Hi, there, Constant Reader, and welcome to another edition of Musings & Thoughts. It’s Saturday, August 1, 2020 , and man, is it hot outside! Right now, in my current corner of Florida, the temperature is 91˚F (33˚C) under sunny skies. With a nine MPH easterly breeze and humidity at 65%, the heat index is a whopping 104˚F (40˚C). The forecast for our area calls for mostly sunny skies and a high of 94˚F (34˚C).
That’s not the case for my former – and oft-missed – neighborhood in Miami. As Hurricane Isaias nears the southeast coast of Florida, the weather there is not as sunny or hot. Though it looks like the center of the storm will stay just offshore east of the Miami area (for the moment, anyway), they’re already getting the outer bands, which means rain squalls and tropical storm-force winds are affecting my old haunts.
Here’s the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center:
DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK
At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Isaias was
located by an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft and
Bahamas radar near latitude 24.7 North, longitude 77.9 West. Isaias
is moving toward the northwest near 12 mph (19 km/h). A general
northwestward motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected
for the next day or so, followed by a north-northwestward motion by
late Sunday. On the forecast track, the center of Isaias will move
over northern Andros Island during the next few hours and move
near or over Grand Bahama Island in the Northwestern Bahamas later
today. Isaias is forecast to move near the east coast of the
Florida peninsula tonight through Sunday.
Reports from the reconnaissance aircraft indicate that maximum
sustained winds have decreased slightly to near 80 mph (130 km/h)
with higher gusts. Little change in strength is expected through
Sunday, and Isaias is forecast to remain a hurricane during this
time. Slow weakening is expected to begin by late Monday.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from the
center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles
(185 km). Reports from a U.S. Navy site on Andros Island indicate
that sustained winds of 45 mph (76 km/h) and a gust to 69 mph (111
km/h) occurred about 3 hours ago. More recently, a sustained wind of
35 mph (56 km/h) and a gust to 48 mph (77 km/h) were measured at
The estimated minimum central pressure is 987 mb (29.15 inches).
As I’ve said in previous hurricane-related posts here, while I miss both my late mother Beatriz and my old townhouse, I’m relieved that I don’t have to worry about either in these times of crisis. We experienced several near-misses and direct hits by tropical systems during Mom’s last years whilst she was confined to a medical bed in a small downstairs bedroom, and trust me, those were stressful times.
For instance, Mom was resolute in her refusal to be evacuated in case an Andrew-type hurricane passed through, and although my half-sister and I agreed that taking our mother out of her familiar surroundings would do more harm than good, it still was a problematic situation. Mom’s room downstairs was one of the hottest in the townhouse; it faced west, so in the afternoon the sun flooded in through the big bedroom window. Yes, there was a big lychee tree that provided some shade, but whenever the power was out or the air conditioner had issues, even a moderate amount of sunshine made that room hotter than my elderly mother could withstand.
I’m also relieved – sad, but relieved – that Mom isn’t around to live in this weird new world of COVID-19. Hurricane season is stressful enough even under the best of circumstances; the coronavirus pandemic and all of the social distancing/COVID-19 lockdowns would have made caring for an elderly woman with cognitive issues insanely difficult. Mom probably would not have been able to receive many visitors, and in her moments of lucidity, she would have worried – as any loving parent would – about her two adult children.
I don’t know what I’m going to be doing for the rest of this Saturday. I could try playing Close Combat: The Longest Day, a tactical level war game that I bought recently from Steam using a credit accrued to my Master Card account, but my heart is not in it. It’s a fun game, even though it’s not exactly the easiest to learn or master. Plus, I prefer strategic-level games, such as “old” MicroProse Software’s Crusade in Europe, a game I played plenty of times on my old Apple IIe personal computer in the late Eighties and early Nineties. I also think I spend too much time in front of a computer as it is.
So, I’m not sure how I’m going to spend this first Saturday of August 2020. Maybe I’ll read for a while or watch TV or a movie on my Blu-ray player. Anything but sitting here at my desk!