Archive for the ‘hurricane’ Category

My thoughts are with Puerto Rico.

September 21, 2017

I visited Puerto Rico during our honeymoon in 2007 and was enchanted by the island’s blend of history and natural beauty. My thoughts are with its people after the savagery of Hurricane Maria.


Surviving Hurricane Jeanne.

September 14, 2017

As a longtime resident of South Florida, I’ve been through many hurricanes starting with David in 1979, but none were scarier than Jeanne in 2004. Of course, that was the year when Florida was hit with not one, not two, but three hurricanes. Charley hit the west coast of Florida while Frances and Jeanne struck the east coast near where I live.

When Frances struck, I joined my parents in evacuating to a neighbor’s mother’s condominium in Boca Raton. There we rode out the storm while enduring a blackout and lullabies of howling winds. While we were sitting there in the dark, we heard something heavy fall outside. Spending the night was miserable as there was no air conditioning or working lights. The mess we saw outside the next morning was unbelievable with branches, leaves and a large tree that got knocked down.

But Hurricane Jeanne was the scariest storm I’ve been through. My parents and I stayed at a friend’s house not far from where they live. Not long after the storm arrived, the power went out. I was lying on the couch in the warm, dark living room while listening to continuous coverage of the storm on my radio. At the same time I could look out the unboarded window and see trees bowing and branches making frantic gestures in the roaring wind. I also saw flashing blue lights that I thought was lightning but turned out to be explosions from the power transformer. That remains the scariest sight I have ever seen in any hurricane I’ve been through.

Enough was enough indeed.

The calm before the storm.

September 7, 2017

It’s that time again.

As I write this, Hurricane Irma is churning towards Florida, prompting the usual frenzy of preparations that’s been repeated many times before. The last time we went through this was last year for Hurricane Matthew, and now it’s time to do this all over again. Sure, it may be calm now but things are going to get nasty in just a few days.

First, I need to stock up on emergency supplies. As expected, the water aisle is completely empty.

That means I have to wait in line for the water like everyone else. Can’t you just feel that frustration building?

Oh yeah, I gotta fill up with gas too. Problem is, there’s a long line there too.

No worries, though. I’ll just get up extra early and go fill up at 4 a.m. where there’s no waiting.

After the shopping’s done, it’s time to start putting up those storm shutters.

All this for a storm that doesn’t care how prepared you are. Once it passes, who knows what horrors and extra work await.

The morning after.

October 7, 2016


Hurricane Matthew was less fearsome than I thought as it passed through West Palm Beach last night. Despite the strong winds and heavy rain, my power and Internet stayed on the whole time. Meanwhile, forecasters are expecting Matthew to visit Florida a second time, so it’s not over yet.

Village Boulevard at 6 A.M.

October 7, 2016


2-second timed exposure of the main street near my residence. Not a single car on the road.

Hurricane Matthew in West Palm Beach.

October 7, 2016


Taken near my house on October 7, 2016 at 4:34 a.m. I left the shutter open for 10 seconds to capture the movement of the wind-ravaged trees.

Thoughts on Hurricane Matthew.

October 6, 2016

This past week has been one of the most nerve wracking weeks in recent memory. As I prepare this post, Hurricane Matthew is inching up the Florida coast for a perilously close flyby of the West Palm Beach area where I live.

Much of the week has been spent watching the storm’s track and finalizing preparations in anticipation of its arrival. I sense the storm has cast such a huge shadow over our lives that nothing else matters at the moment, not even the election.

I work at a large home improvement store, which has given me a front seat view of the frenzied preparations in progress. Customers have been swarming in and raiding the aisles containing their treasured supplies. Not surprisingly, one of the top selling items is plywood. When the store ran out of plywood, there was literally a long line of customers in the lumber aisle waiting for the next shipment to arrive. Cases of water, batteries, flashlights and generators have also been flying off the shelves. Barbeque grills and propane tank exchanges have been hot commodities as well.

As the week wore on and the preparations continued, my store soon ran out of the supplies that were in huge demand. Customers looking for flashlights were greeted by the sight of empty shelves. Soon the shelves on the lumber aisle became bare as the demand for wood exceeded the supply.

And then comes getting ready for the storm myself. I too have had to shop for hurricane supplies and hope the store even had the needed supplies in stock. Often I wasn’t lucky. When I went to the bottled water aisle, I found it completely empty except for signs assuring more water was on the way. Wrapping up the stressful shopping were the long waits in line at the checkout.

I think the most stressful part of preparing for a hurricane is getting gas for the car. Every gas station in my area had extremely long lines of cars waiting to fill up. I became so desperate that I set my alarm for 3:30 in the morning and go fill up first thing after getting up. My scheme worked. There weren’t many cars at the gas station at that time of morning so I had no problems filling up. I was also at the store at 5:30 that morning and easily got hold of the bottled water I needed. The early bird gets the worm indeed.

And now here I am, home and waiting for the storm to pass. I did go into work this morning and assisted customers in loading their cars, staying mainly in the lumber area to help load plywood and bags of sand. Later in the day as weather conditions deteriorated, the store closed early and still the customers kept coming, only to be turned away by the hand written “CLOSED” sign.

I have my own house secured and ready for the storm. There’s nothing more to do now except keep track of the storm and stay in touch with loved ones. Oh yeah, and take pictures too. I’ll post the best one here. Meanwhile, I better post this while I still have electricity and Internet.

Hurricane Matthew is currently skimming along the southeast corner of Florida and will head out to sea before turning around and possibly hitting Florida a second time.

Isn’t life in paradise wonderful?

Greetings from the Plywood State.

August 28, 2008

Hurricane season is really starting to pick up. So far we’ve been soaked by Fay, spared by Gustav and could soon take another hit from Hanna.
As nasty as Fay was, I think it was more of a blessing. It brought enough rain to effectively end the water shortage brought on by the recent drought. Lake Okeechobee, which saw its water level sink dangerously low during the drought, is now at 14.02 feet. It’s cool to read that people are enjoying using the lake again.
I hope Fay is the worst storm we’re going to get this year, but the season’s not over yet. We can only wonder if we’ll get a storm capable of topping Fay’s nastiness.
Ain’t living in paradise great?

Tropical Storm Fay.

August 20, 2008

Yesterday Florida got a visit from Tropical Storm Fay, which dumped a lot of rain, and I mean a LOT of rain in our area. Oh yeah, it was quite windy too.
Here are some pictures I took of the storm. This first one turned out pretty interesting because the flash illuminated the falling raindrops.

I actually thought I had to work yesterday. I had not heard from my boss indicating I should stay home from work, so I started my normal daily commute, taking a few more pictures along the way.

I was more than halfway through my commute in some blinding rain when my boss finally called me on my cell phone. He told me to turn around and go home as the weather had completely deteriorated with heavy rainfall, strong winds and power outages. So I got off the interstate and headed home.
As the day progressed, I went outside from time to time to take some more pictures. This one is of the lake near my house, its waters choppy from the heavy winds.

Just after I took that picture, it started pouring again and I had to run inside. It was pretty much like that the rest of the day. There would be periods when there was no rain but then suddenly the rain would start up again. Here’s a view of the neighborhood as seen from my front patio.

This last picture shows even more rainfall from the storm.

As I write this, Fay is preparing to re-enter Florida for the third time and could strengthen into an actual hurricane as it prepares to make landfall in northern Florida.

Hurricane season.

June 1, 2008

Today marks the first day of hurricane season. Time to stock up on plywood, canned goods and ammunition as we anticipate the arrival of some very nasty visitors from the ocean. I’m hoping for another quiet season, but I wouldn’t mind a weak tropical storm with lots and lots of rain. Who knows what will happen this year. Ain’t living in paradise great?