Monday, October 24, 2005

On the Outskirts of Wilma

My heart goes out to all those affected by Hurricane Wilma, which might make more of an impact on the city I left (Boston) than it has where I live in west central Florida. I'm also thinking of thingfish23 (The Taming of the Band-Aid) -- he and his family live very close to where Wilma made landfall this morning....

Rain fell steadily from 9PM Sunday until some time after I'd gotten to sleep at 7AM Monday for a five-hour snooze. The winds had picked up around 4AM and we still had a healthy breeze (probably with gusts up to tropical storm strength) by the time we took our walk around 3PM, after Wilma had passed into the Atlantic.

Our local bank had closed. Its flag indicated steady winds of probably 30+ miles per hour, at around 3:30 PM.

Mary had gone to bed shortly after 11PM, just after Wilma's winds had been clocked at 115 mph for I suppose the second out of (so far) three times. I stayed awake until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. When the sound of wind outside became constant I fished out a tiny flashlight on a lanyard and slipped it around my neck in case we lost power, though I needn't have worried. (Last year we'd been without power for 4 days with Frances and for another 2 days with Jeanne; my Frances diary is reprinted here. Even so, we were extraordinarily lucky then, as we are now, knock on plywood.)

You've Got A Frond (with apologies to James Taylor and/or Carole King)

The only storm effect we spotted during our walk was this fallen palm frond that Mary (who stands at 5 feet 5 inches) carted home. That large silver disc she's holding in the right-hand photo is a 14-pound weight, one of two we use to hold down our rain barrel screens in case of high winds. In addition to Wilma's lightweight presence here, I suspect last year's storms largely took care of the neighborhood's weaker trees.


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