Points in Focus Photography

Hurricane Irma, Jose, & Maria: Here We Go Again

Update 2: Monday 2017-09-18

This is really not the year to be a Floridian, and an even worse year to live in the eastern Caribbean. First, we got smashed by hurricane Irma, which while I don’t want to downplay the impacts of that storm, certainly could have been a lot worse. If it hadn’t had been for the interactions with Cuba (which of course was bad for them) and the dry air that caused the back end of the storm to fall apart, it almost certainly would have been a lot worse.

Right on the coattails of Irma was Jose, which too rapidly intensified into a major hurricane, then just barely squeaked by the already decimated Leeward Islands that Irma just finished with. Thankfully, for everyone in the Bahama’s, and the Southeastern US coast, Jose turned out to sea and has largely not been a huge factor so far. And while Jose is forecast to make a close approach to New England, and potentially loop around in that area, it’s now moving over cooler waters that will seriously hamper it’s ability to continue to maintain its intensity.

The latest in the hurricane train headed westward is Maria. Maria has rapidly intensified from a disorganized low a category 1 storm with 85 MPH winds. Worse, the National Hurricane Center’s forecast right now calls for Maria to reach 140 MPH (category 4) status within 48 hours before making landfall in Puerto Rico.

As things currently stand though, the Leeward Islands, already hammered by Irma just 2 weeks ago, stand to be hammered again by Maria (though Maria is currently a much smaller storm so it’s impacts shouldn’t be as wide spread). The same goes for Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and potentially the Dominican Republic.

About the only good news right now for Florida and most of the Bahamas is that the computer models continue to suggest that Maria may turn north and out to see before making a major impact (at least for the western Bahamas and Florida). That said, reality doesn’t follow the computer models, they are merely guesses at what may happen.

If there is one positive point in the forecasting, it’s that the various computer models are fairly close, and that those paths have been reasonably stable. Of course, again, this doesn’t mean that they’re right, just that a lot of different approaches are arriving at similar results.

As with all hurricanes, my usual strategy is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Hopefully, the storm will behave in practice the way computer models are predicting and curve out to sea before it reaches the Bahamas let alone Florida. That said, on a personal level my family and I have been too tried from dealing with Irma, and too concerned about Jose and now Maria, to undo most of our preparations from Irma which means we’re about as prepared as we can be if Maria comes our way.

As for the reason I’ve been posting these updates; what might be the impact on the content and comment moderation here at Points in Focus? As things currently stand, it’s too early to tell. As with Irma, I’ll update this post again later in the week as Maria moves closer and the forecast becomes more reliable as it applies to South Florida.

Update 1: Monday 2017-09-11

Just a quick update, Irma passed well west of us here on the east coast of Florida. We got a good day and a half of significant tropical storm force winds but otherwise the damage, for me at least, is limited largely to cleaning up some downed trees and leaves in the yard.

Unfortunately, there’s a second hurricane, Jose, in the central Atlantic that the NHC is forecasting to come this way (though currently the computer models are not anticipating it making landfall).

About the only positive note on Jose is that since we’ve already done the preparations for Irma, there’s practically nothing to do to get ready for Jose if it does come our way so there will be much less chaos — well at least for me.

In part due to the cleanup I need to be working on and in part due to the fact I haven’t slept for more than 4 or 5 hours a night for the last week, I’m still not anticipating working on new content for a while. That said, I obviously have internet access, and will attempting to moderate and respond to comments at least once a day.

I intend to continue to update this post as necessary with the possibility of the pending storm.

Original Post: Wednesday 2017-09-06

So I have a moment here in South Florida, to write a quick update on the status on updates, content, and comment moderation, here on Points in Focus.

11 months ago I was sitting here writing a similar post about Hurricane Matthew. Matthew was a significant and serious storm, but in many ways it was a toddler compared to what Irma currently is.

The short of it is this. Yet again, my home and my family are directly in the path of an oncoming major hurricane. Simply put dealing with this pending storm is a far bigger priority for me than trying to write content or moderate comments. As such, please understand that if you leave a comment it may not appear for quite some time.

On a personal note, myself and my family are getting about as prepared as we possibly can be. While we don’t have a tangible hurricane plan, per say, we do have a plan, and we’re about as prepared as we can be for what’s coming. In some ways, we’re more prepared than we were for Matthew last year, and in other ways, there simply is no real good way to prepare for a storm like this with any certainty.

I’ll try to keep this post updated with information as things develop, as well as any images or video content I’m able to produce (though I have absolutely no intention of “storm chasing” a hurricane, let alone a hurricane of this nature).


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