September 11, 2004


It's official. Ivan is, without a doubt, One Big Sumbitch.


Winds over 160. Gusts over 200.

It's been described as being stronger than Charley and bigger than Frances.

Just terrific.

A look at the latest forecast brings me some hope:


We're still on the bad side in Tampa of a very large storm. But it's not that knockout eyewall. Hurricane force winds extend out 60 miles, though. And if it's still at Category 5, as it is now...

I don't want to think about it.

The barometric pressure reading is 26.99. Which reminds me of what my friend Willie wrote earlier this week:

Andrew's barometric pressure at landfall was 27.13. If it drops below 27.00, it'll be in the company of such monsters as Hurricane Gilbert (26.18, I think), Hurricane Camille (26.89) and the 1935 Labor Day hurricane (26.35).

Great. Just freaking great.

The panic is now fairly real in Tampa. Grocery shelves are eerily empty still. There is no gasoline to be had. Last night, when I saw a pump open at the Mobil station on Causeway Boulevard in Brandon, I whipped my O-Mobile around and pulled in to wait my turn. Then I decided to go to Wal-Mart and get some gas cans. I went back - station was still open. I pulled out my cans after a 20 minute wait. Filled those mothers up as fast as I could and then topped out my truck again.

Woman behind me opened her window.

"Where'd you get those?"


"Damn,'' she said, as a grimace of regret spread across on her face. "That was smart."

We're going out for a birthday dinner with our friends Drew and Susan and Mike and Autumn. We hired a van two weeks ago to take us around so we wouldn't have to drive.

"You know," I told Drew. "In hindsight, it's probably best. Now we don't have to use our own gas."

Posted by Jeff at September 11, 2004 05:37 PM