As of today, 9/5/2017, Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, is projected to move along the northern Caribbean Sea touching the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. If it continues along this path it looks like it will go directly over the Florida Keys and then move into the Gulf of Mexico. As you can see in the above image, its projected path has it moving in more or less a westerly direction, with its center going over the Keys on Sunday afternoon. That is still a few days off and its path could change. The most northern fringe of the cone even touches Zephyrhills where I live. Though the edges of the cone should not get nearly the damage that the center does. Even if it does not go right over us, I imagine we can expect some rain from the outer bands and perhaps some gusty winds. That won't be too bad if the rains are not heavy. We will just have to wait and see. I did go to the supermarket today and noticed that all of the bottled water was gone. Same at Walgreens and CVS.
This storm definitely bears watching. Keep yourselves up-to-date via the internet, TV, and radio. Don't wait until the last minute. I went out today to get some more canned goods and bottled water, just in case. Even if we don't get hit, I can always eat baked beans this winter! Hopefully we will be lucky once again and Irma will pass us by. Being ignored by a hurricane is a VERY good thing. But even if it misses us, there is a chance it will hit other states. Hopefully it will avoid Texas since they already had enough trouble last week with Hurricane Harvey. They don't need more problems. But their residents should also keep up-to-date concerning Hurricane Irma, just in case.
The letter inside the dot on the track of the storm indicates the National Hurricane Center's forecast intensity for that time:
D: Tropical Depression – wind speed less than 39 MPH
S: Tropical Storm – wind speed between 39 MPH and 73 MPH
H: Hurricane – wind speed between 74 MPH and 110 MPH
M: Major Hurricane – wind speed greater than 110 MPH
Do keep in mind that the storm is still several days away, and wind directions have been known to change. I have even seen storms do loop-the-loops and come right back over the same area. So the trajectory of this storm could change. It could miss us altogether. You never can tell this far out. But it pays to be alert and take cautious steps to prepare. Just in case!
If you are in the process of closing on a home sale in the next few days, do be aware that once a storm warning is issued for any part of the state of Florida, it is likely that ALL insurance companies will stop writing new policies until the storm's threat has passed. So if you have not already obtained a binder on your insurance coverage, speak with your real estate agent immediately about what is happening. If you used one of the Florida purchase agreements that most agents use here, there is specific language concerning hurricanes and underwriting moratoriums that is there to protect you from having to purchase an uninsured home. And if you are financing the purchase, keep in mind that your bank WILL NOT fund your loan if there is no proof of adequate insurance coverage on the home. See your agent for more information concerning this issue.
So far we have had a pretty quiet 2017 hurricane season in Florida, with no major storms making landfall here. We do seem to be getting more rain than we normally do at this time of the year, but this very much resembles the weather patterns that took place all the time up until the late 1980's when a VERY long dry spell took place. So these nice showers are very welcome and have helped cut down on wildfires. The landscapes around Zephyrhills sure is looking nice and green. And many are saving money on irrigation.
Much of my information comes from the National Hurricane Center. They follow tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes from birth to death. It can be a useful site to visit. If you would like to try it out, click on the following link: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov I suggest you "bookmark it" or "make it a Favorite" for future reference if you live in an area that can be affected by tropical storms or hurricanes. You will find it interesting and helpful to track the path of each storm. You can also download a Hurricane Tracking Map by clicking on the following link: TRACKING MAP
I will also try to update my weblog with new posts if it appears that a hurricane or another major storm will make landfall in our area. So come back here to check if you want to. But the TV, radio, and internet will have the most up-to-date information available.
You can also find out how to prepare for hurricanes and other disasters at the following state site: http://www.floridadisaster.org/ Do not wait until a storm is upon us to prepare your home and family. Hopefully we will make it through 2016 with no major storms paying us a visit, but you never know. Better safe than sorry!
JOHN ELWELL - REALTOR at CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc. Licensed in Florida
I can also be contacted anytime via e-mail at: email@example.com or by phone at: 813-783-4444
Image from NOAA