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Michael -- Tropical WX, Gulf Coast

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Heard from our friends. No injuries, knee-deep water, no power, water damage to house. Three trees smashed the neighbor's house. The wind was forcing water into the walls and it was coming out of outlets :o

This is a new house they moved into about 4 weeks ago!

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4 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Heard from our friends. No injuries, knee-deep water, no power, water damage to house. Three trees smashed the neighbor's house. The wind was forcing water into the walls and it was coming out of outlets :o

This is a new house they moved into about 4 weeks ago!

Salt water does bad things the drywall, conduit, foundation, strappings.  It may now be a tear down.

 

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I went to check in on some friends and family on FB and found this:

HurricaneFBPanic.jpg

 

I like how the only available response is "Yes."

Indeed, I did have a nice sail yesterday afternoon, so I was affected. The trailing band is causing rain this morning. We will rebuild.

I wish I could show you the rest of this without compromising the privacy of others or lots of image editing. Yeah, I have 10 friends "in the area."

You can ask whether someone "in the area" is OK. The two people with the most numerous requests for that update live in...

drumroll please...

Gainseville and Punta Gorda.

The people actually in the affected area are OK. Their stuff and their world and their jobs, not so much.

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8 minutes ago, dacapo said:

They are. And this one illustrates why a hurricane prep list should begin with:

1. Chainsaws

2. Fuel

Even before water.

https://dynaimage.cdn.cnn.com/cnn/w_1600/https%3A%2F%2Fcdn.cnn.com%2Fcnnnext%2Fdam%2Fassets%2F181010224018-22-hurricane-michael-1010.jpg

181010224018-22-hurricane-michael-1010.j

What if you need to go down that street? What if emergency vehicles need to go down it to get to your family?

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3 minutes ago, dogballs Tom said:

They are. And this one illustrates why a hurricane prep list should begin with:

1. Chainsaws

2. Fuel

Even before water.

https://dynaimage.cdn.cnn.com/cnn/w_1600/https%3A%2F%2Fcdn.cnn.com%2Fcnnnext%2Fdam%2Fassets%2F181010224018-22-hurricane-michael-1010.jpg

181010224018-22-hurricane-michael-1010.j

What if you need to go down that street? What if emergency vehicles need to go down it to get to your family?

^^^

This. During Floyd we got trapped by falling trees that fell literally right in front of us while we were driving toward them :o Some neighbors with chain saws cleared the road by the next day :D

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9 minutes ago, dogballs Tom said:

They are. And this one illustrates why a hurricane prep list should begin with:

1. Chainsaws

2. Fuel

Even before water.

https://dynaimage.cdn.cnn.com/cnn/w_1600/https%3A%2F%2Fcdn.cnn.com%2Fcnnnext%2Fdam%2Fassets%2F181010224018-22-hurricane-michael-1010.jpg

181010224018-22-hurricane-michael-1010.j

What if you need to go down that street? What if emergency vehicles need to go down it to get to your family?

total agreement. When NY had both Irene and Sandy, the boat's ditch bag (has a ton of useful items) , emergency blankets, 2 chainsaws, 15 gal of gas, 15 gal of diesel, the generator, 200w of solar panels, were loaded into a place we re at and had easy access to...Prior Proper Planning Prevent Piss Poor Performance

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Good idea with the chainsaw. I barely made it through a maze of falling and fallen trees during Sandy and a tree fell on top of my minivan as I was doing about 50. I made it through with a smashed roof halfway back but I was going too fast for it to stop me. 

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12 minutes ago, Sail4beer said:

Good idea with the chainsaw. I barely made it through a maze of falling and fallen trees during Sandy and a tree fell on top of my minivan as I was doing about 50. I made it through with a smashed roof halfway back but I was going too fast for it to stop me. 

From my list of things I know, but should not, I'm afraid. And that's chainsaws. Plural. Getting parts involves getting unbelievably lucky, like having the parts truck pull up the abandoned wreckage of the lawnmower shop at the same time you do. That did happen to me, but it's better to just have multiple saws.

My whole area was pretty unnavigable after Andrew. My parents lived a bit north, where there were only a few downed branches and a few tiles flung from roofs. And one giant branch that crushed their gate. No way for a vehicle to get out until it was gone, along with some gate parts.

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Mexico Beach. Looks like storm surge erased all the older ranch houses off their slabs. The newer stuff on stilts fared a bit better. 

https://streamable.com/i2oq3 

<div style="width: 100%; height: 0px; position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.250%;"><iframe src="https://streamable.com/s/i2oq3/rzankl" frameborder="0" width="100%" height="100%" allowfullscreen style="width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;"></iframe></div>

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Moon, 

    That pretty much says it all about what that kind of wind and water can do. Here is an equally sobering ground perspective of Mex Beach, or what's left of it.

    You see slab foundations with nothing left except maybe the bottom three courses of bricks or the 2x4 bottom plates of stud walls. Those things are Ramset into the concrete with dogballs caliber charges and about impossible to pry off.

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A couple of question regarding building codes.

What are the current specifications for withstanding hurricane force winds?

Do the codes take into account flying debris?

 

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2 minutes ago, Rasputin22 said:

Codes?

 

They will now!

Rubio was being interviewed this morning on CNN and mentioned that Codes had been upgraded after Andrew (1992).  Not sure what if anything would have helped in Mexico Beach which is very reminiscent of Andrew and Homestead.  

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8 minutes ago, Para Handy said:

A couple of question regarding building codes.

What are the current specifications for withstanding hurricane force winds?

Do the codes take into account flying debris?

 

Generally 150 mph.

You can install wind-rated windows that are not impact-rated.

But FL still has lots of homes that were built before the code changes of the 1990s. Not as many as we did Tuesday, but lots of them.

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4 minutes ago, Rasputin22 said:

Codes?

 

They will now!

No - the codes will end up being set to the convenience of the building industry.

In Gulf Shores the building codes just prior to hurricane Frederick required that a house be built 11.5 feet above sea level.  My parents house was under construction at the time and the storm surge flooded the garage but not the 6" higher house.   The local builders years  later lobbied and got the rule changed to lower the building height to 8.5 feet.   When Ivan hit in 2004 the garage got flooded again, but the house was untouched.   The neighboring houses built to the new standard had substantial flooding damage.

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50 minutes ago, MisterMoon said:

Mexico Beach. Looks like storm surge erased all the older ranch houses off their slabs. The newer stuff on stilts fared a bit better. 

https://streamable.com/i2oq3 

 

it looks like you can pretty much tell which buildings were built under code ( still standing) and everything else..   leveled.

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1 hour ago, dogballs Tom said:

From my list of things I know, but should not, I'm afraid. And that's chainsaws. Plural. Getting parts involves getting unbelievably lucky, like having the parts truck pull up the abandoned wreckage of the lawnmower shop at the same time you do. That did happen to me, but it's better to just have multiple saws.

My whole area was pretty unnavigable after Andrew. My parents lived a bit north, where there were only a few downed branches and a few tiles flung from roofs. And one giant branch that crushed their gate. No way for a vehicle to get out until it was gone, along with some gate parts.

Agreed. I have 3 saws and each has at least 3 chains standing by. I discovered after Isobel that having a saw is flood for a coup,e of trees. Having multiple chains keeps you cutting and they are quickly out of stock after a storm. I remember stopping by a hardware store on a business trip a week or so after Irene and buying a couple of dozen chains to put in my suitcase to take home for me and my neighbors. Now I keep multiple ones on hand as well as a good sharpening file. 

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1 minute ago, Innocent Bystander said:

Agreed. I have 3 saws and each has at least 3 chains standing by. I discovered after Isobel that having a saw is flood for a coup,e of trees. Having multiple chains keeps you cutting and they are quickly out of stock after a storm. I remember stopping by a hardware store on a business trip a week or so after Irene and buying a couple of dozen chains to put in my suitcase to take home for me and my neighbors. Now I keep multiple ones on hand as well as a good sharpening file. 

Those damn little priming bulbs. They crack. You're screwed without one. That's what the unbelievably lucky truck had for me.

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3 minutes ago, Grande Mastere Dreade said:

it looks like you can pretty much tell which buildings were built under code ( still standing) and everything else..   leveled.

And this is why this

10 minutes ago, slap said:

No - the codes will end up being set to the convenience of the building industry.

Isn't the whole story. The insurance industry talks to code writers about their losses too.

They also talk to customers. I recently learned about their "points" system for storm upgrades. You get some points for protecting windows, more for protecting garage doors, points for hip vs gable roof, all kinds of points. Some points cancel out other points.

Then there's the one they apparently feel makes the big difference: If you have a reinforced concrete roof, nothing else matters. You get the max allowable points, all others are cancelled out.

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1 hour ago, Para Handy said:

A couple of question regarding building codes.

What are the current specifications for withstanding hurricane force winds?

Do the codes take into account flying debris?

 

What you are seeing is mostly damage from flooding caused by the storm surge. The only way to beat that is to build on stilts. I used to hang around MB about 30 years ago before the new codes requiring stilts. Practically all the houses back then were little cheapie ranches on slabs. It doesn't appear many of those survived. Had it been a wind/rain event without the surge, you would have seen a number of places without roofs but a lot would still be there that aren't now. 

My neighbor just moved there last year to a three unit townhome on stilts about sixes rows house back from the beach. The aerial shots this morning revealed she's now beach front. There is not a single structure between her and the water any more, over a dozen houses just gone. 

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Slight thread drift...

Anyone ever spent time at the Bitter End Yacht Club resort in the BVI?  Did you trash your room on the way out?  No?   Don't worry, a lady called Irma did it for you last September.

And this was a well-built set of structures, nearly all well above storm surge line, and deeply pegged into the hillside.

As others have said, it's not how hard it blows, it's what it blows..

beyc_before.jpg

beyc_after.jpg

 

Back to Michael...

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Interesting feedback there re. codes. Makes you wonder if you should rebuild light and cheap, on the premise you can simply rebuild it come the next hurricane, or sturdy and expensive on the premise it might survive the next big blow. Tough call, but heartbreaking for those that have lost their homes.

A lot of the debris that ended up in the sea will wash up in front of my house in a few weeks and months!

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In the NBA and storm surge height is everything. Most new construction requires clips but if the water hits it it's gone.  Ike wiped out all the older houses in the Galveston Bay area in 2008.  In one section a guy had his house raised several feet and had zero damage while every other house was gone including the pilings.

I feel for those affected, what a mess and a tragedy when you lose everything

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Just now, SailBlueH2O said:

I've seen some stilts nothing more than cement blocks stacked on top of each other creating the "stilt"....some stupid scary shit...the stilt must be able to withstand the power of the surge and wave action along with whatever debris is carried along....not all stilts are created equal...no guarantees in and near the eye of a major hurricane

Around here they are pilings even if they are square and driven down to solid ground - the wind would take care of anything else. Even with massive pilings if the surge hits it, it's a goner.  Wind tears stuff up, water sends it back to the neighbors or beyond. What sucks is if your house is hit by a big pile of debris from those other houses.  Domino effect.

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40 minutes ago, SailBlueH2O said:

I've seen some stilts nothing more than cement blocks stacked on top of each other creating the "stilt"....some stupid scary shit...the stilt must be able to withstand the power of the surge and wave action along with whatever debris is carried along....not all stilts are created equal...no guarantees in and near the eye of a major hurricane

All the new beachfront construction I've seen in that area is steel reinforced poured concrete pilings. 

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41 minutes ago, SailBlueH2O said:

MB2.jpg

Screenshot (15).png

That is a pretty sobering sight. With the numbers that ignored the call to evacuate the death toll has to rise.

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Codes............... Florida................. PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 Sorry, been there done that built to my own code after the building officer told me that my plan (It could be drawn on the back of an envelope) had to be approved by a civil engineer.... I tried to ask him if he meant a structural engineer, but he cut me off before I could really say anything, and said "You Yankees come in here from Ohio, or where ever and think you know everything about building, but here, we have codes, and they need to be approved!" Click.

 So I called a civil engineer..... Actually, THE civil engineer that the building official told me to call. "Hold on, hold on! We don't do buildings! We reconstruct car accident scenes for law suits! You need a structural engineer."

 Which I already knew. So I figured I'd done my part, and called a civil engineer. Then I proceeded to build a structure that so far out matched current Florida building code for non inhabited structures that people began asking if I was planning on moving in......

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The toxic waste on the gulf shore, and just inland is going to be massive.

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    There was a pole built home on Culebra that had the poles going from well planted in the ground all the way up through three floors to the roof. I had looked at the USDA pole barn book a few years earlier and could see that had been the inspiration for this homes construction. It was on a steep hillside and was one of the few structures left standing after the onslaught of Hurricane Hugo. There were concrete and cinder block buildings nearby that had been blow flat by the CAT 5 winds but apparently the pole structure had enough give in the through bolted joints to bend rather than break. Sort of the Karate Kid philosophy but applied to buildings instead on mighty oaks and willow trees. Capt Fatty tells a great account of he and his wife getting blown ashore just below the big imposing pole house and they crawled up to the entry gate where he kept frantically ringing the DOORBELL and and crying for help until his wife said, 'Fuck this' and kicked the door in and they took refuge in the empty house. 

    Fatty and a couple dozen other fellow liveaboards marooned by Hugo took up residence and provided contact, food, booze, and fellowship for the rest of the Snot Club castaways for nearly a couple of months. They emptied all larders and freezers and pantries of the fully provisioned charter boats that were aground and even had the Navy making direct helo drops of food and supplies and fuel for the generators they had dragged up from the wreckage below and had a fully functioning community that got nicknamed 'FattyLand' if I remember correctly. Someone had brought up a working SSB/Ham set and they had rigged a functional antennae and had establised two way comms well before the other rescue outfits did. The parties were epic and Fatty had sailboats bringing in chainsaws, pumps and other much needed supplies (rum) from his homeboys back on St John.

    It was nearly three weeks before the owners of the property got down to check on their vacation home and they were shocked to see a nautical refugee commune set up when they got there. Fatty poured them some Pina Coladas and invited them in not knowing that they were the owners. A big pot luck meal was just being served and there was some guitar picking going on and the owners were so impressed that they have full permission to keep the effort going and all they asked was that they fix the gate that had gotten kicked down when they leave. There had been some damage to the roof but the sailors had gotten some of the first FEMA tarps and had secured them in seamanlike manner so it was a win/win situation in all respects. 

    When Culebra got rebuilt there were many new homes and building built using the example of the utility pole USDA method that allowed that house to persevere.

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4 minutes ago, Rasputin22 said:

     Fatty and a couple dozen other fellow liveaboards marooned by Hugo took up residence and provided contact, food, booze, and fellowship for the rest of the Snot Club castaways for nearly a couple of months. They emptied all larders and freezers and pantries of the fully provisioned charter boats that were aground and even had the Navy making direct helo drops of food and supplies and fuel for the generators they had dragged up from the wreckage below and had a fully functioning community that got nicknamed 'FattyLand' if I remember correctly. Someone had brought up a working SSB/Ham set and they had rigged a functional antennae and had establised two way comms well before the other rescue outfits did. The parties were epic and Fatty had sailboats bringing in chainsaws, pumps and other much needed supplies (rum) from his homeboys back on St John.

    It was nearly three weeks before the owners of the property got down to check on their vacation home and they were shocked to see a nautical refugee commune set up when they got there. Fatty poured them some Pina Coladas and invited them in not knowing that they were the owners. A big pot luck meal was just being served and there was some guitar picking going on and the owners were so impressed that they have full permission to keep the effort going and all they asked was that they fix the gate that had gotten kicked down when they leave. There had been some damage to the roof but the sailors had gotten some of the first FEMA tarps and had secured them in seamanlike manner so it was a win/win situation in all respects. 

    When Culebra got rebuilt there were many new homes and building built using the example of the utility pole USDA method that allowed that house to persevere.

I know where he got the idea:

IT HAPPENED ON FIFTH AVENUE (1947)

Each Christmas, an industrial tycoon and his family travel from New York City to Florida to spend the holiday season in the sun, and while they are gone, a philosophical homeless man takes up residence in the millionaire's Fifth Avenue mansion.

Letting himself in through a hole in the fence, he puts on designer clothes, smokes expensive cigars, eats gourmet food, and opens up the townhouse to his homeless friends so that they, too, can share in the holiday spirit.

When the real homeowner's daughter returns to NYC early and discovers the house has been taken over, the homeless haven is in danger of disappearing forever. However, the warm-hearted nature of the homeless intruders reinvigorates the unhappy wealthy family, and everyone succumbs to the true spirit of Christmas.

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57 minutes ago, Rasputin22 said:

There had been some damage to the roof but the sailors had gotten some of the first FEMA tarps and had secured them in seamanlike manner so it was a win/win situation in all respects. 

In my old neighborhood, quite a bit of the damage "from hurricane Andrew" (as far as insurance adjusters were told) actually happened two days after the storm.

Andrew was a very dry storm and although it stripped the shingles and tarpaper off my roof, it didn't get all that much water inside. The next day, we managed to get actual roofers to put new tarpaper because they were working on my roomate's dad's kidney center. When an afternoon storm dropped a couple of inches two days after Andrew, many ceilings fell. Mine didn't.

Now I have a shipping container full of tarps and furring strips. And chainsaws and fuel. And some other stuff...

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We dodged Florence, and we seem to have dodged Michael, although we lost power for about 2 hours. Lots of crap in the yard to pick up, but no real problems. 

Today is my wife's birthday, and all of our children and grandchildren are in town to celebrate.

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Sad how many houses and businesses have been destroyed during Micheal. But looking at those pictures and videos i still can't wrap my head around the building materials that remain as trash. The bricks i saw of destroyed properties in the videos are no more than ornament quality and it looks like most of those kind of wooden structures simple have no place in regions were those kind of nature disasters occur frequently. We have saying here: Build cheap, build twice. So i guess fitting homes in region like these need to be build more robust. Granted, they most likely would be more expensive and not everybody would be able to afford their own house.

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they had a Florida official on the Weather Channel today.  He said FLA code is only good to cat 4.  Michael missed being a 5 by 2 mph.  Just bad luck.

And I am sure many of you saw the train the was blown over, along with the bent pivot pins when car was torn off the cart.  Serious wind..

Having said that, I remember reading in the WSJ about inspectors checking new construction after the code changes brought on my Andrews and finding many builders were cutting LOTS of corners.  Never heard a follow up on what happened.   i think whatever is allowed to be rebuilt will have an evil eye cast upon it by the insurance companies more than anyone else.

Remanents of Michael are passing through SE VA right now.  Heavy rains and tornadoes are flying about just a couple miles to the west and south of the homestead.  When Michael hits the bay it is supposed to re intensify and give us a good blow tonight

Both Stihl chainsaws are sharpened and ready to go in the garage, along with a fresh gas can of premix with no corn squeezings, spare chains, bars and one of these bad boys..  https://www.timberlinesharpener.com/

 

 

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Friends reported the husband was sinking in quicksand and rescued by a neighbor. They have no water to shower off the quicksand residue and can't leave because every road is blocked.
Meanwhile the hurricane made it to Kent Island, thunder and lightning and pouring rain right now. Not much wind though.

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This is Eagle Pass on St. Joseph Peninsula. You won't find it on any chart, because it used to be called Eagle Harbor. The road that was where the breakers are now leads to St. Joseph State Park, which is now completely cut off.  One of the two camping loops appears to be mostly buried by the dunes that moved back. It's going to be a long time before what was one of the crown jewels of the FL park system comes back, if ever. 43728854_2164100493622416_11022104563757

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11 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Friends reported the husband was sinking in quicksand and rescued by a neighbor. They have no water to shower off the quicksand residue and can't leave because every road is blocked.
Meanwhile the hurricane made it to Kent Island, thunder and lightning and pouring rain right now. Not much wind though.

Enough wind over in St Mary's to take down some trees.  With the soft ground, I have a 24-28" diameter oak on the ground as well as the expected branches and leaf debris.  Someone had a bad night.  a Bennie 40'er cam careening up the creek around 2300, navigating by floodlight (to be fair, no marked channel and it was pretty damn dark).  Ended up anchored off my dock and looks peaceful this AM but suspect they had an uncomfortable night, even in the sheltered creek.   

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1 hour ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Wind is up now, we had the rain first. Furniture got blown over on my deck. Virginia had 5 killed! Yikes!

We peaked at 52 knots last night just before midnight.  Some breeze this morning but more post frontal with clear skies than anything else.  

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3 hours ago, Rasputin22 said:

Just to re-iterate the power of this sort of storm. 

Image may contain: grass, sky, tree, outdoor and nature

 

Not during Michael but still applicable. Jim Cantore take note.

I was in Fiji in the 80s sheltering in the vault of the bank as the town came apart above us.  When we got back to the remains of our 2nd floor hotel room we found a small cow had come through the windows and exploded against the end wall.  5 palm tree trunks were stuck through that concrete wall like javelins.

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5 hours ago, Rasputin22 said:

Just to re-iterate the power of this sort of storm. 

Image may contain: grass, sky, tree, outdoor and nature

 

Not during Michael but still applicable. Jim Cantore take note.

"Impact rated" windows are not rated for that.

Nor for any of the much bigger things that fly around in hurricanes. Like a 20' x 20' flat roof section that was draped over my neighbor's carport (except the pieces that landed in my bedroom). Or an oak about 30' high that somehow landed between my neighbors' homes without hitting anything. We looked for where those things came from and never did figure it out.

I stupidly stuck my head out a broken window and looked into hurricane Andrew. It was a hail of tiny particles, mostly pieces of leaves. Then a not-so-tiny particle broke the next pane over and I realized how stupid I was being. I got hit in the face with leaf bits but it could have been a 30' tree.

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The morning after Hurricane Hugo in Culebra, I saw something bright orange way up on one of the hillsides, maybe 400 feet ASL. Got my binocs out and could see that it was an Avon Rescue RIP with a 75HP motor still attached. Locals told stories of seeing cattle and horses flying through the air at the height of the storm. My 46' trimaran got airborne repeatedly shortly after the eye passed over and the eyewall struck with its full fury. Mine was the only multihull out of about 19 anchored out in the Bahia Honda that was still right side up the next morning.

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5 hours ago, Rasputin22 said:

The morning after Hurricane Hugo in Culebra, I saw something bright orange way up on one of the hillsides, maybe 400 feet ASL. Got my binocs out and could see that it was an Avon Rescue RIP with a 75HP motor still attached. Locals told stories of seeing cattle and horses flying through the air at the height of the storm. My 46' trimaran got airborne repeatedly shortly after the eye passed over and the eyewall struck with its full fury. Mine was the only multihull out of about 19 anchored out in the Bahia Honda that was still right side up the next morning.

Why was yours the only one to stay upright? Was it something about how you prepared or where you chose to be?

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Good question KC,

     I took very careful precautions but wasn't able to get as far into one of the tight little mangrove creeks as I would have wished having arrived late from St. John.

     I agonized as to where to stake my claim before starting setting what I think were 10 anchors as well as lines going ashore to the mangroves. Bigger concern was who your neighbors are and how well their tackle and preps have been. Then once you start getting gear down you have to defend your claimed turf from even bigger latecomer assholes who want to start laying down their gear on top of yours and leaving little swinging room. My approach was to lay my anchors out in a manner that I could swing 360 degrees with the wind but close enough to a good mangrove bank with big trunks to tie in additional lines to those trees well protected by some roofer climbing harness belts that I happened to have for just that purpose. I hate seeing boaters ties nylon line directly to big (or small) mangroves especially with half hitches which will choke up tight and bark a tree killing it. My harnesses do no damage in that manner to the tree and I have fewer qualms about using the mangroves for added security. My biggest anchor was a 150 lb Danforth Hi-Tensile that I had out to the south as I was tied up to the mangroves on the north side of the bahia and the biggest anchor was aligned with the longest fetch. 

    I spent a whole day and worked my ass off and I was pretty happy until a big Florida Coaster style steel triple decker with more windage than you could imagine came in and setup shop just to the East of me. They dropped a big anchor on all chain on a windlass using only the push buttons on the enclosed pilothouse where they could easily ignore my plea to not crowd me so. Pleas turned to cussing but they pulled back out and set a second hook as well with no more than the push of another windlass button and then ran two lines ashore to the mangroves in about 5 minutes and retreated to their airconditioned lounge behind blackout glass with the genset sending fumes my way. It was too late for me to even consider a move and I just had to let it go and continue with my chafe strategy on my boat. After dark the wind started increasing and by midnight we had over 100 knots from the North but the dense mangroves deflected most of that right over the top of my boat. I could tell by the way my mast was shuddering and shrouds vibrating it was getting serious but I felt well protected at that time. The upper deck of the big steel stinkpot was catching the full brunt of the wind and the cute striped canvas work around the railings and bimini tops on the FB just blew to hell. They had backed into the mangroves and it wasn't long until they ripped out the two big mangroves that they had tied off to. The boat surprisingly reset its anchors as it blew out of the mangroves probably due to 300 feet of all chain on both hooks.

    I have to go watch the second half of Ga-LSU game but will come back for the next chapter after that!

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47 minutes ago, SailBlueH2O said:

How about a Google Earth screen shot of your location....can't wait for the rest of the story

Sail,

     I'm talking about ancient history here during Hugo in Culebra not Michael in the Panhandle. Guess you know that though and it is 3rd qtr break, let me find the spot in Bahia Honda Culebra just for context.

 

This should work for now

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Recent history shows that during hurricane Irma a significant number of catamarans were seen to get airborne. This was not storm surge but large boats being totally out of the water probably due to the bridge deck acting as a wing.. 

 

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Yeah, I got too involved with the back story of my experience in Culebra during Hugo but the short story was all about the bridge deck area which can (and will) flip multihulls like they were toys. My trimaran was a Norm Cross 42R design to which I had added a 4 foot sugarscoop transom/stern extension long before those became de rigueur. Norm had a long career as an aeronautical designer with one of the big companies in San Diego and that sort of bled over into his trimaran designs. On the race series that my boat was an example, he had recognized the hazard that existed when too much air, wave and spray got compressed between the hulls and had designed vents into the side decks to alleviate that tendency. In addition, he turned the cross section of his forward and aft crossbeams upside down and put the flats on deck and the cambered surfaces facing downward which was counter to the practice at the time. His theory that the beams would create downforce with the airfoil shape in that configuration and high winds would make the boat stay stably on the surface of the water. My boat was probably the only one that was ever put to that test during Hugo and I can attest that when the gusts would pick up the bows you could look out the side windows in the deckhouse and see the airflow (as marked by the dense spray and spume) exiting out the slots in the side decks between the main beam and the aft beam. 

    I went on deck as the eye of Hugo went overhead just after dawn to clear away some of the fouling of my rodes with mangroves torn out of the shore by the pre eye winds and when the wind shifted so suddenly I found myself trapped on deck as the winds shifted abruptly to the south. The onset of the other side of the storm winds was so sudden and fierce it was shocking and I sort of rode the next 20 minutes or so like a cowboy on a bucking bronco with the bows lifting to maybe 20 degrees from level with only the transoms of the boat still in the water when the upside foils of the beams would stall and the whole boat would come slamming back down onto the water surface. This happened repeatedly and I witnessed other multihull designs reach the same bow up angles upon which they would just go airborne completely and then land on their backs upside down. When communications were restored to Culebra, I called the phone number in San Diego that was listed on the Cross Trimaran ad in the back of Multihulls Mag to express my gratitude and validation to Norm's theories and design. I was shocked to get his widow on the phone who told me that he had just recently passed and that he must have been witness to my travails and final triumph during the storm. Norm had been somewhat ridiculed among the multihull world for his conflation of aero and hydro dynamic theory and I was never really convinced that his keel design derived from a F-104 was quite right but I'll argue on his behalf about his ground effect theory and the configuration of his crossbeams. I probably wouldn't be telling this story if he had been wrong that dreadful night.

    Jack Petith, who rode out Hugo in Culebra on his Newick design, wrote an excellent account of the Hugo disaster in his book, 'The Night the Boats Flew'. There were similar results in Salt RIver on St Croix to what I went though in Culebra.

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I just got an email from an old sailing buddy in Puerto Rico.  His house near San Juan was demolished last year by Maria.  His wife and two teenagers moved to Florida, and he stayed behind as he works as a senior lineman for the power company.  He was planning to get a similar job in Florida at the end of this year.

All they could afford in the USA was a small house near the beach, in you guessed it, Mexico City FL.  The family is safe.  They evacuated in time and are staying with a friend in Galveston TX.  But the house is gone. 

Twice in a year.  At least the FL home was insured, not sure about the PR one.

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Tom

     The coaster ripped its line to shore out of the mangroves to the north before the eye came over so it was laying to the anchors off the bow well off to the SouthEast. But then when the wind shifted the Coaster overran its anchors once again but the pace at which that happened was so fast that they didn't reset and I was right in the path of the towering steel beast. I had been on deck trying to regroup and arrange the many anchors I had set out to best take the new onslaught of the winds on the back side of the storm. I had my trusty 20HT Danforth tied off to my port bow but it was set well to my stbd and not really taking any load as the coaster bore down on me. I had a 35 CQR set to port but tied off to a centerline cleat on the main hull that was right at my feet. The CQR seemed to have dragged to the point where my stern was right in the breaking waves under my transoms and I was not very far from being stern into the mangroves the way things were set up. The big steel coaster would have mashed my fragile plywood tri into the mangroves at the rate things were going and in a desperation move I chose to cut away the CQR which let the rode to the Danforth take up the load out of the port bow towards the threatening coaster. I had often used the nature of a trimaran to lay to one bow in tight anchorages where the off center pull will make the whole boat ride off to the side opposite much like a kite flying to its offcenter string mounting position. I had no idea if it would work in hurricane force winds but didn't really have much choice. The scary thing was that my 3/4" nylon three strand anchor line looked like it was stretched to only 1/2" diameter by all the load it was carrying and I was careful to make my cut as close to the cleat as I could to try and prevent any violent snapback to he knife in my hand. I merely touched the blade to the straining line and it was just gone in an instant. I had sharpened my knife earlier in the day as part of my preparations but there was no sawing or motion needed at all. Just gone with a report like a rifle shot.

    The tri pivoted to the starboard (West) laying now to the Danforth and I just prayed that the lone port cleat would hold. The boat was laying maybe 20 degrees as if on port tack and sailed right out of the path of the coaster which came crashing into the mangroves right where I had been maybe a minute after I had cut the line which was holding me there. I had about 250' of line and maybe 25' of chain on the Danforth so the boat moved maybe 100' or more off to the West and then sort of stabilized. Another CQR I had originally set more to the SouthWest soon started to come into play and things stabilized a bit. The reef that closes off the Bahia to the SouthEast was by now 8-10 feet under due to the storm surge and the seas rolling in really grew in size. The tri was laying better to the seas and wind at its angle to the Danforth and I thought I could leave the bow and make it back toward the cockpit and get back inside the boat because it was truly horrifying to be exposed out on the bow in those conditions. I had been in my bunk sleeping fairly well until the eye passed over and the wind had started to drop maybe 45 minutes earlier just as it started to get light. I was butt naked and just threw on my foul weather jacket thinking that I would just be on deck a few minutes but did grab my mask and snorkle out of the galley sink where I had rinsed it after my last dive before dark to check that my anchors were all set properly. I had been prepping the boat for painting and re-nonskidding the decks and there were numerous patched all over the deck where I had made repairs that were sealed over with clear epoxy still slick with the amine finish that in characteristic of freshly cured epoxy. As the winds built and I was running back and forth to all three bows and the cockpit for more chafe gear and hauling in lines on all four quarters I had slipped in the fresh slick spots and gone down on my ass and slid to the edges where the non-skid was still intact. It was like being repeatedly forced to sit bare assed on one of those big stationary belt sanding machine you see in a cabinet shop. After my manuever at the bow to avoid the coaster I was sitting with my back against the inner forestay and my feet braced against the bases of the bow pulpit and about the time I got to the limit of the Danforth rode and started to lay more directly into the wind and seas by the action of the CQR the boat really started to buck and show a tendency to want to flip. As I write this I recall that the CQR was really just being used as a 'riding weight' as from its eyelet on top I had about 25' of additional chain shackled to a 33 lb Bruce anchor in tandem. I had found in earlier hurricanes that the CQR was very effective in slowing down the Bruce from breaking out when a big windshift occurs. The Bruce is pretty good about resetting but in conjunction with the 35 lb CQR is really a good combination that one person can still deal with. After the first couple of attempted 'takeoffs' I figured I was better off just staying where I was and used my harness to lash myself to the two bow cleats just ahead of where I was sitting. I kept my open knife in my hand ready to cut loose if the boat flipped over the sterns thinking that I would just jump straight up and hope to not get trapped under the boat. I was more concerned with my GF who was still down in the bunk in the port wing and I could see her peering through the Lexan imploring me to get back below. As scary as it was on deck, it was probably worse for her alone inside the boat. After about the third launch attempt and abrupt splashdown as the wing slots stalled out (as described earlier) I looked back and could no longer see my GF. I was afraid she might try and come out thinking I was trapped by all the cordage that was piled up around me that I had pulled up from the lines that formerly had gone to the mangroves. Turns out that a shelf speaker had come flying at her on the third big leap hitting her in the back of the head and she was sort of half knocked out on the cabin sole. 

     My biggest fear was the now unhindered full storm seas had a fetch from all the way to St Croix and were coming at the boat well over my bows when they hit the shallower water along the edge of the Bahia. It was like trying to paddle a surfboard through a bounding shorebreak where you were just about to try and duck dive under the breaking lip. From my seat it looked like a plunging wave would break my back against the inner forestay but just before the wave lip would come plunging down, the wind would just shatter the water like a giant invisible weedeater and leave an odd square topped wave that would barely come over the stem of my bows. They still would push the tri back enough that the reverse transoms and sugar scoop would dig in the stern and lift the bows enough that the wind would get under the fwd tramps and crossbeams. Didn't take long enough for me to figure out it was time to use the knife again and cut the inner edges of both bow trampoline away and that seemed to help with the bow lifting at least until it started to blow harder. Rolling around on deck side to side to accomplish that while still tethered to the cleats forward meant that I was taking the full brunt of the spray and spume right in my unprotected crotch and while I've never had my balls sandblasted, I think I have a pretty good idea. Mr Willy had long since retreated up to about my ribcage but that never crossed my mind at the time. 

    My Ace in the Hole was the big 150 HT Danforth that I had put out to the South South East which is right where the winds were coming on the backside of Hugo but sometime in the night a big charter fishing 'party boat' from Puerto Rico had snagged the anchor and rode and taken it hooked on their sole anchor. That is another story in itself but in retrospect, I feel now that if that anchor had been there as my backup and my boat had laid to it during the conditions I have just described that eventually one of the gusts would have gotten under the 26' wide trimaran and would have flown high enough that it would have come down upside down. As it was, the Danforth 20HT, Bruce 15KG and CQR 35 kept just enough pressure to nearly keep me in place but I could see that with each near flip they would all drag a bit which probably contributed to the bows coming safely back down. No way the 150 HT would have dragged and the rode I was using on it was a purloined dacron/kevlar wire pulling double braid that was probably 1-1/4" diameter with no stretch or give to it. I say purloined, but it was actually on loan from the construction company I had worked for and the hydraulic pulling machine had been parked outside my cabinet shop for a couple of years not being used. Every time some idiot on the construction crew needed some line to tie something down or tow a piece of machinery they would just come cut off what the thought they needed. One use and there were 50-75' lengths with the ends fraying laying around all over the construction site as if that expensive specialty line were like the crap the tie down your purchases at the Home Depot with. The last thing I did before closing up shop and heading for Culebra before the storm was to reel off what was left off of the machine for just that purpose of using with the HT 150. If the lack of stretch didn't rip all the cleats off my boat I'm convinced now I would have been swimming. 

    As I got to the end of the stretch of the mangrove that I had been sort of paralleling as I slowly dragged what ground tackle I had left, there was a sand bar before the next deep creek inlet. I had hoped that if I could clear that I would be able to reset and hold safely in the creek. That creek was further from the now overtopped entry reef and more in the lee of the hills to the South and it had been full of boats when I first arrived the day before. I tried to squeeze in but an older Frenchman in a steel double chine ketch cussed me out in a fine manner and his closing argument was, 'You see my steel boat, and you see your plywood boat? In the morning when the storm comes and the winds blow and we come together, our boats together make the omelette and your egg will be the first to crack!'  When I got my first glimpse of that creek as I started to bounce over the sandbar, I was shocked to see ALL the boats were laying against the NorthWestern shore in the mangroves or up against rocks or the concrete at the govt water plant. All the room I need if I could just get something left tied to my bows to set.  My Cross had a fin keel that drew about 5' so I was sort of hung up on it and heeled to starboard with the wind really getting under the now lifted port bow. The last hour or so had been a total whiteout but now some visibility was starting to return and I was beginning to feel hope that the winds had peaked but I was probably just getting acclimatized to +150 knots by then if that were possible. One last gust caught the tri sitting on the sandbar and it seemed that it would go over diagonally this time and I looked back to see my stbd ama transom well underwater and probably sticking into the mud bottom. The heel angle went to maybe 45 degrees and I had uncleated my tether but was still holding with one turn if I had to bail out when the line to port rang out and I turned to see that the 14" aluminum cleat had broken at its base and I watched it recoil far to weather and splash down. Just like cutting a kite string, my tri slipped off the backside of the sandbar and settled back into the water still right side up. The dynamic was all changed without that Danforth 20HT that had snapped the cleat and I was dragging at an alarming rate right toward the fuel tank farm next to the launching ramp at the water plant. It looked like my would just miss the ramp itself and hit the pier and get funneled right into the big above ground fuel tanks! Here I was prepared to drown but now had to worry about getting burned up. Wind had definitely dropped by now but there was nothing to do but watch us close in on the tanks which were now in 4' of water. I unhitched and went to see about getting my GF off the boat if we hit the tanks but just as I got to the cockpit the whole boat lurched and spun bows back to the wind and I could see that the CQR/Bruce combination had snagged on something and we swung out away from the concrete and fuel tanks and softly eased into the mangroves in the last safe spot along that whole shore. I went below and put my full immersion 'Gumby' rescue suit on my befuddled GF and we slid down to the low side and stepped into about 6" of water over the grass lawn of the govt building. She couldn't really walk in the oversized suit but I managed to drag her up the hill 40 yards or so to the shelter of the deserted govt offices for the waterplant. on one of our tumbles to the grass she kept saying something about 'watch out for the snakes' and I thought she was still suffering from the blow to the head earlier but when I finally hauled us up onto the raise porch of the building and looked back at my boat I could see that there were indeed snake all over the place crawling all around in the grass after having been flooded out of their holes. I thought, 'What next, Locusts?!'

    There were well over 200 boats sunk, wrecked or just plain missing just on Culebra when the mists of the storm cleared a couple of hour later. I'm sure I must have been one of the last to get washed ashore, but it stayed there for nearly a year. But that is the next chapter...

    But the answer to your question Tom is that the coaster was hauled off pretty early when the salvage vessels got there with bent rudders, shafts, and props. They smashed my dinghy which I had hauled about 8' up in the mangroves behind my boat the day before. So they would have smashed the tri if I hadn't hacked that anchorline loose when I did. I should have hauled my dink about 4' higher as the water got to it at 8' anyway.

     

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Yeah,

     As it turned out, the extreme low barometric pressure of Hugo that night popped an egg out of her long barren womb and we had a baby girl 9 months later. I should have gone up on deck earlier...

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15 minutes ago, Rasputin22 said:

Yeah,

     As it turned out, the extreme low barometric pressure of Hugo that night popped an egg out of her long barren womb and we had a baby girl 9 months later. I should have gone up on deck earlier...

Did you call your daughter Hugo, perchance?  That would deserve a post on LONRQ. 

Or Mangrove?  Now that would be original.

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No way Wop. But she did have a friend her age later in life who was named Earle Hugo because he was conceived that same night but was born premature. 

    Our daughter did have a distinct marking of the spiral of a hurricane in the fine blond hair (Lanugo) that babies are often born with right between her shoulder blades. It never really faded away and I always told her it was the 'Mark of the Hurricane'. When she was about 6 years ago she read the book 'Clan of the Cave Bear' and from that tale she always considered the hurricane mark as her personal 'totem'.

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7 hours ago, Rasputin22 said:

But the answer to your question Tom is that the coaster was hauled off pretty early when the salvage vessels got there with bent rudders, shafts, and props.

Heh. Thanks for giving the more complete answer. So the lesson would be: don't go out in the eye of the hurricane because you'll get hit by the back side? Or do go out because otherwise you'll get hit by a big steel boat? Wear a cup and biking leathers? Or what?

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Get to your hurricane hole early and stake your claim. I ran into the French guy at a big 'lets eat and drink it all now since the power is out' party that a local restaurant was throwing a day after the storm. He was holding court to a gathering as he told of how he stayed at the helm and motored into the wind all night to help keep his ground tackle from dragging. I have heard of people doing this but under those conditions it is more likely you will over run you own gear and foul your prop just as he had done towards the end of his all night vigil. He had gone out with no protection for his face and was telling how hard it was to even breathe at the peak of the storm. That made me glad for the dive mask and snorkel I had used or I would probably drowned while lashed to the cleats on the bow. The French guy was really hamming it up and using his hamburger raw face as an example of what those winds and spray had done to his flesh. His whole face, forehead and lips looked like they had been parboiled, and were just starting to chap over and heal up. Everyone seemed fascinated by his tale and I pushed my way to the front and addressed him as Monsieur Omelette and asked if he remembered me. He was a bit shocked as he recalled his rude behaviour to me before the storm and I then said, 'Have I got a match for you!' 

    I'm not sure he understood the phrase but when I pulled down my shorts and turned around and displayed my equally red, raw and abused hindquarters and scrotum and added, "My ass and your face!" the crowd caught on immediately and we proceeded to drink together the rest of the night. 

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11 hours ago, Rasputin22 said:

Get to your hurricane hole early and stake your claim.

It was a trick question but you got part of the correct answer.

Stake your claim and then get to a stone building on high ground. Which I guess you did accomplish, but a bit later than was wise.

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Just wanted to wish Apalachicola well - especially the folks at the Maritime Museum. 

They were really welcoming and gracious to us a few years back - even knowing that we 

were wise-ass northern lefties. 

Here is hoping that they are back in business soon - they do a lot to make the panhandle a better community.  

Here is a FB post of their damage from Michael . . 

 

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My family has property in Bay and Washington Counties.

I finally heard from our realtor yesterday. He said, "Tommy, it's bad. (long pause) It's baaahhyud."

I don't know how to write it properly, but in the N FL dialect, when "bad" becomes a three syllable word, it carries a special meaning. This isn't a man prone to any exaggeration or undue complaining.

He says there's not much left near Fountain, FL, where some of the land is located. A bit better in Chipley but his phone cut out when he got to that part.

I didn't call back. If you know someone in that area, don't call. The networks are overloaded. Write. The mailboxes are mostly gone, but the USPS really does an amazing job anyway.

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A FB friend made it to his place in Panama City.

We get lots of pics of the outsides of homes. This is what it looks like inside when a hurricane (or, as in so many cases after Andrew, the storms two days later) drop your ceiling.

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