The worst part of Hurricane Irma has started in central Florida now. It is here, and it announced its arrival with a bang… literally. I have no clue what that sound was, but it was loud!!
About two hours before the hurricane force winds arrived, a possible tornado passed through the area where I live. I didn’t seen any damage, but it hit suddenly. The only way I can describe the sound is that it sounded like a jet was flying about 100′ above my roof. For a few minutes, I couldn’t even see the building across the street from me.
Winds have gradually increased throughout the day. I still have electricity, but the lights have flickered a few times. The strongest rain bands (accompanied by the arrival of the hurricane force winds) just hit here about 45 minutes ago. Once again, it hit suddenly. There was no gradual increase this time. I heard some loud bangs outside that I have to assume were from debris hitting something.
The biggest change, which none of the “experts” predicted is that this storm is moving north… STRAIGHT north. It was supposed to move north-northwest, and the eye was supposed to pass over the Tampa Bay area. The eye of the storm, if it stays on its current track, will either pass directly over (or just to the west of) Disney World. If that is the case, the eye of the storm will pass just a few miles to the west of where I live. There is even a slight chance that I could end up inside the eye of the storm.
As I am typing this, the constant roar I have been hearing outside for the past hour or so seems to have calmed down a bit. Not a sign that anyone can let their guard down, but it is nice to hear things quiet down for a little bit.
So far, I haven’t seen any damage, but I have to imagine there is some damage in this area. The wind has been crazy at times. The rain has been blowing sideways most of the day, and, at times, it has been so heavy that it has looked like snow. In a way, watching the rain blow over the buildings around me reminds me of a North Dakota blizzard.
The rain is still pouring down here right now, and the wind gusts have to be well over 80 mph. The wind will likely continue to increase as the eye of Irma moves closer. Strong winds will continue until around sunrise tomorrow. After that, we can start to breathe a sigh of relief.
I may or may not write another update again tonight. I imagine the rest of the night will be more of the same… just windier. If anything comes up that is worth sharing, I will do so, if I can. If not, I will try to update everybody again tomorrow once things start to settle down, if I still have power.