Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Katia Lee

Hilton Garden Inn
Burlington, MA
low of 58, high of 83

I haven't seen any effects of Irene in my travels this week, except on the evening news.
I'm staying up here for the rest of the week, flying home Friday.

A new tropical storm, Katia, is in the Atlantic.  A tropical low pressure system is growing in the Gulf.  Neither of these storms have a chance of hiting Southwest Florida.

The next storm name on the list is Lee.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Hampton Inn, Lorton, VA
Low of 73, high of 94

I am grateful that Hurricane Irene decided to spare the State of Florida from her 115 MPH winds and 10 foot storm surge.  Not that I planned it this way, but I depart home again on Monday afternoon and fly into Manchester, NH.  I will be working all next week in New England, from Boston to Foxboro and flying out next Friday from Providence, RI.  I can't get non-stop flights into/out of Boston Logan, so I chose this itinerary.

Irene is looking for a US landfall on Saturday afternoon in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  She'll likely re-emerge over the Chesapeake Bay and then strike NJ/NY on Sunday.  Monday...New England.

My territory includes, VA, MD, PA, NJ, NY & MA.  If our company is cleaning up after the biggest storm to hit the Eastern Seaboard in decades, I need to be there.
My plans were made a month ago and if my plane departs, the Safety Manager needs to be on the ground after a disaster hits.  Duty calls.  Below is the predicted path of Hurricane Irene over the next 4 days.
Click on photo for full screen.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Hampton Inn, Washington DC
High of 86, low of 63...nice morning

The lastest computer tracking forecast models show the State of Florida completely outside of the predicted path of Hurricane Irene.  While the sunshine state is in the clear, I experienced the 5.8 earthquake in our Nation's Capitol today.  I was riding in the front seat with a colleague driving and another co-worker in the backseat of my rental car.  We were stopped at a traffic light and I was looking down at my blackberry, answering an email.  I felt the car rocking left and right or surging forward and back.I thought the guy in the back was messing around and I asked him what the heck he was doing.  He answered that he wasn't doing anything and told me to look at the car in front of us.  When I did I saw the other car rocking as if someone was shaking it from the roof top.  Luckily there were no reports of injury or damage in our operations here.

Meanwhile, Irene could be making landfall somewhere on the US Eastern coast on Friday afternoon/evening.  Hopefully, there will be no flight delays across the grid but you never know.  I'm scheduled to depart from Reagan National at 6:45 PM, change planes in Atlanta at 8:15PM and then land in Ft. Myers at 11PM.

Here is the latest spaghetti models of the predicted storm track:

Monday, August 22, 2011


Hampton Inn, Chantilly, VA
High of 82

Most of the world now knows Irene is a Category 1 Hurricane,with winds of 80MPH and growing stronger.  The good news is that the Gulf coast and Southwest Florida have been taken out of the cone of uncertainty.  That doesn't mean there's no chance of danger for us, as these storms can change direction at anytime.  But I will say that I'm breathing a sigh of relief for the first time since Saturday.  The storm now appears more likely to strike North Carolina than Southwest Florida, where we are.  Below are the latest tracking modelsm cone of uncertainty and color radar image.

9PM update:  Irene is now at category 2 strength, with sustained winds of 100 MPH.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Home in Port Charlotte; flying to DC tomorrow for the week
High of 89, rec'd 1.58 inches of rain

Since moving to SWFL in late 2007 we have enjoyed the peace of not having legitimate hurricane threats.  The last one to hit this area was Charley, a category 4, on Friday the 13th of August, 2004.  Before that Port Charlotte had been calm since the 60's.  The only thing close to a serious storm was TS Faye in 2008 but she ended up being a rain event and never directly impacted us.  That peace may be in jeopardy.

Tropical Storm Irene has formed in the Atlantic Ocean.  Early computer models seem to agree it could be headed toward Florida; perhaps Southwest Florida.  Puerto Rico is under tropical storm warning tonight.  There's no need for panic or really even concern at this early stage.  But we're not taking chances on being unprepared. 

We have thought about the need for a home generator since we moved here.  Today we pulled the trigger.  I had researched models last year and knew which one I wanted.  If I wait until the watches or warnings came out for Florida, gen-sets would likely sell out quickly.  Since I'm flying to DC for work tomorrow, the time to act was now.  We bought a 7000 watt Honda generator at Sam's Club.  With it, we'll be able to power our whole house, except the air conditioner.  Our 2 refridgerator/freezers were the biggest concern.  My neighbor, an electrician, showed me how I can hook this unit up to the dryer outlet and then backfeed our breaker box.  This will enable us to run ceiling fans, wall outlets, microwave, TV, etc.  We can use the breaker box to control our usage, rather than having extension cords running all over the house.

Kathy will be implementing our preparation plan by purchasing extra cases of drinking water.  We will use that no matter what.  We already have enough food on hand to get us through 10 days without services.  With the generator, we won't have to be restricted to dry foods.  We have lots of frozen meats and fish.  Saving that was worth the cost of the generator.  The last thing we would need if we went under hurricane warning would be to fill the vehicles up with gas, have 40 gallons of generator fuel on hand and, if a major hurricane is coming I would pull the boat from the lift and strap it down on the trailer next to the house.

Again, if this all sounds like craziness...there's no cause to be alarmed but there is time to be prepared.  And we are making preparations instead of taking chances.  Below are some storm photos, as of Saturday night, August 20.  Click on any photo for full screen, then page back.
The computer models predict the storm track

Current action in the tropics

Current rain activity throughout the tropics

With this we can run the whole house, except A/C

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Home in Port Charlotte
High of 93, daily heavy downpours

Last week I worked the Philly/Atlantic City area.  Nothing fun, just work and sleep.

My floating dock project is finally complete.  After cost overruns and a lot of sweat, it's floating and looks pretty good.  My thanks to neighbor Ronnie for the design and creative consulting and definitely thanks to my grandson Devin for his hard labor while he was here.  I will use this for maintenance on the boat, being able to access all four sides of the boat lift.  I will also use it for canal maintenance, being able to trim trees and remove debris.  Finally, it will make a pretty cool fishing platform from the center of the canal, instead of trying to cast from the dock, around the boat and around the trees.  Below are pictures of the finished product.  It measures 5'x12'.  The last picture is the stationary dock section that recently collapsed due to corroded screws/nails.  The floating dock will come in handy for repairing the stationary dock.

Tropical Update:
Since I last blogged, Tropical Storm Emily fizzled out without making a US landfall.  TS Franklin formed and faded out.  Now we have TS Gert spinning out in the Atlantic but again making no threat to the US.

We've had lots of daily rainfall here in SW Florida.  It has been great for our grass.

click on pics for full screen image

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Home in Port Charlotte
High of 92, mostly cloudy on Sunday

The floating dock didn't float very well.  I made a mistake when sealing the caps and they leaked while I was away on my business trip last week.  They didn't sink to the canal floor but they were barely floating when I got home last Friday.  I spent much of the weekend troubleshooting how to pump the water out.  After trying a drill pump that wasn't worth the 7 dollars I spent on it.  I tried siphoning it out and ended up puking in the canal.  I finally spent $93 on a decent electric pump and it worked.  This summary of what happened doesn't do justice to the frustration I went through with this project but in the end, today, the dock is floating again.  I will wait another week, while away on business, before installing the top deck boards so that I can guage the quality of my sealed caps.

Friday night, my wife's nephew Chase (17) arrived for a weekend stay, accompanied by his friend, Conor.
The night of their arrival they fished on my stationary dock out back on the canal.  With no notice whatsoever, a section of the redwood dock broke loose under Chase and he fell into the canal.  Thankfully he wasn't injured but now I have another dock project to do.  This particular section sits 2' lower than the rest of the 40' dock.  In the past few years, this "low boy" section has been under water with anomoly high tides, like after hurricane Gustav in 2009.  Further examination showed the nails or wood screws simply snapped from corrosion.  The redwood dock is likely 10-20 years old.  I imagine the floating dock will come in handy when repairing the stationary dock.

Saturday I took Chase and Conor fishing on the boat, while Kathy took the grand-twins back to the airport for their flight home to Phoenix.  I will miss those little guys more than they know.  The big guys and I had an amazing day of fishing in the Boca Grande Pass.  Between the three of us we landed 26 fish; grouper, snapper, grunts, cats, a nice jack cravelle and two bonnethead sharks.  Chase caught the most, 11; Conor landed 8 and I landed 7, including the biggest.

We gutted my 28" shark and put her on ice right away.  We steaked her out and enjoyed the fresh shark meat that night, grilled and served on crackers with gator hammock hot sauce.  It was the first time these fellas ate something caught in the wild.  They were impressed with the whole experience.  On the trip we had a dolphin hang out and play with us for about 10 minutes; we saw a gigantic loggerhead turtle; and we witnessed a manta ray with a 6' wing span jump 5' in the air right in front of our boat going 30 MPH.  A few pictures from our day are below.

Tropical Storm Emily fizzled out before reaching the US mainland.  There are no new storms on the horizon tonight.

Monday morning I depart for a week in the Philadelphia and greater New Jersey area.

4 pound Jack Cravelle (not edible, sport fish only)

Chase poses with my 28" Bonnethead.  He caught one a little smaller but it was his first shark landed.  Very cool.

Conor had a great time and even went swimming in the Gulf after seeing sharks being caught.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


On the road, Hampton Inn Wellington, Palm Beach County, FL
Nice day, warm but not too humid. High of 92

Tropical Storm Emily is in the Caribbean Sea, with her outer rain bands dropping heavy downpours on Puerto Rico.  She is forecast to pass directly over the isle of Hispanola, better known as Haiti and the Dominican Republic sometime early Thursday.  As she encounters the mountains of Hispanola, the storm will weaken back down to a tropical depression but quickly regain strength to a Tropical Storm as she gets over open water over the Atlantic.

The cone of uncertainty, pictured below, shows the storm staying away from our home in SWFL but she may skirt the Atlantic coast of Florida.  Click on the picture for a full screen image.

I have a fishing trip planned for the this Saturday, but of course it's weather permitting.