Archive for the ‘Hurricane Frances’ Category

Hello Baby

Its about 3:20 Saturday afternoon as I write this and we have just been told by Tom Terry of Channel 9 (ABC) that the winds that blew through here in the airport area 10 minutes ago were in the 57 MPH range. It amazing to think that Frances won’t make actual landfall for another 11 hours, but we are feeling her effects already. I have a feeling this is going to be a long afternoon and night.

To echo Solonor’s post, I was out earlier this morning and the streets were like a ghost town. Very strange for a Saturday morning in Orlando. And with the dark clouds overhead, it was almost like looking at an old black and white movie showing deserted streets.

I’m sure those of us with power will keep trying to post here as we are able to keep everyone as informed as possible.

Frances Just Showed Up, Part II

A second rain band just blew through and I had the pleasure of driving in it. I discovered I had left my mobile telephone in a friend’s car and drove to his place to retrieve it. Major roadways are deserted, many if not most businesses and homes have boarded up, an eerie quiet fills the air and the wind and rain are powerful, even at this elementary level.

Frances just showed up

Got our first glimpse of the storm here a minute or two ago. The wind has been whipping pretty good, but the first downpour started and dumped a bucket of rain on us. And the power has already gone out briefly. Joy.

A Fate Worse than Death

I do not care for local news. During normal circumstances I find it to be a waste of time to even pay attention, but during storm situations such as this, I cannot rely on the BBC to accurately provide the details I may need such as where I can purchase fuel or drop off yard waste. Subsequently, I am constantly reminded why it is I, as a matter of habit, steer clear of local news outlets.

Normally the sensationalist attitude reigns, but during a storm it only worsens. Add to that mixture continuous coverage with little new or breaking stories and you have a recipe for the best of the worst repetitious and excitable luridness. I watch the local meteorologists salivating over Doppler radar and satellite imagery all the time looking like that kid in the candy shop we have all heard about. Even the advert channel (The Weather Channel as they are popularly known) adopts this attitude sending out well educated, eloquent and articulate professionals to trip over their own words whilst reporting on the storm surge, now increased by a whopping three centimetres. Now that is a breaking story.

And just when you think the apex of annoyance has been reached, you decide to mute the on-air personalities and simply learn more from their websites. What, you thought the internet would be a safe haven from all this? Sure enough, the three major news outlets in Orlando, WESH Channel 2, WKMG Channel 6 and WFTV Channel 9 all use the same company, Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc., to publish content online. Take the chafing and constant reiteration of the live broadcast and combine it with one unfortunate web-based template and you have the gaudy website for all three stations. Good for IBS, bad for us.

I suppose this all might be more tolerable if you realise that hurricanes are simply the Super Bowl equivalent of news stories for local outlets and meteorologists. This is what they live for and train for daily. I suppose we should let them enjoy this moment and allow them to have their moment in the sun.

Then again, I do not watch the Super Bowl, either.

Addendum: A reporter on WESH just moments ago while giving live coastal information to viewers said, “…Juno to Jupiter Bitch.” Another classic moment in local television history. Personally, I would stick to New Smyrna Bitch, but that is just me.

Naked for Frances

If you’re enjoying our pre-hurricane entertainment, pleased stay tuned for the post-hurricane relief effort. We’ll undoubtedly be showing you all the damage and downed trees that you could ever hope to see. It’s hard to imagine that you’re getting all of this for free.

The city appears to be a ghost town. This would be the perfect time to go run naked through the streets of Orlando. And then run back home because it’s getting breezy out there.

It would be much more interesting than the goth children picketing the Republicans on Colonial last weekend. I’m all for the cause, kids, but I’d take you a little more seriously if you spent more time on your signage than your hair. See, we’re much more than hurricanes, theme parks, and British tourists.

Dear Orlando Sentinel,

I call dibs on the “hurricane fatigue” story. You know, the one where you interview everyone who’s “so over” the potential disaster looming near the coast and you ponder the deeper meaning of it. It’s mine.

Katharine (age 5)

Deceptively Beautiful

One good thing from Charley was that everyone decided to take Frances more seriously. While the decision to close schools was made pretty early last time (because they needed the buses for evacuees), most businesses were open right up until the government issued a “stay off the roads” order… only about 6 hours before Charley hit the area. This time, even the mall decided to close a day early to give people time to prepare. So, we’ve basically had a beautiful Friday to sleep in, then finish our preparations for the storm.

I can only imagine how utterly shocked people in the days before satellites and hurricane warnings must have been when a hurricane showed up. Since it sucks all the surrounding weather out of the way, it has been fricking gorgeous today. Not even the usual afternoon thunder showers.

It’s Almost Like Martial Law

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is “asking” everyone to be off the roads by 2pm Saturday afternoon. But, in case people don’t respond appropriately to being asked nicely, the County Chairman has issued an executive order imposing a 9pm to 6am curfew on Saturday and Sunday night. If you’re out driving around, a nice deputy will stop you, request ID and your reason for being on the road. If it’s not a good enough reason (like you’re a world famous heart surgeon rushing to the hospital to save the County Chairman from imminent death) then you’re going to be safely escorted to the county jail.

Now, frankly, I have no desire to be out in the coming deluge. People in Orlando (the majority of which are either tourists or…well, let’s just leave it at that, no need to make enemies right off the bat) drive like learning impaired individuals as it is in good weather. Why on earth would I want to be on the road with them in a monsoon? But, if I have to get to my family or friends because they need my help, I’ll be very unhappy if I get sidetracked to Orange County’s favorite party place.

It was surprising, the number of businesses that were closed up already today. Stores, banks even the little girl with the lemonade stand on our block, had hung up the “Closed” sign and hunkered down at home. The theme parks first announced they were closing at 3pm, but after yet another change in the projected path and a further slowing of the speed of Frances, they opted to stay open a little longer (6pm) to give visitors (because no intelligent resident is going to be out there right now) their money’s worth.

Orlando Blogger Safety Net

I know most of you don’t know me from a hole in the ground, but if you need something before or after the storm, I thought it would be nice to set up a blogger buddy system. It never hurts to have one more annoying friend to look after or to have calling you at inappropriate times!

Just e-mail me if you’re interested in swapping cell phone numbers in case of emergency.

[ Note: I promise not to sell your number under any circumstances… or at least those that don’t involve cash up front. ]

Comparison Time

All day on the news they have been citing the differences between Hurricane Charley and Hurricane Frances and occasionally the small similarities.


1) Frances is moving much SLOWER than Charley, meaning we’ll be seeing the effects for nearly a day instead of a few hours.
2) Frances is over 300 miles across (covering the state of Florida) whereas Charley was not even half that size.
3) They are coming from opposite sides of Florida.
4) Frances has less land to cover before hitting Orlando, meaning less time for the storm to weaken.

1) They’re both hurricanes.

And um…..that’s it. We’re as prepared as we can be. No plywood or anything (as if we could have gotten any at this time), but lots of water, canned goods, batteries and even a battery operated radio this time. With Charley, we didn’t have that and it kind of sucked.

On a personal note, one of my friends gave birth today and another is giving birth tomorrow (C-Sections). Neither plans to include Frances in any part of their child’s name.

Anybody heard of this thing called Frances?

Well for two days that’s all we’ve been doing. Eating, sleeping and breathing Frances. We stand in horribly long lines at home improvement stores, we fight over the last cans of tuna and we cut off people in traffic as we try to get our family and possessions safe.

What is ironic is when this is all over with (but at 9 miles an hour it could takes DAYS!!!), we will all be shoulder to shoulder and neighbor helping neighbor like I saw after Charley.

I just hate the anticipation. It’s giving me heart palpitations.

It occurs to me, odd though it may seem, that I’m actually (in a weird sort of way) looking forward to watching this wrath of nature. I know I know… I have a house and children to protect and as long as we’re not at risk for serious injury, I am completely fascinated by this entire thing.

I spent a lot of time on the front porch just watching Charley go by. My family thought I was nuts, but soon they joined me and we watched the trees bend in the wind and the big gusts of windy rain… it was very poetic in a way.

This is my 6th major hurricane and while I respect its might and am in awe of the true force of nature, I am going to miss air conditioning… ice…. and cold beer. But as I told my children… think of it as an adventure; think of it as camping. Bring it on Frances.

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