Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Carlton: Hurricanes like what's-her-face: the price we pay for paradise.

We live in Florida, and we are lucky. These are facts, even given what Irma just put us through.

Think about it: For every late-night TV snark with a Florida punch line, there are platoons of people who flock here from all over for what we have. Joke about Florida and talk to me in January when you're slipping in the snow.

Still, it is also true that when you live in Florida, you will inevitably experience things beyond what the tourist ads promise, beyond sun-soaked sugar-sand days, magical Disney trips and Margaritaville nights.

Fire ants, for instance. Sunburn. Summers so unbearably, swelteringly hot you can barely breathe.

And, by far, the worst: hurricanes, both in threat and reality.

So Irma is behind us. We were lucky.

I think we can all agree it was terrible anyway. Worrying for days about a monster storm coming straight up our state was terrible. Hoarding water and peanut butter crackers and not knowing how long we might need them was terrible. Stressing about people we care about was terrible. Thinking of hurricanes past was terrible. Trying to figure out where to go that wouldn't be worse was terrible.

And I don't know about you, but I could go the rest of my life without ever again driving away from my house headed for somewhere supposedly safer and not knowing what would be there when I got back.

Would the roof hold? Would the oaks topple? Worse?

Because around here we were in the bull's-eye. Tracks had it coming for us in Tampa Bay, and for proof, you had no less than CNN's Anderson Cooper perched at the edge of the downtown Tampa Riverwalk, waiting.

So we hunkered down as the wind howled and the rain pelted. We watched slickered TV reporters shouting about how a palm frond can be a projectile. We texted people we worried about and people who were worried about us.

The TV reporters started saying things like "may have dodged a bullet," and did Anderson Cooper look a little bored? No, I'm sure he was glad for us.

I finally fell asleep to a chorus of frogs in the back yard, loudest I've ever heard, oblivious to the storm or else really enjoying it. They were still going at it when I woke up and the worst was past. We got lucky who knows why — the contrariness of nature and things we can't control.

"Lucky" probably sounds harsh to the people around the corner who had a tall tree fall onto their roof or my neighbor who lost her fence, to everyone who went without power or woke up to their homes or businesses damaged. It has to sound harsh in places that got it way worse.

People say we will get complacent, that the next time a hurricane with a sweet name and a vicious potential for destruction comes along we will think we don't need to worry so much.

Me, I think Irma scared us straight, made us pay attention, got us more used to getting ready, made us a little nicer to each other for a while there, even. Maybe it wasn't as bad as it could have been, but can you imagine if we hadn't prepared and it was?

All of which is the price to pay for living someplace that's pretty great, even in hurricane season.

Contact Sue Carlton at [email protected]

Comments
Thick humidity fuels sweltering conditions, increasing rain chances for Tampa Bay

Thick humidity fuels sweltering conditions, increasing rain chances for Tampa Bay

Scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected to pick up throughout Tampa Bay on Tuesday afternoon, along with continued blistering sunshine and high humidity.An increased chance of rain, around 60 percent, will continue throughout the week. A hig...
Published: 07/17/18
Forecast: Dry start to work week, but rain chances will build across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Dry start to work week, but rain chances will build across Tampa Bay

The work week will start of relatively dry across Tampa Bay, but rain chances will increase throughout the week with a chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms near 50 percent on Friday.Skies will be mostly sunny on Monday, with only a 20 percen...
Published: 07/16/18
Seasonal weather remains consistent across Tampa Bay through weekend

Seasonal weather remains consistent across Tampa Bay through weekend

Tampa Bay residents can expect typical July weather patterns Friday and heading into the weekend as warm weather and sunshine leads to possible afternoon storms.The National Weather Service has most of the storms developing inland during the afternoo...
Published: 07/13/18
Chris downgraded to post-tropical cyclone, will bring rain, dangerous surf to Canada

Chris downgraded to post-tropical cyclone, will bring rain, dangerous surf to Canada

Although Chris may no longer be a hurricane, the storm could still have a significant impact on weather both on the East Coast and Canada as it races across the Atlantic and toward Canada.Hours after being downgraded to a tropical storm, Chris was de...
Published: 07/12/18
Continued high humidity with increased chance for afternoon thunderstorms in Tampa Bay

Continued high humidity with increased chance for afternoon thunderstorms in Tampa Bay

It should be a sunny Thursday around Tampa Bay with partly skies and a 20-30 percent chance of rain by the late afternoon.Most of those storms will be driven further inland by the coastal breeze sweeping in from the Gulf of Mexico, according to the N...
Published: 07/12/18
Continued heat and humidity across Tampa Bay, and more rain this weekend

Continued heat and humidity across Tampa Bay, and more rain this weekend

The second half of the week will continue Tampa Bay’s slow trek through the dog days of summer with afternoon heat indexes surpassing 100 degrees.Expect a hot and humid Wednesday as highs reach 92, with high humidity making it feel more like 100-105,...
Published: 07/11/18
Hurricane Chris quickly strengthens, generates dangerous surf on path to Canada

Hurricane Chris quickly strengthens, generates dangerous surf on path to Canada

The second hurricane of the 2018 season has quickly strengthened into a Category 2 storm that is moving away from the U.S. but making a bee-line toward Canada and, eventually, Iceland.As of Wednesday at 5 a.m., Hurricane Chris was situated about 315 ...
Published: 07/11/18
Pasco residents, officials use Irma’s lessons for upcoming hurricane plans

Pasco residents, officials use Irma’s lessons for upcoming hurricane plans

NEW PORT RICHEY — Melissa Detwiler, a resident of Seven Springs Trailer Park, bought her travel trailer in May 2017. When Hurricane Irma hit in September, she left it on the highest ground in the park and evacuated to Orlando.She and her trailer were...
Published: 07/11/18
Hurricane season 2018: Hernando County looks back on lessons learned from Irma

Hurricane season 2018: Hernando County looks back on lessons learned from Irma

Hurricane Irma last year left Hernando County with lots of flooding and downed trees, but also lessons about what to do better if another storm hits the area this year.About a month into hurricane season, the Tampa Bay Times spoke with county staff m...
Published: 07/11/18
Plenty of sunshine for Tampa Bay with chance of afternoon rain

Plenty of sunshine for Tampa Bay with chance of afternoon rain

It should be a bright, partly cloudy Tuesday with plenty of sunshine over Tampa Bay with a slight chance of scattered afternoon showers.There is a 20-30 percent chance that folks around the Tampa Bay area could see thunderstorms by the late afternoon...
Published: 07/10/18