When I first moved to Florida, the week prior to settling into our temporary condo home, Hurricane Erin (Category 2) had made her mark.
Two months later, only three weeks in our new permanent home, Hurricane Opal arrived… just in time for my birthday. I celebrated my 33rd on the road, fleeing with my family from a Category 4 storm, having grown to a Cat 5 just prior to landfall.
Over the past 14 years we have evacuated from Ivan and Dennis, but stayed for Georges and Gustav. We were flooded by Katrina, but New Orleans was far enough away that the wind damage was not as catastrophic.
This weekend we’re closely watching Tropical Storm Ana which appears to be dissipating, but still threatens to dump some rain, and Bill as it veers off further east away from Florida’s west coast, but Claudette it seems wanted a beach vacation.
The NOAA five-day outlook, as of Sunday around noon, was that Claudette, whether a storm or full-blown hurricane, will make landfall in my backyard sometime late tonight or early Monday. That little black dot resting on the blue line? Yeah, that’s where I live.
Claudette has a bit of intensifying to do to reach hurricane status. A Category 1 storm has to reach maximum sustained winds of 74 mph to be considered a hurricane. As of noon Sunday, she was rated a tropical storm, which exceeds 39 mph sustained winds.
It’s a good thing that I worked this weekend so I could take off Monday. I reiterate I hate crossing this bridge and especially hate the idea of doing it in driving rain and tropical storm/hurricane strength winds.