The Track


Insomnia has paid me a visit. Maybe it’s just the tea I drank a little earlier this evening. Bluegrass music, thanks to Pandora, is playing in my headphones. So, would you mind if I revisited my issues from yesterday? Not going to harp on it the whole blog, but bear with me a moment.

There was a gas shortage in Texas last week in places other than Houston thanks to Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. Here in Tampa Bay, where Irma isn’t likely to hit (but might), there were gas, water, and bread shortages the past few days, and it’s gone mostly unreported in the national media since so much focus is on Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and the eastern Florida coast. If any of you who are Walmart employees took offense to what I said, my apologies. I didn’t mean my report to be a criticism of just that particular grocer. But can we at least admit something may be wrong with the chain of command here, with Walmart and other grocers being a link (small or large) in that chain? Maybe we can get some sort of investigation by Congress as to why this happened once the storms clear out?

Then again, why would an institution with something around a 10% approval rating actually do something remotely in the public’s interest? Never mind.

OK, on to Irma.

I preface what I’m about to say by saying I’m not a meteorologist, though one night in 1992 I got to play one on a few AM stations across the country. (That’s a blog entry for another time.) Those computer models that track all of these hurricanes with scientific and not-so scientific names like the Euro and the GFS have Hurricane Irma successfully staying over water, moving west-northwest to a point north of the middle of Cuba, south of Florida. They then think the storm will make a sharp turn of some 90 degrees to turn basically north, giving either a direct hit or close call to most of the Florida east coast. Should that happen somewhere near the plan, the west coast would likely see winds of tropical storm force.

Being a veteran of Charley in 2004, I can’t help but notice one of the flaws of tracking and predicting hurricanes even in such a technological age seem to happen when storms make sharp turns. Charley had Tampa Bay dead to rights, but made a stronger turn than most predicted, giving Port Charlotte and Ft. Myers the brunt of a small Category 4 storm.

I can’t help but wonder (and believe me, I don’t wish for this AT ALL) if whatever luck we’ve had over the years here in Tampa Bay comes back and bites us. If that turn happens a bit later, or if the turn is more gradual than expected, we could be in trouble.

If you live in my neck of the woods, don’t let your guard down. As they say in sports, there’s a lot of football left to be played. Schools are closed here in Pinellas County today and tomorrow, ready and waiting for possible evacuation orders to be issued. At this point, I don’t see evacuating happening where I live. Time will tell, as it always does.

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