Posted Sunday, September 05, 2004 7:46:14 PM by Kim
It’s 8:30 am here in Stuart and we’re getting slapped by the backside of Hurricane Frances. What a long ride this has been. Starting 24 hours ago the winds have steadily risen until last night at about 8:30 that the full force of the storm hit us. For about 4 hours we experienced steady hurricane winds of 80+ mph winds, with gusts up to and over 100 mph. And then at 1:00 am the eye of the storm finally rolled over us and things were relatively calm.
While the eye was over us I had a chance to walk around with a flashlight and survey the damage here. We’ve been lucky in this neighborhood. Tree branches as thick as your thigh were snapped off and tossed around. In this house one of those branches hit the corner of the roof and took off a gutter and knocked loose the vinyl covering under the roof. So good news in that regard.
As morning breaks I can see that there are some sizable trees down, but that the damage isn’t too terrible. I’m sure that there are areas much harder hit than this one.
Last night was nearly a sensory overload experience, somewhat heightened by a fair amount of adult beverages. With the wide overhang around this house we were able to actually set lawn chairs out on the deck in the lee of the wind and watch and listen to the storm unfold. All day the wind howled through the trees, but as the eye approached a crescendo of noise was raised by Frances. Off to my east, towards the Indian River and the ocean, there was a steady roar as the wind howled through trees and neighborhoods. The same sound that you read about from people’s stories of riding out a hurricane—like a freight train off in the distance—was a sound that was with us nearly all day, rising in intensity as the eye approached us last night. Added to the roar was a peculiar shrieking noise as the wind blew through electrical wires. That sound acted almost as an early warning signal, as we could hear the wind rising before we actually felt it.
I also got to see first hand the green lightning flashes that people report seeing in a hurricane last night, as the sky lit up with brief green flashes of light as lightning was reflected inside the eye wall of the storm. Eerie and beautiful at the same time, it felt as if there was so much energy in that swirling mass of wind and rain that sparks were thrown off by the vortex.
This morning the storm seems worse as the eye has made its way all the way across this area and we are now getting slammed once again. It’s probably due to the fact that I can actually see what’s happening with the winds and rain, instead of just listening as I did last night, but we are definitely getting shredded by strong winds once again. The 5 story tall pine tree across the way is only 2 stories tall now, having snapped halfway from the top. Again, I know the small area that I can see is just the tip of the iceberg. Power is out to millions of people across Florida and there are trees and power lines down all over.
But all in all, we were fortunate that the winds were not stronger than they were—and are at the moment—but the unbelievable duration of this storm is something that no one was expecting, or can remember for that matter. We still have several hours to go as I write this before the winds will drop down to reasonable levels. Levels that will allow the cleanup to begin, and for power to be restored. There will be many stories coming out of Hurricane Frances, and I have a few more of my own to tell.
Category tags: On the Personal Side