Friday, August 13, 2004

Charley Moves On

It's 9:30 AM on Friday. The power is out for the fourth time since last night. Keys Energy is reporting that a sailboat is on the transmission lines 18 miles south of Marathon. They are working to remove it, and at the same time, are firing up the limited local generation capacity they have here in Key West. We're listening to our battery-operated radio. The doors and windows are open to keep the apartment from getting too warm.

We're on the back side of Charley now. There's a little bit of rain. The TV, before the power went out, reported that Key West had only received about a half-inch of rain up to that point. Once again, Key West lucks out and misses a direct hit from a hurricane that might have caused much more damage than we'll wind up with.

We went back to Schooner Wharf last night and had a very pleasant evening there until 9:30, when the bar began to close up to meet the city's mandated 10:00 PM closing. The band -- Chris Case, Bubba Lownotes, and Sammy the Soundman -- provided the musical background for what was mostly a locals party, a pretty good one. Carl and Kate Peachey are off on a short holiday in Vieques, Puerto Rico and Lisa Sato wisely decided not to make the trip down from Miami for her usual Thursday night appearance with the Unpaid Bar Tabs. The rhythm section, Bubba and Sammy, provided their usual good counterpoint to fill-in lead Chris Case. Chris even responded to my request for something in the "style" of Roy Buchanan just before closing.

It's almost certain that the west coast of Florida, up around Tampa, are going to take a direct hit from Charley, now a major category three 'cane with winds up to 110-130 MPH. We feel sorry for them, but it could have been us, out here with nowhere to go but up the 120 miles of the Overseas Highway. At least they can evacuate, and many of them, as many as 800,000, have done.

It's raining heavier now, at almost 10:00 AM, and US1 radio just went off the air as someone was reporting that there is (0r was) electricity on the other side of town, on Eagle Avenue. This appears to be the tropical downpour usually associated with a hurricane. I suppose that it is a result of a band of the back side of the storm.

The battery in my iBook is down to 61%. I hope that we get power back before I have to shut it down.
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Now it's 11:45 and we still have no power. The winds have died a bit and it's raining lightly. Tere was a tornado warning earlier. Now it's just a tornado watch. We'd like to go out and have a look around, but we're going to wait until the power returns, hoping it will be soon. Keys Energy has restored power to parts of the city but not yet in Old Town, certainly not here in Bahama Village. I'll keep blogging here through the day, although I don't know when I'll be able to get an internet connection to post this up.
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Now it's after 6:30 and its all over. We took a drive around early this afternoon. The damage is minimal -- tree limbs down here and there, lots of small debris on the streets, mostly branches and small limbs. We saw pieces of the large plastic sign in front of a car dealer on N. Roosevelt Blvd. lying by the side of the road. There was flooding at the usual spots -- at the Southernmost Point, along the curve at Atlantic Avenue onto S. Roosevelt. These spots were mostly blocked to traffic. We weren't able to get on S. Roosevelt from either end, although there was some traffic there, people who live in the condos along that stretch by the airport. A stop at Sippin' for a cup of coffee, then back home where we found the electricity back on.

We put everything back in place on the patio, and all is normal again.
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All in all, we were very fortunate here in KW to have ducked the punch that Charley is right now giving to the west coast. God watches over us.

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