BAA/ILE Early Hurricane Irma Report « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

BAA/ILE Early Hurricane Irma Report


We lost power last night, Sunday September 11, 2017, at 8:11pm, courtesy of Hurricane IRMA. I was in bed by 8:30 with one bedroom window open. The wind was pretty much howling by then. I was asleep before 9pm. I woke at 1:45 am, fired up the computer (wearing the blue blocker goggles that I put on at 6pm each day to improve my body’s production of melatonin), and learned that the eye of the storm was already north of Tampa. I did NOT get back to sleep again until about 3:30 or 4:00am and slept till six — it was still too dark to see then. I rested for 45 minutes till it got light. At first glance everything at Indian Lake Estates looked just fine …

But when I looked out the office window I saw that a big tree had fallen towards the pool cage. Amazingly, there was no damage at all; it missed the screened-in-structure literally by inches. And I learned that the pool cage was not as flimsy a structure as it looked. There were four to five inch thick branches that had been broken off by the fall and were resting atop the pool cage. There was not even a small tear in the screening anywhere. Even more amazingly though this big tree fell just 12 feet from my open bedroom window I did not hear a thing. The noise might have been drowned out by the storm and the wind.

Several power and phone lines and poles in our backyard alone are either completely on the ground or close to it so it seems likely that we will not have power back for at least two to three weeks. Right now I have my Sequoia parked half way in the garage with the engine running. My laptop is charging via an inverter plugged into one cigarette lighter and my cell phone charger in another. But here is potentially the best news: I have a 1500 watt inverter hooked up to the engine. It is running my large GE Profile refrigerator/freezer. The fridge (3.5 amps) is on and (possibly …) getting colder by the minute. When it cools down completely Jim and I will move all the food from our other fridge and from the stand-alone freezer to the functioning unit in the kitchen. My plan is to keep the car running for most of the day and then turn it off at 10pm and then on again the next morning. I am hoping that a gas station or two in town will re-open before the car runs out of gas. TJ, my chiropractor, who is quite mechanically minded, said that the car should be fine idling for many hours as long as it does not overheat. He suggested checking the temperature gauge every half our or so. If you know for sure that there is a flaw in my plan, please leave a comment.

Just checked the fridge/freezer unit seems to be working perfectly with the lights on the the temperatures dropping nicely. The wind has largely abated here and the skies are brightening. Rainfall here was far less than predicted. The pool only rose about four inches last night after we let some water out in the late afternoon.

Jen and Erik and Maya are fine and without power at their home in nearby Frostproof, a suburb (if you will) of Lake Wales. Jim’s family –wife, daughter, and grandson — are safe in a shelter in Melbourne; the shelter is currently without power. There is no news on Jim’s house or the state of his neighborhood yet.

If you need to reach us best would be my cell phone at 863-221-2372. I have no clue when Fed-Ex or UPS will begin working. I will keep you updated on the blog.

28 comments to BAA/ILE Early Hurricane Irma Report

  • avatar Esther Corley

    Moving to CA sounds better and better, doesn’t it?

  • avatar Guido Bee

    Hi, Artie, good to hear you and Jim and families are OK.
    I’d second the comment above about the fan in front of the radiator if the car begins to overheat. You can drive it off the same circuit as the refer / freezer. You will want to check how much the fan draws (amps), as some of them do draw a bit more than I thought they would. 3.5 Amps of AC takes a fair amount of 13.8V DC to generate, so it might be a good idea to check the DC amperage from the alternator (and the total load rating of the inverter as well). No use burning either of them up…. If the radiator / water temp on the engine seems to be stable and not approaching the red, I’d skip the fan.
    Hang in there. We’re pulling for you all. All the best.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Guido. I am in great shape now. Plan B is working and the car is completely outside. I check the temp gauge and it is always perfect. More on Plan B tomorrow morning 🙂

      with love, artie

  • Glad to hear that you are all fine

  • avatar Joel Eade

    If you have a dashboard gauge that reads the battery voltage or a gauge that tells if the battery is charging that would help. If the voltage dips below 12 volts or the gauge says it is NOT charging then take the car for a ride to charge it up. And do NOT turn the car off if you park somewhere because it probably will not start with battery low.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Joel. The battery is up near the top, just below 18. We will, however, take a ride before calling it quits for the night.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Ron Gates

    Glad you’re okay other than power. The deep freeze will stay frozen for a good while if you don’t open too often so you can conserve fuel.

  • avatar LeslieM

    Thanks for the update Artie, glad to hear you’re OK. 🙂

  • avatar Les Greenberg

    Glad you’re doing OK.

  • avatar Jake

    I am glad to hear that you are safe, best wishes,

  • You live in a deadly Paradise, but its your home and you have prevailed.

    Best wishes and stay tight

    Ken Lewis

    God Bless America

  • avatar Mike Sorsky

    I’m glad to hear that you and your family are safe. What a terrible storm that has been for so many folks. Prayers and good thoughts are sent your way.

  • avatar Joe Randle

    Glad you rode out the storm safely… with little damage.

    God’s Blessings…

  • avatar Ar

    Glad you are safe. Power is out north of Tampa for 7-10 days. No damage otherwise. Played cards and slept through. We dodged a bullet here.

  • avatar Dave McShaffrey

    Hey Artie – taking the car out might help recharge the battery a bit if it is running down. Your battery probably steps in to absorb the surges. I’m not sure if newer cars automatically sense a lower battery and up the idle speed, but older cars will eventually run the battery down if you are drawing more than the alternator is putting out. If you just have the idiot light, watch for it; if you have an amp meter be sure the needle is on the charging side, if you have a voltmeter be sure it stays above 12 volts and doesn’t drop. Or do what a former student out on St. Thomas did. He posted he found 3 pounds of bacon in the fridge and was cooking it in case the power went out. Next post was that the power was out, so I guess he’s eating bacon (he has checked in since and is OK; no news on the bacon). Good luck!

  • Glad to hear you all are safe. I am afraid the burrowing owls might be killed by the storm or the water – can you give me information please?

  • avatar Dave Malone

    Glad that you are OK—stay safe!!

  • avatar Eric Washburn

    You may want to consider buying a standby generator…for the next hurricane, especially if you have natural gas. If you have to run one on propane, it can get pretty expensive (probably $100/day here in the Northeast). A good one may cost $10,000 or more, including installation, but they’re an asset when selling a home.

  • Glad you and Jim are doing OK. Be careful the engine exhaust is not blown back into the garage or house.

  • avatar Paul

    Good luck and best wishes!!!

  • avatar Chris Loffredo

    Great to hear it’s was not too bad. If your car sitting with the engine in the garage make sure you have good air circulation so cool air gets to the engine. I’d put a fan pointed towards the cars radiator.

    Worst case, I assume you are stocked up on canned tuna.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, but how do I run the fan ?

      with love, artie

      ps: I do not want to put any more load on the large inverter. The car door is and will remain open and the rear end of the car is outside to prevent unwanted suicide 🙂

  • avatar Dave McShaffrey

    Glad to hear you are OK. 3.5 Amps seems low for a fridge, but even if it is right, the fridge will draw a lot more starting and starting. A fridge should normally be on a 15 amp circuit to allow for start-up; your inverter is just about there and might not be handling the surge properly; likewise, at idle your car might not be putting out enough juice. Fingers crossed for you and the fridge.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      So far so good after a slow start. Would taking the car for a five minute spin help at all?

      with love, artie

  • avatar Sarah Mayhew

    Glad to hear you are all safe.

  • avatar John nelson

    God bless all of you…..