Florida It Happened to Me Tampa Bay The Current Situation

Hurricane Ian progress report: The view from here

With Kevlar sheets covering our windows, our view outside is mediated through our video doorbells and side camera. It’s raining hard right now in Seminole Heights, and it’ll likely rain harder as the day goes on.

Here’s what weather radar looks like as I write this:

Tap to view at full size.

Here’s the view from our front doorbell:

Tap to view at full size.

Here’s the view from our porch doorbell:

Tap to view at full size.

And here’s the view from our side camera:

Tap to view at full size.

We’re on a slight incline leading down to the Hillsborough River, so the water in heavy storms tends to roll right past the house. Here’s hoping that it follows tradition this time.

Here’s a photo taken by someone in our neighborhood and posted to one of the (many) Seminole Heights Facebook groups:

Tap to view at full size.
Florida funny The Current Situation

Hurricane Ian follies, part 5: A cat person has entered the discussion

Facebook comment: “For those with septic tanks that overflow in storms (I don’t know how common that is in South FL, but anyhoo), some cat litter in a Rubbermaid tote makes a pretty good emergency toilet.”
Tap to view the cat person’s suggestion at full size.

I get the feeling that some cat people entertain fantasies about being able to “go” in a box, just like their beloved fur children.

Florida funny Tampa Bay The Current Situation

Hurricane Ian follies, part 4: We’re still a long way from the “improvise your own toilet” stage

Here’s an amusing discussion on Facebook about makeshift toilets that you can improvise if Hurricane Ian disrupts the water system:

Screen capture of an amusing Facebook discussion about ideas for makeshift toilets.
Tap to view the makeshift toilet discussion at full size.

Here’s a close-up of that “pool noodle on a 5-gallon bucket” toilet. It’s impressive and a little disturbing at the same time:

Here’s another suggestion to use a paint bucket that paints a slightly darker picture:

I don’t know about you, but I’ve filled our giant wheeled trash and recycling bins with water (and a little bleach) that we can use to flush our toilets. If that fails, I’m going to make like the neighborhood cats and just poop in the yard.

Florida It Happened to Me Tampa Bay The Current Situation

Hurricane Ian progress report: Where Ian is, and where we are

Satellite photo showing Hurricane Ian (which is about the size of Florida) approaching Florida. An arrow labeled “We are here” points to Tampa.
Tap to view at full size.

Where we are — the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa — the rain has begun to fall in earnest, and we’re now just waiting to see what happens when Hurricane Ian arrives.

We’ve deployed the hurricane kevlar…

…we always maintain a good supply of bottled water (which doubles as my CPAP water supply)…

…the pantry is always stocked…

…as is the bar…

…and while the battery stash isn’t as well-stocked as I would like…

…it should be enough.

I’ll keep you posted as the day goes, and while we have power and internet connectivity!

Florida The Current Situation The More You Know...

Hurricane tip: Don’t fill your generator with high-octane corn syrup!

Okay: in the absence of ethanol-free gasoline, you can run a gasoline-powered generator with fuel that has up to 10% ethanol. But you will shorten your generator’s life, and as long as you live in Florida, you’ll need it again. Try to fill your generator with ethanol-free gasoline!

My recommendation: Try and find a gas station that sells ethanol-free gasoline. Wawa is a reliable source — use their store locator, select Advanced Search, and check the Ethanol Free checkbox and run the search!

Florida It Happened to Me Tampa Bay The Current Situation

“Deploy the hurricane kevlar!”

Hurricane Ian is bearing down on Accordion Bay! In response, we’ve deployed the latest of our anti-hurricane measures: kevlar.

We used to have 1/2″ and 3/4″ plywood sheets with pre-drilled holes that we’d slip onto bolts sticking out of our window frames when a hurricane came. The bolts weren’t the most aesthetically-pleasing thing, and the plywood took a lot of storage space and was a real pain to set up and tear down.

After the last hurricane came through town, we’d decided that we’d had enough of the plywood approach and started looking at other hurricane-proofing solutions for the windows and went with hurricane fabric: kevlar panels with mounting brackets held in place by screws going into holes embedded in the window frame or wall. During non-hurricane times, plastic plugs go into the screw holes.

We have a panel for every window in the house, and the whole set fits in a closet. It would take me a whole afternoon (and ideally, another person to assist) to cover the windows the old plywood way; I can now do the job solo in about an hour with the panels.

Here’s a demo of hurricane fabric in action:

Unpleasant as the replacement costs would be, you consider your windows expendable in hurricane country. What you really want is something that will prevent hurricane projectiles from entering your house (and more gravely, entering you.) We’re counting on the hurricane fabric’s combination of strength and “give” to deflect whatever the cat 3 or cat 4 winds decided to hurl chez nous.

I’ll report back if anything interesting happens.

Florida The Current Situation

Hurricane Ian follies, part 3: Don’t eat all your hurricane snacks too early!

Meme: If you don’t stop eating all the hurricane snacks, you won’t fit in the little helicopter rescue basket.