Saturday, July 09, 2005

Hurricane Dennis

UPDATE 14 (Sunday, 1:28pm Central):

Yeah, I skipped that other number.

Lights are starting to flicker more. I heard what sounded like a tranformer being tripped.

Not sure how much longer we will have power here. But I'm not even going to worry about that. We were extremely lucky this time. We're not out of the woods yet for damaging winds, tornadoes, etc. But the big bullet dodged us. Lucky. Thankful.

UPDATE 12 (Sunday, 1:10pm Central):

Dennis veered even more away from Pensacola. Headed due North. Now looks like Okaloosa and Santa Rosa Counties -- between Pensacola and Ft Walton Beach -- are going to take the hit.

About an hour and a half from landfall.

See how sudden hurricanes can change. It almost always comes down to the last 2 hours until anyone knows for sure.

It looks like Mobile and Baldwin County will be spared a head-on collision. The winds have not increased noticeably in the last 10 minutes are so.

Lights flickered just now for the first time.

UPDATE 11 (Sunday, 12:50pm Central):

I can't help but think of combat: Here they come!

Except this is Dennis and there's nothing we can do to stop him.

Gettin' pretty ugly out there.

20 seconds between gusts. Wind speed about 30mph with about 40mph gusts.

No flickering lights ... yet. That won't last.

Dennis is about 50 miles SE of Pensacola, moving N-NW at 16mph.

Has veered a little more to the North.

Hurricane force winds: 135mph with higher gusts. Extending out 40 miles.
Tropical storm force winds: Extending out 230 miles.

He's less than 2 hours from landfall and it's looking like Pensacola head-on, but that can change.

UPDATE 10 (Sunday, 12:10pm Central):

Dennis is about 60 miles SE of Pensacola, moving N-NW at 15mph.

Expected to hit between Gulf Shores and Pensacola.

Maximum sustained winds: 140mph with higher gusts.

Here the wind gusts are now up to about 35mph. Rain moderate. Tropical storm force winds are really starting to come on now. Gusts are more frequent. Separated by about 30 seconds.

Pretty sudden change, huh?

UPDATE 9 (Sunday, 11:58am Central):

No significant change here. Winds are picking up.

It got very still and stopped raining for a spell about 45 minutes ago. Probably a funnel cloud, but no reports of tornadoes.

Little to no reaction from the grrr-animals, yet. They have extraordinary senses, of course. When Lizzie and I stepped out about 15 minutes ago, she held her head up sniffing the air. Other than that, no indications of an impending hurricane.

Still think Dennis's winds will increase more abruptly than Ivan's. Kinda like going from Winter to Summer with no Spring in between.

I'm getting a little sick of the insurance company commercials -- especially given that some of them have yet to pay out for Ivan. That was 10 months ago.

UPDATE 8 (Sunday, 10:22am Central):

Tropical storm force winds are arriving here. Wind speed about 20mph with 25-30mph gusts from the East. So the cycling winds have begun -- about 90 seconds between gusts.

Rain is getting heavier. Tornado watch in effect for Baldwin County.

Dennis is about 80 miles SE of Pensacola, about 125 miles SE of Mobile. Moving at about 18mph (that is fast!)

Hurricane force winds have dropped a little to 140mph sustained. Still Category 4.

UPDATE 7 (Sunday, 9:38am Central):

Latest from National Hurricane Center is that Dennis is tracking NW ... tracking to hit .... Gulf Shores/Pensacola.

Hurricanes wobble and weave and can make several turns shortly before landfall depending on things like water temperatures, air temperatures, other weather systems, etc.

The TV weather guys know this. Why are they babbling? BTW, I'm not watching TV. It's being broadcast on radio.

UPDATE 6 (Sunday, 9:08am Central):

Dennis is different from Ivan:

Dennis is not as large, but is more compact and potentially more powerful.

Dennis's winds have not had the reach of Ivan's. Ivan's hurricane force winds extended out to about 100 miles. Dennis, about 50 miles. Ivan's tropical storm force winds extended out to about 240 miles. Dennis, about 185 miles.

Ivan's effects were felt well before he made landfall. It was a gradual increase in wind speed.

Dennis looks to make his presence known by a more sudden, radical increase in wind speed.

As for damage, what's worse? Long, drawn-out high winds or a shorter, more powerful blow? Dunno, but we'll probably see damage that'll be different than Ivan's. Not necessarily less damaging.

Dennis does seem to be shifting more to the North which means he could very well hit East of Pensacola. TV babe says this is "fabulous". Yeah, I guess she'll want to review tape of her remarks later ... maybe with the folks who live in the area that takes the brunt of Dennis.

Dennis could still go back to a NW track and hit Gulf Shores/Pensacola. That's what it looks like to me, anyway. Landfall just about where Ivan hit.

UPDATE 5 (Sunday, 7:48am Central):

TV dude is saying that latest Water Vapor data shows dry air nudging Dennis slightly north and if that shift continues, Dennis would hit east of Pensacola. New update from Hurricane Center due in about 15 minutes.

TV babe has joined in and now the mood is almost celebratory. Did I already say TV dudes and TV babes are idiots...generally speaking?

Seems to me that it would have to be a pretty radical turn for that to be so, but hurricanes are known to do that. Then again it could just be the eye reorganizing.

I spent about 10 minutes outside. Light rain. Wind picking up-- about 15mph. Can already feel the easterly gusts ... slightly, but they're there.

TV babe just reminded us that the Gulf Coast is a major tourist destination. My "idiots" remark stands.

UPDATE 4 (Sunday, 7:09am Central):

Light drizzle, light breeze, hot coffee, fat cats, wild kittens, quiet piggie and a good ol' dog. It's good.

Tropical storm force winds will be here in a few couple of hours.

Dennis remains a Category 4 hurricane. Sustained winds are now 145 mph with higher gusts.

About 150 miles SE of Pensacola and moving N-NW at 15 mph.

Category Four Hurricane:
Winds 131-155 mph (114-135 kt or 210-249 km/hr). Storm surge generally 13-18 ft above normal. More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failures on small residences. Shrubs, trees, and all signs are blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Extensive damage to doors and windows. Low-lying escape routes may be cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrain lower than 10 ft above sea level may be flooded requiring massive evacuation of residential areas as far inland as 6 miles (10 km).

UPDATE 3 (Sunday, 1:01am Central):

The cats and kittens and guinea pig are sleeping. The Legendary Leopard Dog is looking at me as if to say: catch the clue train.

OK. Time to get some sleep. More tomorrow if power is still on.

UPDATE 2 (Sunday, 12:15am Central):

The local TV babes are reporting that the Health Dept is recommending not to drink water with fecal matter in it. Well, damn. They do think we're stupid.

Here's the track map from 9pm (CDT):

It's cool outside. Gentle breeze. Ah, if only all summer nights could be like this.

Dennis is now a Category 4 hurricane, blowing at 135 mph (sustained). Continues to intensify.

Still moving NW, about 280 miles SE of Dauphin Island.

Storm surge is expected to be 10-15 feet.

TV babes are also reporting the largest evacuation in the history of Mobile County. Hmmm.

UPDATE 1 (Saturday, 10:45pm Central):

It's beautiful outside. Light breeze. Cool. Quiet ... and deserted! Hey, where did everybody go??

Even Beth lit out fer Hotlanta. Heck, I had room over here. What's two more cats and a couple of kids? Don't say it.

See whatcher missing, Miss Beth? He's headed right for us.

I think she would say: that's the point.

Hurricane Dennis is still about 300 miles SE of Dauphin Island, strengthing and blowing at about 125 mph with higher gusts.

Original Post (Saturday, 7:15pm Central):

OK. Dennis has my attention now. Want to see how narrow-minded I can be? I don't care what's going on outside of Baldwin County unless it's south of here (which would be the Gulf of Mexico, for those not familiar with Alabama). I don't even care what's going on in Baldwin County north of I-10.

Narrow-minded is not always a bad thing. It has such negative connotations, though -- "focused" is better. I'm focused -- narrow-mindedly focused. Hurricanes like Dennis tend to cause that.

Dennis. I hate that name for a hurricane. Ivan -- now there's a name befitting a terrible force. Dennis makes you think of Dennis the Menace. Cute cartoon character. But like El Jefe, I can't help but think of it as Dennis the Menace, if in name only.

Hurricane Dennis has rapidly regained strength and is now a Category 3 hurricane. Hurricane force winds extend out about 40 miles and Tropical Storm force winds extend out to about 185 miles.

He's blowing at about 115 mph with stronger gusts. Weaker than Ivan at about this time last September, but still strong and growing stronger.

Dennis is about 350 miles SE of Dauphin Island and moving NW at about 14 mph. He's expected to make landfall somewhere between Panama City, FL and Biloxi, MS between 2pm - 4pm Central Daylight Time (CDT).

Guessing exactly where Dennis will hit is ... well ... guessing. Hurricanes can be tracked with some precision, but they have a habit of veering this way and juking that way. Hurricane Ivan was tracking to come right up Mobile Bay for hours, then in the last 2 hours before landfall, he did a headfake and hit east of the bay and smack dab up the middle of Baldwin County. So, you just never can tell.

It was very hot and humid here most of the day. Cooling off some now. No precip. No wind. Very still.

Many more people have unassed the area earlier than with Ivan. I-65 southbound lanes were redirected to the north at about 6am. Northbound traffic is now relatively light.

As with Ivan, I'll continue to update until I lose power.

Oh, and this time I have 2 tomcats, 2 kittens, 1 guinea pig and 1 Catahoula Leopard dog riding it out with me. Lizzie the Legendary Leopard Dog is the latest addition to the family. She is something else. The cats like her. She likes the cats. The kittens (who are hurricane guests) want to play with her and she wants to play with the kittens, but I'm not sure that's a good idea. I have them "partitioned" off. The guinea pig is being vewwy, vewwy quiet. He looks a lot like lunch to the Leopard dog and he knows it.

Are we having fun or what?


Jo said...

Hope you're safe!!!

MerryMadMonk said...

Thankya, ma'am. I think so. I'm prepared anyway.