Posted in Florida, Randomness

The gales of November

I live in Florida. We went through pretty much the entire 2022 hurricane season with no named storms. To say that’s unusual would be an understatement. But October and now November have more than made up for it. I remember the song, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” by Gordon Lightfoot where he sings of the gales of November. I always thought that had to do with the Great Lakes; Lake Superior, in particular. But now I’m not so sure.

Mid October Ian crept slowly towards our peninsula building in strength, keeping everyone guessing until it made landfall at Fort Myers Beach as a high-end CAT-4 hurricane. After dragging itself through, the devastation left behind was mind-boggling. Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel Island, Captiva, Pine Island – flattened; obliterated as if bombs had gone off leaving the islands and shores barren; half-erect buildings leaning into now empty lots strewn with debris. It even took out a bridge cutting the mainland off from the island as if to say, don’t bother; there’s nothing for you here now. As it moved slowly across the state, it caused major flooding from west to east.

I truly thought that would be it for the 2022 hurricane season. There were a few storms that went towards Central America, but it looked like we would be in the clear until the season ended. We weren’t.

Nicole, a very disorganized tropical storm, was edging itself towards a CAT-1 and then scaling back, wobbling a bit to keep everyone guessing where she would land. The east coast area south of Vero Beach ended up her target, though since it was such a huge system (700+ miles wide), the entire coastline was in the zone. We took precautions. We knew there’d be some power outages. They closed bridges to the mainland. But it was a CAT-1. What’s the worst that could happen?

The top photos are in the area of South Daytona. I cannot imagine what this has to feel like as a home owner. The last few are in Flagler Beach. I won’t go into the particular heartbreak I feel for Flagler Beach; I lived there over 10 years and fell in love with it. But what was is essentially gone. The homes didn’t get the destruction the Fort Myers’ area did, but the beaches, the dunes, the walkovers – when all is said and done, it’ll never be the same. In the repairs and reconstruction to come, they will have to forego the aesthetics and concentrate instead on the stability and function of a maybe not-so-attractive alternative if we’re to keep any semblance of the area alive.

So on 11/12 I’m fairly certain the worst is over as far as the 2022 hurricane season. But it has wreaked havoc across this state. I think no one, outside of the Panhandle perhaps, came through unscathed. Is this to be the new normal? Have the warmed seas now made way for future gales of November?

As of right now I’m unsure whether I want to find out.

Posted in Daytona Beach, Family & Friends, Florida

Remember when…?

I watched in trepidation along with everyone else as Ian made its way past Cuba and entered the Gulf of Mexico, bee-lining Florida’s west coast, building in strength, keeping everyone on pins and needles regarding its landing.

It’s hard living in Florida. You know people all around the state – and it’s a BIG state! While you hope and pray you are not in the bull’s eye of any approaching storm, there’s relief and a little bit of guilty angst when it goes elsewhere. While we might feel as if we’ve dodged a bullet, that bullet is still heading straight towards someone we know and care about.

Ian took care of that by becoming the biggest, baddest storm in recent history; big enough to cover nearly the entire state with winds spanning 400+ miles, the highest recorded gusts reaching 150mph. And it was slow, moving across the state at around 9mph. Large, slow storms produce a lot of storm surge; up to 12 feet on some Fort Myers’ barrier islands. And the water didn’t just affect the west coast. Florida is flooded throughout the state, including many central and east coast areas.

Ian arrived on the sunrise side Wednesday night and Thursday, the outer bands heralding in the weakened now tropical storm. Don’t underestimate a tropical storm. We had wind gusts in the 80s. Out my front window, the Intracoastal looked like the ocean on a blustery day with whitecaps flying over the banks. Our palm trees swayed in submission to the winds, their fronds flying sideways like hair in a wind tunnel. Eaves flew off the roofs of the buildings or were bent sideways, banging with the wind throughout the night. I lost power, but miraculously only for a few hours. I thought it would never end. And I was only in a tropical storm.

My brother and his wife stayed in their townhouse in Fort Myers, hunkered behind hurricane shutters and no doubt praying to our sainted mother to make it through unscathed. They’re originally from Colorado, and this was their first hurricane. What a first. They’re fine. They’re without power and will be for some time. They have someplace to go until it’s restored. But there are hundreds of thousands of people, victims of Ian, who do not. My thoughts and prayers are with them.

Once again Mother Nature has changed the landscape – and the seascape – of this blue ball we live on. So many memories made in these places have had their backdrops painfully erased. Thankfully we DO have our memories, and we can share them with others beginning with, “Remember when…?”

  • Ian's track
  • Satellite view
  • CAT 4 hurricanes - comparison
  • Hurricanes Charley and Ian comparison
  • Inside the eye
  • Naples
  • North Fort Myers
  • Fort Myers Marina by Dylan Federico
  • Cape Coral
  • Bridge to Pine Island
  • Sanibel Causeway before
  • Sanibel Causeway after
  • Fort Myers Beach by Dylan Federico
  • Fort Myers Beach by Dylan Federico
  • Fort Myers Beach by Dylan Federico
  • Fort Myers Beach by Dylan Federico
  • S Flagler Beach, NE Florida