Prospero
(Weather Guru)
Sat Sep 16 2017 08:58 PM
Re: Irma Conditions/Observations in your Area

Gulfport, Florida:
Power finally came back on around noon here. I can say, it is actually cooler inside tonight than outside for the first time in seven days.

On Saturday morning we woke up to The Hurricane Center aiming Irma right up Gulfport and St. Pete as a Cat 4 or so. Normally I'd be posting on this forum giving my latest blah blah blah, but the fear was a bit overwhelming and we scrambled to do even more preventative measures here.

Irma missed us, but even so our power was knocked out at 7:50 pm on the 10th. A big part of our neighbor's tree fell on our house around midnight. We were lucky that so far it appears the wind softened the fall and there may be no damage. Our yard was full of debris, and we still have a few piles of branches and debris. We lost a "Cassia" tree, a Bougainvillea, and had the dangerous Cherry Oak totally removed off our home and down to the stump.

Here's the rub...

The strongest gust we had in our yard was 38 mph. That was the moment we lost power. Our weather station kept collecting data all week, and even around midnight when the tree fell the gust was 37 mph.

Curious, Hurricane Hermine brought stronger gusts around here. But we never lost power. Hermine with it's 39 mph gusts did bring down a big chunk of the same tree on our roof that fell on our house this time. But all in all, around Pinellas County with hurricane speed winds, Hermine was nothing compared to Irma with tropical storm winds.

OK, as someone who has an electrical education, there is Voltage vs Current. So in the Hermine/Irma situation, it may be like Hermine had a peak voltage that was very high (wind gusts in the hurricane speed range around 80 mph in some places), but Irma had a sustained current (30 to 40 mpg winds that did not let up all around the county up to 65 mph or so) that was way more amperage than Hermine and very much more powerful.

Looking at the weather stations around here, Pinellas County barely had hurricane winds at all (if at all), so our week of no power for 400,000 customers was all from a powerful tropical storm effect from Irma. In order to recharge our cell phones, my wife and I drove around and there are some areas that are not touched and other areas that were slammed. Yet I am still looking for 70+ mph winds and Irma was just a tropical storm here.

Hmmm, BIG slow tropical storm vs. little fast Cat 1 hurricane? Big slow may be worse.



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