Hurricane Irma report #1: “You run from water. You hide from wind.”

Map showing the 'earliest reasonable arrival time' of tropical-storm-force winds created by Hurricane Irma.

Here’s the NOAA’s estimation of the “earliest reasonable arrival time”
of tropical-storm-force winds created by Hurricane Irma.
Click the graphic to see it at full size.

With Hurricane Irma expected to hit Florida on Saturday morning at the earliest, you may be wondering if you should stay put or evacuate. Or, as The Clash put it:

In the end, it mostly (but not entirely) comes down to a single question: Are you near the water?

I’ll leave it to Tampa Bay’s most senior TV meteorologist, Paul Dellegatto from local channel FOX 13, to explain:

I am getting a lot of questions asking about when we should evacuate.

You only evacuate to escape storm surge flooding from the Gulf and Bay. It is why we have evacuation zones near the Gulf and Bay.

You do not evacuate from the wind unless you live in a mobile home or you are facing a CAT 5 making landfall and you are expecting Andrew conditions right at the point of landfall.

Water is the killer. Wind is not. You run from water. You hide from wind.

We cannot evacuate the state based on the fact there may be strong winds. Given the options you would be better off riding out a storm in a well built home, out of an evacuation zone, then trying to drive up I-75 to a motel in Valdosta. You do not want to become part of the caravan driving up I-75. Trust me. It is a miserable option.

Hurricane Irma, as seen from space.

Hurricane Irma as seen from space.
Click the photo to see it at full size.

Anitra and I are always stocked for a hurricane, right down to the camping stove in case the electricity and gas go out. I’ve topped off our supplies, and picked up some extra sandbags. The one thing we don’t have is a generator, and hey, we may get one someday.

As of this morning, you’d never know that a major hurricane was coming if you didn’t have the benefit of radar. Here’s what the weather was like, as seen from our yard:

Sunny skies, as seen from Anitra and Joey’s yard, Carrollwood, Tampa.

The view from our yard, around 10:00 a.m., Thursday, September 7, 2017.

For the benefit of friends and family who are wondering how we’re doing, as well as for the curious and those looking for information, I’ll post regularly here. Watch this space!

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