Tag Archives: Florida

Friday Bottom 3: Weather Events

These are the three worst weather events directly impacting my life.

#3. 2005 Hurricane Triple Header – Florida received a 1-2-3 punch combo in the Summer and Fall 2005 hurricane season. Homestead received one of its highest precipitation totals ever recorded and most of Dade and Broward counties were out of power for extended periods while much of Homestead’s power outages lasted weeks. Katrina, Rita and then Wilma had South Florida residents putting up shutters, taking them down, and repeating two more times. Just about everywhere you went standing water blocked vehicle progress and flooded homes.

#2. The Winter Storm January 1996 – I was returning to Lee University in Cleveland following Christmas break with Andrew Hoomook when an ice storm hit the east. From Atlanta north into TN, roads were closed for three days. We ended up grabbing a room for two nights in Cold-lanta to try and wait out some of the nastiness. At one point for several miles, we were slowed to almost idle speed to keep from sliding off the ice covered roads. The conditions occurred because a layer of rain froze on the road was followed by freezing rain falling on top. I saw numerous cars blown off the road by wind, people losing control and being stranded in ditches, and semi tractor trailers barrelling down the road at speeds well above the rest of traffic. It was frightening to say the least.

#1. Hurricane Andrew, 1992 – Thank the Lord I did not directly experience the wind of Hurricane Andrew. That weekend, my mom and I were in Cleveland, TN helping Travis get moved into his dorm for his freshman year at Lee University and my dad evacuated with Ron Cable (one of the HCOG church members who was working at Turkey Point with Bechtel, down temporarily from Fresno, CA). They evacuated west to Punta Gorda, FL and then traveled east to Central FL on the east coast, and followed the tailed end of the hurricane as it exited the state across Naples and into the Gulf. I stayed up all night Sunday evening at my cousins’ home in Atlanta watching the weather channel as the radar image showed that destructive storm land in Homestead while the weather people were stating that it was heading for Titusville, then Palm Beach County, and the Miami. I kept thinking they must be blind since I could clearly see that it made a direct hit south of Miami, and had been on a straight line for Homestead since it went across the Bahamas. When we made our entrance to Homestead with our family friend David Barron (he was there to help us dry in the house and salvage anything from the mess that we possibly could), it took us a couple hours just to make it the 30 or so miles from near the airport in Miami south into Homestead itself via Florida’s Turnpike. The best way to describe the damage in Homestead was ground zero of a massive bomb. The few trees that were not toppled were completely stripped of leaves, every home in our neighborhood was practically destroyed, cars were destroyed, all mobile home/pre fab homes were flattened and debris strewn everywhere, many roads completely impassable by car, boats were found miles inland, and even the grass was destroyed by driving wind and salt water tidal surge (in areas). We slept on a picnic bench outside the house for a couple nights since the house was covered with fiberglass insulation and rain water. The contents of Travis’ room was sucked out when his shutters failed, and my room was soaked from rain which fell through the destroyed roof. We were without power for 4 months, though we did have generated power for some lighting and refrigeration a few weeks into our recovery. It really was a tough but learning time for me, though I know I had it good compared to so many other people. At a later time, I can go into more details of the events, experiences, sad and funny things I saw and did during that defining time in the life of my family. I am sure my dad also has many stories to share that you may find fascinating.

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Qualifying Thoughts

  • Good morning Homestead (at 2:30 AM).  I had to get up to be at work by 4 AM today for day one of Training and Qualification (T&Q).
  • When I woke up, the temperature on my front porch weather station reported 43.2 degrees F.  I am not sure if that was correct because I heard that it would be in the 30’s today.  Either way, it was cooooooooold!
  • Of all the days to have to be outside shooting my AR 15 and 9mm Beretta, it had to be one of the coldest days in several years.  I actually shot my night fire course with the rifle wearing gloves.  It definitely got in the way and slowed me down, but I still got a perfect score.
  • I wasn’t so good with the pistol.  I took my gloves off for the pistol so I could more easily manipulate it.  My frozen fingers only allowed me to score a 38 out of 40 which was still a qualifying score (32 or higher).
  • Around 7 AM, we had to perform our physical agility test.  I admit I was sweating it a bit since I had not prepared for it at all.  It’s a 40 foot climb and back down from the tower, then a 200 yard run while carrying about 30 pounds of gear.  The whole course must be completed in 2 minutes.
  • One of the guys running in front of me paced me and told me to keep on his bumper.  I turned in my personal best time out of the 3 times I have had to run in over the past 2 years.  I qualified easily.
  • By 8 AM, it had warmed up a little and the sun was coming up.  It turned out to be a beautiful day.
  • First we shot the rifle.  Today was the first time I shot in the tactical vest.  While it made the run easier because of weight distribution, it made the shooting a little more difficult due to the pressure on the shoulders.
  • I qualified with the rifle, but since I rushed several of my shots, I was not able to match my perfect score from the last time.  This time, I scored 295 out of 300.  Not bad, not great.
  • With the pistol, I didn’t have a great day by many people’s standard.  I am not great with the handgun but I am ok.  I scored 225 out of 240 (my previous high was 227 out of 240).
  • So the short of it all is that as for the shooting and physical qualifications, I am good to go for another year.  Tomorrow I return to the classroom for the Training portion of the T&Q.  This is the area that I don’t have much issue with.
  • More good news: my vacation for the week of Spring Break was approved!  I wasn’t really expecting it since I requested it late.  Most people request vacations at the end of December.  It’s seniority at that point.  After then, it becomes first come first serve unless there is a vacation blackout.
  • Even more good news: due to the fact we all completed shooting qualifications, I don’t have to be in until 6 AM tomorrow.  That means I get to attend worship practice tonight.
  • I will see all of you Sunday at Flagship Cinemas for a great Sunday morning at Life Pointe Church!

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Filed under Homestead, life pointe, Miami, thoughts, time, vacation, work

Wednesday Quotable

Mark Twain was a cynical yet funny feller.  I dig his way of communicating his satire and sarcasm.  Today, the temperature didn’t break 50 degrees F until about 10:00 AM at my house, according to my weather station.  From all reports I have heard, we won’t even break 60 degrees all day.  So, it  that is actually pretty cold for those of us here in Homestead.  Here’s what Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain for those of you in Rio Linda) has to say about cold weather in an area that is notoriously hot all year.

In India, “cold weather” is merely a conventional phrase and has come into use through the necessity of having some way to distinguish between weather which will melt a brass door-knob and weather which will only make it mushy.

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Filed under Homestead, Miami, quotable