Massive storm could have been worse

Storm surge left boats grounded in old Tampa Bay.
Storm surge left boats grounded in old Tampa Bay (AP/Chris O’Meara).

“We’ve never had that many outages,” said Eric Silagy, president and chief executive office of Florida Power and Light (FPL), the state’s largest electric utility, after Hurricane Irma left more than 6.5 million customers in the dark. “I don’t think any utility in the country has.”

Irma cut across Florida Sunday and Monday without mercy, wiping out power for more than 12 million and the various utilities that serve the state say it could be weeks and/or months before all the electricity will be back on.

Yet it could have worse…much worse.  The historic storm predicted to sweep up the center of Florida moved westward enough to miss much of the Sunshine State’s most populated areas but Irma was widespread enough to still inflict a lot of damage.

No reports of harm from any of our family in the Tampa area, my hometown, but water and wind damage.  The brunt of Irma passed west of the city.

The storm that was a category 5 hurricane is now a tropical storm but still is flooding Georgia and South Carolina as it heads northwest on a path that threatens Tennessee, Kentucky and Southern Illinois as it seems to run out of breath.

As occasional light and occasional rain falls in Floyd County and the rest of Southwestern Virginia Tuesday morning with a wind advisory that could bring gusts up to 50 miles per hour in Galax and Carroll County, Wednesday is forecast to be sunny and cool Wednesday with a 20 percent chance of precipitation.

Cool weather continues to keep temperatures in the 50s and low 60s in and around the Blue Ridge.

Thursday’s forecast calls for afternoon and evening showers (60 percent chance of rain), then mostly cloudy for Friday and Saturday and just a 20 percent chance of precipitation.

Irma leaves a trail of devastation in the Caribbean, including 95 percent devastation on islands like St. Martin, along with a dozen deaths, including at least four in Florida.

But it could have been much worse in this still-early hurricane season that has sent two category 5 storms in a row onto American soil.

A potential threat continues from Hurricane, a category 4 storm that is wandering aimlessly, for the moment, out in the Caribbean.

Call it a “lull” for the moment but one that can still turn menacing and deadly.

© 2004-2021 Blue Ridge Muse

© 2021 Blue Ridge Muse