Author Topic: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?  (Read 3914 times)

nereo

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Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #50 on: September 08, 2017, 03:31:27 PM »
The westward shift is what I was worried about (to be fair, the European model was predicting the storm to turn right at the tip of Florida all along, but the US model was predicting a northward turn along the eastern coast. The US model is now right in line with what the European model has been predicting all along). Whatever your mom decides, I'm hoping for her safety. We're currently sheltering 3 families from Jupiter Beach who left on Wed. and Thurs. I'm afraid of what they may have to go back to.

At this point I only watch the European model.  If you google the past few hurricanes, the European model was more accurate than the American model.  It's a shame that so many people rely on the American model.  I know, another issue for another time, but still disheartening to know that this is an area we're lagging behind in.

... yeah... here I'd chime in about the need for the US to refocus on actual climate science; everything from higher resolution data collection to more robust data analysis... as someone in this field is friggen embarrassing.

but yeah, another issue for another time.

ETA - forecast update at 5pm 8/8/2017 EST:
In summary, the NHC forecast brings Irma near south Florida as a category 4 hurricane.
Total rain accumulations of 8 to 15 inches, with isolated amounts of
20 inches are expected over the Florida Keys and much of the Florida
peninsula through Tuesday night.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 03:38:26 PM by nereo »
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Sockigal

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Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #51 on: September 09, 2017, 11:29:06 AM »
Sorry, I can't just keep this in any longer. 
The models have NOT shifted this way or that way.
Models are just models - they estimate what will happen based on a variety of inputs, from readings taken in the upper atmosphere to the surface currents and temperatures.

So what's happening?  When most people (including the talking heads on TV) are focusing on that big thick line that the NHC plots, and ignoring the 'cone' surrounding it.  But that solid track line is plotted after looking at about two dozen outputs (models) from several different forecasting agencies. Each model has its own confidence interval.

It's a mistake to think that a hurricane will (or should) take the average path between these models. All models being accurate (they're not btw) the model predicting the most western course is just as likely as the one predicting the eastern-most course.

Here's how the NHC addresses the models:
Quote
After that time, Irma will reach the southwestern edge of
the subtropical high and begin to turn north-northwestward and
northward. This turn will occur, but the precise moment is still
uncertain, and that is why NHC emphasizes that nobody should focus
on the exact track of the center.
The new NHC forecast was adjusted
just a little bit westward and is on top the latest ECMWF model and
the HFIP corrected consensus. In fact, these two aids are also very
close to each other.

Why does this matter?  Because people keep staring at that solid line, and say "gee, now it looks like it's going to pass slightly to the east, I should be alright".  That's a dangerous assumption to make. If you're inside "the cone" at least some models are showing the hurricane going right over you. It's the wrong way to look at these predictions.

Here's the tracks postulated by 20 different models as of noon today.  Notice some still predict a path that stays over the Atlantic, others into the Gulf. 


In my case, my mom is in Panama City Beach. In everything I see, she is outside of even the cone area. However, just by a little bit. I'm nervous about the storm moving a bit more west than expected, but she doesn't seem concerned at all.
I'm in Atlanta, so have been following the storm closely. Yesterday all the bread at Costco was completely sold out as well as the water. There were SO many people shopping, every single cart was in use & you had to wait for another customer to finish shopping before you could get a cart. Crazy! Anyway, my point is that even if you are slightly out of the cone in Florida & other areas, you are still going to be affected by this storm. I have been planning for the very real possibility of power outages to last for a couple of days in our area. I'm thinking Panama City Beach is in real danger from storm surge, extreme wind and power outages for long periods of time. The storm had shifted last night, and keeps shifting every single day closer to the west coast. That water in the gulf is hot, bath tub hot (90 degrees) this time of the year. If it shifts a little bit more to the West, the Florida Pan Handle is going to be hit hard. I would have left a couple of days ago if I lived in the Gulf, but I'm pretty sensitive to Natural Disasters since I have been in a couple (wildfire which burned down my business storage units & 7.1 earthquake & 6.9 earthquake). I'd rather be safe than sorry.

nereo

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Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #52 on: September 09, 2017, 04:14:07 PM »
Mom's area now has a mandatory evacuation order, so they are leaving.  Some family friends helped find a hotel in Savannah, so they're on their way.  So far, they say traffic is not bad, so they should be able to make it well before the winds hit.  Crossing my fingers for them, for anyone else trying to evacuate at the last minute, and especially for anyone planning to stay.

Thank goodness. Hopefully that will help you sleep tonight.  May the storm spare their home.
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dandarc

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Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #53 on: September 09, 2017, 04:14:15 PM »
Glad they left - savannah should be relatively OK.

We're now in a voluntary evacuation.  We had been planning on staying, but after what happened here last year and with this looking to be both stronger and sustained for longer, we're thinking of going for a couple of days ourselves.

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Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #54 on: September 09, 2017, 04:16:41 PM »
Raenia, thank you for letting us know.  Your mom left it pretty late, but here's hoping she gets a trouble-free ride out ahead of the storm.
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Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #55 on: September 10, 2017, 05:15:21 AM »
Stay safe, dandarc!  Slappy, did your mom stay in Panama City Beach or decide to go north?  Best of luck to anyone else in FL as well.

They are nearly to Savannah, some traffic but not nearly as bad as I feared.  They plan to get a good night's sleep and head on up to NC tomorrow to stay with friends for a few days, until given the all-clear to return and assess the damage.  Looks like their area will be hit hard, so my sister and I are very relieved they got out in time.

Whew!  Glad your mom got out!!  Hope the damage isn't too bad...
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slappy

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Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #56 on: September 10, 2017, 07:01:22 AM »
Stay safe, dandarc!  Slappy, did your mom stay in Panama City Beach or decide to go north?  Best of luck to anyone else in FL as well.

They are nearly to Savannah, some traffic but not nearly as bad as I feared.  They plan to get a good night's sleep and head on up to NC tomorrow to stay with friends for a few days, until given the all-clear to return and assess the damage.  Looks like their area will be hit hard, so my sister and I are very relieved they got out in time.
She keeps saying PCB is only going to get a tropical storm and she is not worried. I might just tell her to leave but I'm having trouble sleeping out of worry.

nereo

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Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #57 on: September 10, 2017, 07:23:25 AM »
Stay safe, dandarc!  Slappy, did your mom stay in Panama City Beach or decide to go north?  Best of luck to anyone else in FL as well.

They are nearly to Savannah, some traffic but not nearly as bad as I feared.  They plan to get a good night's sleep and head on up to NC tomorrow to stay with friends for a few days, until given the all-clear to return and assess the damage.  Looks like their area will be hit hard, so my sister and I are very relieved they got out in time.
She keeps saying PCB is only going to get a tropical storm and she is not worried. I might just tell her to leave but I'm having trouble sleeping out of worry.

UGH!!!  Here I think we've screwed ourselves over by using the term "storm" so willy-nilly.  In daily parlance, people say anything that involves rain (and maybe a little wind) as a storm.  But it has a much more specific meaning to weathermen and mariners.  "Storm force" (or simply a 'storm') involves wind speeds in excess of 55mph (48 knots) on the beaufort scale, and 39-73mph on the saffir-simpson scale. That's strong enough to uproot trees, cause structural damage and turn objects like street signs a garbage cans into projectiles.

A tropical storm is NOT something to be shrugged off. It may not require evacuation, but it can certainly create life-threatening situations and destroy property if you don't take precautions.
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ender

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Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #58 on: September 10, 2017, 06:04:14 PM »
I think it's worth pointing out that you should evacuate only if it makes sense.

  • If you are in the "mandatory" zone, gtfo and stop wondering if you should.
  • If you are in the "voluntary" zone, make an educated decision about what to do. If your dwelling isn't hurricane proof (shoddy construction, mobile home, whatever) then take that as a "probably should leave" decision
  • If you're not in an evacuation zone and are in a place which is hurricane proof, don't evacuate and clog roads for people who actually do need to leave

If you have no idea what zone you are in or what you should be doing but live in FL somewhere, get out from under your rock and figure it out, because you live in Florida, where this sort of thing is not an unexpected thing. Most counties have signs making it clear what zone you are in and county websites should make it clear.

I see way too often the advice "just leave!" being thrown around without regard for the huge effort counties and state agencies put into building comprehensive disaster plans around this type of thing.

But then again, there are plenty of idiots who choose to stay in mandatory evacuation zones so.... I think logic is kind of out the window when it comes to stuff like this...

Milizard

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Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #59 on: September 10, 2017, 08:08:53 PM »
Admittedly, having never experienced anything like it, it occurs to me that if you're willing to go through the time and expense to evacuate, not to mention, pita of it all, then perhaps it makes sense that you should.

dandarc

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Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #60 on: September 13, 2017, 12:27:15 PM »
Stay safe, dandarc!  Slappy, did your mom stay in Panama City Beach or decide to go north?  Best of luck to anyone else in FL as well.

They are nearly to Savannah, some traffic but not nearly as bad as I feared.  They plan to get a good night's sleep and head on up to NC tomorrow to stay with friends for a few days, until given the all-clear to return and assess the damage.  Looks like their area will be hit hard, so my sister and I are very relieved they got out in time.

We left, event turned out to be much less destructive than was predicted even the morning we left.  We don't regret leaving, although I'm really tired from the travel.  Cats handled it better than me, I think.

Your parents make it to NC OK?  They should probably stay there a good while - Fort Myers was hit pretty hard.  Even if they're returning to a not-so-bad situation, there's the problem of obtaining enough gas to actually make the drive.

95 was a shit-show on the return for us - we wound up taking a back-route through SC after it was still ridiculous after getting past I-26 - next time we'll abort the usually faster I-95 route even sooner.  Then briefly on 95 in GA - it was still a shit-show, so we then cut diagonally across a lot of south Georgia starting from Savannah on US-84.  Usually the expansion to 3 lanes once you're in GA helps a lot, but not yesterday.  On US 84, you get to stop every 10-30 miles due to all the small towns and cities, but that's a lot less frustrating than doing the same or more often on the interstate.  We stopped in Savannah for a bit - the gas station we parked at for a while was out of gas.  We didn't need gas, but would have been a very alarming situation if we did.

And for fun, they're talking about closing I-75 from roughly I-10 to Gainesville due to rising flood waters today, so your parents may need some kind of alternate route to get back anyway.  So if they're in NC, I'd suggest staying there as long as their friends will let them.