This Is Only a Test

So, this morning, I’m having my coffee, catching up on the Snarkosphere, etc., when I notice an alert on my iPhone screen:

Never heard of a tsunami hitting the west coast of Florida, but shit, the world quit making sense a while back, so maybe? I clicked through to the Accuweather app, which had the little red exclamation point and the same message on the app screen: tsunami warning for my (low-lying, coastal) area.

I mentally reviewed the location of my husband and daughter (higher ground, both, insofar as there IS higher ground on this accursed peninsula) and started figuring out how to single-handedly catch and crate the chickens and then drag the dog and a crate of chickens up to the roof. Or perhaps chance fleeing in my car with the dog and chickens in the cabin with me? Neither seemed a good option.

But before putting either plan into action, I figured I’d better go straight to the horse’s mouth and make sure this warning wasn’t some Accuweather fuckery and that the U.S. National Weather Service was really predicting a tsunami right here in Cockroach Acres. Turns out, nah:

I appreciate getting severe weather alerts when an actual threat exists, just as I’m sure the folks in Hawaii are glad there’s a way to alert them of incoming ballistic missiles. But maybe we need to take a step back and rethink how these alerts are disseminated.

In Hawaii, perhaps it shouldn’t be possible for one person to fuck up and push the wrong button and send the population into a panic. And maybe the National Weather Service should work more closely with the weather apps that are authorized to push NWS alerts to make sure “this is a test” is part of the alert message when testing the system. Just saying.

Open thread!

Cold Friday (Open Thread)

My dogs are quietly outraged because I haven’t taken them for a walk in several days. Every time I put on shoes or pull on a sweater, they rush to the door in anticipation. But it’s been too damn cold for walks, and they know it too: When we let them out in the yard, they’re banging on the door to come back inside within five minutes.

Other critters in the state are handling the cold snap in their accustomed ways. Here’s a herd of manatees swarming the entrance to Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, Florida, which is one of the best places on the planet, IMO:

The water flowing from the springs is around 72 degrees year-round. In the summer, that feels heart-stoppingly cold. But on a cold day like this, jumping into the springs feels like sliding into a warm bath. That warmth is what the manatees are after.

Next week, it’ll warm up, and the manatees will venture out of the canals in search of more plentiful vegetation. And I’ll start walking my dogs again.

Open thread!

College Football Open Thread

Better late than never:

Is anyone here in the path of Hurricane Nate? Looks like it might be a little stronger than they figured at first, so stay safe.

Thread open for all topics.

Does Trump understand that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory?

It’s hell in Puerto Rico now. Via WaPo:

Hurricane Maria hammers Puerto Rico with force not seen in ‘modern history’

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Hurricane Maria churned across Puerto Rico Wednesday as the most powerful storm to strike the island in more than 80 years, knocking out power and water to nearly the entire population and leaving people huddled in buildings to ride out powerhouse winds that have already left death and devastation across the Caribbean.

“On the forecast track, [Maria] would be the most destructive hurricane in Puerto Rico history,” tweeted Eric Blake, a forecaster at the National Hurricane Center.

The storm first slammed the coast near Yabucoa at 6:15 a.m. as a Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds — the first Category 4 storm to directly strike the island since 1932. By midmorning, Maria had fully engulfed the 100-mile-long island as winds snapped palm trees, peeled off rooftops, sent debris skidding across beaches and roads, and cut power to nearly the entire island.

Not a word today from Trump, who found time to compliment Fox & Friends, plug Luther Strange, flog Graham-Cassidy, excoriate “Crooked Hillary,” retweet knob-slobbering from MAGAts, etc.

He posted a perfunctory tweet about the imminent hurricane strike last night, similar and in close proximity to the tweet about the Mexico City earthquake. But Trump’s approach to this unfolding disaster is nothing like the multiple tweets he sent out about the hurricanes that hit Florida and Texas and the pains he took to be seen as engaged during those events.

Does he not know Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory? Does he not give a shit because its inhabitants are mostly non-white? Both?

Home Again…

We’re home safe and sound. I drove up and checked the house around 11:00 AM this morning. Power was on – I don’t think it ever went out. And no damage to the house at all. So I went back to my brother’s, loaded everything into the car, got the girls in, and we’re now home chilling.

A huge thank you to my younger brother, sister in law, my nephews, and their German shepherd for providing a port in the storm!

I checked with BettyC this AM when I got up and she said:

Everyone okay but it got pretty bad here. Some structural damage. No sleep for 48 hours. Kinda trapped with no gas, no power, etc. But we’ll be okay. Got food, water, our health!

This is at the place they evacuated too. So the good news is they’re all okay. I can tell you that they’re working both hard and fast to get power back on. So hopefully they’ll be back on the grid shortly.

I’m gonna get cleaned up, eat, and crash.

Checking In: Weathering the Storm

Just a quick note from here in Pinellas County. The local meteorologists I’m watching are forecasting that Irma is going to go more north than northwest. This means it’s going to go over Lakeland and Polk County and a bit of eastern Hillsborough County. They’re estimating near to and/or category 1 gusts for that area in about 90 minutes.

Orlando has also been taking a beating with about 70 mph gusts for several hours or so because of how the rain bands have moved. Naples took a beating, but that beating and Irma staying over land has helped the storm to weaken and begin to unravel.

Should this forecast hold, then the eye will pass east of Tampa Bay. This keeps us in this area on the west and less dangerous side of the storm. Though Ft. DeSoto Park in southwestern Pinellas County just registered a 76 mph wind gust. A heavy, hurricane force rain band is just moving over the area. Very quickly fortunately.

We’re safe. Dry, unless I go out with the dogs…  And we’ve still got power for now. I’ll check in in the comments as long as I’ve got either wifi or cell service.

We are also well hydrated!


Moving on?

Do you agree with Greg Sargent’s read here?

Maybe, but healthcare gains won’t be safe until the GOP is out of power.

In other news, is it just me, or is the shitgibbon’s tone weirdly euphoric?

Trump made similarly odd comments about Hurricane Harvey. He seems twisted enough to believe that BIG things happening on his watch, even BIG disasters, somehow reflect BIGLY on himself. What a fucking psycho. Fuck him, and fuck everyone who voted to put that lunatic in charge.

My family and I, along with millions on the west coast of Florida, are waiting to see what happens with the hurricane track. We’re in an “A” evacuation zone (the worst), so the potential for storm surge will be the deciding factor. There’s really no way to escape the hurricane-force winds if the current models hold true, but we don’t want to be stuck in a flood, so we (people, dogs and chickens) might go stay with relatives inland if it comes to that, even though the wind would be worse inland.

I’ll check in with y’all as I’m able. Open thread!