tall oak tree bordering my yard and the neighbor's snapped off and fell on his power line. But he's still got power. I never heard it, but it woke Bernadette and sent her into the living room to lie on the couch between me and her mom. Sounds like that make you think something's about to come through the window, and make you want company.

Before the storm hit, I cleaned up the yard, putting away anything that might fly through the air, like the tall ladder with sliding rungs that I use to get on the roof. As I was trying to hang it up in the garage, I cut myself on a smaller ladder blocking my efforts. It hurt. It was a deep cut. I swore and threw the smaller ladder out of the garage. Then I threw the small wooden ladder out too just for spite. If you'd been walking by you'd have seen ladders flying out of the garage and heard swearing before you saw its source. My wife saw it from the kitchen window and came running out. She wanted me to stop because the neighbors across the street gathered in their driveway could hear me. I told her what the neighbors could do with themselves. (They're really nice people. Really.) She said I wasn't thinking clearly. The anxiety was getting to me. I needed a beer, she said. I said I needed several. My house wasn't protected enough. I had lots of duct tape but only one piece of plywood and nothing to cut it with. She watched me from the kitchen window spend an hour trying to cut it with a handsaw. Then she watched me throw it on the ground and beat it with a hatchet. She didn't know whether to laugh or cry. She didn't think any of it was funny at the time, but when she told Bernadette later that night how she saw ladders flying out of the garage, she was laughing so hard she could hardly get the story out.

When Elizabeth flew in right after Charley, we were sitting around the second night without power in the candlelight, sweating, and wondered why hurricanes are given such harmless names: Charley, Frances, Donna, etc., like they were relatives or something. Why don't they give them more appropriate names, signifying their nastiness? "Yeah," said Ebe, "like Hurricane Sh*t."

"Elizabeth!" said her mother.

"She's right," I said. "Can't you hear the weatherman next time? 'Out there in the Atlantic, that's Tropical Storm Sh*t. And let me tell you, folks, we need to keep an eye on it. It's expected to intensify and become a genuine sh*t-storm.' "

I'll spare you our other inventions. These things happen under stress.

One weather guy said this (Frances) would be the largest natural disaster to ever hit America. I'm sceptical. Maybe if you're not counting lives lost. Nine people dead. But the area of damage extends from at least Flagler Beach to West Palm. That's huge. Even the gulf coast got more than expected, but a girl named Amanda is safe. This site has good photo gallery.

Two million people were evacuated from the coast. As of this morning 3 million were without power, a number rapidly diminishing. Pregnant women in shelters were forcibly relocated to hospitals. 57 of 67 Florida counties were affected by the storm to one degree or another. Not as many fallen trees around here this time. Charley did the culling. A lot of boats were lost. Many watching on TV think "Aw, he lost his toy." It's not always like that. A lot of people live on those boats. That's right, they don't own a house. They saved up to buy a boat because it was their dream and it's all they've got. Somewhere on the coast, a 78 year old ex-flight attendant stepped out during the storm to do something she thought necessary and got blown halfway across her lawn. She's okay. Lived to tell about it.

You're average Joe has no idea what 80 mph sustained winds (or even gusts) are like for hour upon hour, beating on your house, eliciting from it noises you've never heard, let alone 100 mph. And to think if it had landed at 145 we were considering riding it out.

Anyway, another one might be coming. I'm expecting some residual prayer effect. Or a renewed effort.

I want to thank all of you, like TS O'Rama and Micki, who sent personal notes wishing us well, and all who left comments.

I told you that after Charley my mother wanted to know where the birds go during a hurricane. She might try asking this fellow:



i am praising heaven that you and your loved ones are safe and will continue to petition for continued safety.
as for mrs. luse's reaction to your shinanigans, i was laughing so hard as i read it that my wee ones came to see if their mom had gone looney! you're too much.
Posted by smockmomma email at September 7, 2004 11:42 AM

Also thanking God for your safety & for the many, many, many who got through it unscathed.
Does this mean that you won't try to stay put if the forecast says the next hurricane is more than 100 mph winds?
Posted by Sparki email at September 7, 2004 01:22 PM

40 mph winds scare the daylights out of Californians. But we don't mind the ground shifting a little. One more hurricane this year and I'll bet 10% of Floridians will move back to NYC.
Posted by Jeff Culbreath email at September 7, 2004 01:27 PM

I don't know, Sparki, I just don't know. Jeff, been feeling the wife out about northern Alabama or Mississippi.
Posted by William Luse email at September 7, 2004 02:45 PM

and how does your lovely wife feel about moving north? I am glad that you survived the storm OK and I love the bird pic.
Posted by alicia email at September 7, 2004 08:33 PM

So far, Alicia, she's only giving me funny looks.
Posted by William Luse email at September 8, 2004 12:22 AM

Happy to know you are safe and well. This kind of commotion is unfathomable to the "Great Lakes States" mindset. I'm afraid I'd spend the next six months just sitting there looking like that bird.....
Posted by Ellyn email at September 8, 2004 08:55 AM

mr. luse, how dare you consider moving anywhere northern? perish the thought!
Posted by smockmomma email at September 8, 2004 11:32 AM

I can well attest that it went north past Flagler and after three days I just got my lights back.
Posted by Jeff Miller email at September 8, 2004 01:29 PM

Ellyn, I felt like that bird for 3 days.Micki, Northern Mississippi is further south than southern Florida.
Posted by William Luse email at September 8, 2004 02:59 PM

Ivan is frightening me already.
The living room carpet is still not dry from Frances.
Posted by Amanda email at September 8, 2004 07:40 PM

You ain't the only one who's nervous.
Posted by William Luse email at September 9, 2004 03:13 AM

We're still praying that ya'll can dry out and that Ivan will break up and go away.
Good grief.
The ladder story sounds very much like what Craig would be doing. Oh, my.
Blessings to you all, and sunny skies!
Posted by MamaT email at September 9, 2004 09:09 AM

it still sounds yankee to me. howabout y'all come on out here to TEXAS? we'd love to have y'all! got some nice BIG ol' golf courses, too.
Posted by smockmomma email at September 9, 2004 09:19 PM

That's an invitation that you might one day be taken up on. Hope you don't regret it.
Posted by William Luse email at September 10, 2004 03:44 AM

And that's a great picture, too. Today I felt just like that bird. Oh, the solidarity!
Posted by Jeff Culbreath email at September 10, 2004 05:18 AM

Lol. Flying ladders?
On the naming of Hurricanes.
Hurricanes used tobe named after the particular saint's day on which they struck. It's probably best they don't do that anymore inasmuch as it seem an awful bad rap for some very good people.
Posted by :~)Julie email at September 10, 2004 07:59 AM

Have you ever wondered about the system used for naming hurricanes? Where did those names come from, anyway? Will we have to suffer through another "Hurricane Andrew"? The system is not that complicated.
Hurricanes used to be designated by a system of latitude-longitude, which was a great way for meteorologists to track them. However, once the public began receiving storm warnings and trying to keep track of a particular storm path, this got very confusing. A system of monikers was much easier to track and remember.
In 1953, the National Weather Service picked up on the habit of Naval meteorologists of naming the storms after women. Ships were always referred to as female, and were often given women's names. The storms' temperament certainly seemed female enough, shifting directions at a whim on a moment's notice. In 1979, male names were inserted to alternate with the female names.
There are actually six lists of names in use for storms in the Atlantic. These lists rotate, one each year; the list of this year's names will not be reused until 2010. The names get recycled each time the list comes up, with one exception: storms so devastating that reusing the name is inappropriate. In this case, the name is taken off the list and another name is used to replace it; there will not be another Hurricane Andrew, because Andrew has been replace by Alex on the list.
A storm must start as a Tropical Depression and move on to become a Tropical Storm before it is given a name. Once a storm is named, preparations for the possible hurricane should be well under way. Without further ado, here is the list of hurricane names for 2004:
Alex Bonnie Charley Danielle Earl Frances GastonHermine Ivan Jeanne Karl Lisa Matthew Nicole Otto Paula Richard Shary Tomas Virginie Walter
Posted by Susanna email at September 16, 2004 01:06 PM


Sept 10,2004

A slideshow of some of the damage left by Ivan in Granada. At least 20 dead. And now it could be heading for us.
The death toll from Frances has been upped to 13.


I can't remember another year like this for hurricanes! Praying once more Mr. Luse that this one misses you completely!
Posted by Elena email at September 10, 2004 07:32 AM

As we say around the orifice (office): "The beatings will continue until morale improves." Here's hoping Ivan will veer away from you guys.
I heard there hasn't been three hurricanes in a single season in something like fifty years?
Posted by TSO email at September 10, 2004 07:47 AM

merciful heavensseems to me that there are some specific psalms to pray about asking God to shelter us from storms and winds. it has been a rough year all the way around, hasn't it?
Posted by alicia email at September 10, 2004 10:41 AM

a righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all. psalm 34:19
Posted by smockmomma email at September 10, 2004 11:12 AM

Hope the Lord delivers plywood to Home Depot when I'm there.
Posted by William Luse email at September 10, 2004 03:40 PM

From-> Prep. Used to indicate a specified time or place as a starting point.
For-> Prep. Used to indicate the object, aim, or purpose of an activity.
Let's hope the Lord delivers you from Ivan and not for Ivan, even if it involves pulpitated lumber. :-P
Praying and praying and hoping the best for you and yours.
Posted by :~)Julie email at September 10, 2004 05:08 PM

Ivan is Coming

Sept 15, 2004

and apparently will miss central Florida, but slam into the panhandle instead. Pray for all, but especially for Susan of Lilac Rose, a sweet kid, who seems now to be in the path. Right now it's a cat 4, with 140 mph sustained winds. That means gusts to 180 or more. A monster. Jesus said that mountains can be moved, so take a shot at making a hurricane fizzle.

From the Sun-Sentinel: Hurricane Ivan made history when it roared out of the distant Atlantic as the strongest storm ever recorded so close to the Equator. In the 11 days since, it has roared over more than 3,000 miles of water from ocean to Gulf, affected at least nine Caribbean nations and taken almost 70 lives...

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin urged the 1.5 million residents of his vulnerable city, which is below sea level, to "seek higher ground." Evacuees jammed highways as they drove north and east to avoid the oncoming hurricane.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said, "I beg people on the coast: Do not ride out this storm."

By this afternoon on the northern Gulf Coast, residents should begin to experience Ivan's heavy rains and tropical storm force winds, which extend out 260 miles from the storm's center. Hurricane force winds reach 105 miles from the center...
Florida emergency management officials compared Ivan's potential devastation to that of Hurricane Opal, a Category 3 storm that roared ashore near Pensacola with 125-mph winds in October 1995. That storm's worst damage was caused by high water and pounding, 20-foot waves that left homes crumpled and washed out over a 120-mile stretch of coastline.

"It'll be stronger than Opal and very large," Rappaport said of Ivan.
Ivan has already visited that kind of destruction upon Grenada, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cuba, whose westernmost Pinar del Rio province was lashed Monday with 160-mph winds.

The storm tore roofs off buildings, ripped up trees by their roots, downed power lines and sent seawater flooding over tobacco fields in the heart of Cuba's cigar industry. There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries. About 1.3 million of the region's residents had evacuated.

"I'm told that even some concrete homes just entirely disappeared," [Maritza Sanchez] said. " ..... The sea came in and flooded entire towns."

While Ivan spared Cuba the brunt of its fury, the Cayman Islands to the south fared much worse.

"The island looks like a war zone," said Diane Uzzell, a businesswoman on low-lying Grand Cayman, which at one point appeared completely under water. Trees were stripped of foliage, homes demolished, resort hotels torn apart and pleasure yachts tossed ashore. About half of Grand Cayman's 15,000 homes were uninhabitable...

I saw a story on TV about a woman on one of the islands, Jamaica or Grand Cayman, I think, whose two year old child was taken from her arms by the water and swept away. I suppose the people down there were praying too. It's hard to see the sense of it all sometimes. In fact, I don't see any.


Jeanne now...a bit behind you are.
Posted by TSO email at September 16, 2004 04:01 PM

I always am.
Posted by William Luse email at September 17, 2004 02:25 AM
Update Excerpts

Sept 17, 2004

from Lilac Rose, as of Wednesday the 15th:
6:20 P.M.: The power went off briefly a few minutes ago and I heard a transformer make that noise...

(7:15pm): Very heavy rain and winds. It's dark outside now, but in the last light I could see the trees waving, bending and twisting. On TV, they are showing the hurricane from space (the pictures are from the space station). I can't believe the eye on this thing.

Update (7:35pm): It sounds like my house is inside of a dishwasher.

Update (9:50pm): Power is out. Will shut down to conserve UPS for cable modem. I'll try to check in later.

I have no idea what UPS stands for. She says she has an iBook that will allow her to check in. Just wish she'd do it.


UPS: Uninterruptable Power Supply
Posted by Bubbles email at September 17, 2004 08:32 AM

They interviewed someone on the radio who rode out Ivan in Mobile. She said it was "louder than Nascar". I've never been to a Nascar race, but I'm guessing that is pretty damn loud.
Posted by TSO email at September 17, 2004 09:16 AM

Thanks, Doug. Now - what's an uninterruptable power supply? Except for the sun, I can't think of any.
TSO - I have been to a NASCAR race, the 1964 Daytona 500, won by Richard Petty in a (I think) Plymouth Fury. Fireball Roberts was eliminated when he crashed into a wall. He died a few years later in a...ball of fire. Anyway, it was one godawful loud afternoon.
Posted by William Luse email at September 17, 2004 08:06 PM

UPS is a battery for a computer, so that if the power fails you can shut it down safely.We went through this kind of anxiety when you were offline from Charley. Hope she is ok, too.
Posted by alicia email at September 17, 2004 10:06 PM

Last time I tried, I couldn't even get her webpage to load in my browser.
Posted by William Luse email at September 17, 2004 10:10 PM

Hi Bill,
I'm okay...I wasn't able to check in because my cable went out. I just got power and cable back this evening.
Posted by susan b. email at September 22, 2004 07:26 PM

Weather Madness

Sept. 22, 2004

I feel at times that I'm living in a universe of the absurd. It's been raining here off and on over the last couple of days, in the company of gusty winds. You know why? Long-gone hurricane Ivan has taken the remnants of its sorry self and headed back our way, crossing the peninsula once more and straggling into the Gulf. The weather guys assure us it will not reconstitute. At the last count I saw, it had killed 38 people in the U.S. and a whole bunch more in the Caribbean. And many more than that have simply lost everything they own. Odd how it's sort of faded from the news. Here's a photo gallery that gives only a partial idea of what it did to the Gulf Coast.
And I am truly worried about Susan of Lilac Rose, who has not checked in over the last week.

But maybe we in Florida seem like whiners when you consider what Tropical Storm Jeanne has done to Haiti:

Tens of thousands are homeless.

Floodwaters generated by Tropical Storm Jeanne are tainted with blood and carrying dead animals.

Most of the victims are from the town of Gonaives. Workers have been busy preparing mass graves, with bodies rotting in 90-degree heat.

Over 700 dead and over a 1,000 homeless?

We tend not to worry much about tropical storms, forgetting that they can carry up to 74 mph sustained winds and dump feet of rain if they hang around long enough. Unable to make up her mind which way to go, Jeanne now wanders drunkenly in the Atlantic. She may yet return.

A death is a death whether here or in Haiti, but the numbers down there are genuinely ghastly. I have a huge amount of work to do to get this house ready for the next Charley or Frances, but I don't think I'll complain anymore.
And I wish Susan would touch base.


The sheer power of a hurricane is unimaginable to me but someone living here in Columbus said that in the rain produced by Ivan they smelled the salt of the sea. The notion of the ocean coming to Ohio is an odd one but speaks to the storm's power.
Posted by TSO email at September 22, 2004 05:23 AM

And Jeanne ought sober up. A dash of cold water & some coffee for a start.
Posted by TSO email at September 22, 2004 08:59 AM

Ivan hit us hard in Steubenville, Ohio. There's tons of flooding, which of course, hit a mobile home park. We live on a hill, but still had a leaky basement. I'm trying not to complain about a leaking basement when some had the Ohio River dancing through their living rooms. I,too, hope that Lilac Rose checks in. I was watching her blog as Ivan approached. Hope she's well.
Posted by Susan email at September 22, 2004 10:08 AM

Pray for her, Susan. (This could get awkward; you're both named Susan.) Now a week since the storm passed, many people are still not being allowed back into their homes, especially near the water, while looters roam.
Posted by William Luse email at September 22, 2004 02:33 PM

prayers. many prayers.
Posted by smockmomma email at September 22, 2004 05:24 PM

Hopefully Susan hasn't checked in because the lines are down and nothing more. A friend of mine who works for the power company here in Ohio left for two to three weeks to help out in the south in restoring electricity . Adding my prayers for Susan too.
Posted by Elena email at September 22, 2004 08:17 PM

Lilac Rose...

Sept. 22,2004

is back, safe and sound, and tells a little bit about it. More later, I presume.

Weather Madness (cont.)

Sept 24,2004

The death toll in Haiti is now over a thousand with more than that still missing.
Ivan, contrary to the weather guys, did reconstitute to a tropical storm with 60 mph winds and is now pissing itself out over Louisiana and Texas. Jeanne, the drunken lady of the Atlantic, is now forecast to head our way, and is at this moment doing so. If you don't hear from me over the next few days, it's because I'm getting prepared. Plus I have a cowpile of papers to grade. And if the storm comes close, power could go. My daughter is scheduled to fly in the day Jeanne is supposed to drop by. My mood turns fouler with every change in the weather. Meanwhile, here's the new postcard we folks in Florida will be sending to our out-of-state friends that we'd like to have visit:



Ivan must be the Freddy Krueger of storms.
Posted by TSO email at September 24, 2004 09:08 AM

I'll be praying for the safety of you and your family. Stay safe and take care of yourselves!
Posted by susan b. email at September 25, 2004 10:05 PM


Sept. 27, 2004

...another day, another hurricane. Four of the major kind have hit Florida within the span of six weeks. I've noticed I don't sleep well when one's around. I'm exhausted. Housebound for two and a half days. But I really can't complain. I've got power while some of my neighbors don't. And I'm alive, which is more than a whole bunch of Haitians can say. I wonder if they'd finished their mission in life.


i'm glad you made it through this one too
Posted by alicia email at September 27, 2004 09:35 AM

I'm happy to see you made it through Hurricane Jeanne okay! :-)
Posted by susan b. email at September 27, 2004 10:46 AM

Jeanne scooted around the Ohio Valley, thank God. Hang in there Florida!
Posted by Susan Fischer email at September 28, 2004 12:50 PM

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