Friday, August 22, 2008

Fickle Fay's Frenzy

Fay? Really? No offense to any of you toting that name around on your Driver's License...but for those of you here in the South...doesn't that name just make you think of some sweet lady that works in the diner down the road? Doesn't really sound like the name of a furious storm ruining the lives of normal folk by flooding them out. Well, I guess furious doesn't really fit this particular storm anyway...she's more like "fickle"! (As you can probably guess, Mr. Fix-It thinks that title fits pretty much any female!) Fay just can't seem to decide where she wants to go.

Around here this week -- Fay ain't been so sweet! She's been one of those unwanted guests who just won't leave. All week she's been wreaking havoc on S. Florida and now she's really messed up OUR weekend plans! Somebody should have told her that hurricanes and tropical storms are only supposed to threaten for a day or two, hit land, then be GONE! Maybe she just hasn't been ready to give up her Florida vacation?

My brother, who lives outside of the great metropolitan city of Immokalee, Florida (just 30 miles inland from the west coast of Florida) tells me they received over 12" of water as she made landfall and headed towards the east coast. Down there, the land is so flat that it doesn't have any place to run-off. As Fay come through they had a little bit of wind and a LOT of rain. They didn't have much damage.

Over on the east coast around Melbourne, it's still raining after receiving between 24" -30" of rain. This has put quite a few people in bad situations. They say that Lake Okeechobee's water level has risen by over 15". This is actually good news --they've been complaining for months about the low water levels in the lake.

On the other hand, my dad, who lives in central Florida near Gainesville, is reveling in the rain. They've had drought conditions for nearly five years and I wouldn't doubt he prayed Fay there! They just started getting rain this morning and he was thrilled! The eye went right over them.

Here, around Tallytown we're still waiting on the worst of the storm. It has rained here since about 7am. Our water-table needs the water. At noon today, our favorite weatherman, Robbie-boy, said we still have about 18 hours before she makes it to us. As I write this, after the 6pm news, they're telling us it won't be GONE until sometime Sunday.

Mr. Fix-It and I have been through several hurricanes since we've been married. In 1985, Kate came directly across us. It was a bit scary and we were without power for about 4 days. We've had several other big storms, some turned out to be just threats --others that actually made it here were not exciting enough to remember their names.

For those of you dear readers who wonder what it's like waiting for a hurricane, let me give you a glimpse into our world. The media whips everyone into a frenzy!! It's a crazy frenzy. Folks do really stupid things they wouldn't normally do -- but since there's a storm coming -- they MUST get prepared. Where have they been all year? Don't even TRY to get into Home Depot or Lowes!

In Florida, it starts in January -- everywhere you look there are signs saying "Hurricane Season Is Coming! Are you prepared?" These signs are on billboards, flashing signs beside the road, and anyplace else they can get your attention. By June 1 (the first DAY of hurricane season) the media is in full swing WARNING everyone about the dangers of hurricanes and how we should all have our family prepared for the event.

As the season opens and the first "tropical depression" is spotted wayyyyyyyyy out off the coast of Africa all the weathercasters get super excited and start WARNING us to get prepared. As the storm meanders closer to the US mainland, they get more excited with each mile and the frenzy begins when the Hurricane Center issues it's first 'watch' for the mainland. The storm could be 3000 miles away from Key West and they're trying to figure out where the first WARNING should go up!

Then the storm peters out and disappears. You can hear the disappointment in their voice as they tell about the "last update" from the National Weather Service on the storm. Awwww... They can't wait for the next one.

So for Fay, they've been really excited --they actually have something to talk about! Our first 'almost' hurricane to hit Florida soil. They were almost giddy telling us how often they would be updating us about the storm. So we've been listening to this all week. Listening to dire warnings of what 'could' happen, where it 'could' go.

For those of us southerners who have grown up with this threat -- we take it in stride and go on with our lives. Newbie's freak out. As the storms get closer, I start saving milk jugs-filling them with water and putting them in the freezer. As the rain starts, we fill up the bathtub with water. (My new-Floridian friend spent hours sanitizing her tub -- she was kind of disappointed when I told her the water ain't for drinking! LOL!!) Our electricity goes out if the wind blows at all!

For my family, it's always fun to go to town to watch the hurricane frenzy. Folks buying the stores out of batteries, water, milk and bread. There are usually long lines at the gas stations because folks wait until the last minute--where have they been? In a cave? We really enjoy all the crazies! We just watch the fun because we are prepared!!!

Since the Katrina debacle in New Orleans, all our elected officials have lost their minds when it comes to these storms. Every county within 100 miles around here canceled school today. Farther east, they've been closed all week. Here in Tallytown they canceled school, closed many of the State offices and even businesses closed. They've canceled so many activities -- most will have to be rescheduled. My opinion? What a waste!

We've had rain today, just rain. Not even any bad weather -- no thunder, no lightening, no tornadoes. I guess you could figure "better safe than sorry" but seems to me they could have used a little common sense and saved a lot of money. They KNEW the storm wouldn't be here today --so really, what's the big deal?

We've had some big limbs and some trees fall --but that's from being full of water more than anything else. I may change my tune as Fay glides through the area -- but as of now, she's been kind of a dud as storms go. Not that I'm hoping for more action -- I love the rain and I'm thankful we don't have much to worry about this time. Our electricity, as expected, was out for a few hours this afternoon. I just started supper on our stove (run by propane) while it was still light outside. But the power came back on --so I could finish this post.

So, soup's on the stove, I've had my shower and I'm ready to settle in and see whether Fay's good manners hold out. If we have power tonight, we'll watch the Olympics -- if not, I'll curl up with a good book read by hurricane lamplight. Sounds fine either way!

Stay tuned!

7 Click here to Comment!:

Kelley said...

I remember hurricane Kate! That was a big one...

I'm with you...I kind of enjoyed watching the people get all excited yet I'm sure if we had ever experienced significant damage I may have changed my mind:-)

Kelsey said...

Stay Safe Meg! When we were in Mexico and Dolly went right over use people went CRAZY, our tiny little beach town was wiped out of flashlights, batteries, candles, matches you name it they were out. We never lost power, not once! The power lines there are underground so it rarely happens but people still insist on buying stores out!

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

Hello, my friend!

I pray you guys are safe. I DO know what you mean about the frenzy...I grew up in Corpus Christi (Texas Gulf Coast). I've seen a hurricane or two myself.

And my dad was always the type to NOT leave our house, so we always rode it out.

I laughed when you reminded me of how ridiculous people get at Home Depot and Lowes.

And the weather people really do thrive off of the excitement of bad weather approaching. I guess cuz it boosts their "viewers-ship!" ha ha!

Stay cozy! And send some of that rain up to North Georgia...we could use some too! :-)

Laura said...

Your post made me laugh out loud! I too have lived in FL my whole life and just don't have the time or energy to get whipped into a frenzy. This storm did surprise me by leaving me without power for most of the day today, however. You wouldn't think it, as mild as she seems to be.

I'm glad I can go watch TV now.

MamaHenClucks said...

What a wonderful descriptive post! I hope you all are still safe and snug in your little house, waiting for Fay to make an appearance. Being a midwestern girl, tornados are the things I worry about, although not even so much now that I am older, and farther from tornado alley! Isn't it a nice feeling to be the calm in the midst of the storm? I guess living there for so long you would be used to it. I wouldn't be a crazy at Home Depot on the last day, I'd be stocked up in January at the first warning!Let us know how you are!

mamajil said...

Well thanks to power finally being on I can read your blog...I was having a bit of with drawls!! :)
Glad you are well!
Have a happy Monday!!

Jo Jo said...

Hi, Meg! I just found your blog thru Lea's blog, and this post had me laughing out loud. As a Florida native (now living in New Orleans), I could not agree more! Now we have Gustav to keep the media in a frenzy, and the crazies are already out in full force here!