A window into the life of a professional geek, wife and mother (and nonni), stitcher/designer, bibliophile, old-school gamer, and whatever other roles she finds herself in.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Katrina and the waves?

Once again, Florida eyes an incoming storm...

0800 EDT
Katrina is at 26.2N 79.0W with winds of 50 mph

Tropical Storm Katrina is expected to make landfall early tomorrow morning as a category 1 hurricane, about 150 miles south of here, but her effects are already starting to manifest. At first glance, it would seem an ordinary day - patches of blue peek through grey rainclouds, a common sight in summer in Florida. But on stepping outside, the weather *feels* different. The wind has picked up a bit, blowing from the east in gusts a little stronger than summer breezes tend to be, but not by much. And there's an unsettling feel to it, a slight sensation of unease in my chest akin to mild anxiety. It may be the associated change in pressure - perhaps that is why animals react long before a tropical cyclone approaches.

Consciously, I'm not worried about Katrina. My house weathered two category 3s last year with naught but a downed fence and a few windstripped shingle tabs. We've had routine thunderstorms give us worse than we're likely to get from her. But the anxious feel remains.

Maybe that's why people go insane stocking up on plywood and bottled water - it gives them an outlet to deal with the stormbrought anxiety.

1100 EDT
Katrina is at 26.2N 79.3W with winds of 60mph

I stepped outside while heating up my lunch to have a look around. The wind has picked up some more, blowing in from the northeast at 20 mph. I opted to eat lunch outside, and watched batallions of cumulus clouds - some silver, some white - march across the sky as the wind toyed with my hair. My anxiety from earlier is gone - perhaps I've acclimated to the change in pressure, or perhaps the beauty of the day has overwhelmed it.

1300 EDT
Katrina is at 26.2N 79.5W with winds of 65 mph

The rains have started, heralded by a torrential outburst that lasted mere moments before giving way to a steady fall. The sky is a blanket of silver-grey, too light still to be considered dismal or ominous. From my interior office I hear the drumming of the rain as the wind tosses it against coworkers' windows, making it seem a heavier fall than it actually is.

1430 EDT
Katrina is at 26.2N 79.6W with winds of 70 mph

The rain has stopped, and the wind has died down a bit. The sky has cleared a little, once more revealing patches of blue behind the continuing march of white-clad cumuli. The air is a bit muggy now, no longer the refreshing breeze I felt at lunch.

1600 EDT
Katrina is at 26.2N 79.8W with winds of 75 mph

Katrina is now officially a hurricane, albeit barely. My parents have already called to check up on me, although I have reassured them that we're in no danger. At the moment the sky is a pale silver. The wind has started to pick back up but it has yet to rain again.

1630 EDT
Here comes the rain again, just in time for rush hour. Yesterday a sudden rainstorm blew by, and in the half hour it was around, there were 17 accidents on I-95 near here. I think my evening commute will be interesting, although I hope it's not interesting in a Chinese curse sort of way.

1930 EDT
Katrina is at 25.9N 80.1W with winds of 80mph

Katrina came ashore in Ft. Lauderdale, some distance south of us. I had a work social this evening at a restaurant on the river, and made it there without event although I passed a fender-bender on the way. The wind was a bit more obvious riverside than at work - the waves were choppy, and the palm trees were buffetted by the incoming gusts. There were some incoming clouds in eerie shades of brownish yellow, but most bore the dark grey of summer storms.

Back at home, it's calm - almost eerily so. But now that the hurricane has made landfall, we have probably seen the worst we will get from her, and it wasn't much. Apparently my Hurricane Deterrent System (aka storm shutters) is working quite well!

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