It’s a sort of rule of thumb that a hurricane loses one degree of strength for each 25-30 miles of land it must move across and since Ocala is about 90 miles from each coast it seemed to me that it was one of the most hurricane-proof towns in Florida.
In 2005 I found out just what that meant. That was the year that TWO ‘canes hit Florida, then tracked inland and directly over my little adopted hometown. When they hit, the storms had indeed dissipated, but their strengths were still scary.
Within a 25 day span, I experienced twin storms packing incredible winds and amazing amounts of rain. In both cases I lost power and water, and during the second storm –ex-hurricane Jeanne– the wind gusts (clocked at 90 MPH) managed to split a tree on my property in half, which then crashed onto my garage, crushed the garage door and imprisoned my Z and my 200SX, resulting in my being stranded for 4 days with no power, little food and provisions, and no means of escape.
Fortunately, I had plenty of beer, so it really wasn’t a great hardship. Also, sympathetic neighbors armed with large chainsaws managed to slice up the fallen tree after a few days, so it was really a mid-grade adventure for me. For 2-3 days after the storm passed, all the neighbors ( myself included ) threw impromptu candlelight cookouts. This enabled everybody to cook up the contents of their freezers before the food thawed and THAT resulted in several really cool parties.
One of the tells that a serious situation was about to unfold was performed by the actor, John Travolta. John lives in a fly-in community a couple miles from my house, and when I heard his Quantas 737 jet fly over my house and get out of Dodge as Jeanne approached, I knew there was going to be trouble coming. John’s no fool.
Well, a few minutes ago I heard John’s plane go by overhead, leaving Ocala.
The path of TS Fay is projected to pass over Ocala. While it is not YET a hurricane, if it does follow the path that the weather people say it will, on Tuesday I can expect 60-80 MPH winds, lots of rain and probably a few days without power. A couple of friends, who live in a mobile home have already called, asking to stay with me for a couple days, and I have to begin making ice and stocking up on charcoal and beer.
I know that a lot of NICO members live on Florida’s West Coast, and I wish all of you well during the next few days.
Me, I’m shopping for a few cases of Beck’s and some Ziploc baggies to keep my, um, rolling papers dry.
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