ian, aftermath #1

Florida is now going through the grim process of counting the dead and trying to rebuild across Florida after Ian. But first, the maps.

Ian has reformed and strengthened back into at least a category one hurricane. It may continue to strengthen up one more category before landfall. Keep in mind that the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, which starts in the Gulf of Mexico, flows up the Atlantic seaboard, over which Ian is moving right now. More weather energy for Ian. And if it keeps on the current track, then the mid-West which includes Ohio is right in its track as a depression. A very large, rain-maker depression.

Once again you can get a much better idea of how Ian is effecting Florida’s weather. Note that tropical storm winds are reaching as far south-west as Tampa. Still. Florida won’t be free of Ian’s influence until Ian makes landfall on South Carolina, sometime Friday afternoon.

Believe it or not the overall number of Floridian’s without power has dropped some 200,000 customers. I have no idea where, but the total is going down. It’s going to be a long process, and there will be substantial numbers who will go for a week or more without power, just like I did back in 2004 with Charley in Orlando. I have hovered over the county of Orlando, where I live, to give you a feeling of how many are without power. Keep in mind Orange County and Orlando were “merely” side-swiped by tropical storm Ian, not hit full-on by category four hurricane Ian. And yet we still suffered damage and flooding, nothing like Punta Gorda and Fort Myers, but still.

A few photos from TheGuardian.

Flooding and rescue work in Orange County, Florida.
Ian damage in Fort Myers

This is the rich section of Fort Myers, right on the shore. All those rich people’s boats in the foreground, and all those condos rising up in the back. This is the aftermath when you mix a category four hurricane with far too much expensive land development right on the Gulf shore. I have no idea how much is insured, and how much might be made whole by insurance. But this development should not be here. And yet it is, and representative of too many communities on both the Gulf and Atlanta coasts. Think of Miami…

Possible retirement community, Punta Gorda, Florida

I say “possible retirement community” because this is the type of inexpensive construction that my wife’s mother used to build her retirement home up in Ocala, Florida. Simple frame houses with a car port on each side. And if this is the case, then how will these people pay to rebuild their homes?

It goes without saying that a lot of the critically damaged structures won’t come back. The people on whose backs this will predominantly fall will be those who are the most economically disadvantaged, such as retirees on fixed incomes. Our current state government is woefully ill equipped to deal with this on all levels.

ian, #5

Welp, here I am again talking about Ian. This time I’m talking about the coverage of Ian’s tropical storm winds. Let’s put up the maps.

The National Hurricane Center’s current track shows the extend of the winds. Nearly all of the Florida peninsula is covered, including south-east Georgia and the southern end of South Carolina. Let’s look at the Washington Post’s tracker map.

The Washington Post map is a more refined view of the NHC map. The red ring around the center of tropical storm Ian shows the extent, as of 8 am Thursday, of Ian’s tropical force winds. You can look at space photos of Ian all day long, but you really need these maps to show the effect of those storms. And this storm, even though it’s now “only” a tropical storm, never-the-less is effecting three southern states. Florida won’t see the last of Ian until mid-day Friday. This is one more example of what global warming/climate change has produced, far more severe hurricanes.

I was living in Orlando in 2004 when hurricane Charley came ashore at the same spot Ian did in 2004. Charley passed over Orlando and tore up the area to the point that we were without power for over a week, back when Florida Power serviced the region. That was the year my first daughter was starting as a freshman at Florida State University in Tallahassee. When we finally left in the family van to drive her up, power was still out. It came back on two hours after we left (our next door neighbor called us). Charley was about half the size of Ian. Ian caused less damage to us this time for a number of reasons:

  • Our electricity provider, Florida Power, sold the service area we live in to Duke Energy. Duke has spent years and money strengthening the electrical infrastructure in their service area to the point where this time, unbelievably, we did not loose power as soon as the first bit of wind started to blow and rain started to fall. We still have the occasional outage due to idiots driving cars and smashing them into power poles, but they are thankfully infrequent and very short lived.
  • Ian made a critical turn further east right before it made landfall.
  • Ian was slower moving and dissipated considerably more energy as it moved through the Florida peninsula. By the time it got close enough to Orlando to cause issues it was far weaker than Charley had been. Regardless of how events turned out here, the tremendous damage to southwest Florida is far greater with Ian than it was with Charley. Tampa in 2004 only felt winds between 25 to 35 mph from Charley. Wind speeds were at least double that with Ian. And if the earlier forecast with Ian making landfall at Tampa had held true, then Tampa would have been effectively wiped off the map.

Extreme weather events like Ian are now are future.