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!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

UPDATED 2 Yellow Circles in Atlantic ... 10 PM Hurricane Jose..IRMA RECOVERY. Jose Looping But Forecast To Go Out To Sea ..Currently. Conditions in Florida Keys. Marathon, Big Pine Key, Key West. Some Keys History. Maps. Sad Images. Destruction. Death Toll a Moving Target

I'll update in the morning.
But it's worth mentioning.
2 new Yellow Circles in Atlantic.
Jose still up in the air.

2nd wave still over Africa.

Satellite imagery shows the 2 waves.

NHC watch area.

As for Jose.
Models keep doing weird things.
I'll update in the AM.
Note the Low off the coast..
That Low is the remnant of Jose.

Tonight the NHC finally introduced the two yellow areas we have been waiting for them to introduce. Both low chances for now (I said yellow) and they are far away off of Africa. Yes, more Cabo Verde Waves. It is September still you know...   There has been much debate in the meteorological community as to which wave develops. NHC highlights them both. More tomorrow. Note discussion below, still valid from earlier today.

Jose at 5 PM
Then please read on after that.
Much on FL Keys
And Irma Recovery.
Currently more like Rescue...

Cone below.

I drew the purple lines on...
What will the cone be in 3 days.
Or in 5 days.
Jose is forecast to loop much.

Spaghetti Models show why.
Seems as if Jose loops often.
Looks like scribble scrabble.
Easy to laugh that off...

But the longer it loops...
...and doesn't go out to sea.
The more there is a possible it won't.
Odds are it does.
But it may miss it's ticket out of town.

So where will Jose be in 5 days.
IF he is being pushed towards the coast.
Close to NJ... 
Or North of Bermuda.
Makes a big difference.

Not much I can now other than keep watching.

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I'll update tomorrow.

Problem is some models... a weak Jose making landfall.
Most take it out to sea.

And some models develop Lee.
More on that tomorrow.

The deaths in the nursing home.. Hollywood are now up to 8.
They had been cited for problems.
Generator problems.

Big Pine Key hit much worse than the KW.

Read about Jose.
Scroll down to bottom 
(or read...)
For info on specific Keys.

Brief update on Hurricane Jose.
Last man standing sort of....

Official cone from NHC

Currently it IS forecast to go OTS
Out to sea...
So why are people worried?
The problem is it is a looper.
Some models show it looping more.

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And with each loop...
People on the East Coast worry.

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Jose hangs in there too..

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History has seen some odd loopers.
Ginger took the long road to NC VA

So we watch and wait.
But for now Jose is not a problem.
It could get close... 
..things could change.
I'll update regularly.

Moving on to Irma Recovery

Feel free at any time to scroll down to the pictures. I'm a writer and I go long and this story is very personal for me, very real and still ongoing as I'm waiting to hear from loved ones who are in Key West or the Keys and my kids are still on the road back to Miami (one made it back last night with light traffic on I95 go figure) and friends in affected areas slammed by Hurricane Irma. Seems the worst traffic is on I75 as most of Miami drove to Atlanta.

You know life comes down to choices and one of the biggest choices we make is where we live. During a hurricane it may be where we evacuate to or whether we stay, but on any given day where we choose to live determines what our life is like on a daily basis. Sometimes people say "well, how am I supposed to move?" and other people can't wrap their head around that logic as they move about as if they are part gypsy. Maybe I'm part gypsy. I'm definitely one quarter Hungarian (way back) so maybe who knows. I was born in Miami, moved to NYC to go to school for a while, came back to Miami moved to California where I lived a long time. Then I moved back to Miami and ended up in Carolinas; perhaps there is something to numerology as both California and Carolina have a lot of letters in common.

My great, great grandparents began by leaving somewhere in Russia and moved to England where the family lived for a while and did well. They did so well they moved to Key West in it's early days when it was very much like a frontier town and set up store on Whitehead Street not far from the Hemingway House. As the story goes my great grandmother was ill often and loved the water and her husband told her he was taking her somewhere that was warm all the time and surrounded by water. And that is the reason almost everyone moves to the Florida Keys or Key West. Once upon the time they visited... either by motorcycle or car or boat and they looked around and said "it is good" and they stayed. One guy I know at Bnai Zion well . . . rode into Key West on a motorcycles with his sister years back, one Harley broke and by the time they got it fixed he decided he wasn't leaving. Nuff said...

And when you decide to live on a rock in the middle of the ocean or in this case the Florida Straits you realize you could be cut off from the world should the highway go out. In my families case there was no highway, no train and cars did not even exist. People rode horses around Key West and you came and went by boat and it seemed normal. The lack of water was not normal; people used cisterns in their backyard and people got malaria often. At some point my family moved up to Tampa after the turn of the previous century and continued going back and forth for business reasons to Key West.  This ebb and flow of travel and movement existed for years between Tampa and Key West and after Miami became a viable town (much further down the road) it became added into the mix as some siblings moved up to Miami to do business and live on the Main Land and others stayed and continued to live there. So that's a bit of my back story so you understand how I feel about Key West and why this is so personal to me specifically.

As this is my blog, I began it as a venue to give my own thoughts rather than just on Message Boards, it seems only logical I tell the story from my perspective with my own specific knowledge of the Florida Keys and Florida. I've lectured extensively around Florida on Florida History as well as Hurricane History and I have lectured around the US on hurricanes. I don't toot my horn very much. I didn't start this blog to become rich and famous obviously. I started it to educate. I'm beginning to sound like Hemingway now with short sentences. I digress but understand Hemingway and other artists moved to Key West because the place itself is a muse for many artists. If you weren't an artist before you move there ... warning you that you may become an artist of some kind afterwards. The sheer beauty of the island does that to you. The shear beauty of the Florida Keys as a whole even out does Miami which I love and am proud to be a Miamian living in Carolina.

Why do I live in Raleigh? Good question. I remarried a while back after going back and forth often while dating and my husband's business is here and he has lived here going on 30 years if not longer. He's worked hard and continues to do so to help this community thrive be it constantly talking with the local Kroger to bring in more Kosher Food and Chevra Kadisha (Google it) so we are here as are his clients who live around the country but mostly here. He was President of the Chabad Shul here for a long time and is very involved in the community doing things others wouldn't easily do and I was told by many of his friends he can't leave they need him. Sweet...I realized early on he doesn't have friends he has fans as he's an incredible chef in his part time. But it's a small community and at some time down the line we may move but where I'm not sure. It's been a moving target and I'm here and don't expect to leave any time soon. Carolina fit into my overall world plan for where I wanted to live before I met him as it's Southern, it's got beaches, it's got hurricanes, it's got a football team and a Chabad House. And he's very easy about me going back and forth to Miami often on a regular basis for long trips so I pretty much live in both cities still. Is that call Bi-City? I'm not sure but I didn't go to Miami for this hurricane (I thought on it) but I stayed here as I can write and lack of power hampers my ability to update the blog for people who read it for information. And, if the kids needed to evacuate we'd be here and that did happen. Life is made of choices. I do like chasing hurricanes but Major Hurricanes are beyond my pay grade :) so ... I'd rather write from here and help educate and inform. That is why I made this blog and for no other reason.. okay I like to write and a few of my special friends like reading my thoughts on life and hurricanes so that's how the blog began and that's who I am...

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Back to the main story.

The Florida Keys are currently cut off from the rest of the world and in many ways life there today is much like it was for Old Wolfe who came and went by boat and didn't have running water. The Upper Keys are obviously way better off than the Middle and Lower Keys. The "Florida Keys" are broken into three distinct regions; even the NWS out of Key West puts out three separate forecasts. The bridges into Key Largo are good and the damage though bad is much lighter than the Middle and Lower Keys. You see how South Florida is intrinsically connected to the Florida Keys and many go back and forth on the weekend to fish, to eat, to swim to dive. And many people do a reverse commute as they live in South Dade and commute to jobs in the Upper Keys. On any given weekend (or night) my kids drive down to Gilbert's and have dinner and watching the sunset and then drive back up to Miami. It's how we live... it's part of our lives even we live in Miami Dade County.

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The Upper Keys ...

Key Largo is a fairly large key, it's economy very tied into Miami Dade County and tourism obviously. It's got the Publix and a large nice Kmart and many restaurants, motels and condos where people from Miami spend part of their time as well as people who are snowbirds and fly in during the winter. It's got schools, it's a real community centered place. High end fancy homes and marinas and small houses a block in from the water. It's not just about bars and restaurants on the water, but they are nice and great places to watch the sunset. Once the area opens it will be easier to fix up and either way it's still a great place to watch the sunset.  I've head the Atlantic side of worse than the Gulf Side, very murky, muddy debris near the homes on the Atlantic side that will need repairs obviously. Way better than the Lower Keys but way worse than how Miami and Ft. Lauderdale faired. Storm surge (lower but there) and mud and trees down and some minor structural damage. Boats and docks bad and to some that may seem like nothing but it's part of life and part of the economy down there. So easy in Wisconsin to laugh that off but no laughing matter if you live there. As they say it's minor surgery if it happens to someone else, major surgery if happening to you. 

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Middle Keys.
Showing this map... Marathon is the Crown of the Middle Keys.

Big schools.
Another Kmart.
Larger island.
Snorkeling. Fishing.
Many people live there.... of all sizes.
Sombrero Beach awesome.
Warm island community.

Marathon has a lot of damage. I'd say it couldn't look worse, but I've seen close up pictures of the Lower Keys and trust me it's worse in the Lower Keys. But Marathon, especially on the oceanside, got slammed by such a large storm surge it picked up coral rocks from the bottom of the water and dropped them onto land along with whatever boats and numerous lobster traps there were in the water. In fact heard it said that the electric lines are literally wrapped around the lobster traps and tree debris and parts of people's washers and dryers that flew out of houses onto the highway that needed to be cleared away before home owners could come back. Not good. Just really not good. Some structures there but it was from what I've seen worse damage if possible than Hurricane Donna. I'll leave that to be determined by those who do that professionally at the NHC.  Again homes by the water fare worse than inland and saying inland is only relative to someone like me who lived on an Island. You get the idea. Homes built to the newer codes stood, with some damage, but not all homes there were built to code and time will tell. I love Marathon. May sound silly but it's my favorite Kmart in the whole country, not that I shop there so much in Raleigh but it's a stop along the way used often next to the large Dive Center. And, some of my best memories ever are from days spent at Sombrero Beach. Check it out in a year or so..

Sombrero Beach.

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See how Keys change orientation below.
From Middle to Lower Keys

Lower Keys.

BPK largest... to the right.

Now I want to explain the orientation of the Florida Keys change when you get to Big Pine. They run North to South as they cross the Overseas Highway. It's not important why but what is important to know is Big Pine is the big one. Big Pine Key or as we refer to it BPK has many homes of all types demographically and people live there all year. It's a warm wonderful community, many stayed in some of the 2 story homes built to withstand a strong hurricane and I have to tell you those homes did withstand Irma. I'm sure there is some damage but they stand still. Others were washed away and all that is left is where the home once stood visible in drone imagery.

Truly Islands in the Stream.
Mostly mangroves.
Some hardwood on Big PINE Key.

Up close.

See how large BPK is.
..way bigger in size than Key West.

One picture of damage in BPK

Understand... my friend lives here.
Her house is standing...
..tho up close probably damaged.

Again you see the difference between the big well built homes and the small beautifulcottages. The big new ones held up pretty well, though staying in them as some did was probably a long living hell. I heard a reporter say on TV he thought it was tornado damage. There could have been tornadoes but I doubt it as the new large, concrete homes show little damage. If he isn't familiar with the BPK he wouldn't understand. A tornado would damage the larger ones too.. Some of the water ways are completely covered with debris. Sobering but not surprising. Not the first time and everyone living there knows it could happen one day... some day... when no one is ever sure. You enjoy the beauty while you got it and you know one day you may have one hell of a clean up job or rebuilding job and I've heard some that stayed say they would never stay again for a hurricane. 

Close up picture of BPK

I cut this picture down small.
Note big concrete bldg little damae.
Debris nearby is cottages. 

If this was tornado damage in theory the larger structures would be more damaged.  We try to explain storm surge and it's hard for many to understand. Again I said earlier it picked up coral rocks from the reef and deposited them on land ..   And as for the winds, Irma moved slowly if you remember so those homes on the Keys were under Major Hurricane winds for hours... and hurricane force winds nonstop for 24 hours as it crossed slowly. So that is what a HURRICANE does and don't kid yourself this is not because they are an island but up and down the coast from Florida to Carolinas and along the GOM coast if you have a home a block or two from the water this could be you.

Going back to what I said earlier. You choose where you live and 99.9% of the time it IS paradise and will be again. It's a risk you take when you build there and you rebuilt, or move again another decision. Conchs either by birth or who take on to live there are resilient, stoic and practical they are not stupid. They have a real sense of family, community and a deep love of Key West as well as the Keys in general. They are called Conchs for two reasons. One obviously the conch shell but earlier English people moved there and farmed, worked and lived. Some were wreckers capturing cargo that washed up on shore after their ships went down on the reefs. I'm a Conch in that my mother's family was there since the 1800s but usually I just say I'm Southern Jewish. When they got to Key West they had a Sefer Torah with them and helped set up a Synagogue that often met in their house or another house nearby if they were up in Philly visiting relatives. Key West from the beginning was a diverse community of Bahamians, Cubans and Immigrant Jews who ran away from persecution in European communities. Many people from the Carolinas and Georgia and the rest of Florida moved down. It's always been One Human Family. And the Islands to the North of the Key West known as the "Lower Keys" are basically the suburbs in ways to Key West. Kids attend Key West High School and many who work in the High School live down in Big Pine, Big Coppit and Cudjoe Key that I wrote about previously. 

I'll update later and do a long proof of this blog over the next hour. It's been hard to write this as my kids are on Whastapp with various issues and people keep asking me "what do they need in Key West" and the truth is I don't know. They need EVERYTHING... they need water and diapers and medicine and food and it's going to be a long recovery. Worried some on the Zucker family who I know well at Chabad of Key West and I have many friends at Bnai Zion the Temple in Old Town that my family helped start years back.  I have lived days of my life in Key West... there are places that were home, a safe haven to breathe, revive and live. I've spent many a Jewish Holiday with Tom sitting in the kitchen within site of the pool eating Edwards Cheese Cake for Shavous and much, much time with one of my close friend Stuart who passed away a few years back. As someone once said to me down there.. Mi Casa Es Su Casa and it was... and I'm sure he's worried on friends there as well. 

We love the water and the flowers and the trees and flowers will grow back.  But it will be slow going. My son-in-law is in Marathon delivering things to the fire station there. Everything was moved there logically from other places but Irma didn't go West enough to keep Marathon in tact. From gloves to water to whatever they are delivering things with FEMA and soon he will only be on a satellite phone. What do they need he asks... and I can't say specifically. Anything they bring will help. They are cut off for now. No power, no phone, no cable and the only way they can call out is to borrow a satellite phone from a reporter to tell people they are alive. That simple.

Pictures I took from Bnai Zion at their 120th anniversary several years back Chanukah time.. They make an awesome Shabbos lunch for everyone who is there on Saturday for services. The Rabbi and his wife are awesome and people from doctors, lawyers, jugglers from Mallory Square to a Conch Train driver to a chef at Camilles  Restaurant attend services. The original synagogue is now Sarabeth's Restaurant  and the owners belong to Bnai Zion and are active.  Chabad is filled with locals and many of the Israelis that work and own businesses on Duval Street. Next time you are there you will notice a small mezuzah on the door frame on those Tee Shirts shops... now you know why. Google Mezuzah Chabad.'s very personal for me. And the Hollywood Nursing Home story is also personal as my Father in Law before he died this year stayed there after he was released from Hollywood Memorial. I know it well.

I'll go back to the Florida Keys and Key West and stand there and stare up at my Great Grandfather's house and smile. 

This a blog I don't maintain enough.
It's mostly for family info.
I write.
It's what I do.
How I do genealogy.

That's an ancestor.
Frontier town.
Key West 1800s
KW recently.

The house is there. Currently it was for sale again. If I had the money I'd buy it in an instant. Guessing property in KW a lot cheaper now than last week. No words. I'll find some next blog post tomorrow. 

Besos BobbiStorm
@bobbistorm on Twitter.

Some stories that are trending you may or may not have heard about.

Again it's personal, my father-in-law who passed away a few months back was in that facility after being in the hospital nearby not well enough to go home and close to going into hospice before he simply died after saying goodbye to his children, grandchildren and having his favorite foods. He was in the catering business... he knew what he liked to eat and made sure to have some while saying good bye to loved ones. It's a nice place all in all, however a hurricane can stress life in all ways and they are now investigating to see if there are higher losses of life in other nursing homes in South Florida as well as I type this blog. It's an evolving story.

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