General Question

Muad_Dib's avatar

Would you like to read live updates of Hurricane Irma as it passes through the Tampa Bay area?

Asked by Muad_Dib (2069points) 1 week ago

Hi there, Muad Dib/Uasal/Seek here. We’re evacuating from our manufactured home near the Pasco/Hillsborough county line, to Valrico to stay with friends.

We’ll be going from an elevation of 69’ above sea level to 59’ above sea level – so storm surge will not be a factor for us either way. My home is in wetlands so it’s almost certain that there will be flooding issues on the way home. The place I’m staying is much drier, solid construction, new roof (like, finished on Tuesday…) and we’ll be with my besties and their kids.

I’m confident we’re going to come through it safe, and that our worst case scenario is we get FEMA to put us up in a hotel for a few weeks if my rented home gets knocked over, and then I get to move into a better house.

also my books and records will get wet. But that’s (mostly) just details.

Anyway, happy to live-post any interesting events as they happen, with photo/video as long as I’m able. I’ve bought a bit of extra data for my phone in case we lose power, and we have enough battery backups to last a while.

Bring it, Irma.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

90 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Thanks for letting us know you’re all okay. Please keep us posted.

canidmajor's avatar

Please and thank you. I have loved ones in Clearwater who couldn’t evacuate (for, actually, not-stupid reasons). Are the hospitals there pretty well-equppied to ride it out?

Muad_Dib's avatar

I’m most worried about my father-in-law – he’s hunkered down on the southwest coast – at about 13–14 feet elevation. There’s going to be an estimated 8–12 foot storm surge… but apparently his idiot wife knows better than we do.

Muad_Dib's avatar

@canidmajor – I know Northbay hospital is closed and evacuated. I’ll check on the others for you.

jca's avatar

A friend just posted on FB, upset that her son who goes to college in FL is not evacuating. She posted that FEMA will pay for hotels. I looked at their site and it’s not quite so simple like “they’re just paying for hotels.” The people have to pre-register and live in certain area to qualify.

Another friend’s daughter didn’t want to leave but last she told me, the daughter and her bf are in a hotel in Palm Springs for at least the weekend.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Morton Plant Clearwater and Mease Dunedin are open (and taking NorthBay patients)

canidmajor's avatar

Thank you so much, @Muad_Dib! My nephew is a first responder so he can’t leave and his wife is in month 9 of a high-risk pregnancy and was told that the stress of evacuating might seriously endanger her and the baby.
Thanks again, I am encouraged to know this.
Good luck to you and yours during this.

jca's avatar

Good luck to you, @Muad_Dib and JLeslie and everyone else who lives in Florida.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Thanks.

Bestie is coming over to help with a load of stuff – my station wagon is the perfect size for a weekend camping trip, but once you add in dog crates and cat carriers and irreplaceable music equipment I run out of room. She’s going to take the kid and the pets to get us started. I’ll check in again in a bit.

jca's avatar

I hate to say it but it almost sounds like fun.

Muad_Dib's avatar

There is a certain excitement to it. I’m weirdly looking forward to candlelight singalongs to hubby’s guitar after the power goes out.

jca's avatar

When my friend told me about her daughter at the hotel, I was thinking there’s probably a eal atmosphere of sharing there, like everyone is in this together, “we have cheese and crackers if you want some,” “do you have any shampoo I can use” etc.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Charge your phone before the power goes out.

jca's avatar

Situations like this, it would be very helpful to have a solar charger. They sell them on Amazon fo about 22 bucks. I bought my sister one for hiking. I see people on Disney World FB pages talking about using them in the parks. They hang on your backpack.

imrainmaker's avatar

Stay dry and stay safe. Don’t rush to return to your home until everything is back to normal.

Muad_Dib's avatar

I have two battery packs that give my phone a full charge, and a multifunction jump starter for my car that has a USB port and an air compressor. The neighborhood we’re going to has underground power lines, so that should help the power hold out a bit longer. My friends also have a generator so we can keep the beer fridge cold because priorities.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Solar charger is on my wants list for camping but won’t help much until after the storm has passed anyway

chyna's avatar

^good point

zenvelo's avatar

Sending you my best wishes and thoughts, keep us posted!

elbanditoroso's avatar

I’d be interested in photos of water levels, if it’s safe to be outside to take the pics.

Coloma's avatar

Best wishes and so glad you are able to take your pets. Poor animals, they are just SOL if their owners don’t care enough/ for some reason cannot, take them along. I hope all is well with your home too.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@canidmajor Clearwater is on a peninsula surrounded on the west by the Gulf of Mexico, on south by the entrance to Tampa Bay and on the east by Tampa bay. There are two bridges and one causeway designated as escape routes and all are closed, incrementally, by the time winds reach 60mph when a storm surge is expected, as in the case of Irma. The only other escape is to the north via US Hwy 19, which crosses low wetlands and is expected to be underwater about the time the bridges close.

Thus, the disaster plan in Pinellas County, Florida is for internal evacuation. Friends and family are expected to stay with their friends and family on high ground. High school gymnasiums and other appropriately large, secure spaces on the highest ground are converted to emergency shelters, 34 in all, staffed with nurses trained in disaster relief.

There are 8 fully equipped hospitals spaced almost equidistant from each other from north to south down the length of the county, from Tarpon Springs to south St. Petersburg, two of which are regional trauma centers.

At this time, Irma is expected to hit Pinellas directly from the south as a Cat 3 storm, with her eye passing just east of Clearwater. Pinellas County emergency plan management traditionally train for Cat 5 storms coming into Tampa Bay from the SW, the worst scenario. The disaster training of large crews of local police departments, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department, local fire departments, nurses, doctors, Coast Guard and National Guard with two C-130s to fly in emergency supplies in case of protracted isolation, all train together twice per year.

“Here is the current list of Pinellas County emergency shelters”:http://www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/shelters.htm

Notice that many are closed at the moment, 24 hours before the storm is expected to arrive. They open four or five in the beginning, and open more as they fill up. Five to ten more are being staffed and supplied at this moment, depending on the numbers of people who show up. As the others fill, these will open and as more will be staffed and supplied and then wait for the order to open.

If your friends and family choose to use one of these shelters, the above list may come in handy if Pinellas is hit so hard that it becomes isolated for a protracted period of time.

canidmajor's avatar

Thank you, @Espiritus_Corvus. I know they will do the best for themselves, and know all the stuff, as, like I said, he’s a first responder and his mother spent more than half of her nursing career being an OB nurse, but it calms my worries a bit to know that they all prep for Cat 5.

If you’re still on Saint Lucia, I imagine you guys got some backlash, I hope everyone there came through it OK. Floating debris can wreak some nasty havoc on your hull!

Muad_Dib's avatar

Update: skies are beautiful, and the line at the liquor store is long enough you’d think we were on our way to Spring Break rather than preparing for the Irmapolypse.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

LOL. Cassie I don’t know why I deserve this much luck, but I dodged the bullet twice this week—unbelievably large and destructive bullets. I sit here now on my porch, watching a vertical tropical rain come down in dead calm winds, as only 4° north of me, Jose, a Cat 4, is ravaging the Leewards for the second time this week. I sit here thinking of those people on those islands and of those loved ones back home in Florida, and I am counting my blessings.

Near Miss 1a:

https://www.fluther.com/192079/fluther-roll-call/#quip3408614

Near Miss 1b:

https://www.fluther.com/203346/how-many-of-you-are-living-in-or-near-a-natural/#quip3408549

Near Miss 2:

https://i.imgur.com/N0f4u5p.jpg

My local weather forecast calls for rainy days throughout the next week with winds between 0 and 10mph, the calmest we’ve had all summer.

The only inconvenience has been that my delivery of a beautiful, 1968 Pearson 64-foot ketch to Montserrat, 225mi north, has been delayed until Monday earliest—if they still have a dock on that island to tie up to. They were hit very hard. It is a hard-luck island, a British possession of which the southern two thirds were blown to smithereens in a volcano eruption ten years ago or so and they’ve never recovered economically.

But, because of the recent, violent barometer fluctuations, I am now the proud master of three new lambs. I’m bottle feeding the cute little darlings because their ewes wouldn’t give milk while under threat of a storm. I’ll start the bonding process tomorrow morning.

So, all is well again in paradise and I, once again, am the luckiest sonuvabitch alive.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Head count inside the liquor store: 46 people.

canidmajor's avatar

Your are, indeed, being charmed, @Espiritus_Corvus!
I wish the rest of the season to pass you by!
A little nostalgia, I started a yacht detailing business on a Pearson 38 ketch almost 40 years ago. Thanks for the reminiscence on this worry filled day!

@Muad_Dib: When prepping for hurricanes, I always have liquor near the top of the list! I expect reports of singing out the storm to follow… :-)

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus When I was a kid we lived in St. Pete for a period. We lived in Clearwater too. I was about 7 when we moved to Kansas, but I’ll never forget the phrase my Dad used to describe where we live, “Just across the causeway from Tampa.” I didn’t know what a causeway was or what Tampa was, although I learned.
We had a cute little hurricane. We lived right on Tampa bay so we evacuated. It was a great adventure! I remember my folks stacking the furniture. Then I remember the drive back and all the trees were down. I don’t remember the storm.

Muad_Dib's avatar

@Dutchess_III – what year? If it was 1960, it might have been Donna

chyna's avatar

In the blizzard of ‘78 in my state the liquor store was the only store open and we walked 2.5 miles to get liquor. Yes, priorities.

Coloma's avatar

Looks like the latest says it’s heading for Tampa now not Miami. I don’t think they know what the hell is really going on. No real predictability it seems, just a wait and see approach.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Yeah, I lived in Clearwater from ‘64 to ‘69, then all over Pinellas from 73 to ‘80, then off-and on from ‘92 to 2012. I saw a lot of hurricanes come through there, but never a direct hit. One, Celia I think, a Cat 3, sat right off the coast for three bloody days and beat the living shit out of us, then sauntered off to Pensacola and beat the hell out of them.

The Bay has had only 2 direct hits: one in which historians and meteorologists think was comparable to a Cat 4 from the west in 1848—which was responsible for dividing the original three, long, offshore islands into 9 separate islands from Mullet Key to Anclote Key, and another in 1921, barely a Cat 1, from the SW with only 74 mph winds. Its eye came in over Egmont Key, and exited toward the NW at Tarpon Springs. It brought with it a storm surge that wiped out all the bayshore infrastructure from Passagrille to Oldsmar.

Passagrille got a 7 foot storm surge that wiped the island nearly clean. As the dome of water was pushed up into the bay, which is fed by over 100 tributaries and 3 major rivers, Gulfport was totally inundated under 11 feet of water, Safety Harbor 16, and Oldsmar at the top of the Bay was completely erased by a wall of water 22 feet high that joined Lake Tarpon with Old Tampa Bay and flowed like a river overland back to the Gulf through Tarpon Springs.

74 mph winds from the SW in 1921 did all that.

@canidmajor Sorry for addressing wrong. You have one of the best names here—one that reflects your sailing background. I have no idea how I could get it confused with any other.

canidmajor's avatar

No worries, @Espiritus_Corvus, it tends to confuse people. I’m used to that. Woof.

johnpowell's avatar

I was so close to doing this yesterday.

But thank you for evacuating. I was worried.

Brian1946's avatar

For those of you who don’t know that 1º of latitude=69.17 miles, @Espiritus_Corvus is about 277 miles south of Jose.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It might have been 60. It was between 60 and 66 @Muad_Dib.

Muad_Dib's avatar

We’re safe at our friend’s house. The kids just got out of the pool, we’re writing up d&d characters in case the power goes out and the video games stop

It’s 5 til 6pm on Saturday, some light gusts are just starting and we now have a bit of cloud cover. No rain to speak of yet.

canidmajor's avatar

Thanks for keeping us updated, @Muad_Dib, I appreciate it.

johnpowell's avatar

Did you remember to grab the Green Machine?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Glad you got the hell out. I figured you were seek. Thanks for chiming in.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Most of it’s going to hit on Sunday and Monday, right?

Muad_Dib's avatar

Should be super heavy at about 3am here. I’ll be about 5 sheets to the wind by then.

We’re still in the pool. Haha.

johnpowell's avatar

Thanks for not being stupid. I was really worried you would try to ride this one out.

You are my fifth favorite person on Fluther so I will not be pleased if something happens to you or the kid or the pets. No real opinion on your husband except he has good taste in life-partners.

At least the lining is your husband should have steady work for the next year.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I heard Irma is stealingz all the waters. Get out of the pool!

JLeslie's avatar

At around 6:00pm today, Saturday, I went to visit a friend and her family (new grandbaby present, 6 weeks old) and now I’m finishing laundry and watching DVR.

Trying my best not to eat all the junk of I bought in case the power goes out.

The skies were partly overcast today. A very little bit of drizzling rain, but overall nothing to talk about.

@canidmajor Your nephew’s wife should be riding the storm out at the hospital. If he’s a first responder he must know that. Unless he’s ok with delivering the baby himself? Maybe he is sine he is trained, but if she is high risk I wouldn’t think they would take the risk.

canidmajor's avatar

@JLeslie I appreciate your concern, but I’m sure they know exactly where she should be and when, remember my sister is an OB nurse as well. Hospitals are not immune from damage, hence my concern.

JLeslie's avatar

@canidmajor Well, typically they recommend women in their 9th month ride out the storm in the hospital. Once winds are sustained at 40mph emergency responders are not allowed to rescue. They will be on their own. Not that people can’t try to go out in the storm themselves, but that’s usually not a good idea. There is a belief that the low barometric pressure helps to induce labor, I don’t know if it’s ever been proven statistically. Hospitals have back up generators and newer ones are built to better codes. There is a hospital almost right on the gulf in Clearwater, but another in the Countryside area of Clearwater that probably is less likely to flood, and I assume it’s newer.

I’m not trying to lecture. People can do what they want and I never judge during these things. I know plenty of people who don’t evacuate even thought they are in mandatory evacuation zones. Many people who go against suggested evacuations or don’t ride it out in a hospital when it’s recommended. I know what it’s like. Evacuating sucks.

canidmajor's avatar

@JLeslie I’m not sure where you got the impression that my family members wouldn’t do everything that was appropriate for this situation, I’m guessing that they know better than you and I what is the best course of action here. I was expressing my own concern, because I am far away and helpless, not any doubts that they know what to do.

JLeslie's avatar

I turned on the TV this morning at 7:00am EDT and the eye wall was hitting Key West and the lower Keys.

Just overcast where I am, and a very very slight breeze.

@canidmajor I’m expressing my own opinion based on typical recommendations during hurricanes. I don’t know why you are taking so much offense. Sorry to have upset you.

If you are interested, here are some links below. I’m not pulling it out of my ass. Women in their last month of pregnancy all over Florida are spending the day/night in hospitals, especially high risk pregnancies. Plenty aren’t though. Again everyone makes their own choice. Zone A and B in Clearwater are under evacuation orders, but they very well might not be in zone A or B, but that’s aside from the pregnancy issue. I can tell you the house I owned in Tarpon Springs (a few towns up from Clearwater) is in evacuation zone B, and I’m pretty sure I would not have evacuated if I still lived there.

Article

Another

One more

Muad_Dib's avatar

Light rain this morning. Kids are out of Lucky Charms but are surviving on oatmeal.

My job has called, emailed, and texted so many times I’m seriously considering telling them they’re putting us in additional danger by running down my cell phone battery.

Like, get over it, people, the storm isn’t even here yet

JLeslie's avatar

Correction: I just checked the map again and my old house was not in zone B, but close to it. I likely would have stayed as I said.

@Muad_Dib I’m planning on going outside to finally transfer some plants to larger pots and plant my clementine seeds in the smaller ones. Then I’ll be trying to get ahead in my work in case I lose power. The wait for the storm always seems like forever.

My dad has called, emailed, and texted me probably over 50 times trying to get me to evacuate. I’ve been through many hurricanes, but this time he is out of control. I blame the media coverage. I’m grateful for media coverage and all the information we get from NOAA, but the national news doesn’t really explain the storm and evacuations in a way that is accurate to the public at large.

canidmajor's avatar

@JLeslie Fine. Whatever. I hope others find those links useful, I’m not questioning your statements on the subject, I never said she wouldn’t be in hospital, I don’t know why you are on so about this.

Dutchess_III's avatar

So is the worst past @Muad_Dib? I thought it was to get bad at 3 a.m.

Coloma's avatar

Hoping all is well for your Floridian Flutherers, keep us posted as you are able.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III No. @Muad_Dib and I barely have started with the storm. Just some rain bands coming through the last few hours, barely any wind. It’s traveling up towards us if it stays on its projected path.

Muad_Dib's avatar

It slowed down, so we’ve been delayed a day or so.

Our cell towers are out, so no promising I can update after our power goes.

The water has been sucked out of Tampa Bay. That should come back with a vengeance with the storm surge later

Dutchess_III's avatar

I heard it should come back in slowly. What a sight to see!

JLeslie's avatar

I’m so annoyed it slowed down. I jinxed it. I commented right before it slowed way down that I was glad it was moving quickly.

Muad_Dib's avatar

It’s 4:31pm and starting to get gusty. I’d say in the 30s.

Muad_Dib's avatar

More relevant to flooding is the grading of neighborhoods for drainage, the drainage infrastructure, and the fact that most of the inland state is naturally swampland.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Downgraded to Cat 2.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Over two million without power. I saw a shot on the news where they had trucks waiting from several different states to start work on the power as soon as it is safe to move out. It is an impressive showing.
A representative for a major power supply company stated that there would be a full remake of much of the electrical supply, meaning weeks before power gets restored to many.

I saw a blurb somewhere earlier that homes were submerged somewhere, but I didn’t catch where.
Ew, just saw high rise in Miami with bunches of windows blasted ot by the wind.
People were seen walking the beach during the eye. So dangerous.

JLeslie's avatar

@Muad_Dib I actually added sand (took it from construction behind me) in front of my house, because I removed my old mulch three weeks ago to find the earth below sloped towards my house! I’m so flipping annoyed that this happens with new construction. What I did isn’t great, but it’s helping channel the water.

Muad_Dib's avatar

It’s getting dark just as it starts getting interesting. I’m a bit annoyed that I can’t watch the wind blow.

We still have power, but a lot of others are out. The eye is still a few counties south

Dutchess_III's avatar

You know, you could have come here like my niece did and stayed in our camper. You would have 0 worries.
But…I don’t have an indoor pool, either. Hell, I should have evacuated Kansas to where you are.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Lol, it’s an outdoor pool, just has a screened patio to keep the leaves out.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh! So my question about hail was an unnecessary observation! Kind of like an orangutan smashing his fat body into the plate window right next to you. “THAT was unnecessary!”

I asked a Q about that, BTW. No one has answered yet.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Good. Was it so bad after all?

Patty_Melt's avatar

People died, homes destroyed, flooding, and downgraded doesn’t mean over.
The news coverage I saw was quite brutal.
There is the weeks long power outage I mentioned above.
Yeah, pretty bad.

canidmajor's avatar

All of my people have checked in, they’re OK, through the worst, but still expecting more rain and wind damage. I’m just glad they’re all OK.

Muad_Dib's avatar

No deaths reported in Tampa. One nursing home was severely damaged but there were no injuries. I haven’t seen my house yet, but so far everything has gone much better than forecasted.

imrainmaker's avatar

^^Good to hear that..)

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s a relief. It’s just now hitting where my dad’s wife lives. She’s hoping she has something to come back to, too.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Still no power at 1635 on Wednesday, but we’re home now. Douche landlord has been surprisingly civil and ran a generator to our well so at least we have cold running water.

ETA of power to our road is currently 2359 on Sunday

jca's avatar

@Muad_Dib: Is it hot?

I just saw in the NY Times, 6 nursing home residents died because of no air conditioning. There’s a criminal investigation going on, due to it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s tragic @jca
My dad’s wife came back home yesterday. House is unscathed. Not sure about the power, though.

Brian1946's avatar

@Dutchess_III

In what city or community does your dad’s wife live?

chyna's avatar

8 dead in that nursing home now. So horrifying.

jca's avatar

They said the nursing home had generators, but the staff said the temperature inside was “comfortable.” A resident’s relative said the temperature inside was 110 degrees (F).

Muad_Dib's avatar

“is it hot?”

… Well, it’s Florida. It was 93*F inside the house when we got here yesterday at about 5pm.

JLeslie's avatar

If it was 110 degrees it’s inexcusable that they did not call for assistance. I don’t know if the temperature was confirmed.

I saw a clip on the news of them removing patients, and many looked very frail.

I do wonder if some of the people who died were already designated as hospice patients.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Little man and I spent the hottest part of today in Ikea for free coffee and internet access and air conditioning. They’re giving everyone employee discounts through October 15th in the wake of Irma.

Went to Walmart yesterday for duct tape and an air purifier, and they had half of Ladies Fashion cleared out, and had set up tables and microwaves so people who needed to could buy Swanson dinners and cook them right there. I thought that was really nice of them.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

^^Bravo. I don’t think their customers will forget that sort of thing.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Wow. The good things are great to hear.
The tragic things are painful, thinking about the lack of humanity to let those elderly suffer so.
Two vastly different sides to something so widespread.

JLeslie's avatar

Things are very close to normal in my immediate area. A few stores still aren’t open, but most of the power is on, all the traffic light inside my city are back working, but a few just outside (I rarely need to go there) aren’t.

Two nights ago I went to dinner at a town square here, and they had a full menu, and the live band was in the square, people dancing, the place was like any average night where I live.

So, for me, everything is very close to normal, but friends and acquaintances just 5 miles away in more rural areas are still without electricity and water.

About that nursing home, a friend of mine had her mom there once for a short time and she said the place is terrible. I’m just horrified by places like this.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Our power came on last night, finally.

I have a friend in Orlando having Andrew flashbacks and her power company won’t even answer questions for her.

I’m taking one more day off work to put the (now illuminated and not blazing hot) house back together, and then it’s back to reality.

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