A Hurricane Watch has been issued for portions of the Florida Gulf Coast.
The Hurricane Watch includes coastal areas extending from Apalachicola to Tarpon Springs.
The majority of the area included is known as the “Big Bend” region of Florida, but the watch extends further south as well, just north of the Tampa area.
There is currently no hurricane or even a tropical storm in existence. However, the National Hurricane Center is forecasting the further strengthening of Tropical Depression 9 into a Tropical Storm overnight.
If the depression indeed does strengthen, it will be named Hermine. Currently, this system is forecasted to landfall as a strong tropical storm, with sustained winds of around 65mph.
As of 9pm on August 30th, the expected landfall location of the storm’s center is located just south of Perry, Florida….or roughly near the very small fishing community of Keaton Beach.
This area of Florida is very sparsely populated, quite in contrast with areas of the west coast from Tampa and further southward. However, there are still numerous small communities along the coast that may be affected by Tropical Storm conditions.
As I write this, a Tropical Storm Watch has been expanded further inland to include Gainesville and Ocala. The counties of these two cities have a combined population of around 600,000 people.
Our current plan is to head to Cedar Key, Florida very early on Thursday morning, if not before. This is by far the best region to get a “safe” view of the Gulf of Mexico in this region of Florida.
There is very limited access to the coastal areas of the Big Bend of Florida. Most of the Big Bend region is swampy salt marshes, as well as “scrub.”
These areas are filled with dense pine trees and not only extremely flat, but also extremely soggy, even without any tropical systems. Alligators and snakes are two hazards that immediately come to mind on any ordinary day.
As what we assume will be Tropical Storm Hermine moves ashore…the ocean level will rise a couple of feet and several inches of rain will fall, causing the Big Bend region to become a mostly inaccessible swamp mess.
I do not particularly look forward to the aspect of potentially sinking into the massively over-saturated swamp and being swallowed by hungry gators and angry snakes.
At best, there will probably be angry swarms of fire-ants, which might actually be more painful than an instant death from an alligator.
Tropical Storm Threats
Besides several hours of winds sustained anywhere from 30 to 65 miles per hour with occasional higher gusts, many areas west of I-75 will receive anywhere from 5 to 8 inches of rain.
Tornadoes are certainly possible as well, as the friction from land-falling tropical system creates the dangerous bonus of additional spin in the atmosphere.
Despite repeated forecasts of the storm taking an abrupt turn to the northeast, this has not yet happened.
As a result, the forecasted track has very recently shifted a bit further north and west than what had been previously advertised for the past several days.
From my perspective, it appears the storm center is continuing to move further west than expected.
I would not at all be surprised to see the storm center come ashore closer to Tallahassee. Originally, forecasts showed it coming ashore closer to Gainesville. This is both a north and west shift of nearly 150 miles.
Always Be Prepared!
Just to be safe, we purchased several large boxes of TrailMix, Goldfish, Crackers, and cans of soup and bottled water in the event the electricity is out for several days.
Or worse, maybe I get the Honda stuck in flash flooding somewhere again. I certainly will avoid that at all costs.
It is seemingly much more likely that a small gust of wind will toss me into a swampy scrub anyways.
I’ll be back with more information and hopefully videos and/or photos later.
If you are in north Florida, PREPARE NOW FOR THIS POTENTIAL HURRICANE!