Hurricane Irma Evening Update…

The forecasting for Hurricane Irma is still rather unpredictable. However, the entire southern peninsular of Florida is urged to hurry preparations to completion. As many long time CTH readers will note, I have zero experience with the forecasting but a great deal of experience with hurricane prep, response and recovery.

At 500 PM EDT (2100 UTC), the distinct eye of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 20.9 North, longitude 71.1 West. Irma is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days with some decrease in forward speed. On the forecast track, the eye of Irma should continue to move between Hispaniola and the Turks and Caicos Islands this evening. The core of the hurricane will then move between the north coast of Cuba and the Bahamas during the next day or two. –ADVISORY LINK

Maximum sustained winds remain near 175 mph (280 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is a category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days.

You won’t see this on the news, for multiple reasons, but for readers who were familiar with the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, there are almost identical behaviors being noted today, ahead of Irma, with residents on both coasts of South Florida. This is a troubling reality. Anxiety can bring out the worst in people.  Please try to avoid crowds and pay attention to your surroundings.

Thursday evening update: We’re getting down to crunch time. HURRICANE IRMA is on track to impact the southern part of the state beginning Saturday. In South Florida, tomorrow is your last day to prepare your home, business, car, or boat.

The big change today is that the (generally most reliable) European model has shifted to the west. The effect of this is simply to reinforce the fact that we cannot be absolutely certain EXACTLY where the worst of this hurricane is going to go. The only thing we feel certain about is that a large powerful hurricane is going to approach the peninsula of Florida on Sunday.

The bottom line: The entire peninsula needs to be if preparation mode. Anybody not preparing for the worst hurricane in decades is rolling the dice.

This means getting supplies so you can stay home for a week. If you haven’t seen the to-do lists, look at the post from yesterday, I’m posting it again below, along with a list of supplies, which is attached.

A threat like this also means evacuating where necessary. Emergency managers know that evacuating is an excruciating process. People are leaving their homes behind. But there is no choice. Living near the water on the east coast of Florida means living with the possibility of evacuation. On the west coast the threat extends well inland, depending on the angle that the winds strike the coastline. FOLLOW YOUR LOCAL EVACUATION ORDERS, even if the traffic is bad. This is a life and death issue.

If the storm stays on the NHC track, Irma is going to push the ocean and the inland waterways – on BOTH the east and west coast of the state – over their banks potentially 10 feet over normally dry land. It won’t be that high everywhere, and in some places it could be a bit higher. There is no way to know exactly where the highest will be, so we have to plan for it to be extreme everywhere near the water.

It is impossible not to be anxious in a situation like this. The best defense is taking action. There is a lot to do. .

Here is that list of things to do and think about to help you successfully weather Irma. Also, attached once again is the shopping list from Brevard County – but I recommend you have 7 days of food and water, and an AM/FM radio.

1. Try to get LED flashlights and lanterns. They last much longer. Have at least one flashlight for every person in your family, and ideally have a lantern or two for general lighting.

2. Get a portable radio and plenty of batteries so your whole family can listen to news coverage if the power goes out. Do NOT depend on your cellphone for communications.

3. Take photos today or tomorrow of every room, every piece of electronics, and everything valuable. Upload the pictures to the cloud – Dropbox, Microsoft Cloud, iCloud, Google Drive, etc. – before the storm.

4. Also take photos of key documents and upload them as well. You can do that today.

5. Save your contacts in your phone to the cloud. If you don’t know how to do that, frame grab your screen or have someone take photos of your contacts with their phone and email or text the pictures back to you to a friend. Don’t take a chance on losing your contacts if something happens to your phone.

6. Secure your photographs and albums in double plastic bags.

7. Plastic bags and duct tape are your friends. You can’t buy too many of them. Put documents in gallons-size (or larger) Ziploc bags. Put larger items in double large trash bags cocooned so the opening of the first bag is in the bottom of the second bag. Put some clothes in plastic bags in case you get a roof leak. Duct tape bags closed. Put valuables on a high shelf in a closet.

8. Think now about where you are going to park your car. A parking garage is ideal. Outside in a low-lying area or under a tree is the worst. Think about all of the cars you’ve seen ruined in storms because people made bad choices about where they parked the car before the storm. When we know the storm track, we’ll have a better idea which side of a building will give the best protection. Next to a building on the downwind side gives you the best chance if you have to leave your car outside.

9. Do your laundry and wash your dishes before the storm.

10. You dishwasher is an excellent “safe” in your house if you need someplace to put valuables. Your washer and dryer can offer good protection as well. These could be good places to put your bagged-up photos, for example.

11. Fill Ziploc bags ¾ full of water and stuff them in your freezer to fill up the space. The less air you have in the freezer, the longer your refrigerator will stay cold. Do NOT turn your refrigerator to any lower setting than normal – that can damage the unit.

12. Choose a friend or relative out of town to be the contact point for your family or group of friends. After a storm, it is always easier to get a call out of the area than within the storm zone. Be sure everybody has the out-of-town number and make a plan to check in ASAP after the storm.

13. If you live in a high rise, be sure you know what the procedures are going to be in the building. Will the building be evacuated? Will the water continue to work? Will elevators work? What is on a generator? If you can stay in the building (if it’s away from the water) find an interior hallway on a low floor where you can set up camp during the storm. It will not be safe to be on a high floor or near windows, even with modern hurricane impact windows. A hallway surrounded by concrete is your best bet.

14. Buy a plastic sheet – the kind you’d use as a drop cloth for painting – to line your bath tub. Line the bath tub and fill it with water before the storm. You’ll use this water to flush the toilet if the city water goes out. A sauce pan is a good scoop. Fill the tank and your toilet will work like normal.

15. Think about what you will sit on if you are in a hallway or other safe spot for a number of hours – maybe 12 hours or more. Consider comfortable folding chairs. Take food to your safe spot. Have books or other non-electronic amusements, including for the kids.

16. To repeat!! Do NOT count on your cellphone for communications. When Harvey hit Texas as a Cat 4, it knocked out the mobile phone system. In addition, your battery may run down and you may have no ability to charge it. Have an adapter so you can charge your cellphone in a car, have extra charges, and back-up batteries if you can.

17. Pick up your yard and anything that might blow in the wind. Bring in pool furniture if you can. Don’t put it in the water because it can damage the pool.

18. Check the shopping list attached below from Brevard County, Florida. It’s good, except I recommend 7 days of water and food, and an AM/FM portable radio so you can keep up with news coverage.

19. Most importantly, be sure you know a safe place where you and your family can ride out the storm, if it comes. This is the most critical decision you can make today. There almost certainly will be evacuations ordered for parts of Florida. If you live near the water, put together the food, clothes, valuable items, and important papers you’ll take with you NOW. Leave as early as possible. There will be a crush on the road and you may not find a hotel in the entire state of Florida.

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216 Responses to Hurricane Irma Evening Update…

  1. Pam says:

    Liked by 6 people

  2. sunnydaze says:

    Mandatory Evac order Sat. 6 AM for Zones A and B, St. Augustine Fl.

    http://www.sjcemergencymanagement.org/archived/2017Press/HurrIrma/SJC%20EmgOrder%20No%202017-03.pdf

    Bummer. Total bummer.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. deqwik2 says:

    If you don’t have sand bags, use trash bags filled 1/3 with water.

    Liked by 6 people

    • PreNanny says:

      Deq I don’t think that is going to work if there is any kind of water movement such as wave action etc. Would suggest putting a wooden barrier in front of and using duct tape at the top to seal up the bags. Also, double bagging would be prudent. my 2cents.
      Be safe.

      Like

  4. Sunshine888 says:

    Hi everyone! Long time lurker, first time poster….
    I’ve been in St Augustine for 13 years and we stayed through Mathew who shifted east at the very last minute so watching Irma very carefully. At least with Mathew there were some clear options on where to go if we had to, but Irma tracking to come straight up the middle really limits things. Blessings and prayers to all in her path!

    Liked by 9 people

    • Ad rem says:

      Welcome to the Tree House Sunshine! Florida can use all of you they can get. 😀

      Liked by 3 people

      • Sunshine888 says:

        Thanx Ad rem! It’s actually pretty MAGA around here but it gets dicey when you get to the middle of the state.

        Liked by 2 people

        • The Snubbed Princess says:

          I’m a long time lurker too, also in Florida. I’m in the center of the state, Windermere, which is a suburb of Orlando. I know exactly what you mean, it’s almost like living in New York, and California all over again!

          Some stuff for anyone in the Orlando area – Target in Winter Garden has been rationing water, they’ll only bring a few cases out at a time, and employees hand it out, so people aren’t clearing the shelves of it. I was also able to grab a couple of extra charging banks. Lowes in Winter Garden still had generators. Publix in Windermere had another truck coming as of this afternoon. Disney gas stations still have gas, and it’s the same price as anywhere else. Both Walgreens and Publix still had tons of ice. I bought a few bags, and broke it up into gallon storage bags. Also, if you’re looking for candles, go to the cleaning section in most stores, and you’ll find some.

          Anyway, just want to say, I think you guys are awesome, and I’ve enjoyed coming to this site since I stumbled upon it during the primaries. I hope all of my fellow Floridians stay safe, as well as anyone else in the storm’s path.

          Liked by 7 people

          • Ad rem says:

            Welcome to the Tree House Snubbed Princess! Not only do you grace us with your royal presence…you’ve the kindness to offer some insider tips for preparation. Quick….grab one of the branches near the Tree House bar. All that ice will help keep the mimosas chilled. 😀

            Like

          • Jimmy Jack says:

            LPT – the ethnic food section usually also has candles near the Mexican food. The kind in glass jars they use for prayers/altars.

            Like

          • Sunshine888 says:

            Hello fellow lurker in Florida–bet there’s 1000’s of us out there! I’m very familiar with Orlando, know where Windermere is.
            Like you, I found the treehouse durring the primaries and have stopped by each day since for my daily sanity fix. Sundance is awesome.
            Are you evacuating? So far we are just going to hunker down. There’s really no where to go right now. My friends went to Atlanta, just got settled, and now they have evac orders 😦

            Like

  5. Abster says:

    I secured my 4th floor oceanfront condominium in Cocoa Beach, dropped hurricane shutters, loaded up dog and cat and took off at 3am yesterday. Traffic was relatively light until around Jacksonville. I stopped every hour and half or so at truck stops to top off tank and kept on moving. I drove fourteen hours to Virginia. I am so sad to hear of so many who have chosen to not evacuate or have now found it impossible. Praying for everyone.

    Liked by 17 people

  6. Cosmic says:

    we own property on Fripp Island a small barrier island just north of Hilton Head. We were “hit” by Mathew. Major damage as a Cat 2 Hurricane. Luckily it hit at low tide. Very worried about Irma. Praying she’ll spare us.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. daughnworks247 says:

    455 miles from Marathon to Jacksonville. With a storm moving 10mph, northward, it will be almost two days until help can get into Florida.
    I guess help would have to come in via the panhandle, from the west. Use Pensacola AFB as staging area? Biloxi? Stennis? Of course, they will also fly in if they can land but I’m thinking about the convoys of power and light crews from other states, etc.
    Logistics mess.
    God Bless those in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Montana.

    Liked by 3 people

    • deqwik2 says:

      I know Maxwell AFB Montgomery, Al is being used as staging area / distribution center for supplies & FEMA.

      Maxwell, as an Incident Staging Base for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will receive around 800 trailers full of water, food, generators and other supplies communities in Irma’s path will need. FEMA and Defense Logistics Agency crews are already at Maxwell and more will arrive to receive the supplies and direct their distribution following the storm.

      Maxwell is also preparing to receive military aircraft and evacuees from affected areas if necessary, Stone said.

      According to the Associated Press, a Virginia search and rescue team, Virginia Task Force 1, has been deployed to assist with Irma relief and will stage in Mobile until it is determined where they need to help.

      http://www.wsfa.com/story/36305243/maxwell-afb-federal-agencies-prepare-for-hurricane-irma

      Liked by 2 people

    • deqwik2 says:

      Here’s an article about the power crews

      “Harper and Crite worked Wednesday in Indiana, slept a few hours, then hopped in their truck and drove 16 hours to Atlanta. They intended to catch a few winks in Atlanta before driving to Lake City, Florida, where power crews from around the country will mobilize and wait for orders on where to go.”

      http://www.miamiherald.com/news/weather/hurricane/article171804252.html

      Liked by 3 people

  8. TheLastDemocrat says:

    We hunkered down for a hurricane one time:
    I had a front-loader washing machine – the FLs are very heavy, relative to top loader.

    Back then, I had most everything on the desktop plus backup and only used a laptop as an aide when traveling.

    I put my entire PC and my external backup drive in the washing machine. My wife pur her purse in there. We put a radio with some batteries. We put a few more things. All, with a couple towels in the bottom for any residual water that might have been sloshing around in there.

    We unplugged the washer, and shut the door. [I probably did something crazy-ivan like rubber-banded a sock onto the plug so no one would plug it back in without recalling this payload.] We figured that this washer would be safe from: falling tree, tornado, and high water.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. TheLastDemocrat says:

    Baro carrying on at 919?!

    This is scary.

    Let me add a little humor. We flew out to Florida last year. We got through security and were recomposing our dress, sitting on a couple of benches. As were others within ear-shot.

    My son, 10yo, asks, “Dad, I am scared. What do we do if we start to crash?”

    I tell him, with earnest tone, “Son, you assume the crash position.”

    He sincerely asks, “Dad, what’s the Crash Position?” [As a scout, he is used to learning all kinda things like “the blood circle,” and so on, so he is totally ready to learn the crash position.]

    I say, -knowing others are eaves-dropping – “Bend over, put your head between your knees, and kiss your butt goodbye.”

    Then, I bust out laughing, and a couple adults within earshot are chuckling. My son comes up with a laugh, also.

    –But SRSLY, folks – I sak him, “are you saved?” “Yes.” “Are you prayed-up?” “Yes.”

    –Folks: stay prayed up!

    Liked by 4 people

    • sunnydaze says:

      Just saw on local news there was a HUGE Prayer Meeting at a beach in Jax on Sept. 7, (is that today? Not even sure any more…sigh) at 7PM to stave off the storm.

      It looked like there must have been 1,000 people there.

      Maybe my eyes exaggerated the crowd but it *did* look impressive.

      Liked by 2 people

    • beachgrammie says:

      I was just mentioning to my son-in-law that there have always been earthquakes, volcanos, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes on the earth … and in a way they are a sign to the believer and unbeliever alike of the precariousness of life, and the same goes with wealth and property. Real safety and comfort of the Lord can never be taken and comes everlasting life. Please do that storm prep also, and be blessed.

      Like

  10. deqwik2 says:

    The Quarter or One Cup tip for knowing if your freezer lost power while you are away.

    For those of you that are evacuating from the coast, I just heard a great tip. It’s called the one cup tip. You put a cup of water in your freezer. Freeze it solid and then put a quarter on top of it and leave it in your freezer. That way when you come back after you’ve been evacuated you can tell if your food went completely bad and just refroze or if it stayed Frozen while you were gone. If the quarter has fallen to the bottom of the cup that means all the food defrosted & needs to be thrown out.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Guyver1 says:

    The two legged critters are already starting to act up in Jacksonville.
    My son was buying some last minute supplies this afternoon, in an establishment where there were Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office officers present for security, when two women started to argue about a six pack of bottled water. And it escalated, the JSO officers had to intervene and pull them apart. Then multiple arguments started up and the register lines came to a stop. Over a stupid six pack of bottled water.
    My son decided he had better things to do with his time rather than having to wait in line for only God knows how long, waiting for the stupid two legged critters to calm down.
    So he put his items back, left, and went to another store where he was lucky enough to get everything he needed, fast, and in a far more rational environment.
    Take away electricity and water supply to a city, and a large proportion of people turn into animals.
    In Charleston after Hugo, I saw two idiots pulling on opposite sides of an ice bag with one hand- while pointing shotguns at each other’s face with the other.
    A National Guard unit intervened and disarmed both of them. The officer in charge split the ice bag in two, gave each half- then he took the shotguns and threw them into the sea. The two idiots threw a tantrum about that, they wanted to know why he had done that, so the guardsman told them “Because the two of you have already shown me you are too stupid to be allowed to walk around with firearms. Consider yourselves lucky that I am letting you go home to your families, instead of arresting your stupid butts. Now go home.”

    Liked by 5 people

    • daughnworks247 says:

      Well done Officer! Great story.

      Like

    • sunnydaze says:

      Stories like this make me wonder if 1) Americans have forgotten about tap water.

      And 2) why people would wait til a Hurricane is barreling down on them to decide that water is life or death. Til a few days ago, bottled water was plentiful and sold every week all year long on BOGO at Publix.

      Get extra water, batteries in May, June, July, JIC. It’s just seems kinda weird to do it the way so many have been doing it this week.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Guyver1 says:

        People are strange creatures.
        City dwellers in particular get overly comfy and do not understand that most cities only have three days worth of supplies at hand- at a normal rate of consumption.
        So when an emergency comes and everyone tries to get a week’s worth of supplies at the same time, everyone acts surprised when the supplies run out as fast as you can snap your fingers. No foresight.
        And your comment about tap water is spot on! Clean tap water into clean plastic or glass containers… I guess that concept escapes many people… duuuh.
        After Hugo hit Charleston, I was part of a Mayport Coast Guard group that volunteered to go up to Charleston to get our base there up and running again, so they could then go out and rescue people.
        The two weeks I spent there were forever burned into my mind. The things I saw… that first night there, looking out at the mouth of the bay, with the ruined, dead, dark city outlined against the sky to my right and left… creepy.
        But I also gained a ton of experience which will come in handy if Irma comes to visit Jacksonville.

        Liked by 2 people

        • sunnydaze says:

          I get being kind of “comfy and clueless”, but we see these scenes all the time!!! Snowstorms, ‘canes, etc.

          So you’d think people would know what happens “at the last minute”. (!) Oh well…..

          Like

    • Dixie says:

      There are two legged critters here too except they were fighting over a loaf of bread. I guess there are crazies all over the place.

      Like

  12. fuzzi says:

    NOAA’s 11pm update: track is shifting WEST.

    Hope the update shows. If not, click on the image or go to weather.gov, click on hurricanes, and you’ll be there.

    Like

  13. ED. says:

    I concur with Sundance the aftermath will be far worse than the storm if the power goes out. This is not a stretch, in fact it is highly likely when one considers the diversity of the local population. First off most Floridians are not from Florida, and are fundamentally opposed to each other. Second most of the people who live there, and have common sense have already left, leaving a super majority of low IQ, non self governed people. This combination coupled with no law, and order is a disaster waiting to happen.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. The last 2-3 days I have opened your newsletter link online and start reading the page reloads, and  a few minutes later it reloads again.

    Must be to do with recent added ads- videos. Please fix this. Thanks!!   Kind regards,

    Shirley

    When life gets too hard to stand…kneel

    ************************************************************************************ NOTICE:  The information contained in this electronic transmission is intended only for the use of the individual or entity named above. ANY DISTRIBUTION OR COPYING OF THIS MESSAGE IS PROHIBITED, except by the intended recipient(s).  Attempts to intercept this message are in violation of 18U.S.C. 2511(1) of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which subjects the interceptor to fines, imprisonment and/or civil damages. If you are not the intended recipient(s), please delete it and Contact Us at the email address showing to you in this email. ***********************************************************************************

    From: The Last Refuge To: blondepickle@yahoo.com Sent: Thursday, September 7, 2017 3:08 PM Subject: [New post] Hurricane Irma Evening Update… #yiv9249606633 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv9249606633 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv9249606633 a.yiv9249606633primaryactionlink:link, #yiv9249606633 a.yiv9249606633primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv9249606633 a.yiv9249606633primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv9249606633 a.yiv9249606633primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv9249606633 WordPress.com | sundance posted: “The forecasting for Hurricane Irma is still rather unpredictable. However, the entire southern peninsular of Florida is urged to hurry preparations to completion. As many long time CTH readers will note, I have zero experience with the forecasting but a g” | |

    Like

    • TheLastDemocrat says:

      Yes, great link. There you can see that the other two storms are hopefully drawing off power from Irma. I think Jose is keeping Irma moving slowly.

      Like

  15. TheLastDemocrat says:

    2am Eastern update: barometric pressure rising: now 925.

    Like

  16. deqwik2 says:

    This is a little off subject but hurricane Katia is headed for Mexico & now Chiapas, Mexico just had an 8.0 earthquake on the Pacific coast & has caused a tsunami alert.

    Like

  17. Jimmy Jack says:

    What behaviors we won’t see on MSM?

    Like

  18. omyword says:

    It has been my experience, after nearly a dozen of these things, to figure worst case, the track the computer models show do not get as accurate as we would like until the day before or so. Just the way it is. I lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast many moon and I have seen them look like they would go in at Morgan city Louisiana and end up skirting the coast eastward all the way to Apalachicola, Florida. I got stuck in one which did a dippsy doodle while on flight deck watch on an aircraft carrier….in the frigin Bermuda triangle….. AT NIGHT, of all things! Don’t get sucked in by the “tracking map.” It’s only a guess. The high pressure could sink and or the cold front could stall and it could go westward. Only the Lord God knows. Everyone in the South at this point needs to keep their eyes pealed for the moment. Maybe tomorrow’ll give a better picture. It seems to be taking a little bit of a jog south and it seems to be making a more westward trek. I don’t trust these things no more than I could throw one. They can be very unpredictable and sinister. I’ve seen Hurricanes with a cat. 1 or 2 rating push in mega tons of water, stall out and rain for 4 days. And if I lived in Florida, I’d get to anywhere north and west. Don’t hang around for the thrill. Most that do end up dead.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. georgiafl says:

    Live Hurricane Hunters data:

    Like

  20. georgiafl says:

    José is now a M – major hurricane. Some models show its 5 day path ending in a loop.

    Could it duplicate another hurricane a few years which looped turned back to hit the east coast?

    Like

  21. georgiafl says:

    Hurricane highest wind spread doubled overnight:

    There is still much warmer water ahead to feed and strengthen Irma even more.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. TheLastDemocrat says:

    Barometric pressure has risen to 927. Top sustained winds they are claiming are 155MPH, but I suspect they may be a bit lower than that.

    There is supposed to be some eye rebuilding. Maybe because Cuba and other land masses or interfering. It would be wonderful to have Irma blink a little bit here, and step down a notch. Barometric pressures across lower end of FL peninsula look like this will continue on a path straight up the middle of FL, but I have a guess it will slow from its 15MPH, and be weaker than they are predicting.

    This is going to be a long weekend.

    Like

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