Relying on the “forecast track” is a tricky thing. Hurricane Charley, in 2004, was predicted to hit Tampa Bay head on. Several of the counties ordered evacuations. (You didn’t really have to go, but you were advised to write your SSN on your body with indelible marker. 911 wouldn’t come and save your stupid self.) The folks in the marina I was in at the time, spent the better part of a week tying things down, clearing the decks. Literally. And even then, there was damage.
But a funny thing happened on the way to landfall. The storm grew in intensity (from category 2 to 4 in a couple of days) and then made a sharp right turn, and made landfall about 90 miles south of Tampa Bay, in Charlotte Harbor. (Boca Grande to be exact.) They had almost no preparations done even though they were in the “cone of probability” because they were not close to the forecast track.
I remembered thinking – in 2005 – how crazy the folks in New Orleans were to not be evacuating. (Katrina was much larger than Charley a week before landfall.) And being side-swiped by a Category 4 was bad enough.
Now we have Matthew. Category 4 as it passes over Cuba, and in the next day or two it will cross into the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. Even if you believe the currently forecast track will be correct, there is still a high probability of damage on the East Coast. The wind-probability map doesn’t tell the whole story, because there are also the tides to consider. and with the rotation being counter-clockwise, tides can be pushed fairly far inland ahead of this storm. (As per usual, click on the images for expanded views.)
Preparations to make – though to my mind, a lot of this should have been done in May. Or earlier. 6 ways to prepare now for hurricanes. I would have water, and food for a week at least. Plus I have water filtration.
I hope everyone is ready to go. The reason I left Florida isn’t that I love winter in the Midwest. It is just that I couldn’t stand the thought of owning real estate in Hurricane Country.