Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Friday, July 07, 2017

Miami Hurricane History. Learn From History. Prepare Now. Make Plans Be #HurricaneStrong. How 2017 Could Be Like 1979 or 1926? ALL of Florida in Play This Hurricane Season As Well as Neighbors in Our Other States in Hurricane Country.

Today is July 7th and we are tracking a Tropical Depression that has stubbornly refused to die but all tropical systems have their own day in the sun and as I have said before all storms run out of rain eventually. July tropical systems are rare and yet they happen often though one forming out in the Atlantic before the Islands is pretty rare. West bound African Waves in July are usually followed by the die hard trackers and ignored by the long time meteorologists who know July is often too early for African Waves to form into anything that requires designation. In 1926 July was not too early and an early Hurricane formed from an African wave in what would go on to be a historic and memorable hurricane season.

The busy 1926 Hurricane Season is shown above.
Remember it began in July with a west bound tropical wave.
Sadly for Miami in 1926 there were more storms to follow.

A lot to say today even though nothing is immediately important regarding any one hurricane or tropical system. It is worth noting that a cone has been posted by the NHC for a storm that is forecast to fade away. That said some models do show some part of it coming back stronger later down the road. Only time will tell what happened with TD4 and the new wave that rolled off Africa that models are currently forecasting will develop into another named storm in July. Another post will be put up briefly to discuss TD4 and the one that follows that may get the name Don unless something not expected happens with TD4 or if the wave rolling off of Africa becomes another victim of Saharan Dust. Time will tell. Today I want to talk about some storms we can look at in the rear view mirror and we can learn from as history repeats especially if you live in the path of tropical trouble. And, Miami and most of Florida is always in the path of a potential storm and yet rarely gets a direct hit compared to say the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Miami is known as the Magic City and I truly hope that magic mojo we got going continues for a long time.

I'm a Miamian who was born and raised in Miami. My family has lived in Florida since the 1800s. I'm what you call a native born Floridian. I can also claim the title of being an official Conch as my ancestors were one of the earliest Jews to open up shop in Key West and were naturalized as "citizens of Key West" back before the "Turn of the Century" and I do mean the 1900s not the current century. They went through storms in Key West, Miami, the 1921 Hurricane in Tampa and many; so many it's hard to even name all the storms they lived through in Florida. My Uncle survived the 1926 Hurricane as a small child and talked often of stories you don't want to hear on a dark, moonless night with a strong breeze blowing. I know Miami and I know Hurricanes so that said... please read on and the take away message is to use the links posted at the bottom of this post to properly prepare for a Hurricane. And, this year with the new policies in place from the NHC you will have very early warning and I urge you IF warnings are posted for your piece of Florida Real Estate please take them seriously and act accordingly!

My goal this morning is to make people think and take this current hurricane season seriously. Yes ACE has been low and many believe TS Cindy should never been a "Tropical Storm" vs a "Subtropical" and it's easy to point out the A storm back that formed way before the season started... but don't ignore the obvious. We are tracking TD 4 that formed before 40 West in the first week of July from a viable CV Wave that came off of Africa in late June. June wasn't too soon this year and that should tell you something. If you live in Miami or New Orleans or Tampa or Charleston and do not have a hurricane plan for this coming year you obviously like to live by the seat of your pants and are an adrenaline junkie. Or you are totally living in denial and spending way too much time thinking on the August eclipse and not worrying on a busy Hurricane Season.

Many killer hurricane seasons were loaded with junk Tropical Storms that never amounted to much, but the pattern was there and the like a pinball machine broken that keeps automatically shooting balls out of the chute one or two big ones make it into the record books. Look at 1992 a relatively weak year all in all yet Andrew is forever remembered by the numbers 1992. Weak season or busy season what you need to wonder on is not the eclipse that can be plotted and waited for (clear skies permitting) is the hurricane season of 2017. Heck you can chase an eclipse in real time the way we chase storms.. changing plans with the weather. IF a Hurricane has your hometown written on it's sleeve you can't pick up your house and runaway. Though a really strong hurricane could pick up parts of your house and distribute parts of it into neighbors yards.

Do you have a plan for the Hurricane Season? If not.. make one. And make multiple options. What you would do for a Cat 1 or Cat 2 hurricane is NOT what you would do for a Cat 4 Hurricane. And what you would do for a slow moving Tropical Storm that will flood your low lying backyard is not what you would do for a Cat 4 Hurricane moving WNW at 18 MPH around a strong High Pressure Ridge. You can pray for a miracle that it will turn and make landfall upstate like Hurricane David did but sometimes like Hurricane Andrew they just keep coming at you like a buzz saw moving closer and closer until it tries to blow your house down. Surviving a hurricane is often either a matter of shear luck or having executed a well developed plan. Thankfully the NHC does all it can to give you the earliest possible warning of real tropical trouble descending on your beautiful tropical town.

Now let's illustrate this with some Hurricane History.

1979 Hurricane David creates long lines and panic in the Miami Area as a Killer Hurricane that was deadly in the Islands takes aim at South Florida. Miami hadn't had a hurricane in a long time and there was a lot of denial as well as many new residents in the Miami area. Spoiler Alert.. David turned away and did make landfall further upstate. Unfortunately for many Miami residents who got in their cars and drove in traffic jams out of Miami that took cheap, poorly made motel rooms up the state near where Hurricane David made landfall. Oops. Their homes were safe but often their motel rooms were wet and they were terrified in unfamiliar surroundings but hey they had homes to go home to Miami got lucky.

In 1992 another hurricane took aim at Miami and half the population went into sheer panic mode (as no one really had to make hurricane plans in years) and the other half shrugged insistent it would turn away like David did in back in 1979. Miami, understand please, goes through long dry periods without landfalls that make the inhabitants sure there is some protective force field around our part of Florida that sticks out into the ocean daring a hurricane to visit. OBX in NC gets hurricanes much more than Miami does and rarely does Tampa get a direct hit. But in any given year a hurricane can show up like an unwanted relative on your doorstep.

David was a hurricane that people watched on the Nightly News slam into the Islands and created panic way in advance of it's actual watches and warnings. There's something about those storms that taste blood in the Islands that make people upstream wake up and so they should as they often go on to do it again. Cleo, Hugo, David are three such storms that people took seriously early on because of the fury it unleashed onto the Islands before continuing on towards the SE coast of America.

Then you have hurricanes like Andrew that seemingly pop up out of nowhere from struggling Tropical Storms that choose a bad time for the USA to pull it together. Sort of in the same way that the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane suddenly intensified from weak tropical storm status to landfall as a historic Category 5 a few days later. I suppose with our new satellite imagery we would have been tracking the Labor Day Hurricane as a weak Invest forecast to intensify to strong Tropical Storm with one or two models showing crazy scenarios that were discounted early on and trusted later. With our new warning system in place there would have been watches and warnings issued way before it actually intensified over the Gulfstream and those vets would have gotten out of Long Key before the storm surge moved in and took the rescue train that was running late out to sea.

Then we come to the 1926 Hurricane that actually hit Miami dead on as a Category 4 hurricane that created a storm surge that washed over Miami Beach before marching down Flagler Street in downtown Miami testing it's new Bayfront park before the park was even finished.

I want you to look at the 1926 Hurricane Season carefully. For one there is a strong parallel in that a hurricane formed before the Islands in July. It had a different track from Bret and TD4 but the early formation and the strong high makes it worth remembering.

In July a Hurricane took aim at the fairly young city of Miami, yet much like Hurricane David it moved on up the coast and brushed Miami knocking down trees that needed trimming and taking down some poorly built boom time construction with it. People laughed it off as the Winter Season tourists were far away and the early residents used to hard jobs in year round tropical heat went about picking up debris and making the Magic City beautiful again. It was called by locals a "tree trimmer" storm and as it moved away Miami seemed magically safe and sadly future warnings in September were taken with huge bags of salt so to speak. 

In September another storm warning was posted and Hurricane Flags were hoisted and Miami was warned to watch out for a West Indies Cyclone. Miami Weatherman Richard Gray ran about begging people to take note of the storm that was on it's way. Some took it seriously but they were mostly old timers who remembered stories about the few storms that made landfall in South Florida and the Florida Keys. Most of the newcomers in the new city had no clue what would follow that golden dawn in the morning that was said to be the color of burnished copper. The word "clueless" would be an understatement here and it's worth remembering Miami was barely 30 years old as a city with very little hurricane history to remember. 

Compare and contrast those tracks.

Why did I go long with a post about Miami Hurricanes this morning rather than going long on small but tenacious Tropical Depression 4 and the new wave off of Africa? Because I want this to be a stand alone post I can refer to somewhere down the road if needed. And, most importantly I want you to take this particular year seriously. If we get lucky the Magical City of Miami will not get visited by a Hurricane. But, you can't rely on luck even if you can kiss the dice and wish for it often. You can prepare for a Hurricane vs say an Earthquake. Hurricanes happen but they don't JUST HAPPEN you have time to PREPARE and there are numerous sites online where you can find information relevant to your particular life.

Do you have more than one child in diapers? You need to stock up now when you see a sale and not use them until after the season is over in October or November? Buy LOTS of Baby Wipes both for use on the baby and for use when your water is questionable to use and you need to clean up without using up your treasure chest of water that you hopefully are putting away in case you get a visit from a West Indies Cyclone as they used to call them. And, if you get a visitor from the Bahamas lots of luck.

Do you take medicine on a regular basis? Get an extra new inhaler if you have asthma. Do you take Diabetes or Blood Pressure medication? Stock up on Over the Counter Allergy meds as trust me you will need them after the storm as the clean up has it's own unique problems. Buy lots of kleenex and paper products, you can be ecologically minded after the storm. If the storm moves on donate them to a homeless shelter that will use them.

Do you have pets? Do you have a plan? Buy extra pet food especially if you have a large dog..

Do you have elderly members of the family that need to be taken into consideration? Do you live near the beautiful bay or out in the far reaches of the suburbs?

Use these links please! Save them, refer to them and hopefully you will not need to use them.

Please go to those sites, read the information as Hurricanes are one of the few natural disasters you can try and prepare for and as I said make contingent plans based on needing to evacuate from the proverbial BIG ONE vs a Category 1 Hurricane you will easily ride out safely IF you are prepared and knowledgeable in advance.

October Hurricanes that hit Miami from the SW are another sort of storm we will discuss later in September as this season is hot to trot and running a month ahead of track at least.

1979 had strong tropical waves early on...
...much like this year.

While TD 4 is still a work in process... 
This chart below will be filled in by October.

 Between now and then you can prepare for the worst.
Pray for the best, but prepare for the worst.
And I say pray vs "hope" as I know hurricanes.
And I know Miami History.

I love Miami.
Nowhere like it... 
But sometimes those beautiful breezes from Biscayne Bay..
...can blow a strong, steady wind.
And Hurricane Flags are hoisted.
And watches are posted.
And cones are put out by the NHC.
Don't say I didn't warn ya.. 

Besos BobbiStorm
@bobbistorm on Twitter.
Follow me on Twitter for updates in real time.
Check out #HurricaneStrong on Twitter or online.

And understand this year is said to be by many in the know similar to the year 1979. Let's hope it's not like 1926 that began in July with an Atlantic named storm before the Islands.

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