Blog Archives

Two Hours

In response to: The Daily Post: Daily Prompt – Good Fences

In two hours, I will be relocating again.  Not far this time, but also not into the best area.  Today brings another “adventure” of clearing out my car, loading it up, moving belongings, unloading it, trying to organize my life – again.  And the cats… my God the cats hate moving.  There is a dog and two other cats in the new place.  Mine will be kept in my room for the time being as introductions to other animals are usually long and painful.  My big boy, he growls like a dog at anything he senses but can’t see.

Today brings a world without Internet for at least four days, as they can’t come out to connect it until Tuesday night and even then, with everything the house is going through, there might be issues in finding or installing lines and outlets.  I will be connecting minimally through the 4G on my phone and likely transcribing blog posts on the tiny virtual keyboard.  Tonight brings another night of trying to fall asleep in a new place, around new people. It’s sort of like a one-building commune type living situation.  The lady I’m moving in with is nice and she’s gone all out to make a comfortable space for me. Two others live there, her son and another man. I’m not terribly comfortable around men, but she’s given me the only bedroom with a door and a lock on it. The rest of the rooms – including the bathroom – as yet only have parted together drywall and blankets up for walls and doors.  The house is in a perpetual state of remodel, as it used to be a two-bedroom and has been gutted to be reconfigured into a four-bedroom. Rooms are now TINY.  However with all the loss that my life has seen over the past 14 months (actually over the past decade), my belongings have been reduced to only what I can fit in my car – and most not by choice.  Goodbye three bedroom house that Hurricane Frances took years ago – hello continued poverty.

This weekend also brings trying to get used to a new neighborhood, new people, new surroundings.  It doesn’t give the appearance of a neighborhood I’d want to walk around in alone.  It’s… older.  It’s pretty run down. It’s also surrounded by three major colleges, two within walking distance.  It reminds me of the projects in which I landed after my divorce in 2005.  Here, like there, I will have to make friends fast if I’m going to survive.  When I was in the projects in Fort Pierce, I immediately took to an elderly lady next door who everyone just called “Granny.”  Granny had been in that little house most of her 80+ years.  Everyone knew her and no one messed with her.  She looked after me the three years I stayed there and even after moving into a better place, my daughter and I still went back to visit her often.  She would always marvel at how big my daughter had gotten since the last time she saw her, even if it had only been a month between visits.  Granny was the best neighbor I have ever had.  I’m praying that my surroundings, while rough on first glance, will prove friendly enough that I don’t have to worry about the safety of myself or my belongings.

Working For Free – Oyster Reef Volunteer

Having been out of work for some time now, the cabin fever was setting in pretty hard.  Between having no income yet still spending gas to get to job interviews, there was no gas to just get away for pleasure, a break from the monotony and certainly no funds for entertainment.  I needed to feel useful again, productive.  That is when I came across a request in the local paper for volunteers to help that coming weekend on a project to build an artificial reef in the area.  I’m a nature lover and have always been interested in (and often active in) conservation efforts – how cool was that?

After e-mailing the listed contact for details, I was excited to get to work – even if it was for free.  I let a friend of mine know about the project and he was on board as well.  That Saturday, he picked me up early and we went out to Harbour Pointe on the inlet where several tons of oyster shells were ready in large barrels and on sheets of plywood in huge piles.

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About 20 other volunteers showed up and we were given a brief primer on the task at hand.    We organized ourselves into each area – shoveling, bagging and tying off.  I shoveled shells into smaller buckets while my friend bagged and tied them.  They were then loaded onto a truck to be moved to their final resting place in Wildcat Cove.  

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During a break in which bottled water and other drinks were provided, the leader of the operation and a colleague commended us all on our efforts which far exceeded their expectations.  In just about 2 hours, we’d already assembled about 400 20-pound oyster bags for deployment.  My friend and I stayed for a 20-minute informational lecture about oyster reefs, their local benefits, lots of statistics and zoological info as well.  We broke for lunch then and would meet up at low tide a few miles up the coast at Wildcat Cove.

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Upon arrival at Wildcat Cove, we found the oyster bags in a neat pile in front of the canoe launch.  Another 100 bags had been assembled and brought up in two deliveries.  It took a little brainstorming as to how we were going to get the bags to the reef area, but one adventurous girl with her own kayak said she could pull floating tubs of about 30 bags per load out to the location.  There was some interesting trial-and-error in getting the system going, including one thankfully good-humored man getting impossibly stuck in the thick muck at the bottom of the river.  It took more than ten minutes to get the river to release his legs and he lost a shoe, but we got him back safely!  Note to self: Don’t go into the water without a boat here!

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Once we got the production line going, the rest was – pardon the pun – smooth sailing.  Bags were floated out to a mangrove area where a 4-foot high oyster “wall” was built staggered around the mangroves.  Once settled and cemented, these artificial reefs will provide settling places for new oyster spawns, as well as providing habitat for young fish and feeding grounds for birds such as herons, ibis, loons, cormorants, anhingas and more.

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I remain in contact with the organizer of this effort who works for the county in coastal restoration and he is helping me network with other people in the field so that I may actually find work in conservation or a related field.  Even if it is a desk job, it would be a great opportunity (and has been) to do something productive in a field I really enjoy.  Another reef build is coming up in two days.  This time my daughter will also be involved, getting her hands dirty and having a positive impact on our local, unique and delicate ecosystem.

Shuttle Discovery Launch – Perfect end to the weekend

After a surprisingly relaxing weekend, well needed at that, the family and I gathered in the front yard to watch the Space Shuttle Discovery launch perfectly at 7:43 this evening. The dusk launch was perfect viewing, although the camera phone pics as expected didn’t come out very well. The plume of smoke was a beautiful array of colours in the sunset, ranging from dusky dark reds and oranges, up to blue and bright white before the solid fuel boosters were detached. We then continued watching the glow of the shuttle until it disappeared over the horizon on its way to the space station.

Here’s the story: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/16/science/space/16shuttle.html?hp

Alone and Scared in TS Fay

I am here alone, and scared to death, have a broken front window that’s patched with duct tape and the south winds are just driving the rain in.  I’m fucking terrified, it’s the middle of the night, and I have no one to call.

Someone please tell me this is almost over…

Personal Local Observations – Flash Floods – TS Fay – Tornados Confirmed

Tornado watch remains in effect for Treasure Coast until 4 p.m. : Treasure Coast : TCPalm.

See the above link for official stats.

So far today, the highest reading for rainfall has been 7.8 inches in St. Lucie County, recorded around 11 a.m., according to National Weather Service. The average rainfall so far today is 6 inches. Winds have been recorded in the county at 40 mph. Sheriff Ken Mascara (St. Lucie County) is urging drivers to stay off the roads due to extensive flooding.

At 10:40 a.m. – A tornado has touched down at the Shell gas station on U.S. 1 near Monroe Street just south of Stuart. A vehicle flipped over and power lines are down. FPL workers are en route. Southbound U.S. 1 traffic is reduced to a single lane.

Locally on the southern end of Fort Pierce’s industrial area and approximately 2 miles from the coast (neighborhood area of Edwards Road, Oleander Ave., Midway Road and 7th Street), max sustained winds have peaked at 24mph with the highest gust being at 38mph. There is an indoor draft as winds shift and gust.

At 11:00 – Rain is currently very heavy and blowing in from the East as it has been all morning. Very few southern shifts have been experienced, and then only briefly. This area has received 4.96″ of rain between midnight and 11:00 a.m. and it is still coming hard. At 11:20 a.m., the wind has shifted from the SE at 26mph with the approach of another strong cell.

Air temperature has not risen above 73.3F.

No hail has been experienced, however the combination of high wind gusts and heavy rain has caused sparking and sizzling of powerlines on this street. The transformer in the rear of this location has been humming and buzzing with strong power surges. This could be due to the power lines running through the middle of large, untrimmed trees in the adjoining yards.

At 1:00 – Power lines along 7th Street continue to buzz steadily and loudly for several hours now and I expect to lose power soon. Reported to FPL who needs to assess these lines quickly, something is not right.

FPL trucks and St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office cars have been seen on the road otherwise. A flash flood warning has just been issued at 10:51 a.m. for the area. (See Below.)

Damage in this immediate area has thankfully been minimal, involving downed mail boxes, blown trash cans and slight moisture seeping in windows. It is also likely during high wind gusts for rain to blow into attic vents (under eaves and under roof peaks on the sides of houses) and dampen the sheet rock of the ceiling.

At 1:00 p.m., the center of Tropical Storm Fay was over Caloosahatchee and tracking NNE toward the Treasure Coast at 8 mph, with sustained winds of 65 mph. Rains should start to subside slightly as the winds begin to increase over the next few hours.

Late Tuesday Update: Center of TS Fay appears to be over the city of Kissimmee right now, and I am praying for the winds to finally shift West so that my front window, which already had a gaping foot-wide hole in it from where someone threw a rock through it, can have some relief. It is only patched with duct tape inside and out, and the tape has failed with the driving rain, letting water inside. Additional tape applied to the inside is also seeping through. There were no tools available to actually board up the place before the storm as I am still in the process of moving and much of my stuff is still at the old location. I am alone here, and scared to say the least.

UPDATES:

11:20 a.m. Wind SE 27 / Rain Tally 5.17″ / Lightning moving into the area

11:35 a.m. Wind ESE 19 with strong gusts / Rain Tally 5.27″ / The next cell is here

12:00 p.m. Wind E 9, gusting higher / Rain Tally 5.34″ / Slowed briefly, another wave coming in

12:15 p.m. Wind SE 9, S heavy gusts / Rain Tally 5.42″ / Storm drains now overflowing, power flux

12:30 p.m. Wind ESE 8 / Rain Tally 5.71″ / Power lines still overloaded, but power is on

1:00 p.m. Wind SE 12 / Rain Tally 6.33″ / Lines still buzzing, humming and moaning, brief letup in rain

1:15 p.m. Wind ESE 12 / Rain Tally 6.34″ / Brief sun, wind gusting again ahead of rapidly passing downpours

1:45 p.m. Wind ESE 15 / Rain Tally 6.38″ / Another wave starting to move through

2:00 p.m. Wind ESE 12 / Rain Tally 6.39″ / Center of storm skirting west side of Lake Okeechobee

2:35 p.m. Wind SE 11 / Rain Tally 6.42″ / Found damage to siding – pulled away from house

2:45 p.m. Wind ESE 18 / Rain Unchanged / In 45-60 mins, center will be 40 mi. west of Fort Pierce.

3:15 p.m. Wind ESE 15, gusty / Rain Unchanged

10:00 p.m. Wind S 13 Gusting To 43 / Rain Tally 8.91″ / Center 30 Mi West of us / Window Leaking

11:00 p.m. Wind S 16 Gusting SSW 43 / Rain Tally 9.15″ / Rain still driving in, Barometer 29.5 Rising

11:15 p.m. Wind SSE 17 / Rain Tally 9.18″ / The broken south window is a lost cause at this point

11:30 p.m. Wind still S and erratic / Rain Tally 9.29″ / Baromer 29.52 Rising / 2 streams of water entering

FLASH FLOOD WARNING UPDATED – NEW ISSUE 12:26 P.M. TUES AUG 19, 2008:

FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR, INDIAN RIVER COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA, MARTIN COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA, OKEECHOBEE COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA, ST. LUCIE COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA, UNTIL 415 PM EDT
Issue Time: 12:26PM EDT, Tuesday Aug 19, 2008
Valid Until: 4:15PM EDT, Tuesday Aug 19, 2008
Back to summary

Bulletin – Eas Activation Requested Flash Flood Warning National Weather Service Melbourne FL 1226 PM EDT Tue Aug 19 2008

The National Weather Service In Melbourne Has Issued A

* Flash Flood Warning For… Indian River County In East Central Florida… Martin County In East Central Florida… Okeechobee County In East Central Florida… St. Lucie County In East Central Florida… * Until 415 PM EDT

* At 1219 PM EDT… National Weather Service Doppler Radar Indicated Very Heavy Rain Continuing On The East Side Of Tropical Storm Fay. Multiple Rainbands Are Producing Torrential Downpours… Which Has Caused Extensive Runoff And Closing Of Roadways. Doppler Radar Estimates That 4 To 6 Inches Of Rain Has Occurred In Martin And St Lucie Counties With Some Isolated Higher Amounts.

* Locations In The Warning Include But Are Not Limited To South Beach… Saint Lucie Village… Vero Lake Estates… Vero Beach Highlands… Saint Lucie Airport… Queens Cove And Lakewood Park

Additional Rainfall Amounts Of 2 To 4 Inches Will Occur In The Warned Area.

Flooding Is Occurring Or Is Imminent. Most Flood Related Deaths Occur In Automobiles. Do Not Attempt To Cross Water Covered Bridges… Dips… Or Low Water Crossings. Never Try To Cross A Flowing Stream… Even A Small One… On Foot.

Treasure Coast Closings and Announcements Update Re: TS Fay

St. Lucie and Okeechobee closings and announcements

<b>Click to enlarge</b>

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Hurricane season 2008

Closings and other announcements due to Tropical Storm Fay:

Political signs: Due to the projected path of Tropical Storm Fay, all candidates running for office in St. Lucie County are required to remove their political signs effective immediately.

Law enforcement and code enforcement officers will begin taking down all political signs that are not removed from the roadways this evening. Additionally, all residents are encouraged to check their yards for any loose debris and signs that might become projectiles.

There are no plans to open shelters in St. Lucie County.

Government offices: A decision on whether St. Lucie County government offices will be open on Tuesday will be made Monday.

Early voting: St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker said early voting polling locations in St. Lucie County are expected to be open Tuesday.

“It’s going to be wet, but for right now it’s a West Coast storm,” Walker said.

John Carroll closing: Due to Tropical Storm Fay’s possible threat to our area, John Carroll High School will be closed Tuesday.

Any after-school activities for Monday and Tuesday are canceled. This includes all sporting events, practices, meetings, etc.

Throughout the duration of this storm and any others during this hurricane season, employees and parents will be notified of school closings via radio, television, and our website, http://www.JohnCarrollHigh.com.

Students will follow a regular school schedule when school resumes. Orientation for 11th and 12th graders has been canceled.

John Carroll High School does follow the same school cancellation schedule as St. Lucie County Public Schools.

School closings: The St. Lucie County School District has decided to close schools Tuesday, according to Tom Christopher, St. Lucie County emergency operations manager.

“The school district has canceled all activities tonight (Monday) and is closing schools Aug. 19,” Christopher said.

Christopher said the county will not open emergency shelters.

Officials from the county, Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie were meeting Monday afternoon to decide if public buildings will be closed Tuesday.

“We want that to be a coordinated effort,” Christopher said about 12:45 p.m. Monday. “We should have an announcement about that within the next couple of hours.”

TREASURE COASTWIDE/FLORIDA:

Tolls: In order to facilitate evacuation and allow tollbooth personnel to prepare for and seek shelter from approaching Tropical Storm Fay, effective at 11 a.m. Monday, tolls are suspended until further notice at the following locations:

Florida’s Turnpike, northbound and southbound, from its southernmost point at the South Dixie Highway/US 1 (Exit 1) in Miami-Dade County to the Boynton Beach Boulevard interchange (Exit 86) in Palm Beach County.

All toll roads operated by the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, including S.R. 836, S.R. 874, S.R. 112, S.R. 924 (Gratigny Parkway) and S.R. 878 (Snapper Creek Expressway).

Interstate 75 (Alligator Alley), eastbound and westbound.

The Rickenbacker and Venetian causeways in Miami-Dade County (effective at 10 a.m. Monday).

Tolls were lifted at 1 p.m. Sunday, northbound, on the Homestead Extension of Florida’s Turnpike from Exit 1 to the Miramar Toll Plaza.

FAU: Due to the continued possibility of inclement weather as a result of Tropical Storm Fay, Florida Atlantic University will close its normal business operations on all of its campuses beginning at noon on Monday and through Tuesday. All business operations at FAU are expected to resume on Wednesday.

All programs and offices at the A.D. Henderson University School, FAU High School and the Karen Slattery Child Development Center will be closed on Tuesday and are expected to resume on Wednesday.

For continual updates on FAU’s status, visit http://www.fau.edu or call the FAU hotline at (561) 297-2020, (561) 799-8020, (954) 236-1800 or (772) 873-3330. 

Dialysis patients: Fresenius Medical Care clinics in South Florida are running extra shifts Monday for patients on dialysis. Clinics extending hours Monday include those in: Palm Beach, Okeechobee, Martin, Indian River, St. Lucie and Broward counties. Call Fresenius’ Patient Disaster Hotline to find out where to receive dialysis, 1-800-626-1297.   

District courthouses: The United States District Courthouses in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties will be closed Monday due to hazardous weather conditions associated with Tropical Storm Fay. The U.S. District courthouses in West Palm Beach and Fort Pierce will remain open. Closures also will be posted on the court’s website at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov. 

Price Gouging Hotline: The Attorney General’s Price Gouging Hotline has been activated at (866) 9-NO-SCAM or (866) 966-7226. Florida law prohibits extreme increases in the price of food, water, hotels, ice, gasoline, lumber and equipment needed as a direct result of an officially declared emergency.

Following Fay: Live NOAA Weather Radio & Treasure Coast FL Webcam

For live NOAA Weather Radio reporting and a live webcam, please follow this link.

Page is especially helpful for following Tropical Storm / Hurricane (possible) Fay activity specifically related to the Treasure Coast of Florida.  This station covers Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River Counties including areas from Sebastian Inlet down to Jupiter Inlet.

Everyone please be prepared and be SAFE.  Even if you are not in the direct line of fire for this or any storm, the effects can still be widespread, even far from the center of the storm as outer bands can reach over 200 miles from the center.