Happy ending.

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Waiting for Irma’s eye by candlelight.

 

My son and his friends made it through Irma just fine.  They stayed a friend’s home about 10 miles inland.   By the time Irma barreled into Tampa, it was only a Category 2.      The storm surge was no where near what the forecasters were predicting, probably because the eye turned back inland, away from the coast.

One weird thing that happened was that hours before Irma arrived, the entire Tampa Bay lost all its water.  Photos of it looked like a desert or a moonscape (one is shown below).   It was very strange.   As Irma passed to the north, the water came rushing back in.  This phenomenon also happens before tsunamis but of course this wasn’t a tsunami — the wind literally sucked all the water out of the bay!  Tampa Bay is quite shallow though.  It’s possible to walk for a mile into the water and without it getting any deeper than about 3 feet.

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From the videos my son posted (until the power went out), it seemed like he and his friends were actually having a blast.  He took videos periodically, but the worst of the storm didn’t come until very late at night, so he was unable to take videos of that.  The power went out and they lit oil lamps and candles.

He said it got very hot, because of the lack of power, so it was not possible to run the A/C or even fans, and of course they couldn’t open the windows.

At about 2 AM he texted that he was directly under the eye!  The wind and rain suddenly stopped, and he said he could see a few stars.   A few minutes later the wind picked up again, but it was less intense.   So he went to bed.  It was a long day.

When he woke up this morning, he took another video of the damage, which was mostly just fallen trees and branches.  No structural damage to the houses that I could see.   A tree branch was wedged under his windshield wipers and part of it inexplicably got stuck inside the car door.  But all in all, things didn’t look too bad, and today he returned home.

When he returned to his complex, it was not underwater as he had feared.    However, the power was out and there were trees down and one tree had fallen on top of another apartment in the same complex., crushing its roof!

My son said he feels even closer to his friends now that they’ve been through this experience together, so I think it was a good thing for him and it’s certainly something he will always remember.

We are feeling Irma’s effects here today in western North Carolina.  It’s rainy, windy, and cold.  I think I’m actually going to put on the heat and curl up under the covers with a book and go to sleep.   It’s that kind of weather.

*****

More good news!  All 54 Hemingway cats in Key West (I wrote about them the other day since they were directly in Irma’s path) and their caretakers are safe!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4870610/Caretaker-Ernest-Hemingway-s-FL-home-rides-storm.html

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Storm approaching.

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What the sky looked like as tonight’s thunderstorm rolled in.

 

Dancing in the storm video!

The other day I posted a photo of my son dancing outside during a thunderstorm. Here’s the entire video he made of himself while dancing to two songs.
Dancing in an open space during a thunderstorm probably isn’t the smartest thing to do, but the effect of the lightning in the background is pretty cool.

Dancing in the storm.

Photo of my son dancing during a storm. The white area isn’t sunlight–it’s lightning. This was taken after dark!

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Click to enlarge.

A close call.

My friend (and commenter on this blog) Alaina lives in Eastern New Mexico, where the prairie meets the desert. Severe storms and tornadoes are a common occurrence in her part of the country in the spring. She sent me these unbelievable pictures on Twitter. I am including her words in the captions of this incredible moment. I would have been so scared I doubt I could have held the camera steady, or even had the presence of mind to take photos at all!

While driving in eastern NM last week we saw this storm tracker beside the road watching the sky…..

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…We drove to a nearby truck stop. I got out of the car and took pictures of the storm cloud…

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Suddenly a wall of dust and debris was whirling all around us!

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We were standing directly under a supercell, inside the vortex of a weak mesocyclone approx. 200′ wide!

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It looked & sounded scarier than my pics show. Wish I’d switched to video~dramatic high plains weather!

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I would say Alaina was very lucky! But what a fantastic opportunity to take some amazing photos.