Monday, August 18, 2008

Sanibel in the crosshairs

One of the joys of living in Florida is logging on, daily, to the National Hurricane Center’s website during summer and early fall. It comes as second nature. We follow tropical weather like others listen to traffic reports. Most of the tropical storms and hurricanes meander around the Atlantic or the Caribbean. When landfall is predicted it is usually in some remote area of Mexico. But not this one.

Last Friday a disturbance that had formed in the mid-Atlantic was declared a tropical storm, named Fay. At that point the NHC publishes a predicted path. And I was in the crosshairs. Not to worry, the track always changes. Well it hasn’t. Over three days the track has moved westward about 20 miles, but now it’s back. Even the different computer models are in close agreement. Seven of the 15 model tracks, including the NHC’s, go right over my house. Land fall is predicted on Sanibel around 9am Tuesday.

The track is almost a duplicate of Charley (2004), a Cat. 4 monster. This one is predicted to be a weak 1. We’ve already pulled in the outdoor furniture and locked all the windows. We have hurricane glass so storm shutters aren’t needed. The sweaty and time consuming job (20 minutes) is installing the reinforcing bars on the garage door (rated for 135 mph) which we’ll do late tonight. Then we’ll decide whether to evacuate or not. We have accommodations available just off the island if we need it.

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