Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fay Fay Go Away

Fay was supposed to have been long gone by now.  Instead she stuck around off the coast of east central Florida and dumped 25 inches in the Melbourne area. She finally ambled onshore near Flagler Beach sometime this afternoon. At the 8 p.m. advisory she was moving west at 2 (yes two) miles per hour. The winds are at 60 mph.

Video from the St. Augustine area is just as discouraging as the Melbourne area pictures. Plenty of beach erosion from the pounding surf.  Two people have died: one surfer who ignored a lifeguard's warning and one swimmer.  NE Florida has some terrible rip currents that lifeguards know to watch out for during stormy weather.

The slow moving storms are sometimes worse than the fast ones.  They linger and dump heavy rains in the same location. Since Fay came across from west Florida, the residents of the Atlantic coast thought they'd receive a weakened storm.  This makes sense, based on what usually happens. Fay just kept getting stronger. 

Here in the Tampa Bay area we're having the inevitable second-guessing that comes after a storm. Today's "Letter of the Day" in the Tampa Tribune slammed local media for the "hullabaloo" surrounding Fay.  Instead of complaining she should be thrilled. I suppose the editors ran her letter as the opposing view for their own editorial. 

I happen to agree with the Trib editors in their editorial. Governor Crist, the local governments, and the media made good decisions to declare a state of emergency, close schools (etc.) and keep us up-to-date on coverage and tracking models. If the letter writer had lived in Florida longer--she'd just moved here in 2004 when the big 4 hit--she'd know that the media have to keep the message going because not everyone is tuned in to the news all the time. If she got hysterical, it's her own fault.

Best line in the Trib's editorial?  "Don't be tempted to personify Fay or scoff at its deficiency as a cyclone. The only thing certain about these storms is that they don't care and never lose. All the losses come entirely on the human side of the match-up, and our only defense is intelligent anticipation."

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