Archive for the ‘Hurricane Andrew’ Tag

ALL O.K. – Irma Update – Cloudman23’s Florida Family


     We and all family members (including animal members) are O.K.  No damage to our home.  Much debris to clean up but no hurry for that. Helping others is high on the list.  All neighbors and friends are O.K. as far as I can tell.  In this house the comfort level increased significantly about five hours ago and I’ll take credit for it (just joking about the taking credit part).  Here’s the tale:  I felt terrible for not having the American flag on display yesterday especially since it was 9-11.  That date certainly didn’t escape me.  But it was still too windy.  I put it out in all of its glory at 12:37 pm today and our electricity came back at 12:38.  So the air conditioner is on, the refrigerators and freezers are working and we now have water.  And obviously we have an Internet connection.  And most important of all, my father-in-law has Fox News (the only station his television set receives).   I guess I should have put the flag out sooner!

     My oldest daughter and her husband in Lakeland:  All services have been restored.   
      Her daughter in Lakeland with her husband:  Water but no power.  Estimate for restoration is 6-12 days.  Hope that changes!  9:50 pm 9-12-17 update: Power restored.  Amazing! 
      The next daughter in Saint John’s south of Jacksonville with her son:  Everything working.  Her oldest son in Valdosta, Georgia is fine but I have no details.
     The mother of those two daughters (in St. Johns) is in fine shape.  A recent text message indicated that she had services except for Internet.
     My youngest daughter in Lake City with her husband: No damage.  No power, no water – but they have a generator for lights and refrigeration.  9:50 pm 9-12-17 update: I was wrong.  They do not have a generator.   9:50 pm 9-12-17 update: Power restored late AM today, 9-13-17.  Biggest concern now is predicted flooding of the Santa Fe River nearby which will close down Interstate 75 at Fort White, which is near Lake City.  This will freeze their commuting which takes place between Lake City and Gainesville and also interfere drastically with those who are attempting to return from the north.
     My son in Crystal River with his wife.  No damage.  Everything restored.  My wife drove to their future house under construction (6 miles north of here) and it is fine.  The block side walls are up but the roof is not yet on.  She found that the elderly couple living next door were almost out of ice and that he (92) had insulin that must be kept cool.  They now have all of our ice.  If they want, they can come here.
     My father-in-law, nearly 97, who has lived with us for over 12 years handled the storm well.  He is not only a veteran of World War II but also a veteran of hurricane Donna (1960), and hurricane Betsy (1965) – both of which were memorable for him at one time.  But, he doesn’t remember them anymore.  However, he does still remember Andrew in 1992 when we all evacuated Homestead together and then came back to what looked like ground zero for that little twerp in North Korea.  The night of Irma’s visit was very loud but he didn’t hear a thing – slept right through it.  I guess that there are times when it is advantageous to have diminished hearing. 
     We stored a great amount of water prior to the storm specifically for the purpose of toilet flushing and taking spit bathes.  Praise the Lord for that.  It was difficult to school my father in law in the fundamental mandate, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow.  If it’s brown, flush it down.”  That was really no problem.  We have lots of water remaining in convenient containers as the two photos below show.  Though my little sailboat has 450 pounds of ballast in the keel, I’ve added a boatload of water ballast to her – plus more in the garage in those 20 pound cat litter containers with the big screw-on caps.
     Now for the first time we are able to see on television some of the devastation caused by this storm.  It reminds me that everything is relative.  My thoughts and prayers go out to those who are suffering.  Our experience with Andrew taught me that the effects can be far reaching.  The fear, tension, discomfort, and the unknown can really take a toll.  Post traumatic stress disorder is common.  It’s bad enough for those who are healthy and happy; it must be so much worse for those who are not.  Now it’s time to look for those around us who need help.  We have supplies they might be able to use and some energy left.  What’s on my mind right now are the myriad people, many of them volunteers, who are busting their posteriors to help others in need – including those workers who are doing their best to restore services and also for those who are protecting us in so many other ways.  It did not escape me, for example, that the first two Irma-related fatalities in Florida were two law enforcement officers in a head-on crash southeast of Tampa. 
God bless you all.



Two independent left clicks will fully enlarge

Remember, tropical systems of this scale move generally from east to west if they have an entire ocean over which they can travel.  The reason for that tendency is multifaceted but it has to do more with the forces that dominate the general large-scale circulation of the atmosphere than anything else.  I will produce a posting with diagrams on that subject soon.

The lineup shown in the satellite image above is impressive to say the least though it is not unusual for this part of the Atlantic Hurricane Season.  Let’s hope that nothing serious comes of any of these systems.  However – I imagine that is wishful thinking.

Besides – everything is relative.  For example:  Since hurricane Andrew was relatively dry and part of the roof over the living room stayed on we were able to salvage some of our furniture.  The closest place I could find a truck to rent and storage was 100 miles north in Boynton Beach.  When my wife and I were up there we stopped at a Publix to purchase some provisions.  In the checkout lane we overheard a lady seriously complaining because her hair stylist was in Dade County and her standing weekly appointment had to be canceled because there was no electricity at the shop due to the hurricane.  Those of you who know me probably find it hard to believe that I kept my mouth shut – but I did.  In fact, I smiled over it as we moved on.  Our house had just been literally destroyed a few days earlier so this ladies concerns seemed a bit trivial to me.  However, for some reason – perhaps gratitude for being alive and having no one in my family injured – I felt that I needn’t bother to waste my time trying to convince her that her “problem” was not worth verbalizing in front of total strangers at a grocery store.  On the other hand, I’m sure some of my complaints seem trivial in the whole scheme of things.


Thanks to NOAA's National Hurricane Center for this graphic.

8-30-2010 10:10 pm EDT.

I’ve watched television weather reporters today trying to explain what mechanism will hopefully turn Earl to the right – the sooner the better.  But not one of them mentioned the natural tendency for objects, fluids, and dynamic systems in motion to turn right (in the Northern Hemisphere).  I’m referring to the Coriolis Effect.  At times like this it is unfortunate that the Coriolis Effect cannot strengthened or weakened at will by those of us who would wish to keep these strong storms from plowing into us.

Here are two links for you if you are interested in the Coriolis Effect as it relates to weather:

I remember so well in late August, 1992, as I, my family, my students, and my friends and neighbors were hoping and praying for powerful hurricane Andrew to turn right and stay out over the Atlantic.  It eventually did turn right but not soon enough for us.  Our house was a total loss; the eye of Andrew went right over it.  We stayed in the community and had the house rebuilt; it was exactly one year before we occupied it again even though it wasn’t entirely finished.  I had purchased a 25′ travel trailer which was our palace-in-the-driveway for that year and we spent many Summers thereafter traveling all over the continent with our children.

Bottom line:  Lets hope for a drastic right turn on the part of Earl very soon.  The computer model tracks do not look promising for that.  Things are looking increasingly “ugly” for places like coastal North Carolina and points northward up the coast.  Though weakening is expected to occur before a possible visit to Nova Scotia – the prospect is nevertheless of considerable concern.

NOTE:  Some depictions of the successive forecast mean positions that you might see on television, your computer, or in the print media might be connected with an arcuate line right down the middle of the “cone of uncertainty.”  The National Hurricane Center still provides such a depiction but they favor this one because it has been shown that when people gaze at the midline they tend to either forget or ignore that the storm could fairly easily embark into other parts of the widening cone as it moves along.

Let’s REALLY get out of Iraq! NOW!

August 30, 2010

I find it sadly misleading to hear and read the implication that we are now “out” of Iraq.

I say – let’s really get out – NOW – and bring our valuable “stuff” back home with us!

Let’s eliminate the need for more Angel Flights (carrying the fallen) from Iraq!

I think that is ridiculous that nearly 50,000 U.S. Military personnel are still in Iraq and the recent reduction in force is being thought of as a “big deal” by our sad leader in Washington D.C.   50,000 is hardly a small number but one would think it’s just a drop in the bucket considering the way it’s being discussed.  Look at the graphic above.  It contains the letter, “h” 5000 times.  Multiply that by 10 in your mind’s eye and it will give you 50,000.  Can you visualize that?  While you’re at it, can you visualize 4416, the most recent figure I have found for the number of U.S. fatalities in Iraq since the war started on 3-19-2003?

I think we should bring home all of those who remain.  From my perspective – trying to engineer peace in that part of the world is downright stupid or at best, the product of delusional thinking. I can easily come up with meaningful suggestions as to how those people could be utilized in this country.

According to AFP (Agence France-Presse) less than a week ago the top U.S. General in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, suggested at a press briefing in Baghdad that “around” 49,700 troops remain and added, “The number will stay at that level through next summer.”

My associations with men native to that part of the world have not been good. Though there surely must be some exceptions, my impression is that their general regard for the female of our species is on a very low plane. I try to judge without being judgmental. It’s often difficult. When it comes to judging a man, one of my primary points of inquiry and/or observation is, “How does he treat the women in his life and women in general?” I’ve always been especially leery of any man who seems to regard his mother in a negative light though I admit that there is such a thing as an unworthy mother; I read or hear about one now and then in the news. But, if only half of the stories I’ve heard about the treatment of countless women in Iraq and neighboring countries are true, it is indescribably obscene and the “double-standard between genders is demented.

There seems to be great hope that the Iraqi men will be able to assure peace and order in the eventual absence of U.S. supervision. I seriously doubt it. I don’t think that any set of soldiers/politicians/religious figures who treat the women of their society so poorly have the integrity or courage to do what is necessary to assure peace and order. Therefore, I feel that our “leaving Iraq” will most certainly mean that the country will eventually – perhaps even quickly – return to a state of chaos. I say – “So be it!” In the same breath I must say that I hope and pray for the safety and freedom of the women of Iraq and all of the men and children who have somehow resisted being stripped of their innate notions of human value.  I support aid to those people but object strongly to the lives of our citizens being jeopardized in that God-forsaken country.  But, to hell with the time-table I’ve been reading and hearing about over the last week.  Let’s get all of our people out now before something happens that causes them to stay and/or for the numbers to increase again!

What does 50,000 look like?

The circumference of the earth at the equator is 24,901.55 statute miles. If you could drive your car around the equator twice you will have traveled 49,803.1 miles. Each of those miles almost exactly represents one U.S. Military person still in Iraq as of this writing! If you drove that “twice-around-the-world” journey at a rate of 100 statute miles per hour, it would take you almost 21 days to complete the journey. This would NOT include any stops – not even for rest, food, fuel, maintenance, or toilet visits.

The graphic below, not very pretty and not very exciting, shows the letter “h” typed in rows of 100 each to the tune of 50,000 total!  Try scrolling down the graphic to get some idea of what 50,000 means.  As I said at the beginning of this short essay – that is not a “drop in the bucket.” Each aitch (h) represents one living human being from the United States of America! Why did I use “h?” I must have been thinking “hero.”

Think of all of the families associated with each of those individuals.  For those of you who argue that we have an “all volunteer” force over there – I concede that you are correct.  I propose that the number of volunteers in our armed forces would be even larger if they were assigned tasks that aid our own citizens directly.  After hurricane Andrew I made it a special point to thank the service men and women I encountered who were transported down to South Florida to assist us.  Many risked their necks down there to maintain some semblance of order for in many respects, it was like a war zone.  Invariably the response was to the effect that it was nice to be of service in their own country!



For the record – 4416 U.S. fatalities through August 24, 2010.

Here is what that number looks like using the same technique as above:


Though this is probably not news to you – as predicted in the previous posting – activity is picking up out there.  That should be no surprise considering the time of the year.  Once again, I urge you to be prepared for the eventualities of tropical weather if you live in hurricane country.   Having experienced the destruction and aftermath of hurricane Andrew, I can assure you that it doesn’t always happen to “the other guy (or gal)!”

In my family we find that no matter what plans we make – we must not be surprised or angry or disappointed if Mother Nature decides to inconvenience us.  In my opinion it is important to take one day at a time while doing our best to enjoy life and to be of service to others.

Please count on having to be self-sufficient for a while if a damaging/disruptive storm should come through.  When the little things we take for granted are taken away – our lives can suddenly undergo a drastic change.  For example, after Andrew we had no electricity for over 6 weeks.  In spite of the fact that the majority of people who came down to Homestead to help our community were wonderful and extremely well-intentioned – there were some real opportunists too.  A case in point: Generators were trucked down and sold from the back of the trailers for more than 5 times their suggested retail price – cash only – on the line!  The 25′ travel trailer I bought to live in (our house was a total loss) cost $12,995 in our part of Florida before the storm and $17,995 after the storm.  The good news is that my son-in-law found the same model for me from the dealer in Knoxville who sold it to us for $10,000 – and that included delivering it to my driveway in Homestead and showing me the ropes on how to operate the things I knew nothing about.  He and his wife told us that when watching television in the comfort of their home they had been hoping that something would come up where they could be of significant help to a family.  What special people they are!

Only one window was broken by the storm in our home and that was merely a crack.  Why?  We had them all protected with storm shutters.  But – the roof failed!  The shutters don’t protect the contents of a house when the roof comes off – LOL.

A friend of mine who worked at Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant had quit drinking a couple of years prior to hurricane Andrew.  When I saw him a few days after the storm he told me how happy he was that he had quit because had he been drinking he would have merely sat in his recliner with a bottle (or bottles) and tried to ride out the storm in some state of oblivion.  He said that the storm had moved that recliner 8 yards from its spot in his family room.  I thought to myself, “8 yards – 24 feet – sure – I can visualize that happening – easily.  After all – his family room was the biggest room in the house.  BUT – what he meant was 8 “yards!”  Yes – the chair had been repositioned 8 houses down the street coming to rest in someone else’s back yard.



To have this current explosion of activity in the Gulf and Atlantic after so many quiet weeks is a real attention-getter.  Most recently, a tropical system off the Florida panhandle has developed into a tropical storm.  In the meantime Ana and Bill out in the Atlantic are both commanding attention.

Tropical systems are not all bad, particularly when the wind velocities are not too high and this is because they can provide much needed precipitation.  Let’s hope that these three systems prove to be more of an advantage than anything else.  So many people are reminded of Andrew in 1992, another year in which El Nino was a  factor.  Andrew was the only hurricane to make landfall in the U.S.A. that season but he was a whopper and there are many people yet today who will testify that it changed their lives – myself included.

I am likely to be inactive on this site for the next few days for two reasons.  My laptop is behaving badly and either needs some serious attention (like a new hard drive) or I need to bite the bullet and get another machine.  Also – I will be traveling.  For those of you who know me – don’t be alarmed.  The traveling has nothing to do with the current tropical weather activity.

In the meantime if you want to stay on top of things weatherwise I recommend the Weather Channel if you have cable and also the Masters’ Blog at

The Masters’ Blog link is usually at the upper part of the page on the right hand side.

Peace be with you!


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The Hurricane Season of 2009 Has Begun!

6-1-09 HurricaneBegin


This image shows no tropical activity 15 minutes into our 2009 season (not surprisingly) but you can clearly see the clouds development with a stationary front cutting diagonally across the image.

The Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean hurricane season “officially” begins on June 1.  The fact that Tropical Depression 1 formed about 4 days before the official season’s beginning is not an indication of an active hurricane season this year.  There seems to be no relationship between early activity and the “busyness” of that season.  In fact, there is a real possibility that an El Niño event will be strong during what we consider the peak activity period of our season (the approximate middle of the 6 month long period).  Eastern Pacific sea surface temperatures have been rising steadily for the last several months pointing to the El Niño possibility.  That means is that our 2009 season might be less active than usual if the ENSO comes to fruition.  ENSO = El Niño Southern Oscillation.  BUT, even if a strong El Niño develops it is no time to let down one’s guard if living in “hurricane country.”  1992 was an El Niño year and that was when Andrew occurred.  My house in Homestead was a total loss.

I was extremely well prepared back then (August 24, 1992) but hurricane Andrew slammed in as a category 5.  However, we did have a plan and it worked to the degree that no one in my family was physically hurt.  Only one window had a small crack but – the roof failed and the damage was almost beyond belief for us.  Since Andrew was a relatively dry storm our windows holding firm did make it so that we were able to salvage some valuable items afterwards because the wind did not gut the house.

We stayed in the community and helped rebuild.  We had great insurance and our house was reconstructed in one year to a higher standard.  During that time we four lived in a 25’ travel trailer that I purchased for that purpose but kept for several years afterwards to use for recreational and educational travel.

If you live in “hurricane country” then you have choices.  Some of us have more choices than others but you should at least have a plan that is clearly articulated to and understood by each member of your household.  Shall you be well prepared or do you choose to become a potential victim who is dependent upon others almost immediately after a storm?

I urge you to follow to the best of your ability those preparation suggestions made by your local and federal agencies.  Some of us are more fortunate than others in what we are able to do to protect our dwellings – that is, those of us who are lucky enough to have a place we call home.

In my new post-retirement community and in neighboring communities (Citrus and neighboring counties)  I see what I consider to be real paradoxes or, at the very least, some irony.  I’m reminded (but to a somewhat lesser degree) of one of my Homestead neighbors who drove a Mercedes while his wife drove a BMW; they owned a very large boat moored at a dock in nearby Biscayne Bay, an ultra-light aircraft and a twin Cessna – yet they had no window protection of any sort for their home.  I speculate that it was not a matter of the cost of such protection but more a matter of priorities and life style with perhaps a little measure of denial thrown in.

Some people in my part of Florida feel that by being inland they have some sort of immunity to the ravages of hurricanes.  Yes – it is an advantage being inland, especially if on high ground but it does not offer any guarantees.  Most deaths in hurricanes (on the average) are due to high water and being away from the storm surge zones and areas prone to flooding from the storm’s downpours makes for a safer situation – generally speaking.  But, high winds can play havoc particularly when items become projectiles in the wind.  It is a fact that if the wind velocity doubles, the force it exerts upon a surface it is striking at right angles quadruples!  People in my part of Florida experienced a lot of activity if they were here in 2004 but the wind velocities were luckily relatively low.  Only modestly higher wind velocities would have produced exponentially greater force and far greater damage.  Furthermore, tornadoes and microbursts occur within hurricane bands and neither have a preference for locations near the coast.

Come early August we will have been in our new home for four years.  Our first major purchase when moving in was window and door storm protection.  We had tended to that “need” before we were even set up with a cable connection for our televisions and computers.  For the first two years that we were here I participated in a number of hurricane expos as the “hurricane resource person” on site.  There were expo participants who were in the business of selling, fabricating, and installing storm protection to homes and businesses.  Most visitors were there to learn about hurricane safety and hurricane protection.  But one particular type of visitor seemed to come to these expos in order to exercise their debate skills on the pros and cons of storm protection for windows and doors.  I was amazed at times by the level of denial and warped rationalization that I witnessed.  Some argued that they refused to concern themselves with such matters and would just let their insurance take care of it for them.  There was little if any consideration for how they would deal with losses of personal items, safety issues if they were not to evacuate, safety issues if they were to evacuate, where they would go if they did evacuate in time, and how they would handle matters when they returned if things were torn all to hell!  I am convinced that some of the men I talked to felt that it was a manly thing to face a storm raw without preparation – even though in some case it meant leaving their house mates far more vulnerable than necessary.  To my mind, they had it backwards  – a real man takes care of his own and is available to help others as well.

I can testify, by experience, that the trauma of a storm itself often does not compare to the trauma of the immediate aftermath and rebuilding.  Looting, for example and other forms of predatory behavior can occur.  In heavily damaged areas the majority of those who come to help are good people with good intentions but there is one whole class of “helpers” who are there to take victims for a ride they will never forget.  In South Dade County, where Andrew first struck the U.S.A. the divorce rate just about doubled for the next few years.  Stress and anxiety were on a very high level.

So – please think in terms of the big picture when a hurricane visits – not simply the weather event itself.  Think in terms of what you’ll do if you lose electricity for several days and how you will fare food-wise if you need to go for a week or more without provisions and how you’ll communicate.  Cell phones go out of commission when the transmission and relay towers are damaged.  Then there are the special needs people who absolutely must make arrangements for care in the event of a serious storm.

Please be prepared to the best of your ability.  If you later consider all of that planning and work to be for naught because no hurricane occurs in your region – there will be more seasons to follow for which you will again be ready and if, near the end of the season, you have a box full of “emergency food” there are surely some places near where you live to donate it to the needy.  After all, the end of the official hurricane season (November 30) and Thanksgiving (November 26) are pretty darned close to each other.

Here is this season’s list of names; tropical cyclonic systems will receive names in order from this list once they reach tropical storm intensity; tropical storm sustained winds fall in the range of 39 mph to 73 mph; of course they retain their names if they become hurricanes (74 mph or more):


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Ike – Less Than 72 Hours Away From Texas?


Though the validity date stamp on late cycle spaghetti plots is not as recent as some available to you on line, it is my opinion that they provide a more accurate picture.  The following late cycle plot for Ike pretty much tells it all with regard to a Texas coast landfall.  I am inclined to place a high personal degree of confidence upon this.  However, hurricanes in the past have pulled some terrific surprises.  If you are anywhere else along the Gulf Coast, particularly other segments of the western margin of the Gulf and the western half of the northern Gulf coast – I would not let my guard down if I were you.  And, if you are, say, 50 miles inland, consider that at the nearest point, Baton Rouge is about 60 miles from the Gulf and over 100 miles from the Gulf along a line in the direction that Gustav moved.  Do a search and see what a mess they are in – right now. According to the “Advocate” newspaper today, there are still 57,775 residents without electricity.  And their winds were mainly tropical storm force though some gusts up to 91mph were reported.

If you are in harm’s way with Ike, I suggest you think in terms of evacuation.  As I understand it, evacuation directives have already been issued along some parts of the Texas coast.  Please read my September 8 post (just 2 days ago) titled “Window Protection For Hurricanes Essential.”  If it’s not on this page it will be on page 2.  At the apparent end of the post there is a place where you can click and read an account of my family’s experience in the aftermath of hurricane Andrew.  Read it and ask yourself if you want to try to ride out a big hurricane.  If you think life is stressful now – try adding the trauma of enduring the dangers of a strong hurricane and then, if you live, dealing with the high probability of post-traumatic issues.  I can think of nothing material worth trying to “protect” when a storm is in progress.  The time to protect “things” is before a storm.  It is still not too late to do some of that and then get the heck out of there.  You are far more important than any material thing.

“The Plot (below) is provided courtesy of Jonathan Vigh, Colorado State University. For more information about this graphic, click here.”


Window Protection For Hurricanes Is Essential

Garage doors are usually the weakest link!

For home and business owners who are soon to be in the danger zone for Ike and do not have any window and door protection (including garage door bracing), there is not enough time to acquire anything that is permanent.  Besides, permanent protection (e.g. accordions, roll ups, Bahama shutters) are expensive.  At the time of this writing (9-8-2008, 3 pm EDT) There is still enough time to purchase plywood, cut it to size, install anchors to the exterior walls and pre-drill holes in the plywood for adequate attachment.  If you have a cement block structure do not count on masonry nails to secure your protection.  The sheets of plywood require more than that.  They often become big Frisbees ready to decapitate anyone unfortunate enough to be out in the storm.  It’s a lot of work to do the job right but I think it’s worth it.  If you have storage space for the plywood you can then have the sheets ready for the next time.  This all takes time, a little bit of knowledge, tools, and energy.  Permanent shutters are so much more convenient particularly for people who would be unable to handle the heavy plywood or install it without either hurting themselves or becoming totally exhausted.  You don’t want to be totally exhausted; evacuation might soon be the next step.

Seriously, for the future, consider permanent protection.  Protect not only your investment but also perhaps your sanity or at least your peace of mind.  There are no guarantees but good, properly installed, and easily activated protection is a giant step in the right direction.

For people who have never experienced a powerful hurricane, it comes as a shock to learn how many otherwise harmless objects can become lethal projectiles in a hurricane (e.g. potted plants, garbage cans, signs, damage debris, mail boxes, etc.).  Conventional windows will not take much punishment from flying objects.  Suppose you got lucky and a broken window (or windows) did not result in a great deal of damage.  How many of you know how to repair one?  How many of you could actually cut the glass after you purchase it, and properly install it?  And if you can’t do that, who would you find to do the work for you if there is a great deal of damage in your area?  How long do you think it would take to get that job done? If you are interested in a lengthy personal account with more information, please read on

Ike Doesn’t Look Nice – Hanna Seems To Know Where She’s Goin’


In scouring the Web I’ve reached the easy conclusion that there is a general consensus on Hanna’s landfall – somewhere along the Coast of South Carolina as a tropical storm – probably somewhere near midnight but with plenty of possibilities for noteworthy weather before that.

Ike, on the other hand is a more difficult critter to read.  At this point in time it is my opinion that all East Coast and all Gulf Coast occupants should be alert.  The very unfortunate aspect of Ike is his strength.  He looks like a little buzz saw and reminds me of Andrew.  Having had experience with Andrew (we lived in Homestead at the time) this does not conjure up pleasant thoughts.  I recommend that anyone in Ike’s path evacuate – unless he deintensifies substantially.  My stance on that is – “Don’t flirt with danger – why take a chance?”

So, keep a close eye on Ike throughout the weekend and if you are in a threatened area have a plan for getting the heck out of there and don’t forget to take your important papers with you.  If there are family photos that are precious to you, protect them.  If you come back to a mess and you rely upon charge cards, you might discover that you will need cash.  Even in Baton Rouge I understand that charge cards have been a problem.

When we returned to our demolished house after Andrew my wife silently asked the Great Guy In the Sky for just one thing – those photos of the kids growing up and other family members.  She had secured them in plastic garbage bags and placed them in an oak cabinet that we had in the family room.  The roof was gone but the piece of furniture, though ruined from the water, protected the bags.  Not one single photo got wet.