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Hurricane Irma
10 September 2017, 17:24,
Hurricane Irma
Irma finally made "landfall" on some of the Florida Keys as a Category 3, 120-130 mph winds. That is bad, but not exactly the category 5 which the news agencies had been having their orgasm over for the past week. It is not the worst storm ever to hit this region.

No matter how bad the reports or how severe the warnings to leave become, to the point of certain death, every town in the U.S. has a news crew out on the beach filming trees blowing sideways.

It is now headed up the west coast and about to strike the area around Naples Florida. Back in the old days Naples was the center of the sponge trade and had a huge population of Greek immigrants, mostly sponge harvesters.

Apparently it will bounce up the coast hitting points that extend to the west but spending much of its tine with the eye out in the Gulf. The track could change again but that is unlikely.

The closer it gets to Naples the more the announcers hyperventilate, like announcers at a football game, but they still have computer and phone service in many of the homes and individuals are popping up on the TV to do live reports.

The really heavy population area is to the north in the Tampa/St. Petersberg metro-plex. Tampa has a fine harbor and that is one of the locations the Gulf based cruise ships operate from. There is a huge population of retired people in that area but many have fled and are with their families further north, or they have not traveled south for the winter as yet.

We will see how things go.
10 September 2017, 19:32,
RE: Hurricane Irma
People I know who are retired in Tampa evacuated to Tallahassee, thinking it was far enough away. Now the weather service thinks Tallahassee stands a 50-50 chance of getting hit. Had to laugh at myself, because then talking with the guy on the phone last week he asked how far they should go.

I told him, "Deborah hasn't been to Branson, MO"

Should have kept going...

73 de KE4SKY
"Almost Heaven" West Virginia
10 September 2017, 21:47,
RE: Hurricane Irma
You can't figure what people are thinking. The entire state was under evacuation recommendation.

and you are correct it appears that the pan-handle is going to get a direct hit no matter what else happens.

It will be down to category 2 by then, perhaps lower, so they should get through it.
10 September 2017, 23:17,
RE: Hurricane Irma
New York Times has suspended its paywall for storm coverage, you can get current updates at the link

Hurricane Irma Live: Storm Slams Into Marco Island on Florida’s Gulf Coast

• Irma is bearing down on Naples, Fla., bringing with it high winds and rain and a storm surge of 9 to 15 feet above ground level Sunday night, Stephen Shiveley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin, Fla., said in an interview. “In my meteorological career, this is the most powerful storm I’ve seen.”

• Florida officials have ordered more than 6.5 million residents to leave their homes. Several counties, including Miami-Dade, Collier and Lee, enacted curfews until Sunday morning. Collier County also issued a boil water warning until officials could assess damages to the water system.

• About 540,000 people were told to leave the Georgia coast, and Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for all counties. Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina have declared states of emergency.

• At least 25 people have been confirmed dead in parts of the Caribbean affected by Irma.

73 de KE4SKY
"Almost Heaven" West Virginia
11 September 2017, 15:37,
RE: Hurricane Irma
Irma down graded to Category 1 while still only half way up the Florida peninsula.

Winds are reduced to a mere 80 mph with 100 mph gusts.

Storm surge is still a problem and warnings are still out for all of north Florida and parts of Alabama and Georgia.

3 million residences without power. 6 million residences and businesses in the state so half the population is without juice. Part if it due to the utilities turning off power for safety reasons. Less chance of fires in damaged structures and less chance of live wires on the ground.

For the half of the State in the north the inconvenience of no power or utilities s going to be the greatest burden. After the storm surges there will be mandatory boil water orders, or the water will be shut off and when it is turned back on the first few days will be tainted.

I read some reports of looting in the British press. It appears there was some misbehavior. 20 people were arrested for looting.

What they looters hit, in both reported cases, were sporting goods stores where they were after guns. That is really a testament to our present laws working well. It is very difficult for this element to buy a gun and firearms are their primary looting target since they can get them no other way.

Since the population of Florida is 18.5 million, I would find the ration of one looter per 900,000 people an acceptable and unexpectedly good/low percentage.

That is what has happened so far. We will see how things go as the week progresses.

Saturday afternoon I met a young man at a local tool and equipment outlet where he was purchasing two 5,000 kw gen-sets. He had been "sent for" by family in Florida. We are nearly 1000 miles from central Florida here in my location. He was to bring the generators and all the gas he could fit into his pickup truck as soon as the storm had blown past. Neither gas nor generators were available in Florida.
11 September 2017, 16:19,
RE: Hurricane Irma
Good point MB ! i am looking at the coverage on our news in the here and now ...but the worst is to come ...the aftermath that will be ten times worse , the clean up (if you still have a home to return too ) and if all the utilities are back up and running , and the waterborne problems ....must be bloody soul destroying for all these people.
To take a look back in times past, its easy to see future direction you need to be.
11 September 2017, 18:14,
RE: Hurricane Irma
I see in the TV news video that all of the looters are red-headed Irishmen wearing Gallway United jerseys, but I wouldn't want to be accused of racial profiling...

73 de KE4SKY
"Almost Heaven" West Virginia
11 September 2017, 18:44,
RE: Hurricane Irma
Down to Tropical Storm rating at this point.

Yes there will be much whining and wailing, as there always is. Especially from the Yankee tourists who live down there part time and never experienced a direct hit. They will make the trip to check on their Caravan and find it washed to sea and wail like a banshee that they have "lost everything, it's all gone!" when they have a half million dollar home somewhere in Ohio.

And there will be many people that were not equipped for either the storm, the evacuation, or the recovery.

Just remember that these people chose to live in a hurricane danger zone, it is the middle of hurricane season and they had nearly two weeks notice that this storm was on the way and how bad it was. They watched the storm ravage the Leeward Islands for a week before the evacuation order was given.

If they chose to stay for the storm there is no reason for them not having proper preps to sustain themselves until recovery is possible. If they are returning from evacuation there is no reason for them to not bring the food, water, tools ad fuel they need for proper recovery. If they do not have what they need it is their own fault. Not the government's fault, not the mayor's fault, not FEMA's fault and not Trump's fault.

And the media is still milking this event for all it is worth, making things look much worse than it really is by using selected video footage and still photos.

Yes, trees are down, power lines are down, phone lines are down, basements are flooded and there are alligators in the streets, on the lawns and in the swimming pools. They are there every day, that's part of living in Florida! You check the pool before you dive in and you do it every time, not just after a hurricane.

They have snakes too! All kinds including pythons and boas and 5 different poisonous species. Tey coe out looking for dry land during the flooding too.

Power companies from all over the southern U.S. have sent crews to both Texas and Florida. While everyone else was driving away from the storm the recovery crews and FEMA workers were driving toward the storm. One of the Florida Light and Power officials was talking about how they had restored power to 100,000 homes while the hurricane was still blowing and as soon as the wind speed decreased to less than 30 mph the crews would be at work. Selected areas where there was less damage to the infrastructure (poles, transformers and lines) will be restored by simply flipping a remote switch. They shut much of the grid down to preserve it.

Lots of work to do now. My friends have mostly all checked in. Even the ones down in the southern swamps (Everglades). They were out of contact for almost 36 hours but reported in last night. They were in the high surge zone, but their houses are on stilts because it is a high surge zone.

Now there is another question to ask.

Where is Jose going to land?
17 September 2017, 02:12,
RE: Hurricane Irma
Irma AAR

An email received from a school friend now living in FL:

“This was something I figured it would be worth sharing to benefit others. It should be noted that I have a well, so no power means no water. I had been saving for a generator prior to this storm, I'll explain more about that later.

Pre-Hurricane Prep: My prepping began years prior to the hurricane but I wanted to share a few things I did just prior to Irma's arrival.

- As soon as Harvey hit Texas I filled up both vehicles with gas and all of my gas cans. I wanted to get the gas before it shot up in price and before it became scarce. This proved to be very useful. My wife and I worked from home so we limited our driving in the week leading up to Irma. We had plenty of gas and did not need to deal with the chaos of long lines.
- We live in Lake County. We decided not to evacuate. I do not like leaving my house unguarded and we are far enough inland that I felt fairly confident about staying.
- Everything was brought inside from our yard/porch and the grill was secured to our back porch column with three ratchet straps. It never ceases to amaze me what people will leave outside during a hurricane.
- When we built the house 2.5 years ago I purposely did not put trees on the property. It lacks curb appeal but my house will not be the one to damage to power lines or anyone else's property.
- We are not in a flood zone, but I sandbagged both the front and rear entry ways just to be safe.
- I have an old pickup and a new SUV. The SUV was parked securely in the garage and the pickup parked horizontally in front of the garage door to help protect the garage door.
- I filled a water bob in the one tub we have in the house. These are great and they were going for $250 on Ebay after they sold out after Harvey. They are still out of stock everywhere other than Ebay where they are now $200.
- I filled eight 5 gallon buckets with water for toilet flushing and shower use.
- I filled up all of our pots and pans with water for our three dogs. Dogs run through water very quickly, especially when it's hot.
- My neighbor has two boats. He filled them with water to help weigh them down to keep them from blowing away, He treated that used that water with bleach and used it in the subsequent days for washing and expedient decon without power. A Boat Bath Tub is a great thing to do if you own boats.
- I did not board up my windows, as the storm was down to Tropical Storm "only" (and I don't say that lightly) when it arrived to my county. The storm was powerful enough to knock down trees and limbs, but there is very little flying debris during a category 1, an I personally don't think it's worth the effort unless you know the storm is going to be more powerful.

During the storm:
- The weather channel was not as useful as local news stations. It's useful to know where exactly the weatherman is during the worst part of the storm and that's about it.
- Local AM radio was much more helpful than local TV news. They did a great job of notifying cities and counties when the worst of the storm was going to arrive.
- I used my Baofeng UV-5R as a scanner to listen to local fire/ems dispatch. This was very useful which alerted us to several tornadoes before they were announced on the weather radio. I heard FD responding to transformer and power line fires in my area. I also knew exactly when all emergency services were suspended once the storm approached.
- During the rough portion of the storm my family all wore shoes in case windows were broken or we had to evac the house.
- I used to be on a Search and Rescue team so I have quite a bit of equipment. I wore my SAR helmet and goggles the few times I needed to run outside. Does it look a bit obnoxious? Sure, but I wasn't going to risk getting knocked in the head or getting debris in my eyes. I will be purchasing two more helmets for my wife and daughter.
- My front door faces East and it the wind drove rain against it for hours. We battled flooding in our entry way all night and went through all of our towels before the storm passed. I will be looking into how to better seal the entry ways.
- We lost one section of our PVC fence. I have no idea how we didn't lose more. Many of the sections are loose now and I need to do some repairs. I think when the one section broke away it caused relief on the rest of the fence and prevented more pieces from breaking.
- Candles are a fire hazard and not useful where it's hot. It's downright dangerous to use them during the storm. After the storm they heat the damned house! Batteries are cheap on Amazon. Just use lanterns and flashlights.
- My large trauma bag was staged with us in the living room. I also have small blow out kits staged strategically around the house.
- Fire extinguisher was put out in a central and easily accessible location.
- Rally point for potential tornado and worst part of the storm was pre-determined and used during the storm.
- Power went out at 0130 Monday morning prior to the worst portion of the storm arriving.
- The storm was so loud I could not hear the transformers blowing. There was one point during the storm where the sky looked like the northern lights for about 3 minutes. All you could see was the glow from transformers blowing. It was a beautiful and humbling sight.

Post Storm:
- I did not leave our neighborhood for the first 24 hours. I checked on my neighbors but I had no desire to risk injury/death due to downed lines and debris.
- We lost one section of our fence, had minor flooding in our entry way, and one of my exterior security cameras is broken. Other than that we did not sustain any damage. A church 200 yards from us lost its roof and many of the mobile homes around us had their roofs torn off. Trees and limbs are down everywhere. There were lots of power lines down around our neighborhood.
- We were without power for five days total.
- Gas was extremely scarce in my immediate area and still is today, six days after the storm. Two gas stations have not opened as of today due to damage and power outage. The other two gas stations closest to me have had very limited gas.
- Water and ice were non-existent in my area for the first few days and are still very difficult to find near me.
- Noise from generators made it very difficult to sleep.
- The first day was not bad dealing with no power because the storm's backside still gave us a lot of wind. The rest of the week was miserable with almost no wind.
- All hotels in our area were maxed out so going to a hotel wasn't even an option.
- Leaving our house with three dogs is very difficult so leaving really wasn't an option anyways.
- Any restaurant or fast food place was packed at all times of the day throughout the week. People wanted fresh food and were just hanging out in cold AC. Hardees only had three menu items available one afternoon four days after the storm.
- On day five gas, water, and ice were still scarce.

- I have plenty of food to last a long time so running out of food was never a concern. However some food was easier to deal with than other food was.
- Without power "survival" food is a pain in the butt. It's too hot to want to cook anything and having pots and pans to clean wastes valuable water and is a chore that is just not fun. Instant potatoes, noodles, rice, beans, etc are all not worth it in my opinion.
- Canned V8, warm beer, pop tarts, Cliff bars, granola bars, cold canned food and snacks were the staples of the diet.

- I always have quite a bit of potable water stored at my house, but the water needed for decon and routine hygiene went VERY quickly. You only get three flushes from a five gallon bucket. Our neighbor with the bleach treated, water-filled boat decon bath had the right idea!
- All of our drinking water came from pre-packaged water bottles. I keep ten cases on hand that we rotated through. I never had to touch our stored emergency water buffaloes.
- We never had to use any water from the water bob.
- We went through almost all the “dog water” in our pots and pans and all the water in the five gallon “flush buckets.”

- We used five gallon buckets to flush toilets. We also used them to shower with. We would fill up an empty liter water bottle and dump it on ourselves to get wet. We'd then soap up and scrub our bodies. We'd then use a second liter bottle from a bucket to rinse off. You can take a very effective shower with only 2 liters/about 64oz of water.
- Hand sanitizer and rubbing alcohol were used to keep our hands clean.
- I'm very "regular." I poop first thing in the morning every day. I then have coffee with my breakfast a bit later and often poop again. This is a no go when you have no running water. Have your coffee before you poop so you don't go twice.
- We have a robot vacuum to help with the dog hair. If you have one charge it up before the storm and you can get a couple runs in after the storm. It may seem silly, but keeping the house EVEN MODERATELY clean does help.
- To save on cleaning we switched to disposable plates, bowls, and utensils.

- Once power went out the weather radio, crank radio, and Boafeng were vital.
- Cell phone network was taxed throughout the storm and even days after the storm. I had network failures not just during the storm but in the days after the storm.
- Getting my Ham license will be a priority. It was very difficult to figure out who had gas in the days following the storm. Having instant reliable comms with other people would have been very useful.
- Having radio communication with trustworthy neighbors would have been useful.

-Solar lanterns were extremely helpful. They are free to run. They aren't as bright as my Streamlight lanterns, but they got the job done at minimal cost.
- My Surefire G2X is my EDC flashlight and I used it throughout the power outage. I never had to change the battery and it was not a fresh battery.
- Like I said, no candles or heated lighting devices. Dangerous and too hot.
- Solar garden lights can be charged in the day and brought inside at night.

- I work from home and I always have my Glock on me. This didn't change.
- I typically keep my long guns locked in a safe, but I kept one of my AR's next to me when I slept.
- I saw very foolish placement of generators. I don't understand why people keep them out front instead of in their backyard. It would be very easy for a group of guys in a truck to back in and throw it in the bed and take off before you could get outside. Some people even had gas cans in plain view.
- My dogs were very useful in letting me know when anyone was around, especially with the windows open.
- I was constantly checking out front to see who was out and about and every time I heard a vehicle I paid attention to who it was. My neighbor and I caught an SUV casing houses. Probably looking for a potential burglary house or a quick generator score.
- Fedex outsourced to a regular driver in an unmarked minivan. This caused quite the stir one morning.. I thought he was stealing out of my neighbor's garage.
- It's hard to hide the noise from a generator, but you can at least keep it and gas cans out of view. Be smart with what you leave out in the open. I took every precaution to not let anyone see what we were doing around the house or what we had.
- As soon as it got dark it was very easy to tell who was home and who had evacuated their houses. Everything is pitch black so if someone was home you would see flashlights and lanterns flashing everywhere around the house.
- Some neighbors you can trust, others you can't. It just depends. I was always talking to my neighbors to see what their current situation was.I wanted to know if they were running out of anything. Depending on who it was I would have gladly helped, but I also wanted to know if anyone was getting desperate. Whenever anyone asked what I had or if I needed anything I was very vague.

- Heat was a morale killer.
- No cold drinks or only warm beer was a morale killer, we aren’t British!.
- Candy of any kind was a big morale boost.
- Board games and card games were a big morale boost when there's nothing to do. They help pass the time.
- My wife is in very good shape and eats extremely healthy food. She was very hungry all day every day. I'm not sure if it was the stress or the heat or both. She commented often about how hungry she was. I actually lost my appetite a lot.

Staying cool in FL without power:
- It's pretty much impossible in Florida, haha
- We ended up buying a generator and portable AC unit on day 4. We just couldn't take it anymore. We had been saving up to get them but we decided to pull from savings and invest in them now. We were just too hot and miserable.
- Prior to the generator we used small batter powered fans that are $7 on Amazon and run on two D batteries. You can get a solid 2 nights off of one set of batteries.
- Hanging out outside in the shade rather than inside was far more bearable.
- Spray bottle fans would have been nice.

- We have three dogs. Two German shepherds and a pit bull. Keeping them cool was difficult. Make sure your pets stay hydrated. Concrete on the back porch or in the driveway was very beneficial if it had been shaded for awhile. The dogs would lay down and cool off a bit.
- Make sure to factor your pets into your water preps. They will go through it very quickly.

- Be careful with your cell phone if you don't have unlimited data. Most of us are used to using the wifi at home. When that's gone you're 100% on data and you can rack up a big bill very quickly.
- I kept a detailed log throughout the week. I logged our food and water intake so I know exactly what to replace. I logged the temperature in our home. What time we went to bed and woke up. All kinds of things. I wanted a very detailed report for myself.
-As stated above, we got a generator and portable AC unit at the end of day four. On day three and four we started sharing a generator with our neighbor. 12 hours on, 12 off. They got it at night and we got it during the day. This kept our deep freezer items frozen and let us charge our phones and use some fans during the day. It was still miserably hot. In my opinion a generator is not going to help you remain comfortable unless you pair it with a window or portable AC unit. Yes it will keep your freezer and fridge cold, but you aren't going to cool down much yourself.
- People were hot and irritable. Nobody got desperate, but you could tell everyone was over it after three days without power.

Immediate priorities:
- Review food/water log and replace used preps.
- Replace used water bob and have a spare on hand. They are impossible to find right now and we could have another storm show up soon.
- Getting an electrician to come out and wire up my well pump to work off the generator.
- Obtaining ham license and getting an entry level setup.
- Sealing both entry ways. I was surprised how much the front door leaked.
- Increasing my gas storage. Generators chew through it.
- Build something to secure the generator to prevent or at least slow down theft.

73 de KE4SKY
"Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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