Hurricanes are tricky things. In 2004, Category 4 Hurricane Charliewas headed straight for our house in Clearwater when it took an easterly turnovernight. It decimated a surprised Punta Gorda with its strong northeastquadrant, and the weaker western side barely gave us rain.
A similar thing happened today in Marathon. The storm went east of theforecasted track and we got the western side, which was pretty muchnon-existent. It was overcast and drizzled once in the morning, then therest of the day was sunny and calm.
I won’t attempt to hide that it was a bit of a letdown. It’s not that I’m an adrenaline junkie orsomething. I make these plans and havethese ideas about what conditions will be like and how we’ll cope with them,but at this point they remain untested. Aboxer has to work his way up the ranks gaining experience before he has achance against the champ. I only hopethat next time I’m not pitted against a much stronger storm.
I partially console myself with the knowledge that I could tell what was happeningas soon as I got up this morning and saw the breeze had backed to the North. I’ve watched these things closely for manyyears now, have read some books, taken some classes, and feel like I’m gettingto understand them to some degree.
If I were reliant on official sources of information, I would have beentotally clueless about what was currently happening or about to happen. The VHF chatter from
other boats showed a serious lack of awareness about what the weather was doing. Local weather radar was the only informationI had access to (which was only possible because I had Internet access) which was compatible with what I was seeing with my eyes. In fact, several of the National HurricaneCenter’s position reports appeared to contradict what I saw clearly onradar. I find it frustrating that even within hours of a storm hitting me, I can’t get good information about what kind of weather I’llhave. Part of it is a prediction problem, but part is also an information delivery problem.
We received several calls and emails today from friends and family inquiringabout how we’re faring in the storm. Allwere surprised to learn that it was just another day in paradise.