Hurricane Frances

September 5, 2004

Updated September 6, 2004

The full blog is here.

Video of moderate winds as storm approaches (note shed is in one piece) - warning! 38MB!

Video of moderate winds at antenna tower - 11MB

This was written while we were in the eye of the hurricane.  At this point, winds had dropped to 65 MPH, making it a tropical storm, but it is expected to pick back up to hurricane speed when it moves off shore.  Here are some pictures of our preparation and during the approach of the hurricane.

Here is the NOAA chart showing it right on top of us in Palm Harbor, Florida.  Technically, the eye was mapped as just north of us, but the winds now are calm - where else do winds get calm in a hurricane?

There are many hours of preparation for a hurricane.  Here we moved everything off the lakeside deck, pushed the plants up against a corner (this works well), strapped the refrigerator shut and boarded up the sliding glass doors.  Even with the boards, air pressure still pushes against the doors.

Hey, where's the lake view?  This is the other side of the nearest two doors pictured above.  The cages are for Bubba; the small one is usually outside and the big one is the living room "house".  The doors to these cages are always open and he has free run of the living room.

The lake level was lowered about 2' (see normal water mark on wall) in anticipation of the major rainfall.  As the storm passed, the water level came up only a few inches thanks to the great flood control outfall canal created in 1969.

The neighbor's shed started to break apart and this was on the side of the house.  The winds were flowing alongside the house (see bushes to the right) but not straight against it.

Waves on a lake?  This isn't the ocean!

Tree shrapnel everywhere.  The items you see near the boat are all tied down and not damaged (yet).

That's all for now.


Now that the eye has passed, the North side of the house is calm and we can open up one of the doors and cook breakfast, camping-style.  The black rug is actually Scooby.

Here's the office sliding glass doors (the farthest boarded up door in the first picture) with the air conditioner installed.  Even with the boards blocking the wind, the pressure pushed on the insulation board (silver color) and two sticks had to be wedged in place to keep it in place.  This AC unit is powered by the generator - it's normally used on the boat.

Hanging beads anyone?  It would be more interesting than the very functional comforter that blocks off the office/guest bedroom area from the rest of the house.  Have you figured out why this is here?  That's where the A/C is!  Tropical storms are 100% humidity (so is normal summer Florida weather).  One power cord is from the generator to the office and the other is to power the refrigerator.

What storm?  I'm trying to sleep.  Bring me carrots.  Have you heard of pets who freak out during a storm?  Not this power lounger.


First the winds from the North...

Then, after the eye passes, the winds from the South.  These Banana trees will grow back quickly.  The water table is only about 1 foot down.

Any questions about how much rain there has been?