Hurricane Ivan


From: jim@? [mailto:jim@?]
Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2004 9:25 PM
To: 'jim@?'
Subject: 9pm

Wow. The wind isn't gusting anymore, it's howling. Pinecones and branches bounce off the storm shudders and roof. The power is currently on but it's cut off 3 times over the last hour. I doubt I'll be online for much longer. 4 out of 8 local news channels have gone bluescreen, including Pensacola and Mobile. There are no trees down yet, just debris blowing around at this point. The storm has taken a jog to the east, which should bring more excitement here as the storm approaches landfall. It's 9:15pm central, the storm has slowed, 12 mph NNE, about 80 miles from Mobile Bay. Still ~6 hours to go till landfall over either Mobile or Pensacola.


From: jim@? [mailto:jim@?]
Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2004 11:22 PM
To: 'jim@?'
Subject: 11pm

A couple of quick comments - the transformers around my house are shorting, quite the light show. They give off this incredibly bright blue-green flash that last for a second or two. Everything goes dark for a few seconds, and wow, the power comes back on! I doubt that will continue over time.
Have you ever seen a 100ft pine tree with a 2 foot base bend over and seemingly give you a kiss on the forehead? Yeah. So much crap is hitting the house it sounds like fireworks going off. I have a little garden window that pokes out about a foot from the south side of my house which is not covered. It keeps catching debris on it's sides. Smack! Crack! Damn, that's going to cost. :) Quite the experience so far.
Ivan is 65 miles off the shore, clipping hard east looking to make landfall in Pensacola which is just about 60 miles west from my house. Ivan's slowed, now moving at 12 miles an hour.. expected landfall is in about 4-5 hours. Bring It On.

Well, that was interesting. I wasn't expecting something that intense. Not that I wouldn't do it all again I suppose. It really depends on how close you are to the core of the storm that carries with it hurricane force winds. Destin was outside of this by just a bit, which is probably why we made out without major destruction. Pensacola was not so lucky. Overall, the storm experience was pretty cool, but the three days without power, water, and internet really sucked.

The predicted track on Sunday. (I made hotel reservations in Tallahassee Monday morning.)

A closer track prediction on Tuesday convinced me it would probably be ok to stay.

Here are a couple shots around my house, although it's a mess, there are few downed trees.

Compared to some shots taken of the same area after Opal, and you can see the difference:

Although not as bad as Opal, it was still pretty wild. I'm glad I decided to put plywood up on the east windows, I doubt they would have survived the onslaught of debris. Pine cones at 70 miles an hour can pack quite a punch. I did step out a couple times during the night on the west side of the house, which is protected by the garage and a large overhang. The Magnolia tree in the front yard, which has about a two foot trunk, bent over so far the tips touched the ground and the roots popped underground. At the height of the storm the rain really isn't rain, it's a mixture of sand and salt water. As a result there are little sand dunes everywhere. It's going to be tough to get all that sand back down on the beach!

Overall, a pretty humbling experience. Here are some other pictures from in and around Sandestin, the beach side community I live in:

Beachside condos in Sandestin, still standing:

That's not supposed to be there:

Watch that first step:

The boardwalk below normally steps out onto a white sand beach. This shot was taken 24 hours after the storm. At the height of the storm, I would have been standing in about 5 - 10 feet of water.

Hurricane humor:

What used to be a parking lot and boardwalk. The parking lot used to come right up to the back of the building that's still standing. It's hard to see but there's about a 15 foot drop off too the beach where the pavement ends:

Another boardwalk and restaurant:

I'll try to get more pictures down by the beach in time and put them up here. Right now everything is still sealed off to protect people's property. A number of beach homes were torn up pretty bad. The price you pay for living right on the beach!

Top 10 things to do after the hurricane passes:

#10 - Categorize your CD collection by touch
#9 - Search for obscure radio stations that don't play AC-DC
#8 - Study the science experiment growing in your refrigerator
#7 - 'Borrow' your neighbor's flat screen T.V.
#6 - Violate the curfew so you can spend one night in an air conditioned jail
#5 - Fall asleep to the soft pure of your neighbor's portable generator
#4 - Think up stupid Top 10 lists
#3 - Play jump rope with downed power lines
#2 - Look forward to the insurance company writing you a check
#1 - Drink warm beer!