Monday, July 11, 2005

A Few Notes about Hurricane Dennis

It's Monday, and things are very nearly back to normal. We regained our electric power late yesterday afternoon, finally, after several false starts. It's a relief to have the air conditioning back, especially today when the humidity is 72% with the temperature currently 85 and headed higher.

I did a little off-line journaling while the power was off (and before the battery on my laptop gave out). Here are those notes:

It's just after 9 AM Saturday morning. I got up a few minutes ago. Janet's been up since around 8. She didn't sleep well. I did.

The power went out a little after 10 last night, came back on briefly after 11, then went out for good. It's still out, as is our cell phone service.

The eye of Dennis passed by Key West during the night, around 2 AM if the forecasts held. It's still pretty windy outside and it's raining. Our patio is a mess, covered with leaves from our own plants and pieces of trees outside. Janet went outside earlier. She tells me that the picket fence next door has blown over. We heard on the radio a little while ago (we have a battery-powered radio and there are a few stations broadcasting) that a tree blew down on Julia St., the next street over, and trapped some people in a house there, but the Fire Department was able to rescue them.

We thought about walking the couple of blocks to the Deli Restaurant to see if they got their generator operating and were serving breakfast. The rain, which is heavy at times, convinced us to eat in instead, so Jan is grilling some English Muffins on the gas stove. I had to light it the old-fashioned way, with a flame, since the igniters are electric.

The radio just reported that Monroe County is under a flood and tornado watch until 4 PM today. At 9 o'clock, the eye is in the Gulf 110 miles west of Key West, a category 1 with winds of about 100 mph, moving northwest (away from us) at fourteen miles and hour. A storm surge of 3-4 feet was being predicted when we went to bed last night, and that, coupled with high tide, would be happening just about now.

We went out at about 11 AM Saturday and took a short drive around to see what damage Dennis hath wrought. It's a real mess in Old Town. In addition to foliage on the ground everywhere, there are also some pretty big branches and parts of entire trees laying on the ground. We saw two palm trees on Duval St. that were simply torn from the ground, roots exposed, and pavement lifted.

We tried to get to the Chicken Store, but that part of town is flooded. The rain and wind are continuing, even as the storm continues to move away from us the same 14 miles an hour it was moving past us in the Gulf. We aren't getting many reports from the radio about what the storm is doing now, where its headed. It's a sad reflection on the state of radio broadcasting today that they've abdicated coverage of local news to newspapers (and television in the case of hurricanes), giving us only playlists developed by marketers from far away.

6:30 PM and still no power (we got it for about 5 minutes an hour ago but it went back out). Rain continues, less windy, but still some wind. Janet out to see if Deli is open. Probably not, but she's out and about with the car.

Not much batter left on the laptop. Have to shut down now, Back later when we get power again.


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