Tropical Storm Watch

Tuesday August 30th 2016

I’m still in Jacksonville watching the weather. I still don’t believe I’m in any serious risk by staying here. I’m on high ground, the winds aren’t forecast to be to extreme and there aren’t many tall objects to come crashing down. The only real danger is from a random tornado spawned by the tropical storm.

I’m going to use part of this blog entry to attempt to help me and my readers understand my thought process. There are a couple of reasons I haven’t moved. I don’t know which way to run and the TV forecasters are not giving me a consistent understanding of what’s going on.

If I had moved yesterday, I’d have gone north and west. It would have been further from the path of the storm, further from the coast and on the weaker side of the tropical system. I also got the impression that it was less likely the storm would change path in that direction. Good thing I didn’t move. The update this evening says that the storm path has moved that way. If I’d moved south in Florida, I’d be safer now, but yesterday the local forecasters were saying if the path changed it would be toward the south. It is also counter intuitive to move toward a dead end as far as escapes go.

That is symptomatic of my problem with the local TV stations. Even though Jacksonville has a full complement of network and non-network TV stations, several of them are owned by the same company. The CBS and Fox channels share a common news organization as do the ABC and NBC channels. So rather than having four opinions on the coming weather, I only have two from these stations. One is very conservative and fear oriented in its approach and the other seems a little less severe. Which one is more accurate? The whole broadcast approach seems to be “if we scare everybody sufficiently nobody can blame us for not getting the word out. Better err to the bad than fail.” This is the same approach I have observed in New England when it comes to snow storms.

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View from the front of the campground. My RV is in the center of the picture at the far end of the short term area. They empty sites in the foreground were filled by 6pm this evening.

There are 150 long term residents at this park. Most of them are easily movable. I have only seen two actually leave the park and I don’t know if the storm was the motivation for the departure. Also of significance to me is that very few of the residents have put stuff away or tied things down. That is consistent with the forecast wind speeds which aren’t much more than those found in many thunderstorms.

I know if this were a hurricane, I’d have moved. As it is the storm isn’t even a tropical storm yet. It will be soon, but it is unlikely to ever become a hurricane. If I’d been here for all the hype and build up last week, maybe I’d have moved. While I knew about the storm last week, it wasn’t until Sunday night that I understood that Jacksonville was in the center of the cross hairs.

The forecasters, that I don’t know how to trust, say the effects of the storm will start to be felt tomorrow.  The main storm will not be here until Thursday.   The current weather pattern has periodic storms coming in off the ocean with gusty winds. It is raining one minute and sunny the next. Basically, that means it is just as risky to move as to stay put.

So, those are my thoughts and observations. I still believe that I’ve made a reasonable decision. If I’m wrong, I’ll leave the RV and head for a shelter. I will have my weather radio set in alert mode from tonight on. I’m not particularly worried, just being cautious. The adventure continues.

The big event for the day was a trip to the post office. Thanks to Google maps, I found a nearby post office about 3 exits south on Interstate 95. The big surprise was the Anheuser-Busch brewery across the street from the post office. I’ll have to go back and take the tour while I’m here.

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