"Watch the Weather Channel if you have the time this weekend. History, although tragic, is about to be made. All we can do now is hope and pray for the people in the path of this monster."
Thank you Cuba. You did your job. Thanks to your large, somewhat mountainous landmass, Irma lost a bit of her swagger when she swung by your neighborhood. A 35 mph drop in winds is a big deal. That is the good news - now the bad. There is a big stretch of "bathtub temperature water" before Irma hits the Keys. Irma could use this final leg of her journey to pull herself together, and once again regain some of her lost wind speed.
One of the cable meteorologists said this storm might change Florida. More-so than Donna, Camille, Andrew or Ivan. As usual, Irma did not listen to instructions set forth by the NWS. The western side of Florida was supposed to have been a smidgen safer than the east coast. Now that Irma has gone a bit further west, the Tampa, St. Petersburg area has the target on their backs.
There is no doubt that Florida will look much different come daybreak on Monday and Tuesday. The damage costs could be staggering. As careful as the Governor of Florida has been (as well as the Mayors of the large Florida cities which will be affected) with safety instructions, there will be casualties. Hopefully not too many. Only a miracle could prevent any deaths.
Why do I think there will be casualties? Because there are always the exceptions to every rule. The 1% who won't, don't, or don't want to pay attention. I remember reading in the Pensacola paper after Camille hit, a group of friends ignored the evacuation orders, got liquor and cards, and decided to have a "hurricane party". I can only imagine their horror in those final minutes when that monster roared on shore with eye wall winds of 200+ mph. That ill advised "hurricane party" proved to be their last.
One final thought before the storm makes landfall. What a difference a few years make. When Katrina hit New Orleans, it was a perfect example on how dysfunctional government (at all levels) can be. Because of that dysfunction, many died who did not have to. Texas and Florida on the other hand, have been almost "text book". This is the way government (at all levels) is SUPPOSED to work.
Once this is over, there will be a huge and continuing need for supplies to help the people of Houston and Florida. We are a generous people, and I know the country will step up. My only caveat to folks is to watch out for scams. Make sure your know the charity asking for money. Use CharityNavigator.com, or something similar.
Watch the Weather Channel if you have the time this weekend. History, although tragic, is about to be made. All we can do now is hope and pray for the people in the path of this monster.