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+--Forum: Walt Disney World in General
+---Topic: HURRICANE CENTRAL: Storms and your Disney trip started by RichKoster


Posted by: RichKoster on June 10, 2005, 11:59 am

NOTE: Look to this topic to see information about any tropical storms and/or hurricanes which might be affecting your Disney travel plans, whether it concerns a Disney Cruise Line vacation (in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, or the Pacific Ocean), driving/flying to Walt Disney World and/or Port Canaveral in Florida, or vacationing at Walt Disney World itself.
:hurricane:



UPDATE: August 2006
For current discussion about this 2006 hurricane season's first hurricane, Ernesto, and how it might affect WDW & Disney Cruise Line vacations, plus other Disney travel destinations, < click here to jump to that part of this topic >



UPDATE: May 2006
For current discussion about the 2006 hurricane season and how it might affect WDW & Disney Cruise Line vacations, < click here to jump to that part of this topic >



UPDATE: Sunday, October 16, 2005
Hurricane Wilma: Pay attention to the latest information from The National Hurricane Center about this storm if you live along the Gulf Coast including Florida -- and especially if you're planning a Walt Disney World or Disney Cruise Line vacation in the weeks to come.

Click here to jump to a later part of this topic on the Disney Echo for discussion about what is expected to be Hurricane Wilma.



UPDATE: Wed., Oct. 5, 2005:
An earlier storm to threaten Florida was Tammy, declared a Tropical Storm Oct. 5, 2005.



Click here to jump to the start of discussion/news about Hurricane Rita.



Not very long after bad weather from Hurricane Dennis affected travel to Walt Disney World and brought rain and winds to may Guests' WDW vacations, now Emily is becoming a very strong hurricane -- expected to be a category 3 when it hits Mexico:


Click here for details about Emily and about Hurricane Dennis and discussion about that.



Information about Tropic Storm Arlene, the first named Atlantic storm of the 2005 hurricane season, is also below.



Yoo Hoo, Disney EchoEars! :hurricane:

Well, it didn't take very long for this year's hurricane season to begin before the appearance of a tropical storm with the potential of becoming a hurricane!

Tropical Storm Arlene is in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, heading north. Even if the center of the storm does not come to WDW, the winds, rain, thunderstorms (and perhaps also a threat of tornadoes) could affect the Orlando area including Walt Disney World.

The latest word is that Tropical Storm Arlene is getting stronger and could become Hurricane Arlene before it makes landfall Saturday night (that's the predicted landfall time, anyway, but even this could change).

In addition to the information in this topic which you're reading right now, there are also current topics about 2005 hurricanes in the
< Prayers & Pixie Dust forum here > as well as how these tropical storms and hurricanes affect < Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground here >. A poll about hurricane season and how hurricanes affect WDW/Disney Cruise Line vacations < can be found here >.You can also use the Search button above to find all past topics about the effect of hurricanes on WDW and the Disney Cruise Line.

A hurricane watch and a tropical storm warning has been issued for the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. A hurricane watch is in effect from the mouth of the Pearl River to Panama City, Florida.

The Pearl River flows southwest through central and southern Mississippi flowing and then south to the Gulf of Mexico. The river's lower section forms part of the Mississippi-Louisiana border. West of Picayune, Mississippi, the river forks: The East Pearl River empties into Grand Island of the Mississippi Sound while the West Pearl River flows through Louisiana.



The hurricane watch has been issued from the mouth of the Pearl River eastward to Panama City, Florida (including the Mississippi gulf coast, the Alabama gulf coast, and part of the Florida panhandle from Panama City westward).

A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 36 hours.



The tropical storm warning has been issued for the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico from Grand Isle, Louisiana to St. Marks, Florida -- including Lake Pontchartrain. Fans of "The  Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" might be interested in knowing that a tropical storm warning remains in effect for the Dry Tortugas.

A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours.



Walt Disney World (all of central and southern Florida) might get 3 to 5 inch rains with isolated heavier amounts over 7 inches over the next 24 hours. Heavy rains associated with Arlene are predicted to hit the eastern and central gulf coast by tonight. Tornadoes may occur over parts of southern Florida and the Florida Keys today.



There already has been a fatality resulting from this storm: In Miami Beach, Florida, a Russian exchange student died this morning after jumping into the ocean and ignoring warnings about the dangerous surf.

As we did last year during hurricane season, here on the Disney Echo we'll do our best to let everyone know how this season's storms and hurricanes might affect Disney vacations. EchoEars are encouraged to post replies with newer information whenever they hear it: You don't have to wait for Carol or me to post updates if you're able to do so before we are.
:bowdown:

Check the < National Hurricane Center Tropical Prediction Center > to see the National Weather Service's latest information about all hurricanes and tropical storms which might affect your Disney vacation.

Posted by: RichKoster on June 10, 2005, 12:09 pm

Here is information about hurricanes and weather affecting WDW, previously posted in the Disney Echo by Carol and me:

Current radar at Walt Disney World:


Current conditions:


You can know in advance of trips to Walt Disney World and Central Florida attractions what typical weather patterns are, current forecasts, and other environmental information by going to these sites.  Simply explore around and enter in the information you want more knowledge about into the various sites' search engines.  In addition when tropical disturbances threaten the Florida coast you can keep abreast of news, prevailing conditions, advisories and tips on precautions to take by following news these sites provide.  So that you'll know, hurricane season is between June 1 and November 30 each year, but the peak activity of that season will occur in August and September.  You can also search general travel information websites, use Google to query the Internet with any specific concerns, or search all-news websites (Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, etc.) but official news and information will generally be posted at the websites below.  You may choose to subscribe (free) to some of these sites to remind yourself of updated weather information in advance of a trip.

The Weather Channel official website.  When there are tropical weather systems there will be obvious links on the homepage to follow events and conditions.  You can also work interactively with the site to find out weather conditions and forecasts for anywhere.  If you want to watch Weather Channel on your cable/satellite system to "feel closer" to Central Florida and monitor events, or simply watch any time of year with a specific eye to tropical storm reporting, The Weather Channel always, June 1-November 30 will have a Tropical Storm Update at :50 after each hour (ten minutes before the new hour) .  When tropical or severe weather threatens, of course on Weather Channel this will be their lead story until conditions improve. :

< http://www.weather.com/ >

The National Weather Service official website.  Same as above:

< http://www.nws.noaa.gov/ >

National Hurricane Center subsection of National Weather Service official site.  In addition to the above you can obtain specific advisories for preparations to make.

< http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ >

Individual Florida counties will have local emergency sites with specific information for locals for preparations, precautions, evacuations for low-lying areas, shelters, preparation of property, etc.

Walt Disney World is highly trained and experienced with emergency plans at the ready in case severe weather of any kind should occur to disrupt normal operations.  Your hotel and WDW Cast Members (employees) are trained to help their guests be comfortable and highly safe and protected, while at the same time securing Disney buildings and property and at the same time seeing to their personal homes' and families' safety and security.

Part of your trip planning for hurricane peak season time of year (August-September) should include planning the contingency for leaving Central Florida if you had to, just in case.  It isn't as if a hurricane hits Florida everyday for August and September, so don't think about that part of it since that is overreacting.  Instead:  Think about ease of cancellations, refunds, make-goods or "rain checks" due to weather in case you feel you want to leave, travel insurance, making sure you have adequate resources of medications and supplies with you in case you may have to ride out the storm while in Orlando and stay a few extra days while roads reopen or flights resume.  Ask about these things and think about them as you trip plan and get specific advice from who you book with (hotels, WDW Travel Co. , airport to resort transportation such as shuttles and limo services, car rental agencies, airlines, cruise lines, tours, etc. )  If you want to be confident, do this homework in advance of your trip and develop "alternate Plan B" if your original vacation plans go awry due to sudden serious weather.

Only low-lying areas need to evacuate most times.  Think about this:  Orlando to Florida residents is considered inland.  Coastal residents and low-lying area residents are the first authorities urge to evacuate to higher ground, and that is inland.  So there will be an influx of people from the coasts going inland.  If you'll be in Orlando, you are already inland!  You will be in a place others from the coast desire to be.  So be assured by this fact!  Orlando mass media cover a broad geographic area that includes the Atlantic coast about one hour away.  So mass media must report about conditions on the coast for the benefit of that part of their audience or readership.  It may seem as if "everywhere" will be inundated according to their ongoing coverage,  but get common sense working and you'll quickly realize that is not the case.  Media and authorities have a public responsibility to aid citizens to protect lives and property, and their coverage is simply part of being responsible.

Think of this:  Millions of people live where hurricanes can hit along the Gulf and Atlantic coastal states.  They take these weather disturbances seriously and responsibly but also in stride.  It's simply part of living in this part of the U.S.  "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" and simply be confident, prepare in advance of your travel what to do if your plans change, know Disney or "quality" hotels and resorts will properly instruct you what to do and when to do it and their advice for "don't worry" is based on experience, training, ongoing updated education in better techniques to care for vacationers in such a situation, and they will keep you appropriately informed.

Have fun, "weather" or not!

Posted by: CarolKoster on June 10, 2005, 12:38 pm

Yeah, "one of these days" I was planning to dig up all the 2004 hurricane season stuff Disney Echo kept track of and compile a "List of Links" so in 2005 and future years Disney travellers could refer to it, BE REASSURED and have certain knowledge of what to expect if travelling to WDW hurricane season time of year.  And dag nab it if there isn't a storm this early in the season!

Arlene will mostly affect those on east-west routes to/from Florida and those travelling on north-south routes connecting to I-10 on the Gulf Coast mostly in Alabama from/to Tennessee.

At some time within each hour Weather Channel does a Traveler's Update to show weather conditions along major Interstates as well as travel delays at airports.  Definitely at ten minutes before each hour is their Tropical Update.  If you've a WDW trip planned this weekend you'll want to watch Weather Channel, or log onto weather.com or noaa.gov and explore your way to pertinent trtavel information in advance of your trip.

I will compile the "List of Links" about hurricanes and WDW when I get the chance.  Bear with me.

Update: The list is now in the next message of this topic... Scroll down to see it.

As for us and Disney Echo:

Disney Echo operates on a computer in Salem, New Hampshire.  It's owned by a nice man, Larry Gensch, who's a computer software engineer and very good about keeping all in operational order.  He's truly the owner and head honcho of < EMuck.com >, the domain of this Disney Echo website. The Disney Echo/EMuck.com could go down if there is a break in Internet network affecting the Northeast U.S., it could appear to go down if there is a break in the internet network in between the Northeast U.S. and where you are located, if Larry's hard drive goes down, or if the Disney Echo forum software develops a problem (it's happened, that is how we got a Vault Disney Echo of archived posts! ) -- or some other not-usual occurance happens.

Disney Echo is managed by Rich Koster, and we live in a suburb of New Orleans, Louisiana.  Rich works in real life at a local TV station, the FOX affiliate in New Orleans, on the newscasts by doing electronic graphics.  A team of gracious and expert moderators assist with the message volume, answering questions, helping fellow Disney fans with that particular area of Disney knowledge and information, etc.  The moderators live in various parts of the U.S.  And all of us are grateful when individual Internet connections are there and operational, day after day, but sometimes it happens folks get busy, vacation, sick, or other things come up and regular participation takes a little break.  We all also gratefully pat our hard-drives on the head with praise, "Stay up, baby, stay up."  You know how it can go.

In the event of a storm, as you might imagine, the TV stations go into public service mode.  Rich will be called away to work extra hours of coverage.  Typically, depending on conditions, that is a 12-hours on/12-hours off shift until the storm conditions pass.  That might also mean he stays at the station and doesn't leave.  It could mean our son and I vamoose on evacuation travel and back again.  It all depends....

So if you don't hear from Rich or I when it's making news a storm is coming to the Central Gulf Coast, say a little prayer, but do not worry about us (we have sense to leave if things will be really bad, and Rich will be working TV station storm coverage) and do not worry about the Disney Echo 'cause it's physical location is not in the usual paths of hurricanes.  N'oreaster's yes, hurricanes no.

Hurricane season runs from June 1 - November 30 annually.  Usually the peak months are August, September and spilling into the first week or two of october.  This year 2005 however predictions are for a particularly active storm season.  Other years it's more benign.  That's Mother Nature for ya!  Bummer it's active this early, but you live down here for any length of time you aren't complacent and you know what to do to stock up and brace and be safe and protected, it's just a bummer to do it.

Until I get around to that List of Links, you can "Search" this site for postings between mid-August 2004 through mid-October 2004 with keywords about hurricanes or the individual names of the storms last year.  Start from any posting #1 and go through to the end of that Subject: .  What I hope you'll find and be reassured about, if you've got a WDW trip planned in hurricane season, is that the buildings at WDW are strong, are regarded by the locals as THE place to be due to their strength and location inland from the coasts, that WDW takes guest safety seriously and will see to your safety and comfort IF you follow their specific instructions.  Disney will close the campground and urge campers to shelter at the resorts or to leave the area.  You will not go hungry, the resort TVs have entertaining shows to help distract you, most of the resorts effectively communicate with guests in writing IF you take the time to read these letters or know in advance to look for them.  Those posting following these 2004 hurricane experiences have praised Disney very much for their compassionate and professional handling of their needs when sheltering at the resorts.

If you are concerned about a trip you've booked with Disney, you can find in these past thread how Disney handles the situation if a storm is approaching.

You may want to get a scenario, now, of what you'd do if you preferred to leave Disney in case a tropical system approached.  Know at the time you book airline tickets, car rentals, airport-resort-airport shuttles and town cars, hotels, tours, tickets, show reservations and tickets, etc. about cancellation due to weather so you know in advance what to expect.  At some point if a severe weather system is approaching Orlando Airport WILL close, and it is NOT a shelter, until the storm danger is safely passed.  There will  be Interstate traffic flow from one place to the other to accomodate people evacuating from the coasts inland to Orlando which may involve "contraflow", that is, using all lanes no matter which direction they are meant to go to accomodate traffic in or out of an area evacuating.  Also, if you are on Disney Cruise Line you should know during hurricane season what to expect.  If you think travel insurance would protect you in some of this scenario by all means check it out for your own peace of mind.  If you book with a good experienced travel agent that person can assist you with booking with assurances of refunds or rain checks if you have to face an unexpected tropical weather system at WDW.  

The info exists here on Disney Echo, it's a matter of hitting "Search" and reading through threads.  When I get the chance, I'll help with gathering it.  It's such a good resource.

Calm down a bit and think:  WDW has existed in Florida for literally decades.  It fared amazingly well last Summer 2004 with all those storms hitting Florida and criss-crossing part of Central Florida.  Millions of people have visited WDW since it opened in the early 1970s, including during the hurricane season months and have happy memories.  Many were there during the August-October busy hurricane season and posted online they had positive experiences being sheltered at WDW resorts.  If you build into your travel planning about what to do if serious weather affects your trip, you'll be doing a wise and prudent thing and you will enhance your enjoyment of WDW accordingly.  With knowledge comes confidence, and with confidence comes sure direction.  Gain the knowledge.

Wishing all along the Gulf Coast much luck this weekend.

Posted by: RichKoster on June 10, 2005, 12:48 pm

Quote (CarolKoster @ June 10, 2005 11:38 am/pm)
I will compile the "List of Links" about hurricanes and WDW when I get the chance.

You don't have to, Carol. I found an earlier post of yours with those links, and here is the information you provided:

In addition to the official links above, you can follow local Central Florida weather coverage, particularly of hurricanes, freezes or extreme weather events by going to the following links. Remember to scroll down and down and down if you have to or otherwise use interactive search engines on these sites. Look for headlines having to do with "tourism industry" or "Disney" or "Walt Disney World" or "theme parks" or "hotels" or anything related to Central Florida tourism, Walt Disney World and the weather. Even if you are visiting Orlando and simply want to know the weather, you can view local weather forecast information through these links.

WFLF AM 540  News Talk:

< http://www.540wfla.com/main.html >

WDBO AM 580  News, Weather & Traffic:

< http://580wdbo.com/ >

Orlando Business Journal:

< http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/ >

Orlando Sentinel, You will have to join to read articles, but it's free of charge. :

< http://www.orlandosentinel.com/ >  

WESH-TV Channel 2  NBC:  

< http://www.wesh.com/index.html >

WKMG-TV Channel 6  CBS:  

< http://www.local6.com/index.html >

WFTV-TV Channel 9  ABC:

< http://www.wftv.com/index.html >

WOFL-TV Channel 35  Fox:

< http://www.wofl.com/ >



Jbrowna has this information to offer about WDW preparations under hurricane conditions, I hope this reassures anyone needing the information.

< http://new.disneyecho.emuck.com/cgi-bin....9;st=10 >



These are the counties where Walt Disney World Properties are.  Be willing, site by site, to use serach engines or scroll or click around to find information.

ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA Office of Emergency Management
Hurricane Preparedness Page
Click on links to learn about hurricanes and what to do before and after one:

< http://www.ocoem.com/9_99/all_hazards/Hurricane/Hurricane.htm >

OSCEOLA COUNTY, FLORIDA

Frequently Asked Questions Page:

< http://www.osceola.org/index.c....AQ >

Supply kit contents should be:

< http://www.osceola.org/index.c....Prepare >

Links to .pdf files of local maps to download of Central Florida, Kissimmee and Osceola County:

< http://www.osceola.org/index.c....s >

Emergency services standard operating procedures links:

< http://www.osceola.org/index.c....ES_ESOP >

CITY OF ORLANDO, Home page will have links to specific weather emergency information and Frequently Asked Questions:

< http://www.ci.orlando.fl.us/ >

CITY OF KISSIMMEE Home page will feature links to emergency announcements:

< http://www.kissimmee.org/ >

STATE OF FLORIDA Family Preparedness Guide in .pdf format, full color, choose language:

< http://www.myflorida.com/myflorida/family_prepare_guide.html >

STATE OF FLORIDA home page, use site's search engine to go to specific areas of concern:

< http://www.myflorida.com/ >

ORLANDO TRAFFIC Information:

< http://www.traffic.com/Orlando-Traffic/Orlando-Traffic-Reports.html >

< http://www.wftv.com/traffic/index.html >

Link to highway information and road closures:

< http://www.dot.state.fl.us/publicinformationoffice/trafficwarnings.htm >



Ed McCann / edcrbnsoul posted:
Quote
I dont know how many of you have Weatherbug on your PC < http://www.weatherbug.com/ > but one of the sites you can get live weather from is the top of the CRT and they have another at the top of the Dolphin (that one also has a webcam that is pointed at the top of Spaceship Earth.

Posted by: RichKoster on June 10, 2005, 1:37 pm

Port Canaveral is home port to Disney Cruise Line's Disney Magic and Disney Wonder cruise ships (but the Disney Magic is temporarliy based out of California this summer for the special 50th Anniversary Celebration) and you can check out the < official Port Canaveral website > here:

< http://www.portcanaveral.org/ >

Last year that website was offering a live webcam showing the cruise ship activity at Port Canaveral, but I don't see that webcam this year.

Posted by: CarolKoster on June 10, 2005, 3:23 pm

Actually, Rich, what I had in mind was a list of links to threads here on Disney Echo having to do with each of the 2004 named storms that affected Florida and Central Florida/WDW or the Disney Cruise Line and Castaway Cay.  I had in mind that people look up real postings from real people right here on Disney Echo:  The preps, the precautions, the concerns, how it actually went, photos, testimonials, clean up after the storms, etc.

In that way people will see the process of a storm, and then how it actually resolves.  Knowing a beginning, middle and end can help people cope and plan, can help inform and reassure.

But Disney Echo members and readers:  The above is VERY useful!  Hanging out on official media websites, you hear how the locals are hearing news.  It's more in-depth than Weather Channel and CNN or Fox News or MSNBC.  If you have a street map of Orlando or Central Florida you can follow along with what the locals are really being told just by reading the Orlando Sentinel website or WESH-TV's or whatever's website down there.  You won't hear tourism public relations hype.  If you have a relative vacationing in Florida, or a son or daughter in the WDW College Program, you will be getting the same info your loved ones are.  Sometimes if the power holds out and their generators are working you can watch local TV from Central Florida right there on that station's website via streaming audio and video.  If you want reassurance and good information, clicking on the media links above is a good way to do that.

Posted by: CarolKoster on June 10, 2005, 3:36 pm

Another perspective and reassurance thing for you:  Go zen for a minute and think about extreme weather situations where you live, in your home town.  What seasons of the year do those occur?  If a friend or family member were to visit you at that time of year but expressed "weather concerns" for the predominant weather that time of year, how would you inform and reassure that person or family?  What should they pack?  What should they anticipate before paying for airline tickets or hotels, etc.?  If they already paid money and had to cancel due to extreme weather, what would you advise them?  If the airport were to close due to extreme weather, what would you advise them?  What local precautions would be taken to shelter and feed visitors where you live?  What about if in hotels where you live?  What about if having to drive around where you live, what media should they tune to, what's the traffic like, what should they know if hitting the road and severe weather were approaching as they came to see you?

Then take those reassuring but informing sort of answers you'd tell a visiting friend or loved one, apply it to a travel situation to WDW during hurricane season, and take a few extra steps to learn what to do re: WDW vs. home and there ya go!  Not as simplistic or frivolous as it may sound, but you can reassure yourself and direct yourself pretty well if you identify with your own local extreme weather and go accordingly to WDW.  You get the general idea.

Posted by: RichKoster on June 10, 2005, 7:11 pm

Quote (CarolKoster @ June 10, 2005 14:23 am/pm)
Actually, Rich, what I had in mind was a list of links to threads here on Disney Echo having to do with each of the 2004 named storms that affected Florida and Central Florida/WDW or the Disney Cruise Line and Castaway Cay.

Oh! In that case, the best way to do this, EchoEars, is to click on the "Search" button above, enter hurricane in the text entry box to the right of where it shows "Search Keywords," have the type of search set for "Posts and or topic titles,"  select "all open forums," have it search in all titles and posts from "the beginning" and newer, and then click the grey "Search!" button below that and let the Disney Echo search for you... Soon thereafter you'll see the result in quite a long list!

That method will give you an up-to-date list, including which forum the topics appeared (making it easy to find Disney Cruise Line/Castaway Cay-related and Fort Wilderness Resort-related ones as well as other hurricane-related topics). No need for Carol to take time away from other things when the forum software can search like this for any EchoEar who'd like to see what you suggest.
:thumbsup:

And don't forget that you can also search (using the same method as above) in the < Vault: Disney Echo archives > where even more Disney hurricane-related discussion can be found!
:idea:

Posted by: RichKoster on June 10, 2005, 7:31 pm

:hurricane: Tropical Storm Arlene could strengthen to become a hurricane (“Hurricane Arlene”) before hitting land tomorrow, according to the National Hurricane Center!

Their 5 pm EDT advisory shows large portions of Florida getting drenched by Arlene as it travels to the northern gulf coast.

Bob Breck is the chief meteorologist at FOX 8 in New Orleans and he expects Arlene to hit the coast around 1 pm on Saturday near Pensacola, Florida

The tropical storm warning has been extended eastward along the northern gulf coast from St. Marks, Florida, to Steinhatchee River, Florida...and the hurricane watch has been extended eastward to Indian Pass, Florida.

A tropical storm warning is now in effect for the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico from Grand Isle, Louisiana to Steinhatchee River, Florida...including the city of New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain to its north.

A hurricane watch is now in effect from the mouth of the Pearl River to Indian Pass, Florida.

And Captain Jack Sparrow, you’re not in the clear yet because a tropical storm warning remains in effect for the Dry Tortugas. So keep a weather eye, mate!
:jacksparrowsavvy:

At 5 pm the tropical storm watch from west of Grand Isle, Louisiana to Morgan City, Louisiana was ended.

At 5 pm EDT the poorly-defined center of Tropical Storm Arlene was located near latitude 25.7 north... Longitude 85.2 west or about 335 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and about 345 miles south-southeast of Pensacola, Florida.

The forward speed has increased...and Arlene is now moving just west of due north near 17 mph. A gradual turn toward the north-northwest is expected during the next 24 hours. On this track...the center of Arlene will be approaching the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico tomorrow. Arlene is a large Tropical Storm and most of the associated rain and winds will arrive much earlier than the center.

Data from an air force reconnaissance aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 65 mph -- with higher gusts. More strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours and it is possible that Arlene could reach hurricane Strength before landfall.

An intermediate advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 8 pm EDT followed by the next complete advisory at 11 pm
EDT.

Posted by: RichKoster on June 10, 2005, 10:29 pm

The 8 pm EDT advisory showed Arlene becoming better organized as it continues to move closer to the northern gulf coast -- and the National Hurricane Center still stresses that Arlene could become a hurricane by Saturday.

Our FOX 8 meteorologist, Bob Breck, thinks Arlene perhaps is moving a little bit more westward (i.e., towards the New Orleans area) than had been predicted before... There's still really no chance that it will come into the New Orleans area, though, based on how it has been moving.

Coordinates: 26.4 N, 85.6 W moving WDW at 18 mph

Posted by: BambiTamby on June 10, 2005, 10:36 pm

Rich, according to your links, you can now see a well-defined eye!

< http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/TROP/DATA/RT/float-vis-loop.html >

I cannot believe this is happening this early in the season!
My DB and DSIL are in Tampa area (Palm Harbour) visiting friends and he said that it is raining and the wind is scarey!  :uhoh:  They were supposed to leave tomorrow, but that's not happening!

Posted by: RichKoster on June 10, 2005, 10:58 pm

We've got a reporter live on the beach at Pensacola Beach, FL and the wind is picking up. More heavy rain is expected to start there soon.
Posted by: utilidor27 on June 10, 2005, 11:07 pm

It's quite "ducky" here S. of Tallahassee, and we are expecting to get the brunt of the rain sometime tomorrow. Thank God we just came out of a dry spell, so all the ditches aren't full of water! That would be a nightmare! :uhoh:
Posted by: RichKoster on June 10, 2005, 11:07 pm

Our meteorologist is a little antsy that the National Hurricane Center has delayed its latest update -- and he's thinking they might be making a big change in what they expect Arlene to do.

He also noted that they put hurricane warnings along parts of the gulf coast, and perhaps they are really expecting Arlene to turn into a mimimal hurricane before it makes landfall tomorrow.

Check out the National Hurricane Center links on the previous page about the latest, when the update comes out.
:hurricane:

Posted by: MKBaughan on June 10, 2005, 11:35 pm

I'm just hoping the predictions for the season are not as high as they expect... Florida could use some time to recover from last year.... it was so sad in Kissimmee and WDW in December.... so much damage!  Hoping for the best for you and your area Rich...
Posted by: utilidor27 on June 10, 2005, 11:45 pm

Voluntary evacuations in place for coastal areas around us.

Hurricane Warnings officially up.

Flood Watch until 4pm Eastern Daylight Time Saturday.
Unfortunately, High Tide at Panama City early Sat. aft. when storm is approaching. There will probably be a little storm surge for the area between Panama City and Pensacola - does that agree with what you are hearing Rich?

Posted by: utilidor27 on June 11, 2005, 9:49 am

Lots of heavy rain this morning, and the once dry and empty ditches are rapidly filling up once again. Not much on the order of wind, though. I am more than sure that closer to the coast there has been some flooding, as Arlene appears to be coming in earlier than expected - high tides for this are listed as mid to late morining.

Well, at least I don't have to worry about watering the plants for awhile :)

Posted by: RichKoster on June 11, 2005, 9:50 am

Arlene is close to having hurricane force winds and then becoming Hurricane Arlene :hurricane:

Strike Probabilities:



This display shows the probability in percentage of where Arlene will make landfall. The color bands are 10%, 20%, 50% and 100%.

The information given at 7 am CDT Sat Jun 11 2005 by the < National Hurricane Center > shows that Arlene continues toward the northern gulf coast as a strong Tropical Storm but they continue to say there is still potential for Arlene to become a hurricane before landfall.

A Hurricane Warning remains in effect for portions of the north central gulf coast from Pascagoula, Mississippi eastward to Destin, Florida. A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area...generally within 24 hours.

A Hurricane Watch and a Tropical Storm Warning remain in effect from the mouth of the Pearl River eastward to west of Pascagoula, Mississippi...and also from east of Destin, Florida eastward to Indian Pass, Florida. A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area...generally within 36 hours.

A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for the northern gulf coast from Grand Isle, Louisiana to the mouth of the Pearl River.....including the city of New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain...and also from Indian Pass, Florida eastward to Steinhatchee River, Florida. A Tropical Storm Warning means that Tropical Storm conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours.

At 7 am CDT the center of Tropical Storm Arlene was near latitude 29.0 north... longitude 87.2 west. Arlene is moving toward the north-northwest near 15 mph. Maximum sustained winds remain near 70 mph...with higher gusts. There is still potential for Arlene to become a hurricane before landfall. If winds increase a few more miles per hour, to 74 miles per hour, then Arlene will become a hurricane, although it would be a minor one at category 1.

Category 1 hurricanes can have a storm surge generally 4-5 ft above normal. There is no real damage to well-constructed buildings, but there would be damage to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees as well as some damage to poorly constructed signs. Category 1 hurricanes also bring some coastal road flooding and minor pier damage. Hurricanes Allison of 1995 and Danny of 1997 were Category One hurricanes at peak intensity. If Tropical Storm Allison builds in intensity just a few more miles per hour it would become a minor Category One hurricane.



Click here for larger view.


This display shows experimental probabilities of surface wind speeds equal to or exceeding 39 mph (Tropical Storm force), 58 mph, or 74 mph (Hurricane force).

Coastal storm surge flooding of 3 to 5 feet above normal tide levels...along with large and dangerous battering waves...can be expected near and to the east of where the center makes landfall. Water levels are currently about one foot above normal tide levels along the northern gulf coast.

Arlene is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 4 to 8 inches along and to the east of the forecast track across the Florida panhandle...the southeast...the Tennessee valley...and into the lower to middle Ohio Valley. Isolated maximum amounts of up to 10 inches are possible along the eastern gulf coast.

Isolated tornadoes are possible over portions of southern Alabama...southwestern Georgia...the Florida panhandle...and northwestern Florida today.

The 7 am CDT position...29.0 N... 87.2 W... about 115 miles east of the mouth of the Mississippi river and about 105 miles south-southeast of Mobile, Alabama. Movement is towards the north northwest near 15 mph. This motion should bring the center of arlene to the northern gulf coast later today. Maximum sustained winds are 70 mph. Tropical Storm force winds extend outward up to 160 miles...mainly to the north and east of the center.

The next advisory will be issued by the < National Hurricane Center > at 10 am CDT.

Posted by: utilidor27 on June 11, 2005, 10:25 am

What's up with the delay? Just checked the website and there's no update - and it is 10:25 by my clock!
Posted by: RichKoster on June 11, 2005, 10:31 am

Quote (utilidor27 @ June 11, 2005 09:25 am/pm)
What's up with the delay? Just checked the website and there's no update - and it is 10:25 by my clock!

Eric, note that they've switched to Central time, not Eastern time any longer. I guess they do that because it will be making landfall in the Central time zone.
Posted by: RichKoster on June 11, 2005, 10:33 am



Click here for a larger view.

Posted by: utilidor27 on June 11, 2005, 10:50 am

Quote (RichKoster @ June 11, 2005 10:31 am/pm)
Quote (utilidor27 @ June 11, 2005 09:25 am/pm)
What's up with the delay? Just checked the website and there's no update - and it is 10:25 by my clock!

Eric, note that they've switched to Central time, not Eastern time any longer. I guess they do that because it will be making landfall in the Central time zone.

:blush:
Posted by: RichKoster on June 11, 2005, 10:54 am

Quote (BambiTamby @ June 10, 2005 21:36 am/pm)
Rich, according to your links, you can now see a well-defined eye!

< http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/TROP/DATA/RT/float-vis-loop.html >

And it looks even better now, Tamby.

BTW, EchoEars, if you don't see a dot next to Mobile in the graphic I posted in my post above, refresh your browser (press the Shift key as you left-click your brower's refresh button) and when the graphic is reloaded you'll see I've added a marker where Mobile, AL is.

Keep my mom in your prayers, EchoEars. Her house is near there, to the right on the east side of Mobile Bay in Spanish Fort. She's in a strong house where it is high with good drainage so the only thing she needs to worry about is trees going down.
:praying:

Posted by: RichKoster on June 11, 2005, 10:57 am

BTW, notice that H in a circle on the map? That's where they expect Tropical Storm Arlene to turn into Hurricane Arlene.
Posted by: RichKoster on June 11, 2005, 10:59 am

Bulletin
Tropical Storm Arlene Advisory Number  13
NWS TPC/National Hurricane Center Miami Fl
10 am CDT Sat Jun 11 2005

...Winds and rains increasing along the northern gulf coast as the center of Arlene approaches...

A Hurricane Warning remains in effect for portions of the north central gulf coast from Pascagoula, Mississippi eastward to Destin, Florida.

A hurricane watch and a tropical storm warning remain in effect from the mouth of the pearl river eastward to west of Pascagoula, Mississippi...and also from east of Destin, Florida eastward to Indian Pass, Florida.

At 10 am CDT...1500 UTC...the Tropical Storm Warning from east of Ochlocknee River to Steinhatchee River has been discontinued.

A Tropical Storm Warning is also in effect for the northern gulf coast from Grand Isle, Louisiana to the mouth of the Pearl River...including the city of New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain...and also from Indian Pass, Florida eastward to Ochlocknee River,  Florida.

Interests elsewhere in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico and the southeastern United States should closely monitor the progress of this system.

For storm information specific to your area...including possible inland watches and warnings...please monitor products issued by your local weather office.

At 10 am CDT...1500z...the center of Tropical Storm Arlene was estimated near latitude 29.6 north...longitude  87.4 west or about 110 miles east-northeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and about 85 miles south-southeast of Mobile, Alabama.

Arlene is moving toward the north-northwest near 14 mph.  On this track...the center of Arlene should cross the coast within the warning area later today.

Arlene remains just below hurricane strength with maximum sustained winds near 70 mph with higher gusts. There is still a slight chance for Arlene to become a hurricane before landfall.

Tropical Storm force winds extend outward up to 150 miles mainly to the north and east of the center.

Estimated minimum central pressure is  990 mb...29.23 inches.

Coastal storm surge flooding of 3 to 5 feet above normal tide levels...along with large and dangerous battering waves...can be expected near and to the east of where the center makes landfall. Water levels are currently about one to two feet above normal tide levels along the northern gulf coast.

Rainfall accumulations of 3 to 6 inches can be expected with Arlene from the eastern and central gulf coast northward through the Tennessee Valley and into the lower to middle Ohio Valley over the next two days. Isolated maximum rainfall totals of 8 inches are possible in the vicinity of the gulf coast.

Isolated tornadoes are possible over portions of southern Alabama...southwestern Georgia...the Florida panhandle...and
northwestern Florida today.

Repeating the 10 am CDT position...29.6 n... 87.4 w.  Movement toward...north-northwest near 14 mph.  Maximum sustained winds... 70 mph.  Minimum central pressure... 990 mb.

An intermediate advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 1 pm CDT followed by the next complete advisory at 4 pm CDT.

Posted by: RichKoster on June 11, 2005, 11:29 am

Great news for my mom -- and also everyone!

For my mom, the great news is that Arlene is now expected to make landfall to the east of where her house is -- and these storms are worse to the east of their center, not as bad to the west of their center.

For everyone, the latest map does not show Arlene expected to turn into a hurricane! :clapping: :hurricane:
Thank God and for everyone everywhere who has been praying about this storm. :nod:



Click here for a larger view.

Posted by: RichKoster on June 11, 2005, 1:36 pm

The northern part of the storm's eye wall is moving on shore now. Tropical Storm Arlene's position at 10 am CDT was located at 29.5 N, 87.4 W with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, moving NNW at 14 mph. That position was 85 miles SSE of Mobile, AL, but at this hour the storm is actually coming on shore in the Baldwin County (Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, AL area) and Escambia County (Pensacola, FL area).
Posted by: utilidor27 on June 11, 2005, 3:32 pm

Except for some torrential rain earlier this afternoon, we're pretty much in the clear now. Lots of traffic though on 319, as people from Franklin, Jefferson, and Wakulla counties are heading back to their homes after evacuating yesterday. Doesn't help that we just had a tree fall down over the highway!
Posted by: CarolKoster on June 11, 2005, 3:42 pm

Travellers on east-west I-10 will have a soggy day.  At least it's not like Ivan was when part of I-10 over Pensacola FL washed away September 2004!  And a permanent bridge there still isn't built.

Going through Mobile AL Bankhead Tunnel under the Mobile River at Downtown is closed due to potential flooding.

Hang in there!  It'll be over soon.

At least you don't have to water your lawn!  Think of the water bill savings just for that, heh! ;)

Baseball game for tonight at Zephyrs (ironic name) Stadium vs. Oklahoma in Metairie LA might be a go for the Cub Scout Pack we're connected with.  Son will be glad.  

Mamaloya, you and family and house OK?  You back home yet?  (Lives near mouth of Mississippi River and posted in teh Pixie Dust Forum she'd be leaving due to low-lying area. )

Posted by: MKBaughan on June 11, 2005, 5:06 pm

Quote
At least it's not like Ivan was when part of I-10 over Pensacola FL washed away September 2004!  And a permanent bridge there still isn't built.

I don't even want to think about Ivan, Carol... Richmond hasn't recovered from the rains and flooding here.... Am glad for all of you EchoEars in the area that Arlene didn't follow their original predictions....

Posted by: LakeDisney on July 04, 2005, 9:53 pm

We live on the Florida east coast and rode out 3 hurricanes at WDW... we stayed at the Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge and the Polynesian last year. We were absolutely safe and since WDW's utilities are underground, we never lost power. We had a great time, despite worrying about how our home fared each time. The Disney staff were great. So if you happen to be in FLorida and a hurricane is on the horizon, dont panic.. Disney will take good care of you.
Posted by: RichKoster on July 07, 2005, 11:49 am

< Click here to see the latest information about Hurricane Dennis from the National Hurricane Center. >


Click here for a larger picture.


:hurricane:

There is a lot of information on the first page of this topic which lists helpful information as well as more links to go on the web for further details and tips. Click here to see that.

Posted by: BambiTamby on July 07, 2005, 12:09 pm

Good Grief! It's a repeat of last summer!  :(
Posted by: polyfan4ever on July 07, 2005, 2:48 pm

Oh my gosh......hold on Disney and the sunny state!

Hurricanes.....just stay away!

Posted by: utilidor27 on July 07, 2005, 4:36 pm

We are still east of the forcast track down here, so I would catagorize the atmosphere as "concerned" rather than "worried". If the track goes further eastward that, of course, would change. Right now the primary concern is all of the poor people that, should the track follow it's projection, would be feeling a "double whammy" what with the impact of Ivan and all last year. It is too soon to tell however in my book as you can see the margin to each side of that little line is still considerable, and we all remember what Charley decided he was going to do at the last minute last year!

Going by what the NHC is saying in their reports, I think that it would be prudent for anyone on the Gulf coast to be preparing now. I've already started bottling the water, and have three flashlights handy. The nursing facility that DW works for has already begun preperations on where to take the residents that are unable to find shelter with families. Most likely we will go to Valdosta, Ga. area. The bottom line is "Do It Now" and get your things in order. If you don't need it - then fine, your'e set in case of another one - and you can always eat the canned goods after hurricane season for Thanksgiving! :)

Three things that are often overlooked, and I like to tell folks about. First your pets - theyr'e not allowed in most shelters and don't like tropical systems any more than we do - so find a place in advance for them.  Second, your medications - get them now - there will not be prescriptions arriving regularly into your pharmacy for sometime after a major storm hits. I usually get about a month's supply ahead of time and keep it on hand. Finally, get the cash from the banks. ATM's don't work unless there is power, and you will need it whether you evacuate by car, plane, bus, or train - oh, and don't forget to gas up the car with some of that cash. It will be awhile before the pumps are turned back on - and it will be in short supply.

There are many others, but these are some that can easily get shelved.



You can expect the traffic at the junction of I-10/I-75 to be a nightmare, as evacuees will be heading North, South, and West to get away from any storm. If your interests are in central Fl., Disney or otherwise, I would suggest U.S. 27 S. at Ocala. It's a little longer to the Orlando area, but will be less crowded also. Stay away from U.S. 98 and U.S. 319 Tallahassee southward - they the only major evacuation route for many of the central panhandle counties (Jefferson, Wakulla, Franklin, Liberty, and portions of Leon including the east Tallahassee area).

Helpful information from Eric/utilidor27 in two replies combined into one by Rich.

Posted by: CarolKoster on July 07, 2005, 5:57 pm

To Bambi:  No it's not a repeat of last summer, this is WORSE than last summer in that we had four named storms by Independence Day, which indicates a VERY active and unusually early season.  The Gulf waters are very warm right now, favoring strengthening of Dennis from a Category 3 to a 4.  The famous Hurricane Camille of the 1960s was a Category 5.

What's hugely bad is that the Gulf waters aren't going to cool down 'til October.  We usually see the level of activity we're seeing now in mid-August through the end of September.  With it starting so early we might be getting more named storms, earlier, that make landfall somewhere on either the continental U.S. or Mexico.

Last year named storms didn't really start happening 'til August.

And the Florida Panhandle and Baldwin County, Alabama (where Gulf Shores is) are still reeling from Hurricane Ivan last September 2004.  There's still debris of damaged and demolished buildings that hasn't been cleared away.  A bridge of I-10 east-west over Pensacola Bay just got fixed and contractors are being hired to install a permanent replacement.  Ivan had washed some of that bridge away last year.  I-10 east-west travel is important for interstate commerce, but a lot of us here would know it as a major Interstate taking us to WDW.  The economy over there is perking up to the point ads are being run inviting summer vacationers to that area of Florida beaches, but it usually takes YEARS to recover from a major hurricane, and Florida after having been hit four times in 2004 is still trying to overcome what happened.

Utilidor gave a lot of good advice.

I'd add to that if you are car or RV travelling to/from Orlando in the next few days, or in days when a major hurricane threatens to make landfall, anywhere in the U.S.  LISTEN UP:

Be aware of traffic concerns along your route to Florida or home from Florida.  There is a notion of traffic flow for evacuees called "contraflow".  Basically, Interstate highways have lanes going in one direction, and lanes in the opposite direction.  To facilitate evacuees from low lying or mandatory/voluntary evacuation areas to leave, the state highway patrol in a given area will CLOSE certain lanes of Interstate, and even some on-ramps, and make ALL lanes of Interstate one-way.  Means some cars will have the dubious treat of driving on the "wrong" side of the road but all cars on all lanes will be headed in the same direction, which is AWAY FROM harm's way areas towards INLAND.  Contraflow can be totally across a state if it means quickly getting people out of a harm's way area.

I guess you can find this out by checking National Hurricane Center website and that "Five-Day Cone" graphic thay have for each storm.  Most coasts are low lying, so assume some traffic problems with getting people out and the Interstates or even some state highways being clogged.  It's like an ongoing rush-hour traffic jam, except it goes for miles outside of populated areas and is mainly one-way out of the area.  If an area is within the cone, no matter what state of the U.S., then you can start from a basic assumption that low-lying areas within that cone are vulnerable and people may be asked to leave there, meaning traffic if all you're doing is passing through.

The other way you can find out traffic information is by Google.  Use keywords like "NameOfState official traffic information".  What you're after is any given state's official highway agency, and they should have a link to highway conditions in that state, such as road construction, closures, detours, etc.  They may also illustrate the contraflow plan that is being implemented.  Play with the key words, insert "contraflow" if needed, and eventually you'll come up with a site and links.

And know this:  Orlando is considered "inland" by Floridians, and the natives of that region head to Orlando hotels to shelter.  If the locals know it and trust it, when in Rome do what the Romans do!  Except you're in Orlando and not Rome, but you get the picture.



Groceries:  Non-Perishable.  Canned or not requiring cooking.  Try to bring reasonably nutritious and balanced (meats and tuna, vegetables, fruits) .  Bring drinks that are nutritious and not overly sugary that do not require refrigeration, fruit juices in jugs that reseal, water jugs by the gallon or bottled water by the case to equal gallons, sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade.  Bring personal toiletries (deoderant, body powder, ladies bring menstrual period supplies and over the counter discomfort relief) and over the counter and prescription medicines or items (band-aids, Tylenol, antacids, etc. ) .  Bring or have a MANUAL CAN OPENER.  If the power goes out an electric can opener is useless and if you are evacuating to a shelter a manual can opener is easier to pack and use there.

About the traffic "contraflow" local residents should do what their local news media is recommending.  If your local stations have hurricane tracking maps with the contraflow traffic plan on it, go get a copy and keep it handy.  If your local TV station explains how to access traffic arteries outbound, using this or that road if you live in such and such a place, then LISTEN.

In fact if your local news media (TV, radio, local cable system, local newspapers) puts out useful preparation, stocking up, evacuation, and aftermath tips, LISTEN and HEED and DO.  Now is the time, if a hurricane is coming to your locality, to start paying strict attention to the news.  Get a little radio, find out what your local news/talk station is, and have plenty of batteries for that radio.  From local media you hear news of the above, you'll know the routes to take outbound, you'll know if your child's activities are cancelled or not, you'll know when major employers or local institutions stop work or reenter working, you'll know when it's safe to use the water supply again in the aftermath, or where to get help if you need it, where to get sandbags, etc.

Don't assume power lines that are down are dead.  Do not touch!  Call the local electric utility to report it.

If you're at Disney World:  Fort Wilderness Campground will close, due to the danger of falling trees.  You can either leave entirely, or you may be offered a resort room to ride the storm out in.  

If you are in a resort room, expect WRITTEN instructions in your room about what to do.  KNOW THAT AT SOME POINT THE EMPLOYEES OF YOUR RESORT WILL BE ALLOWED TO GO HOME TO PROTECT THEIR HOMES AND BE WITH THEIR FAMILIES.  Some Disney Cast Members (Disney-speak for "employees" ) are offered the chance to "ride out" the storm at resorts.  Their function is to see to guest safety and basic comforts, and monitor the course of the storm and report to a central authority anything unusual that happens (damages, etc.)

You will be asked to stock up on non-perishable groceries and drinks for your own family, batteries, toiletries and over the counter medical items at your own expense.  You may be supplied with a flashlight.  Follow written instructions.  If you DON'T receive written instructions DO go to the hotel desk or ride out crew member and ASK.  Any questions at all, ask or inform a ride out crew member. Don't forget scissors or a manual can opener to get your non-perishable things open.  You may find local groceries and home repair places a la Home Depot and Lowe's nearly depleted of items if you wait too long, since everyone else is stocking up, too.  Don't forget to buy bottled water by the gallon jug if available, otherwise any bottled water by the case is fine.  A gallon per person per day is the guideline.

You CANNOT expect:  Room service, turndown service, clean-up of the sheets and vacuuming and cleaning of the bathroom on a daily basis, the restaurant or food court to be open, guest services to do much beyond seeing to your basic comfort and safety 'til the storm is over, the parks to stay open, the parks to keep regular hours until all buildings and rides are inspected for their saety and function after the storm, to freely drive around until roads are cleared of debris, you might not expect electricity to stay on or phone service or cell phone service to continue and if you make phone or cell calls keep them BRIEF and to the point since others are trying to call and the systems may overload.  

Expect you will be asked to bring in lounge chairs and furniture if your room or balcony have them, shut all doors and windows and draw the curtains shut.  Before this, park your car AWAY FROM any water lakes or streams or canals or ponds, as high as possible, and LOCK IT.  Get any personal items or valuable items out of the car.  Try to park in wide open spaces away from big trees that could fall on it.  Back in your room:  All the hotel channels will have entertaining family programs and movies on, you also have local TV to monitor news.  DON'T GO OUTSIDE.  Let the TV reporters do that for you.  Flying debris is more than leaves coming off trees, at hurricane wind speeds flying objects can come off buildings, including plywood and nails, branches, unsecured objects of any kind, and at those wind speeds you can become very injured.  It's STUPID to go outside, don't do it.  Expect IN WRITING specific instructions from Disney.  If you don't receive anything at all, go and ASK.  

You can feed off your non-perishable food and beverage stash and basically you do what others who are staying home and riding out the storm are doing, watching, waiting, hoping, developing cabin fever, ruing the day, getting impatient and the like.  If you feel these things, you are NORMAL and not alone.  But the weather is as the weather is, and everyone is in the same boat, so to speak.  It's not the emotions, those are honest human reactions.  It's how you ACT on your emotions you need to watch out for.  Disney can't do a thing about the weather and neither can you.  Disney can see to your basic needs, but not cater to you, during the weather emergency, so let it go.  They have a huge park and resort complex worth millions of dollars to see about, as well as basic guest needs, so understand and let "the small stuff" of life roll off your back.

Some low-lying area rooms may get water inside, or if a window breaks....  Move to the hallway, notify the ride-out crew, follow their instructions.  Even at the Deluxe resorts, in 2004 there were some rooms with some water and at the Contemporary there were some isolated problems.  They may elect to move guests to ballrooms with no windows, to ride the storm out there.  Follow these instructions and go with the flow.  Locals are holed up in high school gymnasiums sheltering and in simliar buildings, so you're doing the same thing, only one notch better.  Count your blessings.

Disney will issue "all clear" when things are absolutely safe, such as when to venture outdoors.  They will tell you when the parks will reopen.  Local media that you can view in your room fills in other details, and does your exploring to look at damage for you, so don't joy ride.  Don't ride over "puddles" of water that seem OK, in some roads the road is actually WASHED OUT and your car can hit a sunken pothole you didn't know was there, flooding the engine or causing some car damage.



Let's say:  "OK, I don't want to deal with ANY of that, no matter what the safe and satisfied guests of Disney experienced last year.  I want to cancel my plans and not go to Disney at all."

READ ANY DOCUMENTS THAT WALT DISNEY TRAVEL Co. OR YOUR TRAVEL AGENT SEND YOU ABOUT CANCELLATION POLICY.  

For hurricanes in 2004 Disney was gracious and allowed cancellations of confirmed reservations up to a day or so of a storm's expected impact date.  BUT READ YOUR PAPERS to know exactly what the general policy is.  You may also have to undo plane reservations, airport to hotel shuttles or town cars, tours, dining reservations, babysitting services, car rentals, etc.

Let's say:  "I'm in Orlando now and I want to cancel my vacation NOW due to the impending weather!"

There is a window of opportunity to be able to leave Orlando International Airport.  Outbound flights may be full on short notice.  At some point the AIRPORT WILL CLOSE.  THE AIRPORT IS NOT A SHELTER.  After the storm, at some point the airport will reopen.  Outbound flights may be full on short notice or it may take some airlines a bit of time to get back in operation, depending on local conditions.  Do not call the airport about anything.  News media informs you when it closes and reopens and which airlines are operating or not.  Listen to news media.  Deal DIRECTLY WITH YOUR AIRLINE for flight information and rebooking flights.  

You will have to deal with cancelling tours, returning rental cars, cancelling dining, etc.  CALL YOUR AIRPORT SHUTTLE SERVICE OR TOWNCAR COMPANY to make SURE they can pick you up on short notice or to adjust your arrangements with them should your plans change.  Ask about refunds or rain checks.  Make EARLY PLANS to leave.  Traffic on the roads and interstates will be awful, very slow, it's an abnormal temporary situation due to the storm.  If you wait too late you can't go, either the airport will close, or it's so slow traffic you might miss the flight, or you cannot get a flight booking.  

So have a plan before travelling in hurricane season or during the August-September peak of hurricane season.

BEST BET:  Hurricane season is June 1-November 30 annually.  The peak months are August and September.  If you have travel plans for Orlando at any time between June 1-November 30 and are concerned about being "stuck" there due to a tropical weather system....  KNOW BEFORE YOU BOOK!  ASK ASK ASK what cancellation policies are, refund policies, rain check policies, how to leave if your plans suddenly change, how to undo your plans and work WITH that travel or leisure services provider or airline or car rental agency in a high stress situation such as hurricane approaching.  If you are renting a car but riding out the storm at Disney, ASK the rental service what should you do about protecting the car or returning it so you are not liable for damages.  Think of all the possibilities for yourself and ASK before you make firm plans.  Remember everything said to you, write it down, and contact phone numbers, people's names, addresses, date they told you these things.  If you go through with your plans, follow these instructions.

Walt Disney Travel Co. and travel agents can help you undo or rearrange your plans.  In 2004 official Disney announcements and how they actually worked with travellers under hurricane circumstances were that you could undo or change any travel arrangements as long as you booked those through WD Travel or a travel agent.  If you booked any other way, you're on your own.  If you book through WD Travel Co. or a travel agent ASK ASK ASK those "What if...?" questions regarding hurricanes and changing your plans.

Let's say:  "I want a refund for my deposits, or unused portion of my vacation."

Ask before you book, keep all documents and receipts, know who you spoke with and when and what was said.  Look for "loopholes" or plead your case.  Go higher up in management, and go higher still, until you get satisfaction.  STAY POLITE AND BUSINESSLIKE CORDIAL.  Swearing and anger doesn't obtain answers or refunds or rain checks, they know you are frustrated, but try to work WITH others in stressful situations, knowing ahead of time what policies are will certainly help you in the long run.  If you book with a travel agent or Walt Disney Travel, ask ask ask ahead of time, follow what they recommended you do should the need arise.

Clark Howard is a syndicated radio talk show host who helps listeners get the most bang for their buck, avoid ripoffs, save money vs. overspending.  He's written books (published by Disney's Hyperion publishing company) .  His website is

< http://www.clarkhoward.com >

Clark has a lot of travel expertise, too.  Look up on his site, using his search engine, his take on travel, cancellations, flying on standby, being bumped from planes due to overbookings, cancellations if travelling, car rentals and how to deal with claims of "damage" while the car was rented to you, using credit cards as payment and what rights you have when you do that, the dangers of checking account debit cards, etc.  Use key words, play around with the key words.  Your eyes will be opened!  A lot of good tips over there, do check them out.  His site has a list of radio stations carrying his show, check that out, too.

Travel insurance may or may not help you recoup portions of your vacation you may have to "eat" due to impending weather.  READ TRAVEL INSURANCE POLICIES CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU BUY.  Know what is covered and reimburseable and what isn't, and if that is worth the cost of buying some.

Disney Cruise Line would route around storms, not completely follow usual itineraries or simply not carry passengers when storms threatened, they would head to safe seas until danger had passed.  If you are booked on Disney Cruise Line during June 1-November 30 and especially in peak months of August and September and hurricanes concern you, ASK ASK ASK what they plan to do, cancellation policies (READ YOUR DOCUMENTS ) or ask a travel agent who helped you to book about these questions.  Better to ask BEFORE you book anything firm.  If you are concerned and not feeling well about that season of the year, book at a different season.

If you ride the storm out inside a Disney resort, those are very strong and secure. There will be people with you employed by Disney, but it's also basic sheltering type things without luxury treatment.  Expect to be informed and stay informed from Disney, if you are not in the know about anything don't sit and stew and be mystified, ASK!  Those who rode out in 2004's busy season have mostly high praises for how Disney handled things with Guests.

To have solid reliable facts is to have confidence.  To have confidence is to be secure and have sure direction in life.  So get solid reliable facts based on your travelling party and their unique needs.  The instructions and advisories and tips offered by news media, travel agents and entities of the travel industry are well thought out.  This wheel's already been invented.  So do fact-gathering, work WITH entities instead of inspite of them, be secure in knowledge of facts, be patient, and all will go well.

College Program participants at WDW will be given opportunity to shelter in Vista Way, their apartment complex.  Some will be given ride-out duty opportunities at the resorts or elsewhere on property.  Vista Way is very securely built.  See 2004 hurricane threads in the Disney Cast Member Forum, scroll around.  CP folks need to have the self-responsibility to see to getting flashlights, batteries, radios, non-perishable foods, manual can opener, personal care and toiletry items and to follow all instructions from their employer, Disney, about working, not working, returning to work.

It may be a while, depending on damage in the area, before E-mail, Internet sites, telephone land line and cellular phone service is restored.  Assume "local damage" rather than anything awful happening to loved ones in a hurricane area.  Services can take days, even a couple of weeks, to fully restore.  STAY OFF THE PHONES as much as possible, let emergency services have the bandwidth and whatever isn't damaged for communicating to each other.  If you get through, keep it BRIEF and to the point, then get off the phone or off line.

Roads outbound may be clogged with fellow travellers also trying to get out, or return to an area.  Storm damage can affect interstate roads causing detours.  It will take LONGER THAN NORMAL to get from any Point A to any Point B.  There is nothing that can be done, except to listen to highway traffic reports on local news media, heed their advisories, and be patient with the matters at hand.  Contraflow routes may mean if you get on the Interstate at X-point you may be forced to travel to X-destination whether you like it or not.  In New Orleans if you want to specifically travel/evacuate to X-location, you have to plan how to get on the Interstate at a point where the traffic flow plan will allow you to go to X-destination, so you are not forced to go to an unwanted away-point destination instead.  You get this info from state highway patrol departments and highway departments, so use Google for this purpose.  The contraflow will likely be similar to what New Orleans and Louisiana have worked out for itself since Hurricane Ivan in 2004.  So find out fitting your own local driving needs.  AT SOME POINT DRIVING TRAVEL MAY BE LIMITED OR HALTED DUE TO WEATHER CONDITIONS, OR POST STORM ROAD DAMAGE CONDITIONS, INCLUDING ON INTERSTATE HIGHWAYS.  

So again it's keeping abreast of news via news-talk radio or radios that pick up TV station signals, some TV stations have agreements with FM radio stations to simulcast the audio of continuous coverage.  So be aware, suck it in, LISTEN CAREFULLY.  Most of what you need to know is going to come from local news media in print, radio, TV.  You can Google what stations are along your route of travel or which are in Orlando, see list earlier in this thread.

If you are out of state and want to follow local news media in Orlando or a hurricane prone area, go to the World Wide Web!  These stations have web sites and in a major metro area such as Orlando they feature streaming audio and video, and the Orlando Sentinel is very savvy about keeping their newspaper's website up to date.  It's a reassuring way to keep track of WDW and loved ones visiting and "stuck" there.  Having facts is reassuring, even though the sight of rain and bending trees may not seem reassuring.  Still, it beats sitting at home and worrying and wondering in a mystery cloud.  So know the facts, and check these sites out.



Last things:  If you are a traveller but discover hotels and motels along the way are very booked up and a hurricane is approaching, know that these places are booked by evacuees and even hotels-motels hugely far away from a landfall site can be booked up by evacuees from an affected region.  In relation to New Orleans, where I'm posting from, hotels in advance of Hurricane Dennis in July 2005 are being booked up in Memphis, Little Rock, Monroe and Shreveport LA, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta.  

If you book anything through online travel services such as Hot Wire, Travelocity, Priceline and others:  READ THE FINE PRINT ABOUT EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU HIT THE AGREEMENT AND ACCEPTANCE BUTTON.  There's a travel column in our Sunday newspaper travel section about people who book using online agencies but changes happen or unexpected things happen, or flight connections are screwed up, and they cannot undo it, customer service is no help, and they cannot get refunds when they are seemingly due to the traveller.  Point being:  KNOW BEFORE YOU BOOK.  Worst case scenarios are rare, but can and do happen.  Check out Clark Howard.com, above in an earlier message is the URL and link, and search his site for this sort of information.

AND....  

Know particularly, if you are a hurricane evacuee, that what you think is a booked room reservation can be leased out from under you if you fail to show up on time, call or reconfirm, even if you have a credit card securing the reservation.  People make phantom reservations waiting to see what route they will take, then don't show or fail to cancel.  It's also possible you'll be charged, even if you are late showing up, and the room leased to someone else as well!  So read that fine print on those travel sites, know to keep calling and reconfirming.  Traffic if you are driving away from the storm can be crawling for hours on end, taking you double and nearly double and a half or triple time than normal to reach an evacuation destination.  Coming home can be just as bad with traffic.  It happened during evacuations for Hurricane Ivan in 2004.  So be aware!



(Multiple helpful replies by Carol from yesterday and today were combined into this one by Rich)

Posted by: skipmunky on July 08, 2005, 1:47 am

well i guess, its here we go again.  still waiting to hear about ride out crews and all of that. but sort of nervous.....again. went and got groceries just in case.  oh well.  what can ya do right?
Posted by: RichKoster on July 08, 2005, 10:32 am

The three-day forecast track for Hurricane Dennis now shows in detail when it is expected to make landfall, sometime Sunday afternoon or night, and the forecast track has been moved back more to the west again. This predicted storm track has it making landfall along the Alabama/Florida border, continuing to move northwest into Alabama and the northern Mobile, AL area.

In a half hour there will be updated information as well as an updated predicted storm track from the < National Hurricane Center >. Indications are that the storm track might be moved even further to the west in that updated forecast, perhaps with landfall at Mobile, AL or the Alabama/Mississippi coast.

Posted by: RichKoster on July 08, 2005, 11:09 am

The latest update doesn't have the track changing much -- still making landfall Sunday night along the Alabama/Florida border. The Vipir model shows it making landfall closer to Mobile, entering close to Mobile Bay, but the forecast models still keep changing so the National Weather Service is taking a wait and see attitude before changing its forecast map, to see if these forecast models continue to show landfall more west than indicated on their map. At 4 pm Central there will be another landfall forecast map from the National Hurricane Center when they might move track.

Hurricane Dennis is expected to be a major hurricane, level 4, when it strikes the Gulf Coast on Sunday.

Posted by: utilidor27 on July 08, 2005, 3:03 pm

Can't wait to see those reporters on the beaches telling people they need to stay off the beaches.  :) Anybody remember Geraldo last year!
Posted by: CarolKoster on July 08, 2005, 4:56 pm

Gasoline prices shot up today.  I was lucky to top off at $2.099/gallon, and as soon as I finished an attendant put a "pump not working" plastic bag on the unleaded pump I'd just used.  I went shopping for supplies at Wal-Mart nearby.  Just a short time later where I'd just filled up shot the price up from $2.099/gal to $2.199/gal regular unleaded.  Yep, a 10-cents per gallon increase.  ALL gas stations are doing it local to us, about a dime increase in the cost per gallon no matter where you go.  Triple situation:  Tropical Storm Cindy earlier in the week disrupted gas production, the terrorist bombings in London Thursday spooked the oil and gas markets, and Category 4 Hurricane Dennis is likely to cause evacuation of Gulf of Mexico oil rigs and disruptions of petro chemical industries.

Wal-Mart is a roller coaster ride all its own.  In addition to putting out back to school supplies already (schools return to session in just a month, August 11 and 12) they are putting out cases of bottled water and batteries.  Tuna is disappearing from the shelves.  Bottled water in individual bottles as well as gallong jugs is strating to go off the shelves.  Appetizing canned goods, such as chili and soup, are still in good supply but people are snatching them up.  People are stocking on the non-perishables.  Even with the precise landfall of Dennis being three days away and unknown as to where, people are packing it in at Wal-Mart like crazy.  And they can never shop in there alone, always has to be at least 1-5 other humans going along.  Lines at check out are LONG and SLOW.

No one is saying "mandatory evacuation", yet the officials are encouraging people to take a long weekend in Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta and get out while the driving is easy and before the contraflow begins on the Interstates leading out, north and west.  So far Interstate traffic is moving freely.  But folks are still are "waiting and seeing" if they really do have to leave or not, wondering Dennis' path first before they take the final steps.

My purpose in putting this information is to give you perspective.  Don't comment on the nitty gritty, but look at the big picture.

Preparing is a process.  Wait too long, and the lines are long and slow and it sucks out your available time to get other things done.  Leave early, and the driving hassles associated with evacuations of mass populations are not too bad.  Costs go up stocking up on the supplies you wouldn't normally acquire, sure.  Even gasoline costs can be affected by market forces and not by gouging.

It does feel like you're dreaming to do this.  Life is supposed to be normal, on a Friday families should be shopping for just routine groceries and items.  You shop for batteries only if you need a few.  You shop for plywood only if you're building something.  If you're supposed to be on vacation, it's strange to shop for groceries to hunker down in your hotel room with because you can't eat at your vacation destination as you'd planned to.  It's not supposed to be crazy like this.  I want to relax, I want to wake up from this dream!  You'll think that too.  But if you're in Orlando or another hurricane prone area, you know you should take precautions like these.  But it feels odd to be doing it.  

And it's frustrating, you're right, life wasn't supposed to be like this.  It's frustrating to the locals, too.  If you are caught in Orlando as a tourist with this same thing going on, know you are not alone.  It's either stock up as well as possible or be hungry and thirsty until normal operations resume.  You can only suck it in, deal with it, and count this as a travel memory you won't soon forget.   You have shelter, and you are with other fellow travellers.  All of you will get through it, together, and your host hotel or resort helps you as best as they can.  Most of the time, hurricanes aren't blowing through and disrupting people's vacations, livelihoods or home lives.  Even with an annual hurricane season, these things are UNusual to happen.  So keep perspective as much as possible.  It really helps.

Posted by: RichKoster on July 08, 2005, 5:39 pm

Quote (utilidor27 @ July 08, 2005 14:03 am/pm)
Can't wait to see those reporters on the beaches telling people they need to stay off the beaches.  :) Anybody remember Geraldo last year!

Yes, I do!!! I found something I posted last year about this... As I wrote then, you'll only need to worry about a hurricane affecting us here in the New Orleans area if you see Geraldo Rivera doing his "bendy" routine while reporting live from the French Quarter!



And it looks like the latest hurricane forecast track from the National Weather Service for Hurricane Dennis has it shifted just a bit to the east, no longer making landfall along the Alabama-Florida border but just east of Pensacola, Florida now.

Our FOX 8 Meteorologist in New Orleans, Bob Breck, thinks that there is a greater chance of Hurricane Dennis going east of that line on the National Hurricane Center forecast track map rather than east of it. That's good news for those in New Orleans, bad news for those in the Florida panhandle.

In about 8 hours Hurricane Dennis will be back out over water -- in the Gulf of Mexico -- after leaving Cuba. At that time we'll have a better idea which way it is probably going to go.

Here is information from a hurricane post Carol wrote last year . . .

Gulf Coast media outlets if you want to follow local coverage of the hurricane:

WEAR-TV 3, ABC-TV, Pensacola FL-Mobile AL

< http://www.weartv.com/ >

WKRG-TV 5, CBS-TV, Mobile AL-Pensacola FL

< http://www.wkrg.com/ >

WPMI-TV 15, NBC-TV, Mobile AL-Pensacola FL

< http://www.wpmi.com/ >

WALA-TV FOX 10, FOX-TV, Mobile AL-Pensacola FL, site not operational.

Mobile Register daily newspaper

< http://www.al.com/mobileregister/ >

WWL-AM 870 New Orleans, news-talk, clear channel station you can pick this signal up for many miles in the southeastern U.S.

< http://www.wwl.com/default.asp >

WVUE-TV FOX 8, FOX-TV, New Orleans, the station Rich works at

< http://www.fox8live.com/ >

The weatherman at Fox 8 is Bob Breck and Bob has his own weather site

< http://www.bobbreck.com/ >

WWL-TV 4, CBS-TV, New Orleans

< http://www.wwltv.com/ >

WDSU-TV 6, NBC-TV, New Orleans

< http://www.theneworleanschannel.com/index.html >

WGNO-TV 26, ABC-TV, New Orleans

< http://abc26.trb.com/ >

WLOX-TV 13, ABC-TV, Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Mississippi

< http://www.wlox.com/ >

The New Orleans Times Picayune daily newspaper

< http://www.nola.com/ >

Posted by: RichKoster on July 08, 2005, 6:07 pm

Bob Breck thinks Hurricane Dennis might make landfall around Fort Walton Beach, Florida or even Panama City Beach, Florida.
Posted by: BambiTamby on July 08, 2005, 9:59 pm

ACK! you're right!

It's even worse this year! :shocked:

In light of all of this, the Geraldo pic did make me chuckle a bit.....
Quote
Can't wait to see those reporters on the beaches telling people they need to stay off the beaches.


too true!  :uhoh:

Posted by: RichKoster on July 08, 2005, 10:40 pm

Hurricane Dennis has now been downgraded to a category 2 storm! This is great news!
:hurricane:
It is still over Cuba and much later tonight we'll find out more about where it is headed, after it reappears in the Gulf of Mexico and the National Hurricane Center can track its storm path over water again.

Posted by: BambiTamby on July 08, 2005, 10:59 pm

that's great news Rich!

Hopefully, it won't gain anymore strength over the warm Gulf water.  :uhoh:

Posted by: CarolKoster on July 09, 2005, 7:54 am

It's a category one storm this morning!

This thread is titled for the moment about Hurricane Dennis, so to be specific to that topic:  I think Florida's western coast is going to be pounded by a lot of rain Saturday (today) and Sunday.  Effect on WDW:  Breezy and windy a bit, with some rain.  Get those ponchos out!

If Dennis can stay diminished, Rich's TV station's weather people showed a weather chart of Gulf of Mexico water temperatures.  The northern Gulf waters are cooler than the warm Caribbean waters that made Dennis a Category 4 storm.  Likely landfall is Pensacola-Panama City FL, but Mobile AL is in there as a strong possibility too.  If this storm reaches cooler waters it might not stregthen much more or strengthen to not be a Category 4 as it had been.  If it can move to the east as much as possible, east of Panama City or Apalachicola FL that is less densely populated, and if the cooler northern Gulf waters can keep it from strengthening, that will all be to the good.

Posted by: CarolKoster on July 09, 2005, 11:18 am

Quote (utilidor27 @ July 08, 2005 14:03 am/pm)
Can't wait to see those reporters on the beaches telling people they need to stay off the beaches.  :) Anybody remember Geraldo last year!

So we're watching Weather Channel Saturday morning.  Their reporter Jim Cantore is assigned to Pensacola Beach.  Rich spots, in the background, the usual plywood boardings of windows with spray paint about "NameOfHurricane Go Away!" type wordings.  And Rich spots one to the effect "Dennis And Jim, Go Away", referring to Jim Cantore!  A case of "shooting the messenger" maybe....  

The water systems and sewer systems of Pensacola Beach will shut off at 6 pm local time today.  The authorities are asking those insisting on staying for names of next of kin and contact info for their dentists (use dental records to identify bodies) .

Dennis is now a Category two.

Central Florida is getting a brush with Dennis whether they like it or not.  Tampa has had damage already just from Dennis' feeder bands.  High winds, rains, tornado warnings going on even for Central Florida inland.  Means a possibly not pleasant day at WDW, but the park as far as I know is open for business.

Posted by: RichKoster on July 09, 2005, 1:12 pm

Quote (CarolKoster @ July 09, 2005 06:54 am/pm)
I think Florida's western coast is going to be pounded by a lot of rain Saturday (today) and Sunday.  Effect on WDW:  Breezy and windy a bit, with some rain.  Get those ponchos out!

Don't forget the possiblity of tornadoes... One already struck Tampa today, causing damage.

The feeder bands of Hurricane Dennis have already gone over the panhandle of Florida and continue to do so -- so that means even Walt Disney World can have tornadoes related to the feeder bands of Hurricane Dennis this weekend.
:hurricane:

The latest estimated time for Hurricane Dennis to make landfall is sometime late tomorrow afternoon, possibly at a category 3 strength.

People from Pearl River, MS to the Florida panhandle are getting ready for a possible direct hit.

Posted by: sadizney on July 09, 2005, 3:20 pm

While I was in the Bahamas,  I was watching the hurricane pattern VERY closely since we were leaving yesterday afternoon to go home. I knew the hurricane was not directly over us but we were feeling the very strong winds from it. I really didn't want to take off yesterday but the plane ride was only a bit bumpy going up...easy for me to say now that I am home and on the ground.
Posted by: utilidor27 on July 09, 2005, 9:45 pm

There's been a steady stream of traffic with people leaving the islands and extreme coastal regions around here. Lots of cars with the boats on trailers behind them. I think after the wreck that Ivan caused, and the memories of how Charley did a last minute turn, everyone is not taking any chances. Being further inland and east of the projected region of landfall we haven't evacuated, but of course have plans just in case. There's lots of heavy rainbands with a substantial amount of wind, but we have no power loss or surges yet.

Reading and listening to the most recent reports, I fear that whoever is the most directly affected by the passing of the center of the storm is going to get a substantial amount of damage, possibly worse than what Ivan inflicted.

Posted by: CarolKoster on July 09, 2005, 10:31 pm

Nice sunny day most of the day.  Middle of the afternoon a brief thundershower.  Some summer breezes blowing.  At 4:30 pm CDT a very heavy thundershower, possibly a feeder band from Dennis.  During 5 pm Mass it didn't rain any more.  I phoned my aunt in Mobile, Alabama and she reports things are shut down there.  The contraflow north on I-65 has stopped, and southbound lanes now are resuming being southbound.  Wal-Marts in the area have been closed since Midnight to 6 am Saturday morning.  There's no place to go to even get breakfast.  My aunt and uncle recently sold their home next to a river to a lady from Oregon who wanted a vacation home, but the closing isn't 'til August 10!  So there's a waterfront home and property in that "between time" between acceptance of offer and closing that now has to endure Dennis, and possibly my aunt and uncle having to pay for any storm repairs in short order before the closing!  Another aunt went through the car line from Mobile to Memphis last year for Ivan, said "never again" to how badly and slowly that went, and is electing to ride out in her own home in Grand Bay, AL just outside Mobile.

Dennis is not good news.  I'm not going to fall to the cliche' of calling this storm "Dennis the Menace", but I do wonder how they come up with these names at the National Hurricane Center.

Everyone can follow the news on Weather Channel or Fox News, MSNBC or CNN.  You can Google Mobile Register, Pensacola News-Journal, WALA-TV Fox 10, WKRG-TV 5 CBS, WPMI-TV 15 NBC, and WEAR-TV 3 ABC to see what their websites report about Dennis.

We pray at least that Dennis weakens and doesn't move farther west, that it goes easterly to less populated areas where there will be less loss and less danger to people.  We also pray that everyone in the path of Dennis will survive and have minimal loss of property.

If you are travelling, I-10 and I-65 are going to be a mess.  Dennis crosses I-10, which goes east-west along the Alabama and Florida coastal areas (not on the water, though )  and I-65 is a major north-south route.  Dennis will cross I-65 but that is the Interstate Dennis is going to affect most.

Watch for the "5-day cone" on the National Hurricane Center's website, scroll earlier in this thread for the URL.  Those of you inland, you will feel Dennis as far north as Indiana and Missouri in a couple of days, so prepare now!

Check state highway patrol and police websites in states that, according to the 5-day cone, will experience severe weather due to Dennis.  If you are vacation travelling by car or RV be heads up because travel will be treacherous and as we saw last year with Ivan even parts of I-10 and a major bridge on I-10 in Pensacola washed out.  There could be traffic detours around the storm areas that will increase your travel miles and time on the road.  Leave early and find out ahead of time such as at state welcome centers or online how the roads through these areas will be.

Anyone see Geraldo Rivera yet on Fox News doing his Gumby bending thing in the storm?

Posted by: BambiTamby on July 09, 2005, 11:53 pm

Quote
Reading and listening to the most recent reports, I fear that whoever is the most directly affected by the passing of the center of the storm is going to get a substantial amount of damage, possibly worse than what Ivan inflicted.


I'm feeling the same way, Eric! :o

Quote
Anyone see Geraldo Rivera yet on Fox News doing his Gumby bending thing in the storm?


hehehe! *she said Gumby bending thing!* :rofl2:

Carol....ya'll decided not to go to Houston?

Posted by: utilidor27 on July 10, 2005, 8:40 am

This is a quick post - the last for awhile. They have evacuated neighboring counties from Panama City Beach, to Franklin County next door. US 319/98 are both on contraflow. While we are 3 miles inland, we are getting ready. Guess Dennis decided to play a bad trick on us. Our concern here is not so much wind and rain, but the heavy branches on the trees around us. We are living on former forestry land adjacent to the Appalachicola National Forest, and there are many 100 ft. pines around us - an 80 footer next to my house, and you don't want a limb from one of them crashing into a pre-fab while you are in it.

Say prayers, I'll be back in a couple of days.
Eric

Posted by: RichKoster on July 10, 2005, 10:40 am

Eric, many prayers, pixie dust and good wishes are being sent your way as well as others like you all along the Florida panhandle.
:praying: :pixiedust:

We are so thankful to have another major storm miss the New Orleans area. :bowdown:

We have just cancelled the Hampton Inn reservation we had for Michael and Carol for two nights starting today, near NASA's Johnson Space Center south of Houston. As we say our prayers of thanks to God this morning we also offer up prayers to the people of the Pensacola, Florida area and eastward, where it now appears that Hurricane Dennis will make landfall later today with the brunt of the high winds and damage coming to Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, Navarre Beach, Destin, and even Fort Walton Beach, Florida and points east of that on the Florida panhandle, because the worse part of a hurricane are the winds and tornadoes to the east of its center rather than the west.

We'll be praying for them today along with our prayers of thankfulness here in the New Orleans area -- but we'll be getting ready to help those residents to our east in the days to come as they will surely need all of our help and assistance.

Posted by: RichKoster on July 10, 2005, 10:43 am

Quote (sadizney @ July 09, 2005 14:20 am/pm)
While I was in the Bahamas,  I was watching the hurricane pattern VERY closely since we were leaving yesterday afternoon to go home. I knew the hurricane was not directly over us but we were feeling the very strong winds from it. I really didn't want to take off yesterday but the plane ride was only a bit bumpy going up...easy for me to say now that I am home and on the ground.

Welcome home, Sandy! We're all glad you made it back safely. Here's hoping (and praying) all affected by Hurricane Dennis this weekend do well.
Posted by: sadizney on July 10, 2005, 11:29 am

Quote (RichKoster @ July 10, 2005 10:43 am/pm)
Quote (sadizney @ July 09, 2005 14:20 am/pm)
While I was in the Bahamas,  I was watching the hurricane pattern VERY closely since we were leaving yesterday afternoon to go home. I knew the hurricane was not directly over us but we were feeling the very strong winds from it. I really didn't want to take off yesterday but the plane ride was only a bit bumpy going up...easy for me to say now that I am home and on the ground.

Welcome home, Sandy! We're all glad you made it back safely. Here's hoping (and praying) all affected by Hurricane Dennis this weekend do well.

I'm happy it is not heading in your direction Rich! I hope everyone else will be safe and sound!!  :pixiedust: :pixiedust:
:pixiedust: :pixiedust: :pixiedust: :pixiedust: :pixiedust: :pixiedust:

Posted by: CarolKoster on July 10, 2005, 12:36 pm

You can not be in the line of fire of any hurricane yet you can get the "feeder bands" of it.  So in Orlando and WDW and across Central Florida they are in fact feeling side-effects of Dennis.  Likely it's raining off and on, cloudy, breezy there.  The EASTERN side of any hurricane is the rough side to be on.  So everywhere east of Dennis as it moves north, the Gulf of Mexico coastal parts and central parts of Florida, they are feeling Dennis even though Dennis is not bound straight for them.  Like a "drive by" effect.  The WESTERN side is LESS DANGEROUS, a lot less.

On the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain at 11 am Central on Sunday it's cloudy, a light light light breeze that barely moves leaves, no rain.

AccuWeather has a guy who's been on Fox News Channel who predicted boldly at 7 pm Central Saturday night the storm would veer off to the west and enter Lake Borne on the eastern Gulf side of Louisiana and affect New Orleans in a serious way.  That is NOT going to happen, no one else in local or national media or the National Hurricane Center says that is going to happen, it isn't bearing out this morning, and that was a highly irresponsible moment in broadcasting for that AccuWeather man.

If this thing goes eastward that is good news for my two aunts, ny uncle, several cousins and their families and my late parents' house in Mobile, Alabama.  All these are in the western half of Mobile County.  If it goes even more east it will go across less populated beach and land areas, but at this point I don't think it will be more easterly than it is right now.

Houston is a great city.  They have a superb museum district downtown, and the Johnson Space Center in the south part of the area is a NASA facility that trains the astronauts and has a fun visitor center that offers space camps and play places for kids and two gift shops and a big food court.  I'd rather visit in a serene frame of mind and not stressed out with hurricanes going on!  Yes, Rich cancelled our hotel reservations to go there... now.  With hurricane season this bad this early that doesn't mean we won't be in Houston before October, though.

Be on the lookout in your communities about non-profit groups and faith-based groups that might raise funds or ask for item donations to assist northwest Florida and Baldwin County, Alabama and Mobile, Alabama with disaster relief.  In talking with my aunt over there it's obvious and it's quite real that these people are shell-shocked and tired of constantly being in the brunt of harm's way when they haven't recovered from Ivan just ten months ago.  Hurricane Frederic hit September 12, 1979 and the memory of that with Mobilians is still fresh.  It took Mobile 5 years to fully recover from Frederic, and that includes FEMA buying land from flood-prone residents and bulldozing the houses (an anti-flooding liability measure ) , getting final settlement checks from FEMA to municipalities, cleaning up the drainage systems, and other longer term matters.  There were still debris and damage repairs going on up to a year later after Frederic.  So apply this to those people badly affected by Ivan 10 months ago, and it's like they can never keep up.  It's like that Greek figure who keeps pushing a boulder up a hill, only to lose balance, the man and the boulder end up rolling to the bottom of the hill, and he has to start all over again with the effort.  Bob Breck, the weather man at FOX 8 New Orleans, pointed out this morning the Florida Panhandle has had 4 hurricanes within the last 10 years!  So if you hear from bona-fide legit charities asking for hurricane relief donations of any kind, please find it in your heart to help them.  That is what the residents will appreciate most, just help getting cleaned up and the things they need to keep going.

Keep praying for this area.  Landfall is expected approximately 2 pm Central between Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach, FL.

We have Echo EARS such as Mamaloya, Utilidor27 and many others literally affected in some way by these tropical weather systems this year.  It's not over yet.  So please lift them and other Disney Echo EARS up in your thoughts, prayers and Pixie Dust tossing to be safe and spared from injury and property damage throughout hurricane season.

Posted by: CarolKoster on July 10, 2005, 5:11 pm

In our area, north of New Orleans, after 1-1:30 pm CDT we got steady light rain and gusts strong enough to make you grip an umbrella tighter but light enough you could still walk and stay upright without a problem.  A typical Southern day when it rains to break the heat, you'd never know it was on the farthest edges of a dangerous hurricane a few states away.  Lake Pontchartain is one notch above glassy and serene.  You'd honestly would never know of the chaos reigning in the Florida area and Mobile AL area unless you watched all news channels.  Son and I went to Lake Pontchartrain, near our church and his parochial school, to take a look.  Wet and dreary, but no big deal.  To have "no big deal" is infinitely preferable to if Dennis had come to our area!

Eyewall came ashore approximately 2:25 pm Central, 3:25 pm Eastern, 12:25 pm Pacific Sunday July 10, between Pensacola and Navarre Beach, Florida.  

I'm so grateful it went east!  Reasons stated in an earlier posting.  I think my family living in the western part of Mobile County and my late parents' home will be OK.  I feel quite hopeful.  A lot of debris, maybe loss of electricity or phone service, maybe some repairs to be made.  But the people, OK.

The people around there are beat, though.  The voices of the people on the news describe it, this frustrated "not again" resignation.  In addition to the usual relief and storm supplies I hope some good counselors can go and talk to the people to lift them up in their minds and spirits.

I went to the Mobile Register newspaper website, their chat area, some postings are there in which the people sound resilient but are asking for prayers from others and telling where open shelters are if people need to leave.

Pray for all those working so hard now, the media covering this thing, the police and fire crews, medical people, utilities people to restore power and phone service and cell phone service, and everyone who needs the prayers especially the residents going through so much.

Posted by: CarolKoster on July 10, 2005, 6:30 pm

Relating the path of Dennis to WDW now:

Although the eye of Dennis as of 5:15 pm Central is north of Pensacola now, there are still feeder bands with rain and wind to the east of this storm.  I can see as the various cable news channels show weather radar that feeder bands are still affecting WDW, even though WDW is to the southeast and far away.  Means intermittent heavy rains at WDW combined with wind gusts, which come and go when the feeder bands come and go.  Yes, even that far away from Dennis.  These storms cover a wide geographic area, even into West Virginia the storm is affecting now.  As it moves inland Dennis will cause rain and flooding concerns for another 3-4 days into Indiana and Illinois.  For now, WDW is not a "picture perfect" place, but it is operational and open for business.

As I cruise on cable news channels about Hurricane Dennis I want to caution future WDW-goers who sought this thread out:  DO NOT STAND OUTSIDE DURING A STORM!!!!!  I just witnessed a replay of CNN video.  A hotel sign blew off in the height of the storm, the camera and reporter crew quickly hid behind a wall to protect themselves from this flying missile which really was the size of a missile.  Imagine this flying towards you at 100-140+ miles per hour!  Imagine roofing shingles flying off roofs...  with the nails still attached!  This isn't a scary, made up story, this stuff really happens in high winds.  This sign was the size you'd be able to spot from the interstate to know the location of the hotel, it was huge and made of aluminum and literally was like tissue in a breeze, only it was a huge sign in hurricane-force gusts.  Don't have these things hit you, your head, or your body, or anyone else you know.  The authorities, Disney itself, will tell you "Don't go outside..." and it's for a darn good reason:  Your own safety!  Let the news media do this standing in the wind stuff.  Unseen by you, they are very close to huge concrete buildings where they can get inside away from danger if they have to.  They do the illustrating for the purposes of showing their audience how rough it is, so the audience can get the idea and just stay put.  Imitating what you see on TV is foolhardy.

You will definitely hear from Disney, if you are sheltering at one of their resorts or from local authorities. an "all clear"-type of news message.  The winds have to die down to a certain point.  To drive safely on roads and bridges over wide open waters the winds need to be at a certain miles per hour level for public safety.  Some roads can be washed out but it's not apparent.  So wait for the "all clear".

Things towards the west of Dennis seem to be calming down.

And yes, Geraldo Rivera showed up on Fox News Channel, in Pensacola at what looks like a Red Roof Inn somewhere.  He's showing some archive video shot earlier at more of the height of the storm, doing some of the Gumby thing in the wind, and later just waddling around in rain boots in a flooded parking lot at the hotel.

Posted by: CarolKoster on July 10, 2005, 7:20 pm

Fox News Channel reports a tropical wave is observed off the Lesser Antilles islands.  If it forms into a tropical storm, it would be named Emily.  And so it continues...
Posted by: RichKoster on July 10, 2005, 7:42 pm

Quote (CarolKoster @ July 10, 2005 17:30 am/pm)
And yes, Geraldo Rivera showed up on Fox News Channel, in Pensacola at what looks like a Red Roof Inn somewhere.  He's showing some archive video shot earlier at more of the height of the storm, doing some of the Gumby thing in the wind, and later just waddling around in rain boots in a flooded parking lot at the hotel.

LOL Why doesn't he just use old file video from last year! :confused:

I bet it looked a lot like this:



I did not have to work round the clock today, just my normal 8 hours. On the way to work, driving over the causeway bridge (24 miles long) to New Orleans, I was able to  listen to WKRG-TV, the CBS affiliate in Mobile, AL which I used to work for (also used to work for FOX 10 WALA-TV in Mobile) because I could pick up AM 660 on the radio, coming in very well from Mobile.

The on air crew while I was listening to WKRG didn't sound like they knew what they were doing, which radar to use, and apologized that "we have so many radar devices we get confused which one to use and how to do it!" That's a far cry from back in 1979 during Hurricane Frederic WKRG-TV was the clear leader in getting people through the crisis, reassuring and informing them accurately.

Here in New Orleans, I've been very proud to be a part of our hurricane coverage at FOX 8, especially how Bob Breck not only put out the standard line from the National Hurricane Center but also then made it clear when he disagreed with them -- and why.

Turned out, Bob Breck's prediction of where Hurricane Dennis would hit was more accurate than anyone's VIPER Radar (which we have) and even more accurate than the National Hurricane Center!

We used to have a meteorologist in New Orleans named Nash Roberts who would do the same thing back then: Tell his own analysis of what would be happening even if it disagreed with the National Weather Service and he made quite a name for himself before he retired as someone to be trusted who really knew his stuff.

While I was watching Bob Breck this morning at home before going into work, I told Carol "We're now watching the new 'Nash Roberts' -- Bob Breck has taken over as the tops in hurricane forecasting in New Orleans."
:clapping:

:hurricane:

Posted by: CarolKoster on July 11, 2005, 7:31 am

At the time Rich grabbed that still shot of Geraldo Rivera during hurricane season last year, Rich recalled the backdrop looked like a scene from the 1963 comedy movie "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World".  Just so happens that Geraldo covering hurricanes and that movie coincide within the same week.  Tune to cable/satellite channel AMC Wednesday night, July 13 and you'll find that movie is on a couple of times that night, repeating, starting at 8 pm Easter/7 pm Central.  There are some very tall palm trees that form a W shape in that movie to look for, similar in appearance to the palm shrubs Geraldo Rivera did his storm thing last year next to.  You can see the tall palm trees in promo spots for that movie, too, on the AMC channel.

Monday morning July 11 we have tropical depression # 5 already forming, which will be a hurricane named Emily by the end of this week, so says the weatherman on Fox News Channel.  Once #5/Emily gets around Cuba it's a 50-50 chance of it entering the Gulf of Mexico and skirting the west coast of Florida or the Atlantic to skirt the east coast of Florida.

So Disney Echo EARS in Florida and those planning trips to WDW, LISTEN UP to the weather news this week and all through the storm season lasting through November 30, 2005.  

A lot of tips and advice based on how WDW and Orlando fared in hurricane season are already written in this thread, or hit "Search" (five gray buttons at the top of this page, farthest left one is "Search") and look up simple keywords of Hurricane, Charley, Frances, Jeanne, Ivan and threads dating between August, September and October 2004 and you can read for yourself how WDW prepared, housed guests, and dealt with the aftermath of hurricanes.  Within the Fort Wilderness Campground Forum and Polynesian Resort Forum are threads dating back to between August and October 2004 about the WDW hurricanes and what happened, just scroll through those Forums and look for Topics: and dates similar to those mentioned above.  Read prior entries in this thread you're reading now to know what to expect and how to prepare and plan a vacation there BEFORE you go and even BEFORE you book it.

Argument can be made:  If you're reading this thread now or if you researched the ones mentioned above, you do in fact "know in advance" what to expect, so there should be no surprises, complaints or confusion or frustration about anything.  You make free will choices to go ahead and go to WDW or go at a different time of year based on what you read.  You also know facts, so that rumors or suppositions won't cloud your mind or cause your emotions to go up and down.  So go back and read ths thread or research others.  You owe it to yourself to know the facts.  Knowing the facts results in confidence and sure direction.

Posted by: BambiTamby on July 11, 2005, 11:52 am

I still chuckle at the Geraldo "Gumby bending thing"!  LOL

Btw....has anyone heard from Eric?

Posted by: RichKoster on July 11, 2005, 1:50 pm

Quote (CarolKoster @ July 11, 2005 06:31 am/pm)
At the time Rich grabbed that still shot of Geraldo Rivera during hurricane season last year, Rich recalled the backdrop looked like a scene from the 1963 comedy movie "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World". . . . There are some very tall palm trees that form a W shape in that movie to look for, similar in appearance to the palm shrubs Geraldo Rivera did his storm thing last year next to.

Obviously trying to give the impression last year that the hurricane had pushed the palm trees over that way.
:no: Nope! They grew that way, just like the famous ones in California featured in the "...Mad, Mad..." movie.

Tamby: I haven't heard from Eric yet, but most likely the power is out in that part of Florida for the time being so he can't come online yet. I haven't heard of any deaths in the U.S. from Hurricane Dennis.

Carol: We had been calling Geraldo's hurricane "tilt" as his "bendy" routine, but you were the first to point out he was being like Gumby! LOL

Is it news, or a performance? Last night during the FOX News Channel recap of their coverage of the hurricane, Geraldo was introducing his reports from that day and said, "Here's our first bit."

He called it a bit! Like an act in show biz! :uhoh:

So now we have it, before we were calling it Geraldo's bendy routine and then Carol pointed out he was like Gumby -- but using his own words with what we've said of it before, from now on I dub it Geraldo's Gumby Bendy Bit!
:hurricane:



The hurricane made landfall at about 3:30 pm Central time. Geraldo barely made it, driving in to Pensacola after catching a plane to New Orleans that day. You can see in the close-up I added how afraid he was that he'd miss the story waiting so long to get there!



Here's Geraldo's angle on the news: Geraldo's Gumby Bendy Bit! -- complete with the bendy tilt calculated by my computer! We can't see his legs, though...



Now the camera pulls back enough so that the huge banner on the bottom of the screen isn't hiding his legs -- and we see that below the waist he's nearly standing upright! But above the waist, he has put his body at a 32-degree angle.

If the winds where he was were really so strong to push his upper body over so much, his legs wouldn't be able to stay upright so much.
:glare:



Geraldo's Gumby Bendy Bit! can be used anytime, anywhere -- like in front of this truck (with a tall mast on it, unaffected by the winds).



Maybe he's thinking, "Darn you, Hurricane Dennis -- you'll mess up my hair if I take off this hood!"



During his nighttime wrap-up at 8:02 pm, Geraldo said, "It wasn't that kind of terror reaper that Ivan was. Still, it was just a couple of minutes later that Dennis reached what we clearly felt and then verified was hurricane strength."

McDonald's drive-up window has nothing compared to Geraldo's reporting style!

Geraldo: "What's the damage going to be like then?"

Norman, Oklahoma storm chaser: "East of here it should be pretty significant -- Navarre Beach, places north and up through the bay -- it could be pretty interesting, pretty bad in fact."

After a gust of wind went by, Geraldo asked the man tracking the storm what the wind speed had been.

Geraldo: "What's your wind gust right there?"

Storm chaser: "71. Just had a 71 miles an hour gust. 74 now, we are at hurricane strength."



Geraldo: (Looking dejected, probably thinking: "Darn! We're only barely under hurricane-force winds, just 1 mile per hour out of tropical storm winds... Gotta wrap this bit up with a dramatic ending...")

Geraldo: (Finally thinking up a way to end the bit) "We are -- at hurricane strength.Just hit 74, and its climbing."



Here's Geraldo doing his wrap-up that night at 8:02 pm when only breezes are left of Hurricane Dennis in that part of Florida, yet he's still doing the Gumby Bendy Bit!

Yes, more tropical storms and hurricanes are coming this summer...

At least we have Geraldo to entertain us!  :clap:

Posted by: utilidor27 on July 11, 2005, 4:12 pm

I only have a second, but I wanted everyone to know I am okay, and appreciate the prayers and concerns more than you will ever know.

Unfortunately, I wish I could say that the area around me survived the storm just as well. There are still power outages off and on, probably due to the restoration efforts, so I can't go into details, except to say that roughly 1/4 of my county is going to be homeless tonight. It is very, very sad. Some of the national news outlets are reporting from St. Marks, which is about 30 miles east of here, so you can get a good idea of what the coastal flooding was like - 12 to 15 foot waves, etc.

As I said, power has been off and on, I'll post more as soon as things get more organized.

Eric

Posted by: BambiTamby on July 11, 2005, 8:21 pm

Eric! so glad to see that you are OK! :hug:
Appreciate the update, and 1/4 of the county homeless! Oh, how horrible!  :(



Quote
Here's Geraldo doing his wrap-up that night at 8:02 pm when only breezes are left of Hurricane Dennis in that part of Florida, yet he's still doing the Gumby Bendy Bit!

Yes, more tropical storms and hurricanes are coming this summer...

At least we have Geraldo to entertain us!  


too funny, Rich! LOL

Posted by: utilidor27 on July 12, 2005, 12:06 am

Rich: Thank you for bringing some levity into what has been a very difficult day. And a special salute to all those fine electric men from your home state that are working double duty over here to help restore our power. Just part of the amazing compassion and help we have seen arrive.

A brief rundown of the shape things are in over here. Keep in mind folks that we were hit by strong tropical force winds over here. God knows what things would be like if it had been the full thing.

The town of St. Marks that you have seen on the news is the largest of all the communites thay have been hit hard by this storm. The surge went up the river much like water filling up an ice-cream cone, with St. Marks at the bottom of the cone. Portions of the town are waist-high with water.

Further SW is a small fishing town of Ochlocknee Bay. I should say was a small town. Ochlocknee Bay is mostly now in the Gulf. 12+ft. waves took out windows, smashed walls, and pretty much reduced the town to shreds. There was a nice resteraunt, popular with the locals, that stood on pilings about 10 ft. above the water. The pounding action of the waves  tore off the deck surrounding it and sent water rushing in and smashed out the windows causing tables and chairs to float right out into the bay.  All the docks in the area are torn off, and many of the nice, 80+thousand dollar homes that were being built on the ocean front as part of a revitalization effort are completely destroyed.

These are but two examples. All told we have approximately 1500 people that are unable to use their homes. There is widespread flooding in the county, including in the creeks and ditches surrounding my house. While I personally am in no danger of any water damage now, if one of the storms that are out in the Atlantic materialize into a significant tropical system with any portion of rain it will be bad news.

As a community we will survive, we will rebuild, and we will go on simply because we have to. Storms like Dennis are a fact of life, and when you live on the coast you run the risk of some sort of trade off for the beutiful view and atmosphere, and this time we had pay up.

Posted by: CarolKoster on July 12, 2005, 12:10 pm

Eric, so excellent to hear from you!  Houses and things are replaceable, but Eric and family are not.  Welcome back, even though you indeed have weightier matters to attend to in real life.

Yes, you will likely see Entergy and CLECO trucks from Louisiana putting the electricity back on in areas hardest hit.  Entergy is New Orleans, CLECO is from the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain and is our electric utility where we live.

You were on the eastern side of the storm, the most severe side.  Most of Florida, really, got at least something from Dennis since most of Florida was on the eastern side.

What's really depressing is that Tropical Depression #5 is tropical storm status now and has gotten her name as a result, Emily.  And there are a couple of other tropical systems lined up in the Atlantic.  Local weather folks say it won't be 'til the weekend that we know where Emily will go, the Gulf, Atlantic, into Central America, fall apart, or what.

So pray, pray, pray, and prepare, prepare, prepare.  Know NOW what your "hurricane plan" will be, whether at home or if you are travelling anywhere hurricanes are likely to go, and that includes at WDW.

Space shuttle Discovery lift off is still scheduled for 3:51 pm Eastern Wednesday, July 13, from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Posted by: RichKoster on July 13, 2005, 10:21 am

Eric, it is my pleasure to help in whatever way I can, even bringing some levity to this very important weather problem. I'm so glad you're okay and hope all can return to a normal life again very soon.

Unfortunately, now after bad weather from Hurricane Dennis, Emily is becoming a very strong hurricane -- expected to be a category 3 when it hits Mexico:


Click here for a larger picture.


:hurricane:

Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 18, 2005, 10:09 am

Tropical Depression #18 has formed and will enter the Gulf of Mexico.  Projected 5-day cone storm track has it going to Texas southern coast or Mexico.

Follow on National Hurricane Center site:

< http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ >

Scroll down and click around on Tropical Depression 18 or whatever the named storm is after "Philippe"!  The next one after that will be named in alphabetical order either Q or R name.

Pray it doesn't come for our part of the Gulf of Mexico!!!!!

Posted by: MKBaughan on Sep. 18, 2005, 11:33 am

Carol, you all in the Gulf Coast area are still constantly in our prayers..... New Orleans would need our prayers without this new storm.  Just look at the mayor they have!  Sorry, couldn't resist...
Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 18, 2005, 2:53 pm

We don't live in New Orleans or Orleans Parish, so we cannot participate in their politics except to comment on it.

Actually, Nagin enjoys popularity!  See separate thread about the Red Cross not coming to N.O. and to pray for them that Rich started.

Very likely TD#18 will go to tropical storm status and then on to hurricane, when it reaches 39 MPH winds it will be a named storm "Rita".

So mix those margaRITAs, here comes another one!

They are also starting to run low on letters of the alphabet for named storms!  They are up to the Rs already and it's not even the end of September.

BTW some journalists don't check their little detailed facts, the annual END of hurricane season is NOVEMBER 30 (not October 30) .

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 18, 2005, 5:25 pm

Just this afternoon it has now been declared a tropical storm, with the name of Tropical Storm Rita.

Florida's Gov. Bush has declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Florida, giving him the authority to later mandate evacuations.

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 18, 2005, 5:45 pm

Tropical Storm Rita, declared a Tropical Storm this afternoon and Gov. Bush declaring a state of emergency because of it for the state of Florida, might affect your Disney vacation even if the storm stays away from Walt Disney World and Port Canaveral where the Disney Cruise Line ships make their home port.

For one thing, the project path may change. For another thing, air travel might be affected once evacuations are declared in parts of Florida. The Disney cruise ships might also be moved to a safer port, if necessary, further away from the storm than Port Canaveral, Florida is located.


Click here for a larger picture of the projected path of Rita.


And < click here for more information about Rita from the National Hurricane Center. >

Posted by: ladymarganne on Sep. 18, 2005, 8:09 pm

Wow! You guys are good! I've been following the 2 new storms, but didn't know until I logged on here that our governor had declared an emergency! Wow! They do it earlier and earlier now. However, even if we're told to evacuate, it's not a *law*. I just hope that if it does come to that, people will take heed and learn a lesson or 2 from Katrina. Pack a suitcase, get in your cars and head for the hills!
Thanks for all this wonderful info, Rich.

p.s. Maybe this is a good time to visit Mickey! lol
Yea..................any excuse, right? lol

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 18, 2005, 9:20 pm

Pack your bags, Maggie! If Tropical Storm Rita increases by an additional 25 mph, it will become Hurricane Rita.
:hurricane:

Some in South Florida are already evacuating...



< Tropical Storm Rita develops; state of emergency for Florida >

MIAMI (AP) - Tropical Storm Rita has developed over the Bahamas and is moving toward the the lower Florida Keys.

A tropical storm watch has been issued for South Florida. Rita has top sustained winds of about 40 miles-an-hour.

Rita is the 17th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season. That makes this season the fourth busiest since record keeping began in 1851. Twenty-one tropical storms formed in 1933, 19 developed in 1995 and 1887 and 18 formed in 1969, according to the hurricane center.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush has declared a state of emergency. That means Florida authorities can oversee evacuations and he can activate the National Guard.

The lone highway through the Keys is jammed with tourists leaving. There's an evacuation order for visitors to vacate southern parts of the Keys.

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 18, 2005, 9:23 pm

Tropical Storm Philippe is out there also in the Caribbean Sea near the islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique and Barbados and might impact the island of Bermuda by Saturday. But it is said to not be a concern to the United States, missing us.
Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 18, 2005, 9:27 pm

< Hurricane Watch Issued for Florida Keys >

MIAMI - A hurricane watch was issued for the Florida Keys as a tropical depression moved over the southern Bahamas on Sunday and was expected to strengthen into a named storm, forecasters said.

Visitors were told to evacuate parts of the Florida Keys. Monroe County emergency management officials issued the evacuation order for visitors on islands extending from the Seven Mile Bridge through Key West, including the Dry Tortugas.

The depression had the potential to cross into the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center said.

The watch means that hurricane conditions with sustained wind of at least 74 mph are possible by late Monday, according to the Miami-based hurricane center.

"It does look like that there is the potential for it to become a hurricane, near or just before it reaches the Florida Keys," hurricane center meteorologist Daniel Brown said. "It's still too early to tell exactly where it will hit."

The 18th depression of the Atlantic hurricane season developed east of the Turks and Caicos Islands late Saturday and was expected to become Tropical Storm Rita sometime Sunday. The National Hurricane Center said residents of South Florida and central and western Cuba should closely monitor its movement.

At 11 a.m. EDT, the depression had top sustained wind of about 35 mph, just 4 mph shy of tropical storm strength. It was centered over the Caicos Islands about 390 miles east-southeast of Nassau, Bahamas. It was moving to the west near 12 mph and was expected to continue on that course through Monday morning, taking it over the eastern and central Bahamas.

Long-term forecasts show the system heading generally toward the west in the Gulf of Mexico toward Texas or Mexico later in the week, but such forecasts are subject to large errors. That means that areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina could potentially be in the storm's path.

"Once it reaches the Gulf, really everybody should pay attention at that point," Brown said.

The government of the Bahamas issued a tropical storm warning for the Turks and Caicos and for the southeast and central Bahamas. A hurricane watch also was issued for the northwest Bahamas.

Farther out in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Philippe formed late Saturday well east of the Lesser Antilles. At 11 a.m., Philippe had maximum sustained wind near 50 mph, up 10 mph from Saturday It was centered about 425 miles east-southeast of the Leeward Islands and was moving to the north-northwest near 7 mph.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 18, 2005, 9:28 pm

There is very limited air service out of or into New Orleans post-Katrina.  School starts 9/26/05 and we learned at Mass Saturday evening the church and school and buildings were more heavily inundated by water from Lake Pontchartrain than we'd thought via the Mandeville Town Hall Forum on NOLA.com (Times Picayune).  They are seeking volunteers to help hang and "float" drywall so that school can start on Monday.  Add to that Rich is attempting to work for his TV station and create then E-mail news graphics to them where they are working in Mobile, Alabama at WALA-TV.  Not a good time to up and leave.

Part of the 5-day cone for Rita covers the metro area of Houston TX, Baytown and Beaumont TX, and Lake Charles LA....  Where evacuees from Katrina still are and where a lot of families are settling in with being admitted as "homeless" to public schools and finding new lives, for the rest of their lives maybe or until their homes and workplaces and all can be restored in Mississippi or Louisiana.  

The evacuees in the Reliant Center in Houston turned down the offer to stay on cruise ships, explaining in part they didn't want to be surrounded by water.  Now how will they feel to learn Hurricane (soon) Rita might impact them at least in a peripheral way?

I know I joked in another thread about the Beatles song "Lovely Rita", but all joking aside this is psychologically bad for all affected by Katrina.

I don't know what's worse, four hurricanes hitting one state like in 2004 in Florida or this year with storms forming as early as the first week or so of June coupled with Katrina, the Big Mama of all storms.  Both are bad in their own ways.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 19, 2005, 10:40 am

Y'know what I realized with this storm?

It's name is Rita.

The nursing home in St. Bernard Parish where elderly residents died, and the attorney general of Louisiana announced the owners (NOT affiliated with the Catholic Archdiocese in ANY WAY) were being arrested for negligent homicide, the name of that place...

St. RITA's

Too eerie...

Could it be a bad omen?

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 19, 2005, 11:22 am

Quote (RichKoster @ Sep. 18, 2005 20:27 am/pm)
The depression had the potential to cross into the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center said.
[...]
Long-term forecasts show the system heading generally toward the west in the Gulf of Mexico toward Texas or Mexico later in the week, but such forecasts are subject to large errors. That means that areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina could potentially be in the storm's path.

"Once it reaches the Gulf, really everybody should pay attention at that point," Brown said.

President Bush minutes ago said that Tropical Storm Rita, which looks like it will head out into the gulf, could track Katrina or could head out further to the west -- and could bring additional flooding to New Orleans.

Pres. Bush is hoping that Mayor Nagin will change his ambitious plan (already said to be "too ambitious" by the Mayor's Homeland Security Director/former marine colonel Terry Ebbert, a very nice man I've met who came out to the TV station I work in the early days right after 9/11 to explain in greater detail what was going on and what would be going on in the aftermath of 9/11 -- all of it very good advice and information to us) and that Mayor Nagin's plan for residents to return to Orleans parish is very risky at the speed set by the mayor and possibly very dangerous. The health care services in New Orleans have been recently called disastrous and having to start over from scratch, for example. The levees are in worse shape now than BK (Before Katrina).

Pres. Bush's concerns are very true and I'm glad he spoke out today about this, because the levee did breach (break) in many places, not just the large football-field-size, three block long section shown so often on TV. Some of the levee breaks haven't been fixed yet, others are not yet secure or as high as the rest of the levees

And the levees were only built to handle category 3 hurricanes.

I note that Mayor Nagin and Gov. Blanco have not expressed any warning about this. In fact, the mayor still is saying that people should be able to come back home and see what they can salvage.

Even the the predicted-path cone is not currently in the New Orleans area, it is very close. Also, it was said on the news today that until Rita gets into the Gulf of Mexico, it is really too early to predict where it will go -- and that it could even make landfall along the Florida panhandle.

It is also predicted that Rita will become a hurricane before making landfall in the Miami/Florida Keys area of Florida -- and then possibly turn into a category 3 hurricane in the gulf.

Miami Mayor Carlos Alvarez just said on FOX News that around noon a mandatory evacuation will be issued for those in mobile homes and a voluntary evacuation will be issued for anyone at all who resides in Zone A of Dade County in Florida because of Rita. Zone A includes Miami Beach, Key Biscayne, Virginia Key and those areas. He says they are opening up shelters starting at about 5 or 6 o'clock tonight. He wants everyone to be prepared and keep informed. With Hurricane Katrina people, he says, were more concerned with the line in the predicted path and not that the entire Dade County area was in the cone of error. He's telling people "not to concentrate on that middle line, just the fact that they are in the cone, that it is a tropical storm, it is a dangerous storm, and it has all the potential of turning into a category 1 hurricane, if not a two. Katrina went through Dade county as a category 1 hurricane and my concern before then was that what I was listening to people on the streets they were saying "Well, you know, a category one or a tropical storm, that's minimal." Well, we saw what Katrina did here in Dade county. We were without power for about a week. We had flooding. We had almost every tree down in Dade county. The people saw what a category 1 (hurricane) or a strong tropical storm can do and I think this time around that they will be much more informed and much better prepared."



< Tropical Storm Rita to enter Gulf >

Sep 19, 2005 — NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. National Hurricane Center and all major weather models project that Tropical Storm Rita, which is currently battering the central Bahamas, will enter the Gulf of Mexico and threaten the U.S. oil and natural gas facilities later this week.

At 8 a.m. EDT, the center of Rita, which was moving westward at nearly 9 miles per hour, was about 235 miles southeast of Nassau and about 460 miles east-southeast of Key West, Florida.

The storm, which could become a hurricane during the next 24 hours, was currently packing maximum sustained winds near 60 mph.

Seven major weather models, including the NHC's, show the storm, which is taking aim at the Florida Keys, will enter the Gulf of Mexico and make landfall between central Texas and the Florida Panhandle late this week.

NHC will issue another advisory at 11 a.m. Position: Lat. 22,7 degrees North

Long. 74.6 degrees West

(235 miles southeast of Nassau) Track: Moving west at 9 mph Strength: 60 mph maximum sustained winds


Posted by: BambiTamby on Sep. 19, 2005, 11:27 am

Oh no!  :uhoh:

Rich....and others affected by Katrina.... I pray that Rita (and all her rain and wind) stays away from ya'll!!!

Looks like the Texas coast is going to get the direct hit on this one!
We're watching this one.

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 19, 2005, 11:40 am

UPDATE: Rita's projected path cone of probability now includes all of the New Orleans area and even parts of Mississippi. Current projections as I write this have Hurricane Rita, at possibly a category 2 or 3 hurricane, making landfall this weekend at Galveston island, Texas and then directly over Houston, Texas. But note that the track can move again and residents (not only in the southern Florida area where it very likely will first go) should keep informed about this storm and make preparations because it could possibly go anywhere such as Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas or Mexico after getting into the gulf and strengthening



Note: I grabbed an image of the above map, so it will not update automatically. Click here or the map image to see the latest graphic about the currently-predicted path of Rita if you are not reading this around 10:40 am CDT on 9/19/05 when I'm posting this.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 19, 2005, 1:17 pm

Most evacuees went somewhere in Texas, a lot to Houston.  This is NOT a good thing for the state that was so gracious on such short notice to Katrina victims.  

Texas evacuees:  Check ahead of time about hotel reservations, Katrina evacuees may be still staying in hotels regionally on FEMA's dime, so the rooms are full.  I'm talking in Dallas, Shreveport, Memphis, Little Rock, Birmingham, Nashville and that area.  YOU WILL NEED TO BOOK SOMETHING NOW!  Just less than 3 days before Katrina hit, Rich was on the phone booking the Hampton Inn & Suites in Webster TX (near NASA) that we stayed at.  You want to CHECK OUT if you pre-book if you need to cancel do they charge you for the room anyway?  We had to move to a Best Western for one night, and that is their policy (at that one particular Best Western in Webster, Texas -- not Best Western policy nationwide), even if you end up needing to cancel.  So check these things out!  ALSO:  If you book using sites like Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline, BE CAREFUL!  We discovered evacuating from Ivan last year and Katrina this year that only if you call and book with the hotel chain DIRECTLY, or book with the chain directly thorugh their online website, and NOT through online services will they hold your reservations under evacuation circumstances.  YES IT'S TRUE!  Evacuees were being SCREWED by these picky clauses, and their rooms leased to travellers who made it through the long arduous car line of evacuation sooner.  So BOOK DIRECTLY with a hotel chain and NOT via the online travel services!  If your area is the one that is "hit" FEMA/Red Cross may end up paying your tab anyway!  It happened for us!  So don't mess around if Rita messes with Texas!  I am telling you true facts here.  BOOK EARLY!  Get your evacuation plans in place, what to pack, etc.  You can do this, it's not a time to be a deer in the headlights!  Wait too long and there is no place to stay except your car or a shelter.  Everything books up!

And for heaven's sake empty out your refrigerator and freezer before you go!  All ours over here in Louisiana, people who didn't empty out, have such a stinky uncleanable no matter what you do to get rid of the odor mess that they are buying new refrigerators!  This is not a minor inconvenience, it stinks the house up with vile rotting food smell, even AFTER you clean, because all those liquids seep into the gaskets and cannot get out.  It's not sanitary.  Stuff in the 'fridge WILL explode in the pressure of the storm and lack of power.  It happened to us!

Pack a computer that can receive Internet, it is indispensible for keeping up with news.  Pack an AM/FM radio too in order to hear news.  Know the URLs of news TV stations and news talk radio stations and the daily newspaper, after the storm they will have NEWS.  Grab the most recent utility bill you have, it proves you live at your address so that you can return to it if law enforcement is in effect.  Get financial records in order.  PAY YOUR RENT AND MORTGAGE EARLY:  People here in apartments and condo's are being kicked out because they didn't pay promptly on the first of the month (areas were under mandatory no-reentry!!!) and they can lease or sell to anyone after the fact if you are not current.  Grab all important papers, documents, insurance contact information and policy numbers for car, home, life insurance, accident insurance, health, dental, vision, prescription.  PUT A HOLD ON US MAIL if you evacuate, they WILL hold it, otherwise they will no, even under an emergency!  Follow all "what to do and pack and stock up on if there is a hurricane" advice the authorities tell you.  Look up official county websites for this info and TV stations' weather sites may have it, too.  Like the Nike commercials, "Just do it."  Trust me post-Katrina, all this is essential info and it does help you!

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 19, 2005, 3:57 pm

All good points and advice, Carol. Yes, what about people who will need to evacuate from Rita?

Now that what will be category 3 Hurricane Rita is predicted to be coming close to the New Orleans area and possibly making landfall here or at Houston or southwest of that city, God forbid, I'm wondering if I should make reservations again for someplace for us to evacuate. With Rita's projected storm track, it wouldn't be good to have reservations in the Houston area again. I wonder if I should try and have my family seek shelter in Florida... I hear that even the WDW value hotels still have plenty of ice, fresh cold water, clean comfortable beds, and a roof that is secure without leaks. We would be able to stay at my Mom's house in the Mobile, Alabama area -- but even that part of the gulf coast as well as the Florida panhandle are places that Rita could go...

And we do indeed need to think about what will happen to all those in Texas -- residences and evacuees alike -- should they need to evacuate the area because of Hurricane Rita. The entire gulf coast area currently has thousands and thousands less motel/hotel rooms available than BK (Before Katrina).
:praying: :hurricane:

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 19, 2005, 4:43 pm

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is on TV live now.

He is at this moment suspending any plans for New Orleans residents to return to Orleans parish because of the condition of the city's levees and pumping stations as Hurricane Rita approaches...

"We are suspending all re-entry into the City of New Orleans as of this moment.

"I am also asking everyone in Algiers to prepare to evacuate as early as Wednesday.

"I am also asking anyone on the east bank of Orleans parish to also start to prepare yourself to evacuate on Wednesday or even earlier.

"The reason why we have this change is because of a couple of factors: Our pumping stations are still not at full capacity. If we have anything above nine inches of rain and a three foot surge in any storm we will once again have significant flooding on the east bank of Orleans."
- Mayor Ray Nagin

...developing...

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 19, 2005, 4:53 pm

Mayor Nagin continues, live as I transcribe his remarks:

"I am urging and encouraging everyone who knows of someone who may be in a home somewhere in Orleans parish on the east bank and has been calling you giving you advice on what's going on in our city, to call them and encourage them to leave the city.

"This is a different type of event. Our levee systems are still in a very weak condition, our pumping stations are not at full capacity, and any type of storm that heads this way and hits us will put the east bank of Orleans parish in very significant harm's way.

"So I'm encouraging everyone to leave."

- Mayor Ray Nagin, City of New Orleans."
Monday, September 19, 2005 3:45 pm CDT

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 19, 2005, 5:34 pm

He went on to say that he received two reports on where the hurricane may go. One that it would hit Galveston, Texas. The other that it would turn to the north and make landfall in Louisiana in Terrebonne parish. That would put New Orleans on the east side of a very strong category 3 hurricane -- the worse side to be on. When asked if there was anything that could be done with the levees now to protect for a possible storm surge or should we just watch and wait. The mayor said, "Just tell people to run. West bank is not mandatory, east bank is mandatory (evacuation)... We could see gale-force winds as early as Wednesday night."
Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 19, 2005, 5:44 pm

Mayor Nagin said from the report he got, and he didn't name the source so I don't know if it is anyone at the National Hurricane Center or not, New Orleans could be affected by the storm as early as Wednesday or as late as Saturday.
Posted by: MKBaughan on Sep. 19, 2005, 11:55 pm

Rich, I'll be praying for all of you and the people who have been through so much already.... as for your mayor, I wonder what or who made him change his tune?
Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 20, 2005, 12:00 pm

Quote (MKBaughan @ Sep. 19, 2005 22:55 am/pm)
Rich, I'll be praying for all of you and the people who have been through so much already.... as for your mayor, I wonder what or who made him change his tune?

Thanks for the continued prayers.

Mayor Nagin said he didn't change his mind because of how on the previous day two experts (one under his command) were outspoken so much that they called his plan dangerous and too ambitious but said it was based on the threat to the still-damaged city from the approach of Hurricane Rita.

Carol, Michael and I are safe for now. New Orleans is "my city" only in that I had worked there before the flooding. We live in a much safer bedroom community of New Orleans, in Mandeville on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain (the large body of water which makes a cut-out in the state's "L" shape, in the lower right of the "L" when you look at maps. Except under even more worse-case scenarios for hurricanes than Katrina was, our house is far enough away from the lake and far enough above sea level that we don't get flooding, even though 3-4 blocks of old Mandeville along the lake shore did get flooding/surge damage from Katrina.

For now, I'm "tele-commuting" by communicating with FOX 8's temporary broadcast center which is at WALA-TV in Mobile, Alabama. Ever since yesterday afternoon, however, there has been a "traffic jam" on the internet -- ever since Mayor Nagin announced for everyone coming back to the east bank side of Orleans Parish (what most people think of as the city of New Orleans including the French Quarter and its Central Business District) to immediately leave the city under the city's 2nd mandatory evacuation of the year. I'm sure that internet usage in the Texas area is adding to this internet slow-down, as residents/evacuees there access the web to keep up on Hurricane Rita -- since it is projected to make landfall along the Texas coast this weekend and go north near Houston.

Has anybody else on the Echo noticed a slowdown on the internet which started yesterday afternoon, or is it just here in the Gulf Coast area?

We have electricity and internet, so we're monitoring the National Hurricane Center on the web for the latest maps and advice -- as well as local TV channels, FOX News, and the Weather Channel via DirecTV -- so we're keeping a close watch on what the effects will be from Rita to Mandeville. If the storm's projected path changes to come closer to us, we'll evacuate to my Mom's house on the east side of Mobile Bay in Mobile, Alabama -- and if the storm track turns even further to the east I think getting a room in Orlando and Walt Disney World could be a possibility.

It is sad to think that the very kind folks who were so helpful to us in the Houston/Webster, Texas area might be about to go through the same disaster we did on the gulf coast a few weeks ago.

If they're hard hit, we'll do what we can to help them out, just like they helped us out. Those are very good people and while there I noticed how flat the Webster, Texas area is, and not that far from the large Clear Lake which might add to flooding in that area.

We'll keep praying for all along the Atlantic coast and Gulf Coast -- and that includes Texas and Mexico.
:praying:

Posted by: MKBaughan on Sep. 20, 2005, 12:15 pm

Quote
Mayor Nagin said he didn't change his mind because of how on the previous day two experts (one under his command) were outspoken so much that they called his plan dangerous and too ambitious but said it was based on the threat to the still-damaged city from the approach of Hurricane Rita.


Maybe he finally tired of looking like a complete idiot?  Nah, I think somebody got to him.....



Quote
Has anybody else on the Echo noticed a slowdown on the internet which started yesterday afternoon, or is it just here in the Gulf Coast area?
                               


The web has been slow here too.... I think there is just so much traffic with the new hurricane.......  and the other stuff going on around the world....

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 20, 2005, 1:30 pm

I'm in a little corner of the world -- what else is going on around the world today that might be adding to the internet slowdown? :confused:
Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 20, 2005, 2:04 pm

From < The National Hurricane Center >

HURRICANE RITA SPECIAL ADVISORY NUMBER  12
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
2 PM EDT TUE SEP 20 2005

...RITA REACHES 100 MPH WINDS...

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR ALL OF THE FLORIDA KEYS...AND
FROM SOUTH OF FLORIDA CITY ON THE FLORIDA SOUTHEAST COAST SOUTHWARD
TO EAST CAPE SABLE...THEN NORTHWARD TO CHOKOLOSKEE ON THE SOUTHWEST
COAST.

A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE CUBAN PROVINCES OF
MATANZAS...CIUDAD DE HABANA...AND LA HABANA.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT ALONG THE FLORIDA WEST
COAST NORTH OF CHOKOLOSKEE TO ENGLEWOOD.

AT 2 PM EDT...1800Z...THE HURRICANE WARNING FROM GOLDEN BEACH TO
SOUTH OF FLORIDA CITY HAS BEEN DOWGRADED TO A TROPICAL STORM
WARNING.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT ALONG THE FLORIDA EAST
COAST FROM FLORIDA CITY TO JUPITER INLET...AS WELL AS FOR LAKE
OKEECHOBEE.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE CUBAN PROVINCE
OF PINAR DEL RIO.

A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED
WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.  PREPARATIONS TO
PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE
INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED
BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

AT 2 PM EDT...1800Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR
LATITUDE 23.9 NORTH...LONGITUDE  81.7 WEST OR ABOUT 50 MILES... 80
KM...SOUTH OF KEY WEST FLORIDA AND ABOUT  65 MILES...105 KM...
NORTHEAST OF HAVANA CUBA.

RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 15 MPH ...24 KM/HR...AND THIS
MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS. ON
THIS TRACK...THE CORE OF THE HURRICANE WILL CONTINUE TO MOVE OVER
THE FLORIDA STRAITS BETWEEN THE CITY OF HAVANA AND THE FLORIDA KEYS
TODAY. HOWEVER...STRONG WINDS ASSOCIATED WITH THE NORTHERN EYEWALL
ARE EXPECTED TO IMPACT PORTIONS OF THE FLORIDA KEYS DIRECTLY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE REACHED 100 MPH...160 KM/HR...WITH
HIGHER GUSTS. RITA IS NOW A CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE ON THE
SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. SOME STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE
NEXT 24 HOURS.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 30 MILES... 45 KM...
FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP
TO 120 MILES...195 KM.

LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY A RECONNAISSANCE PLANE
WAS 978 MB...28.88 INCHES.

STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 4 TO 6 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS...ALONG
WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...ARE POSSIBLE IN THE
FLORIDA KEYS IN AREAS OF ONSHORE FLOW.  COASTAL STORM SURGE
FLOODING OF 2 TO 4 FEET IS POSSIBLE ALONG THE EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN
FLORIDA COAST.

RITA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 6
TO 8 INCHES OVER THE FLORIDA KEYS..CENTRAL AND NORTHWESTERN CUBA...
WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 12 INCHES. RAINFALLAMOUNTS OF 3 TO
5 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS THE SOUTHERN FLORIDA PENNISULA. RAINS
ARE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TO DIMINISH ACROSS THE BAHAMAS.

THERE IS POSSIBILITY OF ISOLATED TORNADOS OVER SOUTH FLORIDA AND THE
FLORIDA KEYS.

REPEATING THE 2 PM EDT POSITION...23.9 N... 81.7 W.  MOVEMENT
TOWARD...WEST NEAR 15 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...100 MPH.
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 978 MB.

AN INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE
CENTER AT 2 PM EDT FOLLOWED BY THE NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY AT 5 PM
EDT.

- - -

PRESENT MOVEMENT TOWARD THE WEST OR 270 DEGREES AT  13 KT

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE  978 MB
EYE DIAMETER  20 NM
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS  85 KT WITH GUSTS TO 105 KT.
64 KT....... 25NE  25SE   0SW   0NW.
50 KT....... 45NE  45SE  20SW  45NW.
34 KT.......105NE  60SE  60SW 105NW.
12 FT SEAS..140NE  90SE  90SW 105NW.
WINDS AND SEAS VARY GREATLY IN EACH QUADRANT.  RADII IN NAUTICAL
MILES ARE THE LARGEST RADII EXPECTED ANYWHERE IN THAT QUADRANT.

REPEAT...CENTER LOCATED NEAR 23.9N  81.7W AT 20/1800Z
AT 20/1200Z CENTER WAS LOCATED NEAR 23.7N  80.3W

FORECAST VALID 21/0000Z 24.0N  83.1W
MAX WIND  95 KT...GUSTS 115 KT.
64 KT... 30NE  20SE  20SW  30NW.
50 KT... 60NE  45SE  45SW  60NW.
34 KT...120NE 100SE  75SW 120NW.

FORECAST VALID 21/1200Z 24.3N  85.8W
MAX WIND 105 KT...GUSTS 130 KT.
64 KT... 35NE  20SE  20SW  35NW.
50 KT... 75NE  40SE  40SW  75NW.
34 KT...120NE  90SE  90SW 140NW.

FORECAST VALID 22/0000Z 24.5N  88.3W
MAX WIND 105 KT...GUSTS 130 KT.
64 KT... 35NE  20SE  20SW  35NW.
50 KT... 75NE  40SE  40SW  75NW.
34 KT...140NE  90SE  90SW 140NW.

FORECAST VALID 22/1200Z 24.5N  90.5W
MAX WIND 105 KT...GUSTS 130 KT.
50 KT... 75NE  40SE  40SW  75NW.
34 KT...150NE 100SE 100SW 150NW.

FORECAST VALID 23/1200Z 26.0N  94.0W
MAX WIND 105 KT...GUSTS 130 KT.
50 KT... 90NE  60SE  60SW  90NW.
34 KT...150NE 100SE 100SW 150NW.

EXTENDED OUTLOOK. NOTE...ERRORS FOR TRACK HAVE AVERAGED NEAR 250 NM
ON DAY 4 AND 325 NM ON DAY 5...AND FOR INTENSITY NEAR 20 KT EACH DAY

OUTLOOK VALID 24/1200Z 29.5N  96.4W...INLAND
MAX WIND  65 KT...GUSTS  80 KT.

OUTLOOK VALID 25/1200Z 33.5N  97.5W...INLAND
MAX WIND  30 KT...GUSTS  40 KT.

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 20, 2005, 8:24 pm

Galveston's voluntary evacuation widened today to the entire county, and mandatory evacuation was set for Wednesday. Many Houston-area schools are closing in advance of what is now forecast to be a Category 4 storm.

Some even think Hurricane Rita might become a Category 5 storm.



From < The Houston Chronicle >:

Is Houston ready for the big storm?

Evacuees' delays may bring deadly consequences


Feb. 20, 2005

By Joe Stinebaker, Houston Chronicle

Bill King has a vision he can't shake.

He sees long lines of vehicles -- family cars with young children in the back, pickups pulling expensive boats, and buses filled with the sick and the old -- trapped in a major traffic jam on Texas 146 or the Gulf Freeway. Behind them, a massive hurricane churns ashore.

Ahead lie washed-out bridges, flooded roads and thousands of sets of taillights. Their escape has been cut off, and time is running out.

King, Kemah's mayor, is one of many area critics who believe that lackluster evacuation planning and unrealistic expectations by state and local emergency officials could doom thousands of coastal Texans to horrific deaths when a Category 4 or 5 hurricane strikes.

"We have got to have this right, because sooner or later there's going to be a bullet in the chamber," King said. "Sooner or later, we're going to get an event. And if we do not have it right, and if we haven't been out there and practiced (an evacuation) and everybody knows exactly where they're supposed to go and what they're supposed to do, then we're going to kill a bunch of people."

An upcoming report from Gov. Rick Perry's Office of Emergency Management is expected to reject most of King's doubts. The report, according to area and state emergency officials, likely will say that the Houston-Galveston area is largely prepared for a major hurricane, although a few improvements are needed. The report is a result of nearly four months of meetings and reviews of preparedness plans for Texas coastal areas from Mexico to Louisiana.

Perry's homeland security director, Steve McCraw, headed the review. Although McCraw will not reveal his findings before turning them over to Perry, he said he was "impressed" by local evacuation plans and that he believed those plans were "more coordinated than what's been represented" by critics.

But those looking for definitive answers to whether Texas is ready for a major hurricane are likely to be disappointed. Interviews with more than two dozen hurricane and emergency evacuation experts show that no one really knows whether the Southeast Texas coast could be quickly and safely evacuated in the event of a Category 4 or Category 5 hurricane. Key concerns lie in how much time is needed to evacuate, whether Texans would respond quickly enough to recommendations to flee and whether the roads leading to and through Houston could handle the surge in traffic.

In other words, we'll find out when it happens.

In only one area are the experts in agreement, and it's a disconcerting admission. State and local officials have little confidence in their ability to evacuate those without cars, living in group homes or many of the sick and elderly living alone. Plans are in the works, they say, but for now those who are most vulnerable are living on the edge of disaster.
Order of evacuation

The first to be evacuated would be residents of western Galveston and southern Harris counties, who would have to begin evacuating at least 33 hours before the storm's outer bands (containing winds of about 40 mph) are expected to come ashore. Next would be residents of eastern Chambers, eastern Galveston and eastern Harris counties (19-20 hours in advance), followed by Brazoria County (15 hours), central Harris County (10 hours), west Chambers County (eight hours) and Liberty County (seven hours).

But persuading residents that they need to leave that far in advance, when skies may still be sunny and clear, could be difficult.

Michael K. Lindell and Carla S. Prater, a husband-and-wife team at Texas A&M University's Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center, designed the study of evacuation times and routes on which many officials rely. They say the evacuation times must be strictly enforced and that delays could be fatal.

"The problem is partly the misconception people have about how long it's going to take because they're relying on their personal experience," Lindell said.

People tend to think in terms of a four- or five-hour drive to San Antonio or Dallas, he said, but they need to multiply that by 10 or 20 times because of the crowds.

Complacency is another problem.

Michael Bass, a city councilman from Clear Lake Shores, told state officials at a hurricane workshop last month that, because it has been more than 43 years since a major hurricane struck the area, many residents are ignorant of the dangers and will wait until the last minute to leave.

"You basically stay because you don't know what the hell you're getting into," he said.

Eliot Jennings, the emergency management coordinator for the city of Galveston, said cooperation is the key.

"We can do everything we can, but -- bottom line -- it's the individual out there who has to take the action," he said.

Mike Peacock, a hurricane preparedness officer with the governor's Division of Emergency Management, said the consequences of Texans' complacency would be fatal.

"If they're going to wait 12 or 24 hours to leave," he said, "people are going to die."

Under state law, officials can recommend evacuations, but cannot order them. Dozens of local officials want the Legislature to give them the authority to issue mandatory evacuations.

"I can't make any business in Galveston shut down and let their employees go," he said. "Under the voluntary evacuation, a person with a family could be faced with an employer who doesn't agree. And if they leave, it could end up costing them their job. With a mandatory evacuation, it could give us a little more leverage to force businesses to shut down. If someone doesn't have a job to go to, there may not be as much inclination to stay."

But King said Perry told him he doesn't want to enforce mandatory evacuations, and McCraw said he is unlikely to make such a recommendation to the governor.

Enough road capacity?

Local officials also are divided on whether the area's evacuation routes are adequate to handle a full-fledged evacuation of Southeast Texas.

Studies by the Army Corps of Engineers and at Texas A&M University have said the area has enough road capacity to ensure that all endangered residents could be evacuated to safety north of Interstate 10 if they start early enough.

And Harris County Judge Robert Eckels, who is responsible for calling for evacuations in the county, said he believes the evacuation routes could hold the traffic as long as the evacuation begins early enough.

"The key element to that question is `in time,' " Eckels said. "Assuming we have as much notice as they had on the Florida hurricanes ... we could substantially do it. The challenge is coordinating all three counties (Harris, Galveston and Brazoria). It's going to be a massive traffic jam, lots of folks, but I think it can be done."

The state's hurricane planners agree.

Peacock told a group of several hundred emergency officials from the region last month that "the infrastructure will support the evacuation times."

But a large number of those officials from Brazoria, Galveston and Harris counties gathered at the hurricane evacuation workshop said they didn't share that confidence.

They fear evacuation planners have underestimated the difficulty of moving as many as 360,000 vehicles through the congested and flood-prone Houston area in a Category 5 evacuation.

Some routes called risky

Some of the prime escape routes are not entirely reliable, local officials say. Jennings said Texas 146, a key evacuation route running along the western edge of Galveston Bay, has two northbound lanes, but narrows to only one in crossing two bridges south of Dickinson. In addition, the road's elevation is low -- an especially dangerous situation given that a hurricane's storm surge could send Galveston Bay spilling over to land on the west.

Lindell said Texas 146 and other routes through the area may no longer be entirely reliable.

"In the Galveston area, there's an enormous amount of development on the lee side of the bay," he said. "So ... the wind's going to be coming off Galveston Bay ... and the major evacuation routes run through that side."

Lindell and Prater also noted a problem in their March 2002 report with Brazoria County -- including the convergence of Texas 288 and Business 288 and the intersection of FM 521 just beyond.

For those like King who are skeptical that various evacuation plans can truly be coordinated, there may be some comfort in practice drills. Although no such drills have been held in the area, momentum for them is building fast.

Eckels and Galveston County Judge James Yarbrough have said they are willing to hold a joint exercise. And Jack Colley, the state coordinator for the governor's division of emergency management, said last month that the state would financially support and take part in such a program.

That's a first step in reassuring some critics.

"We are overdue for a bad hurricane. We've been dodging bullets here for a long time," King said. "If we get one, it's going to be bad. And I think we have just got to get out there and make sure we have a real active plan where agencies know what they're supposed to do. And I think every July, we need to get everybody out and exercise that plan."

Chronicle reporters Kevin Moran, Richard Stewart and Ruth Rendon contributed to this report.



< Models show 'massive devastation' in Houston >

[b]Damages could cost up to $50 billion -- 10 times Allison's cost


By Eric Berger, Houston Chronicle

Feb. 20, 2005

Houston's perfect storm would feed on late summer's warm waters as it barreled northward across the Gulf of Mexico, slamming into the coast near Freeport.

A landfall here would allow its powerful upper-right quadrant, where the waves move in the same direction as the storm, to overflow Galveston Bay. Within an hour or two, a storm surge, topping out at 20 feet or more, would flood the homes of 600,000 people in Harris County. The surge also would block the natural drainage of flooded inland bayous and streams for a day or more.

Coastal residents who ignored warnings to flee would have no hope of escape as waters swelled and winds roiled around their homes. Very likely, hundreds, perhaps even thousands, would die.

Meanwhile, as the storm moved over western Harris County, its most dangerous winds, well in excess of 120 mph even inland, would lash the Interstate 45 corridor, including Clear Lake, the Texas Medical Center and downtown.

Many older buildings could not withstand such winds.

Anything not tied down, from trees to mobile homes to light poles, would become missiles, surreally tumbling and flying through the air, flattening small houses, shattering skyscraper windows and puncturing roofs.

"Unfortunately, we're looking at massive devastation," said Roy Dodson, president of the engineering firm Dodson & Associates, which Harris County asked to model realistic "worst-case scenarios" for a major hurricane hitting the area.

Dodson's firm modeled more than 100 storms of varying power, speed and landfall. It concluded that a large Category 4 or Category 5 -- a storm only moderately larger than the four that struck Florida last summer -- would cause as much as $40 billion to $50 billion in damage. That's 10 times the cost of Tropical Storm Allison and approximately the city of Houston's entire budget for the next 15 years.

And this wasn't an academic exercise. Of the 17 Category 4 and Category 5 storms that have struck the United States since 1900, three, all Category 4 storms, have hit the Greater Houston area -- unnamed storms in 1900 and 1915 and Carla in 1961.

Coastal development

With considerable coastal development since then and lower elevations because of groundwater pumping, no one knows what will happen when a major storm hits. But what's clear is that models of a hurricane's three modes of destruction -- winds, storm surge and inland flooding from heavy rainfall -- offer little comfort.

With sustained winds between 131 mph and 155 mph, the power of a Category 4 storm exceeds that of most building codes.

Houston's commercial building rules call for structures to withstand three-second bursts of at least 110 mph, said Dennis Wittry, managing director of Houston Structural Operations at Walter P. Moore, an engineering firm.

Newer skyscrapers, including many built during Houston's downtown boom in the '80s, were modeled in wind tunnels to determine their performance in extreme weather events. Most should survive the storm, Wittry said. And the downtown window loss like that experienced during Hurricane Alicia, a Category 3 storm that struck in 1983, actually could be less in a bigger storm.

That's because roofs that were then anchored by gravel -- which become bullets in high winds -- are now held down by specialized concrete that should not blow off, Wittry said.

Residential homes, built with less exacting standards and lesser materials, would fare worse.

"You'll definitely see more significant damage in residential construction," he said. "Lower-end homes, or some homes in older areas, would probably be completely destroyed."

Tie-downs, a structural device that prevents wind blowing over a structure, creating a vortex and sucking off the roof, have been mandatory only since the late 1980s, Wittry said.

Various studies of a large storm hitting the Houston area have estimated that 100,000 to 125,000 homes would be destroyed.

20-foot wall of water

More devastation would be caused by winds blowing over the Gulf of Mexico and pushing surface water inland -- creating up to a 20-foot storm surge. Such a wall of water would swamp most development near Galveston Bay, including Texas City, Kemah and Johnson Space Center. Varying levels of water would flood much of the area between Sam Houston Parkway and the bay.

On Galveston Island, the seawall could hold back much of the storm surge, but at some point the water would creep onto the island from the bay side. The island's highest point is just 22 feet above sea level.

Much like a river becomes deeper and more turbulent when it narrows, a storm surge also can increase in height and intensity when its source of water narrows. Dodson said this has profound implications for the Port of Houston. Some models ended with a 30-foot wall of water in the Ship Channel near the port's turning basin, he said. "It would be huge," he said. "It could overwhelm chemical storage facilities, water treatment plants and other sensitive areas."

The port's severe-weather plan calls for most cargo ships to exit the facility and weather the storm at sea in preparation for the possibility of flooded buildings.

Wave modeling

Another, perhaps even-now-unanticipated effect is large waves accompanying the storm surge.

A waves expert at Texas A&M University at Galveston, Vijay Panchang, said he and colleagues were surprised when they observed wave data associated with Hurricane Ivan shortly before it slammed into Alabama last September.

A wave-measuring buoy about 60 miles south of Dauphin Island, before it snapped, registered an average wave height of about 50 feet, Panchang said. That means the biggest waves were a staggering 100 feet tall. Such wave heights, according to his modeling, should only occur every 300 years or so.

Either Ivan's waves were a freak event, or hurricane forecasters may need to adjust their wave expectations for large storms in the warm Gulf waters.

"This is from a storm that hit only a few hundred miles to the east of us," he said. "There's nothing to say that another storm won't create really big waves for us."

These large waves caused by Ivan may have been as responsible, if not more so, than the storm surge for severely damaging the I-10 bridge bear Pensacola, Fla., Panchang said.

Surprises after landfall

Engineers and forecasters say the most unpredictable element of a storm comes after landfall, when it either dumps rain and floods creeks and bayous or moves quickly enough that relatively little rain falls.

Tropical Storm Allison probably isn't a good model for what to expect. The system was so poorly organized and slow moving that some hurricane forecasters say it wasn't a tropical storm. In some areas of the city, enough rain fell to classify Allison as a 10,000-year rainfall event. Still, because a large hurricane's storm surge likely would block the flow of bayou waters into Galveston Bay, any significant rainfall could back up into inland streets and homes quickly, Dodson said.

The last major hurricane most Houston residents remember was Alicia, which made landfall on the west end of Galveston Island in August 1983.

Unfortunately, planners say, as devastating as that storm was, it's a poor predictor of what to expect from a larger, Category 4 or bigger storm.

Alicia's highest sustained winds on land were measured at 96 mph. Most of the Greater Houston area received just 5 inches of rain. Storm surges across much of the area were less than 10 feet, although Seabrook measured 12 feet.

The storm spawned 23 tornadoes, killed 21 people and destroyed 2,300 homes.

"Alicia was a marginal Category 3," Dodson said. "Its rainfall doesn't come close to this area's top 20 historical floods.

"I guess what I'm saying is that I hope people don't ignore evacuation warnings because they remember that things weren't apocalyptic during Alicia."

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 20, 2005, 10:00 pm

Quote
More devastation would be caused by winds blowing over the Gulf of Mexico and pushing surface water inland -- creating up to a 20-foot storm surge. Such a wall of water would swamp most development near Galveston Bay, including Texas City, Kemah and Johnson Space Center. Varying levels of water would flood much of the area between Sam Houston Parkway and the bay.


I wrote on the Echo previously following our August/September evacuation to the Houston area at Webster, Texas (where the Johnson Space Center is located) that the area looked very flat to me with not enough drainage to prevent widespread flooding if a massive hurricane came that way. I had that feeling even before reading this article, which Carol found tonight.
:uhoh:

Posted by: f86sabjf on Sep. 21, 2005, 7:24 pm

Wow she's a cat 5 at 904mb that is downright scary :down: I'll be praying for all of you .

  Sincerely
  Jeff

Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 22, 2005, 11:17 am

We have a Forum here on Disney Echo for blogs.

Check out that I offered that Forum to any Texans and Louisianans needing to tell significant others they are OK.  Start the blog and E-mail whoever that the blog is running here on the Echo, give them the URL of the thread you started and it's title, and you are good to go.

The storm changed track again and is going to go straight up I-45!  We were very familiar with I-45 to get to the part of Houston where we stayed during Katrina!  It's terribly upsetting to me to see them having to go through what we did and so soon.  All the people and restaurants were so nice and kind!  They don't deserve this!  

But as someone wrote about Katrina, it's part of the price you pay for living in a coastal community and rebuilding.  People love their home regions of the country.

Now Rich says there is a new forecast model that Rita's eye will go to southwest Louisiana (Texas stateline area, including Lake Charles where there are several gambling casino resorts and a lot of oil refineries and oil-gas industry activity ) .

Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 22, 2005, 12:57 pm

Houston has angels in Washington DC.  US Congressman Tom DeLay is from there, his office was in a building across the street and up two blocks from our Hampton Inn in Webster!  And it's President Bush's home state and he's a former Governor.  And Bush's Daddy is an ex-President from there.
Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 22, 2005, 2:11 pm

Quote (CarolKoster @ Sep. 22, 2005 10:17 am/pm)
Now Rich says there is a new forecast model that Rita's eye will go to southwest Louisiana (Texas stateline area, including Lake Charles where there are several gambling casino resorts and a lot of oil refineries and oil-gas industry activity ) .

Note that this was one forecast track, and the official track based on all of the tracks still has it making landfall in Texas and moving north in Texas as well -- although this afternoon's track has it shifted to the east more than before, but it is still predicted to make landfall near Houston or between Houston and the TX/LA state line.

And about angels and miracles, check out the new topic I started today: Miracles & Angels in our lives

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 22, 2005, 5:08 pm

HURRICANE RITA ADVISORY NUMBER  21
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
4 PM CDT THU SEP 22 2005

...DANGEROUS HURRICANE RITA GRADUALLY HEADING TOWARD THE SOUTHWEST
LOUISIANA AND UPPER TEXAS COASTS...

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FROM PORT O'CONNOR TEXAS TO MORGAN
CITY LOUISIANA. A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS
ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO
COMPLETION.

AT 4 PM CDT...2100Z...A TROPICAL STORM WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR
NORTH OF THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER TO THE MOUTH OF THE
PEARL RIVER INCLUDING METROPOLITAN NEW ORLEANS AND LAKE
PONTCHARTRAIN. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT FOR THE
SOUTHEASTERN COAST OF LOUISIANA EAST OF MORGAN CITY TO THE MOUTH OF
THE MOUTH OF THE PEARL RIVER INCLUDING METROPOLITAN NEW ORLEANS AND
LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN....AND FROM SOUTH OF PORT O'CONNOR TO PORT
MANSFIELD TEXAS.  A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL
STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE
NEXT 24 HOURS.

A TROPICAL STROM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SOUTH OF PORT
MANSFIELD TO BROWNSVILLE TEXAS...AND FOR THE NORTHEASTERN COAST OF
MEXICO FROM RIO SAN FERNANDO NORTHWARD TO THE RIO GRANDE.
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 36 HOURS.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE
INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED
BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

AT 4 PM CDT...2100Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE RITA WAS LOCATED NEAR
LATITUDE 25.8 NORTH...LONGITUDE  89.5 WEST OR ABOUT 405 MILES...
650 KM...SOUTHEAST OF GALVESTON TEXAS AND ABOUT 390 MILES... 630
KM...SOUTHEAST OF PORT ARTHUR TEXAS.

RITA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 9 MPH...15 KM/HR. A
GRADUAL TURN TOWARD THE NORTHWEST IS EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 24
HOURS. ON THIS TRACK...THE CORE OF RITA WILL BE APPROACHING THE
SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA AND THE UPPER TEXAS COAST LATE FRIDAY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 145 MPH...230 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. RITA IS A EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE ON THE
SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. SOME FLUCTUATIONS IN INTENSITY ARE LIKELY
DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO  60 MILES... 95 KM...
FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP
TO 205 MILES...335 KM. ANYTROPICAL STROM FORCE WINDS IN THE NEW
ORLEANS AREA ARE EXPECTED TO BE CONFINED TO A FEW SQUALLS
ASSOCIATED WITH QUICKLY MOVING RAINBANDS. AT 3 PM CDT...A NOAA BUOY
REPORTED A 10-MINUTE AVERAGE WIND OF 89 MPH...143 KM/HR WITH A GUST
TO 112 MPH...180 KM/HR.

LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY AN AIR FORCE PLANE WAS
913 MB...26.96 INCHES.

COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 15 TO 20 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE
LEVELS...ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...CAN BE
EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE EAST OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL.
TIDES ARE CURRENTLY RUNNING ABOUT 2 FEET ABOVE NORMAL ALONG THE
LOUISIANA...MISSISSIPPI AND ALABAMA COASTS IN THE AREAS AFFECTED BY
KATRINA. TIDES IN THOSE AREAS WILL INCREASE TO 3 TO 5 FEET AND BE
ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE WAVES...AND RESIDENTS THERE COULD EXPERIENCE
COASTAL FLOODING.

RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 8 TO 12 INCHES WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM 15
INCH TOTALS ARE POSSIBLE ALONG THE PATH OF RITA OVER SOUTHEAST TEXAS
AND SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA AS IT MOVES INLAND. BASED ON THE
FORECAST TRACK...TOTALS ACCUMULATIONS IN EXCESS OF 25 INCHES ARE
POSSIBLE OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS AS THE SYSTEM SLOWS DOWN. IN
ADDITION...RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE OVER
SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA INCLUDING NEW ORLEANS.

REPEATING THE 4 PM CDT POSITION...25.8 N... 89.5 W.  MOVEMENT
TOWARD...WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR  9 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...145
MPH.  MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 913 MB.

AN INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE
CENTER AT 7 PM CDT FOLLOWED BY THE NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY AT 10 PM
CDT.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 22, 2005, 6:05 pm

This storm doesn't impact Disney World, I just noticed this thread is in a Disney World topic area.  Just to reassure people, or perhaps if Disney World wonders why so many Texans and Louisianans are showing up so suddenly!
Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 23, 2005, 8:45 pm

Look for Geraldo Rivera's own special brand of reportage on Fox News Channel, he's there in Port Arthur TX for Rita landfall.  Look for his Gumby bendy bit, his traditional "schtick" of bending in the breezes (not winds) of covering a hurricane the last year or so.  Named after the stop-motion animated character Gumby.
Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 24, 2005, 1:29 pm

This topic is always about hurricanes/tropical storms in general and how they might affect your Disney trips. The topic title gets changed as conditions change, though.

Right now, airlines in many airports have stopped flights, and roads are impassible -- which not only affects residents living there but any plans to take a Disney trip (which also includes non-residents intending to travel through those areas on their Disney vacations).

For example, right now I-10 through Louisiana is difficult in many places, if not impossible. CNN this morning was showing live video of a storm surge going on today in Lake Charles, LA along with high winds -- even after Hurricane Rita has now made its way into Texas and was downgraded to a category 1 hurricane.

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 24, 2005, 2:33 pm

Rita has now been downgraded to a tropical storm.
Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 30, 2005, 6:55 pm

Here we go again.

Tropical Depression NINETEEN is out there...  :uhoh: There are details here.

But the good news is that, at least for now, it is expected to head north in the Atlantic Ocean and not affect any land areas.

According to FOX 8 Meteorologist Chris Franklin on the air right now, "For the northern gulf coast when you consider the area between the big bend in Texas and the big bend in Florida over the past 30 years, we've only seen 8 tropical systems make landfall in that area in the months of October and November. And again, these are our last two months of the tropical season. And of those 8 storms, 5 were hurricanes, and two of those actually formed in September. So we're not seeing any hurricanes right now. So its very rare that we actually see a landfalling system in the northern gulf coast in October and November. And of course, tomorrow is October 1st."

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 16, 2005, 4:58 pm

Oh, boy... Not again! :hurricane:

Now it is Tropical Depression TWENTY-FOUR, expected to become Tropical Storm Wilma and then Hurricane Wilma, and head north across Cuba and into the Gulf of Mexico.

Where will it go after that? At this point it is anybody's guess, but it could go as far west as the southwest Louisiana coast, or hit New Orleans, or hit the Mississippi Gulf coast, or Mobile, Alabama, or (at this point the most-likely) the Florida panhandle, or even the peninsula of Florida: Tampa/St. Pete, Orlando, Miami... Time will tell.

Here is a captured image from the National Hurricane Center today of the current (as of this writing, Sunday afternoon 10/16/2005) projected path as well as the cone of probability of what is expected to be Hurricane Wilma...



Click the map above to see it larger.


For the latest information and the latest forecast map information, click here.

Pay attention to the latest information from The National Hurricane Center about this storm if you live along the Gulf Coast or even the eastern portion of Florida -- and especially if you're planning a Walt Disney World or Disney Cruise Line vacation in the weeks to come.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 16, 2005, 5:00 pm

Faith, Trust & Pixie Dust Forum Topic about Wilma is here, in case anyone wants to offer faith-based thoughts or secular Pixie Dust encouragement to anyone who might be in Wilma's path.

< http://new.disneyecho.emuck.com/cgi-bin....&t=8611 >

Wilma is one of the characters in the cartooon series "The Flintstones".  I don't think we want another tropical weather system to blow Northern Gulf Coasters into the stone age!  We've had Rita, Katrina (both in 2005) and there are folks in Mobile and Baldwin Counties, Alabama and in Northwest Florida still dealing with Ivan from 2004!  We're all tired of hurricanes!

Keep abreast of the news, everyone, it may be a bumpy ride!

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 16, 2005, 5:41 pm

Quote (CarolKoster @ Oct. 16, 2005 16:00 am/pm)
Wilma is one of the characters in the cartoon series "The Flintstones".

As Fred Flintstone would say, "WIL-MA!!!!!



At least the storm won't be named after her best friend, Betty Rubble!

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 16, 2005, 6:01 pm

I just went to the National Hurricane Center, they updated their 5-day cone of probability....  It's moved westerly!  More towards New Orleans!  Now, this thing can continue to shift... BUT if it comes HERE for US in the New Orleans area that would be BAD!  Areas could reflood and the levees are only now being fortified after Katrina!

If Wilma continues with a westerly track it won't be affecting WDW, but it WILL affect New Orleans!

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 17, 2005, 7:39 am

Quote (CarolKoster @ Oct. 16, 2005 17:01 am/pm)
I just went to the National Hurricane Center, they updated their 5-day cone of probability....  It's moved westerly!  More towards New Orleans!  Now, this thing can continue to shift... BUT if it comes HERE for US in the New Orleans area that would be BAD!  Areas could reflood and the levees are only now being fortified after Katrina!

If Wilma continues with a westerly track it won't be affecting WDW, but it WILL affect New Orleans!

Even worse, the 5 am update now shows it is no longer a tropical depression but we now have Tropical Storm Wilma.

Here is the latest (as of 5 am EDT 10/17/05) captured image from the National Hurricane Center of Wilma's projected path as well as the cone of probability for the upcoming direction of what is expected to be Hurricane Wilma...



Click the map above to see it larger.


For the latest information and the latest forecast map information, click here.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 17, 2005, 8:50 am

It is now moving south! But it still isn't expected to keep going that way... Latest projects still who Wilma coming into the Gulf of Mexico later this week and northward to the United States, east of New Orleans ( Universal Studios Orlando??? )



Bulletin
Tropical Storm Wilma Intermediate Advisory Number   7a
NWS TPC/National Hurricane Center Miami FL
8 am EDT Mon Oct 17 2005

...Wilma moving erratically in the Caribbean...

A tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch remain in effect for the Cayman Islands.

For storm information specific to your area...including possible inland watches and warnings...please monitor products issued by your local weather office.

At 8 am EDT...1200z...the center of tropical storm Wilma was located near latitude 16.8 north... longitude 79.6 west or about 205 miles... 335 km... southeast of Grand Cayman.

Wilma is moving southward at about 5 mph ...8 km/hr...but a slow motion toward the southwest or west is expected during the next 24 hours.  Steering currents remain weak and a continued erratic motion is possible during the next day or two.

Maximum sustained winds are estimated to be near 40 mph... 65 Km/hr...with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours.

Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 45 miles... 75 km... mainly southwest of the center.

The estimated minimum central pressure is 1000 mb...29.53 inches.

The depression is expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 4 to 6 inches over the Cayman Islands and Jamaica... with isolated amounts of 8 to 12 inches possible.

Repeating the 8 am EDT position...16.8 n... 79.6 w.  Movement toward...south near 5 mph.  Maximum sustained winds... 40 mph.  Minimum central pressure...1000 mb.

The next advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 11 am EDT.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 17, 2005, 6:55 pm

Our meteorologist just showed a map in which after Wilma stops heading south it will bend to the north and then take a sharp turn to the right, sending it in the direction of Orlando!
:Oo:

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 17, 2005, 7:08 pm

Look out, Disney World!!

The National Hurricane Center's latest map shows Hurricane Wilma talking a dramatic turn right after getting north of Cuba, and heading straight for Orlando!

Of course, it still is a far, far way away... and it is hard to project this far in advance...

But on the other hand, the National Hurricane Center's computer projections have gotten pretty reliable in the past couple of years. Here's their latest map (as of 5 PM EDT Monday, 10/17/05)...



Click here to see the map larger.


For the latest information and the latest forecast map information, < click here. >

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 18, 2005, 1:18 pm

Hurricane Wilma forecasted to hit Florida, become a Category 3 hurricane with winds exceeding 111 mph

The National Hurricane Center says that Wilma has grown to hurricane level, and the latest map shows its largest probability path as well as the surrounding "bubble" of potential landfall areas making landfall along the peninsula of Florida (including Walt Disney World) as well as the potential of the storm going across parts of the Florida panhandle. The Disney Cruise Line's ports of call (including home base of Port Canaveral and Castaway Cay) are also in the area where Hurricane Wilma could go.  

One of the computer projections actually shows the eye of Hurricane Wilma going over Walt Disney World and the Orlando metro area!
:Oo:



Below is the latest map (as of 11 AM EDT Tuesday, 10/18/05) from the National Hurricane Center of Hurricane Katrina's predicted area of landfall, with all the computer models averaged into the white dotted line ...



Click here to see the map larger.


For the latest information and the latest forecast map information, < click here. >



< From the Associated Press: >

October 18, 2005, 11:01 AM EDT

Wilma strengthened into a hurricane today on a path that could threaten Florida, Cuba and Mexico, tying the record for the most hurricanes to form in an Atlantic season.

Wilma is the 12th hurricane of the season, a number reached once before in 1969 since record keeping began in 1851. At 11 a.m. EDT, Wilma had top sustained winds of near 75 mph, just above the 74 mph threshold to be a hurricane.

Long-range forecasts show Wilma could hit western Cuba or the Yucatan Peninsula before heading into the Gulf of Mexico by Friday. The storm could also spare those countries while passing through the narrow Yucatan Channel. Either way, computer models showed Wilma bearing down on Florida over the weekend.

It is forecast to become a Category 3 hurricane with winds exceeding 111 mph by Thursday. Conditions such as warm water and favorable atmospheric winds in the northwestern Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico indicate strengthening, forecasters said.

"It does look like it poses a significant threat to Florida by the weekend. Of course, these are four- and five-day forecasts, so things can change,'' said Dan Brown, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Six hurricanes have hit Florida since August 2004, causing more than $20 billion in estimated damage and killing nearly 150 people in the state. Another hurricane, Rita, brushed by the Florida Keys last month. Wilma was on a path that could threaten coastal areas hit by Hurricane Charley last year.

Wilma first entered the history books Monday, becoming the Atlantic hurricane season's 21st named storm before dawn, tying the record set in 1933 and exhausting the list of storm names.

At 11 a.m., Wilma's center was about 195 miles south-southeast of Grand Cayman and about 200 miles east-northeast of the Nicaragua/Honduras border. It was moving northwest near 7 mph.

The Gulf Coast was already battered this year by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Dennis, while Emily hit Mexico. The areas devastated by Katrina will likely be spared by Wilma.

"There's no scenario now that takes it toward Louisiana or Mississippi, but that could change,'' said Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center.

The Cayman Islands were under a hurricane watch, meaning those conditions could be felt within 36 hours. A tropical storm warning was posted there and for the Honduran coast, meaning those conditions were expected within 24 hours. The storm is expected to bring 2 to 6 inches of rain in the Caymans, southeastern Cuba, Haiti, Honduras and Jamaica, with as much as 12 inches possible in some areas, forecasters said.

Since 1995, the Atlantic has been in a period of higher hurricane activity. Scientists say the cause of the increase is a rise in ocean temperatures and a decrease in the amount of disruptive vertical wind shear that rips hurricanes apart. Some researchers argue that global warming fueled by man's generation of greenhouse gases is the culprit.

Forecasters at the hurricane center say the busy seasons are part of a natural cycle that can last for at least 20 years, and sometimes up to 40 or 50. They say the conditions are similar to those when the Atlantic was last in a period of high activity in the 1950s and 60s.

It's difficult to know whether the Atlantic was even busier at any time before record keeping began. And satellites have only been tracking tropical weather since the 1960s, so some storms that just stayed at sea or hit unpopulated areas before then could have escaped notice.

The six-month hurricane season ends Nov. 30. Wilma is the last on the list of storm names for 2005; there are 21 names on the yearly list because the letters q, u, x, y and z are skipped. If any other storms form, letters from the Greek alphabet would be used, starting with Alpha. That has never happened in roughly 60 years of regularly named Atlantic storms.

"We've got six weeks to go, so a lot of things can happen,'' Mayfield said, noting that there have been 10 late-season hurricanes Category 3 or higher since 1995.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 18, 2005, 1:28 pm

"Intensification into a Category 3 hurricane by Thursday still seems like a good bet. There is a small chance Wilma could make it to Category 4 status by Friday, but shear will start to increase by then as the upper-level trough of low pressure generates strong westerly winds over her. This shear will likely reduce Wilma's winds by at least 20 mph, and landfall in Florida as a strong Category 2 hurricane seems like a reasonble intensity forecast.

"Steering currents are expected to remain weak today, and some erratic motion is possible. All of the forecast models predict a generally west or west-northwest motion over the next two days. Now that Wilma has stopped moving south, this gives me some confidence that this forecast is the correct one... The models have reached a strong consensus that a low pressure system currently bringing rain to the western U.S. will move east and exert a strong pull on Wilma, turning her more northwest by Thursday, through the Yucatan Channel, and then northeastward into the Florida Keys or the west coast of Florida by the weekend. Most of the guidance shows the Keys to be the primary region at risk, but the GFDL model has moved its landfall point further north with its most recent run (2 am EDT), and puts the area between Sarasota and Fort Myers in the bullseye. The NOAA jet is scheduled to makes its first flight tonight, and tomorrow morning we should have a better idea of the reliability of the current model forecasts."

< Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meteorologist >

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 18, 2005, 3:23 pm

In the last advisory from the National Hurricane Center about Hurricane Wilma, they reported that reconnaissance aircraft was enroute to Wilma.

Wilma is forecast to become a major hurricane in the northwestern Caribbean sea. All interests in western Cuba...the Yucatan Peninsula...the Florida Keys...and the Florida peninsula should closely monitor the progress of Wilma. For storm information specific to your area...including possible inland watches and warnings...please monitor reports from your local weather office. The next advisory from the National Hurricane Center will be at 5 PM EDT.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 18, 2005, 6:05 pm

Track Wilma here:

< http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ >

All kinds of info, and click on the graphic called "5-Day Cone of Probability" for the next 5-days of where Wilma might be going.

YOU FOLKS IN CENTRAL FLORIDA (OR TRAVELLING THERE SOON FOR VACATION) BETTER LISTEN UP AND FOLLOW THE NEWS!

The current track has Wilma making landfall on the Western Coast of Florida (Gulf Coast) right between Tampa-St. Petersburg and the Florida Keys.  When you look at the 5-Day Cone you will see what I am talking about.  This area got hit by one of the 2004 hurricanes.

If you are WDW-bound:  Orlando will be on the EASIER LESS SEVERE side of Wilma, excellent news for you.  The buildings in Orlando generally are of updated code, and many of them have already repaired adequately since the 2004 brush with 4 hurricanes.  They can withstand Category 3 winds.  You might lose power.  You might lose landline phone.  You might lose cell phone.  You might not get room service, nor housekeeping to care for your bedroom linens or clean.  Disney will secure their property and send employees home to be with their families and secure their own homes.  Disney will have "ride out crews" at resorts to see both to guest nees and safety and report back with any damage the storm caused.  You may be asked to leave Fort Wilderness Campground and move to a resort room, since the danger there is of falling trees.  Events at the parks will start closing down as the storm approaches, so that employees can secure the parks in advance of the storm and for guest safety.  The parks will reopen when damage assessments are done as soon as winds reach a safe enough level to venture out, so be PATIENT and let Disney do what it has to do to reopen safely and for your enjoyment.  You may receive a written notice with INSTRUCTIONS in your resort room:  READ IT AND HEED IT and do all that it says for you/family to do!  You can watch movies on some of the Disney Resort cable channels to pass the time.  You may be asked to provide for your own food such as purchasing non-perishable food and drinks for your room and perhaps getting a flashlight (sometimes Disney can provide one to guests, but ask or just go out and get one on your own).  Don't go outside, stay away from windows for your own safety until Disney gives the all clear after the storm passes.  You are in good hands, good solid buildings, and in 2004 most Disney buildings rode those series of storms out excellently.  Tune to local TV and Weather Channel for news, essential information, and travel information.  If you are preferring to leave the area, the roads will congest up raapidly as people from low-lying areas seek to go inland to Orlando and other communities (you are already inland, so you'll be fine! ) and flights outbound may be filled up rapidly by others wishing to leave.  Call your airline, any place where you had tickets to shows, resort-to-airport transportation, any reservations at all to ask what their cancellation policy is or if you can get a refund or if you can move up using that (especially if it's transporation-related).  IT WILL TAKE A LONG TIME TO GO ON ROADS 'CAUSE OTHERS ARE EVACUATING OR SECURING THEIR PROPERTIES SO PLAN AHEAD!!!  The Orlando International Airport is NOT a shelter!  The Orlando International airport does not control airline schedules, so instead phone your airline or use the Internet to confirm flights.  It will take much longer than  an hour to reach the airport one-way if you want to depart, so allow double or triple time to get there if you are outbound due to the storm.  Any questions or concerns, take them up with customer service with travel insudtry entities you deal with (car rental agencies, airlines, ground transporation, Disney Guest Servces and hotel management, any hotel management off-site, restuarants and shows you have tickets to, condo's you are renting, etc., you get the idea: If you made any vacation arrangements contact them and find out about refunds or rain checks or how to get out if you prefer to leave, or how to ride the storm out if you want to hunker down and stay).

The news may sound like a lot of blah-blah-blah, but within that is essential information for your safety and making immediate plans.  Would suggest paying attention to the LOCAL news and not CNN or Weather Channel, because LOCAL NEWS tells you much more than CNN will about what to expect, how to prepare, and what the transportation is like.  Disney WILL TELL YOU many things you need to know, if you do not hear from Disney certainly go and ask especially if nothing printed shows up in your room about how to take good care of yourself.

Do not resent that Disney may close things down and send their staff home 'til the storm is over.  You'd want to be with your family and protect your own home if it was happening to you!  It is usual and customary for businesses to send most of their staff home.  The "ride out crews" are there to help guests and offer damage assessments to Disney management.  You will find this comforting, actually, since we got many reports from Disney Echo EARS at WDW for the 2004 series of hurricanes that Disney staff did the utmost for their guests.  However, don't expect room service or housekeeping to change the sheets, instead expect shelter from the storm, until the storm has passed and normal operations like you're used to can resume.  Hurricanes are EMERGENCIES so respect that, suck it in, deal with it, and be PATIENT and pray for Disney and it's employees and their families to ride out the storm and to be safe, themselves.  They are tired of hurricanes after the 2004 season, some of them suffered property losses they may still be dealing with, so having another one come along is not what they want, either.  Understand this, put yourself in their place, realize you chose to travel in hurricane season (June 1-November 30 each year) so just be patient and understanding and even in a hurricane you will find Pixie Dust in your heart and in your life as you develop a tall and interesting travel tale to tell.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 18, 2005, 8:59 pm

Tonight the National Hurricane Center reports that Hurricane Wilma has intensified to a category 2 hurricane -- after having grown to be a hurricane just this morning -- and it is "undergoing rapid intensification."

"Reports from an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 100 mph...160 Km/hr...with higher gusts. This makes Wilma a category two hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. The aircraft reports that the central pressure is falling rapidly... and Wilma is expected to become a major hurricane later tonight or on Wednesday."

< - National Hurricane Center >

Here are the latest weather models of Hurricane Wilma's projected path, as of tonight:



And here is what chief meteorolgist Jeff Masters at Weather Underground has written tonight... If he's right, it will be good news for Walt Disney World:

"Wilma started moving WNW at 8 mph today, as all the computer models predicted she would. The models are pretty unified, bringing Wilma through the Yucatan Channel or across the western tip of Cuba, and then northeastward into the Florida Keys or the west coast of Florida by the weekend. Two models (the UKMET and GFS) predict that Wilma will pass just south of the Keys. The furthest north model is the Canadian, which picks Sarasota for its landfall. The GFDL, NOGAPS, and the official NHC forecast are in the middle, with a landfall over the Everglades of Southwest Florida. The NOAA jet is scheduled to makes its first flight tonight, and tomorrow morning we should have a better idea of which part of Florida is at most risk. Climatology favors a more southern track, and I expect that we'll see the models converge on a more southerly track through the Keys in the runs we see Wednesday morning.

"Wilma's rapid intensification phase continues, with another 9 mb drop in the past 1 1/2 hours, for a total of 16 mb in the past three hours. The 7:09 EDT hurricane hunter report found a pressure of 954 mb, and maximum flight level winds at 5000 feet of 101 knots (116 mph). Wilma is a solid Category 2 hurricane, and probably on her way to Category 3 status by early Wednesday morning. The Hurricane Hunters don't fly in Category 2 and stronger hurricanes at 5000 feet altitude very often; I wonder if the next eye penetration will be done at 10,000 feet.

"Wilma has claimed her first victims; up to ten are dead on Haiti in landslides triggered by the hurricane's heavy rains. Mudslides and flooding are also serious problems in the southeastern Cuban provinces of Guantánamo, Santiago de Cuba and < Granma >. Nearly 13 inches (33 cm) of rain was measured at Santiago de Cuba since Wilma's rains began. The Cuban newspaper Granma is reporting 255 homes damaged or destroyed in that town, and sections of the Sevilla-Guamá-Santiago de Cuba highway impassable due to swollen rivers, while landslides have blocked the Cordovelo-Loma Blanca road. In Jamaica, widespread flooding has cut off several communities and caused millions in damage to roads. All schools are closed on the island through Thursday and hospitals are taking only emergency patients. Rainfall rates as high as two inches per hour have been observed in the Blue Mountains of south-central Jamaica this afternoon.

"Wilma's eye diameter is now a very tiny 8 nm (9 miles), up one mile since last report, but still very small for a hurricane. It will be interesting to see how long Wilma can maintain an eye that small; I expect the eyewall will collapse by morning and an eyewall replacement cycle will begin, with Wilma leveling out at Category 3 strength. The eye is now very prominent on satellite imagery, and spiral banding and upper-level outflow continue to improve and cover a larger area."

< Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meteorologist >



Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 19, 2005, 6:41 am

CATEGORY 5, PEOPLE!

If Wilma makes landfall where they think it will, KNOW that WDW is on the "lighter easier" half of it as well as farther from the eyewall.  We were on the lighter easier half of Katrina at our house, and there is significant damage since we're only 25-30 miles from where the eye of Katrina made landfall, but damage is less severe than on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  With that said, IF Wilma stays Category 5 WDW and Orlando will receive significant weather effects, most likely trees down, loss of electricity and telephone and cell phone service, loss of Internet, wind damage, trees falling into buildings and cars and along roads.  Travel delays into and out of the area.  At some point airports will close only to reopen again when the storm is passed.

So monitor the news!

And pray pray pray for the people in Florida! :praying:

Wilma becomes Category 5 monster
The year's most powerful storm poses a 'significant threat' to Florida by the weekend.

Freddy Cuevas | The Associated Press
Posted October 19, 2005, 6:07 AM EDT

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras -- Hurricane Wilma strengthened into a Category 5 monster early this morning packing 175 mph winds, and forecasters said a key reading of the storm's pressure showed it to be the most powerful of the year.

Wilma was dumping rain on Central America and Mexico, and forecasters warned of a "significant threat" to Florida by the weekend.

The storm's power multiplied greatly over the last day. It was only Tuesday morning that Wilma grew from a tropical storm into a weak hurricane with 80 mph winds.

Wilma's pressure readings Wednesday morning indicated that it was the strongest hurricane of the season, said Trisha Wallace, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Wilma had a reading of 892 millibars, the same reading as a devastating unnamed hurricane that hit the Florida Keys in 1935.

"We do not know how long it will maintain this Category 5 state," Wallace said.

Jamaica, Cuba, Nicaragua and Honduras were getting heavy rain from the storm, though it wasn't likely to make landfall in any of those countries, she said. Forecasts showed it would likely turn toward the narrow Yucatan Channel between Cuba and Mexico's Cancun region -- then move into the storm-weary Gulf.

By 2 a.m. EDT, the hurricane was centered about 170 miles southwest of Grand Cayman Island and about 400 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico. It was moving toward the west-northwest at nearly 8 mph, according to the Hurricane Center.

"It does look like it poses a significant threat to Florida by the weekend. Of course, these are four- and five-day forecasts, so things can change," said Dan Brown, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center.

Wilma already had been blamed for one death in Jamaica as a tropical depression Sunday. It has flooded several low-lying communities and triggered mudslides that blocked roads and damaged several homes, said Barbara Carby, head of Jamaica's emergency management office. She said that some 250 people were in shelters throughout the island.

While some Florida residents started preparing by buying water, canned food and other supplies, hurricane shutters hadn't gone up yet in Punta Gorda, on Florida's Gulf coast, and no long lines had formed for supplies or gas.

Still, Wilma's track could take it near that city and other Florida areas hit by Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 storm, in August 2004. The state has seen seven hurricanes hit or pass close by since then, causing more than $20 billion in estimated damage and killing nearly 150 people.

In Mexico, the MTV Latin America Video Music Awards ceremony, originally scheduled to be held Thursday at a seaside park south of Cancun, was moved up one day to avoid possible effects from Wilma.

The storm is the record-tying 12th hurricane of the season, the same number reached in 1969; 12 is the most in one season since record-keeping began in 1851.

On Monday, Wilma became the Atlantic hurricane season's 21st named storm, tying the record set in 1933 and exhausting the list of names for this year.

The deadly season has already witnessed the devastation of Katrina and Rita in the past two months, which killed more than 1,200 people and caused billions of dollars in damage.

Honduras and its neighbors already are recovering from flooding and mudslides caused earlier this month from storms related to Hurricane Stan. At least 796 people were killed, most of them in Guatemala, with many more still missing.

The government of flood-prone Honduras warned that Hurricane Wilma posed "an imminent threat to life and property of the people of the Atlantic coast." Neighboring Nicaragua also declared an alert.

Honduran President Ricardo Maduro declared "a maximum alert" along the northern coast and his office said emergency personnel and resources had been sent to the area, where evacuations were possible.

In Nicaragua, national disaster prevention chief Geronimo Giusto said the army, police and rescue workers were being mobilized and evacuation points readied.

Authorities in the Cayman Islands earlier called an alert.

Forecasters said Wilma should avoid the central U.S. Gulf coast that was devastated by Katrina and Rita. "There's no scenario now that takes it toward Louisiana or Mississippi, but that could change," said Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center.

The six-month hurricane season ends Nov. 30. Wilma is the last on the list of storm names for 2005; there are 21 names on the yearly list because the letters Q, U, X, Y and Z are skipped.

If any other storms form, letters from the Greek alphabet would be used, starting with Alpha, for the first time. Storms have gotten alphabetical names only in the past 60 years.

There have been 10 late-season hurricanes of Category 3 or higher since 1995.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 19, 2005, 6:46 am

Copying and pasting so anyone can follow Orlando conditions.  Watch streaming video from TV stations via the Internet, listen to streaming audio from radio stations via the Internet, read the Orlando Sentinel's coverage online anytime from anywhere via the Internet.

You can follow local Central Florida weather coverage, particularly of hurricanes, freezes or extreme weather events by going to the following links. Remember to scroll down and down and down if you have to or otherwise use interactive search engines on these sites. Look for headlines having to do with "tourism industry" or "Disney" or "Walt Disney World" or "theme parks" or "hotels" or anything related to Central Florida tourism, Walt Disney World and the weather. Even if you are visiting Orlando and simply want to know the weather, you can view local weather forecast information through these links.

WFLF AM 540  News Talk:

< http://www.540wfla.com/main.html >

WDBO AM 580  News, Weather & Traffic:

< http://580wdbo.com/ >

Orlando Business Journal:

< http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/ >

Orlando Sentinel, You will have to join to read some articles in the archive, but it's free of charge and you can read "today" stories today. :

< http://www.orlandosentinel.com/ >  

WESH-TV Channel 2  NBC:  

< http://www.wesh.com/index.html >

WKMG-TV Channel 6  CBS:  

< http://www.local6.com/index.html >

WFTV-TV Channel 9  ABC:

< http://www.wftv.com/index.html >

WOFL-TV Channel 35  Fox:

< http://www.wofl.com/ >


Jbrowna has this information to offer about WDW preparations under hurricane conditions, I hope this reassures anyone needing the information.

< http://new.disneyecho.emuck.com/cgi-bin....9;st=10 >


These are the counties where Walt Disney World Properties are.  Be willing, site by site, to use serach engines or scroll or click around to find information.

ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA Office of Emergency Management
Hurricane Preparedness Page
Click on links to learn about hurricanes and what to do before and after one:

< http://www.ocoem.com/9_99/all_hazards/Hurricane/Hurricane.htm >

OSCEOLA COUNTY, FLORIDA

Frequently Asked Questions Page:

< http://www.osceola.org/index.c....AQ >

Supply kit contents should be:

< http://www.osceola.org/index.c....Prepare >

Links to .pdf files of local maps to download of Central Florida, Kissimmee and Osceola County:

< http://www.osceola.org/index.c....s >

Emergency services standard operating procedures links:

< http://www.osceola.org/index.c....ES_ESOP >

CITY OF ORLANDO, Home page will have links to specific weather emergency information and Frequently Asked Questions:

< http://www.ci.orlando.fl.us/ >

CITY OF KISSIMMEE Home page will feature links to emergency announcements:

< http://www.kissimmee.org/ >

STATE OF FLORIDA Family Preparedness Guide in .pdf format, full color, choose language:

< http://www.myflorida.com/myflorida/family_prepare_guide.html >

STATE OF FLORIDA home page, use site's search engine to go to specific areas of concern:

< http://www.myflorida.com/ >

ORLANDO TRAFFIC Information:

< http://www.traffic.com/Orlando-Traffic/Orlando-Traffic-Reports.html >

< http://www.wftv.com/traffic/index.html >

Link to highway information and road closures:

< http://www.dot.state.fl.us/publicinformationoffice/trafficwarnings.htm >


Ed McCann / edcrbnsoul posted:
Quote
I dont know how many of you have Weatherbug on your PC < http://www.weatherbug.com/ > but one of the sites you can get live weather from is the top of the CRT and they have another at the top of the Dolphin (that one also has a webcam that is pointed at the top of Spaceship Earth.



Rich Koster posted:

Group: Super ModEARator

Posted: June 10, 2005 12:37 am/pm Quote
Port Canaveral is home port to Disney Cruise Line's Disney Magic and Disney Wonder cruise ships (but the Disney Magic is temporarliy based out of California this summer for the special 50th Anniversary Celebration) and you can check out the official Port Canaveral website here:

< http://www.portcanaveral.org/ >

Last year that website was offering a live webcam showing the cruise ship activity at Port Canaveral, but I don't see that webcam this year.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 19, 2005, 6:50 am

Major national class sports event in Orlando and WDW this weekend, the Funai Golf Classic at WDW, with Tiger Woods participaring.  Happening Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Monitor news and ABC-TV and ESPN on cable or satellite for activity.
Posted by: DisneyWidower on Oct. 19, 2005, 6:51 am

Well -- we fly out of Buffalo around 7:00 pm on Saturday -- heading for Orlando for a 10 day stay in WDW. We should arrive the same time as Wilma I'd say.

I wonder if the Funai golf tournament we bought tickets for will have a rain delay?  ;)

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 19, 2005, 7:30 am

Good luck, Mark! We'll be praying for you, and all in the path of Hurricane Wilma. :praying:

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 19, 2005, 7:43 am



Below is the latest map showing all the computer models of the projected path of Hurricane Wilma, the most powerful hurricane of all time:



Below is the latest projected path map (as of 5 AM EDT Wednesday, 10/19/05) from the National Hurricane Center of Hurricane Katrina's predicted area of landfall, with all the computer models averaged into the white dotted line ...



Click here to see the map larger.


For the latest information and the latest forecast map information, < click here. >



From < Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist >:

There has never been a hurricane like Wilma before. With an unbelievable round of intensification that saw the pressure drop 85 mb in just 12 hours, Wilma smashed the all-time record for lowest pressure in an Atlantic hurricane this morning. The 4 am hurricane hunter report put the pressure at 884 mb from a dropsonde, and the meteorologist reported an even lower 881 mb pressure extrapolated from 10,000 feet flight altitude. This easily bests the previous record of 888 mb set in Hurricane Gilbert of 1988. The eye of Wilma during this round of intense deepening oscillated between 2 and 4 nautical miles, and the area of hurricane force winds only covered an area up to 15 miles from the center. This is an incredibly compact, amazingly intense hurricane, the likes of which has never been seen. The Hurricane Season of 2005 keeps topping itself with new firsts, and now boasts three of the five most intense hurricanes of all time--Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.

I'll be back with a much more detailed blog later this morning, when I've had time to digest these events. I'll talk about what it was like to be the flight meteorologist on the Hurricane Gilbert flight that set the previous record for most intense Atlantic hurricane.

We're living history this year, everybody, this is a once-in-a-lifetime hurricane season.

< Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist >

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 19, 2005, 8:59 am

The Florida Keys will be under a mandatory evacuation order for visitors and non-residents starting at noon today.

It could make landfall on the Florida coast and/or the Florida Keys on Saturday or Sunday.

Posted by: JCricket on Oct. 19, 2005, 9:29 am

:(   We'll be arriving at Ft. Wilderness on Sunday at about noontime, I hope Wilma decides to either go in a different direction, or speed up a bit!
Posted by: mamaloya on Oct. 19, 2005, 9:39 am

Well, I am sure glad that FL raised their building codes after Andrew.  I wish NO had gotten wise after Camille and Betsy.  After Camille, Southern Plaquemines actually lowered the code, maybe not officially, but pretty much everything built down there after Camille were aluminum buildings and lots of trailers.  They were ripped to shreds by Katrina.  Of course even the houses were gone.  Our house stood, but is still beyond repair and needs to be dozed due to the flooding.  The houses that faired best were the ones from real brick (not the brick facade ones).  Of course in my pictures you see Riverview BC which was solid cinder block.  It stood, but its front wall came down and all the windows were gone, needs to be dozed.  I was told that it was the water rushing in that did more damage than the wind.

I am sure that FL will fare better than NO.  They have better built structures and, IMHO, a better prepared governor.  We hopefully also learned something from Katrina that will help.  After what they went through last year, they really don't need this.  I hope that Wilma just evaporates.  

Now, just a little anxiety speaking here, but is it possible that Wilma will pull an Andrew and go straight across FL and then into the Atlantic and come to NC?  I know, "BITE MY TONGUE!"  Just a concern I have.  Hopefully the Atlantic waters are cooler this time of year and will cause it to weaken.  Just worrying is all.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 19, 2005, 11:05 am

Quote (mamaloya @ Oct. 19, 2005 08:39 am/pm)
Now, just a little anxiety speaking here, but is it possible that Wilma will pull an Andrew and go straight across FL and then into the Atlantic and come to NC?  I know, "BITE MY TONGUE!"  Just a concern I have.  Hopefully the Atlantic waters are cooler this time of year and will cause it to weaken.  Just worrying is all.

That old Buffalo Springfield song from the '60s "Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep, starts when you're always afraid, come out let the man come and take you away, better stop, now, what's that sound, everybody look what's goin' down..."

They can only forecast (to the public) five days into the future.  The storm tracks you are seeing are for the next five days out.  Whether it turns towards the East Coast after heading into the Atlantic after crossing Florida...  Who knows?

I mean, who knew a hurricane would ever hit Spain?  But one did!

Steering currents, high and low pressure systems shifting around, anything can happen.  This is why hurricanes are never 100% predictable.  National Hurricane Center has had a darn good record this year, their tracks have mostly been right on.  But even NHC doesn't completely know for sure.

These things when they make landfall cause a lot of havoc inland.  Make SURE you're insured if you think you could ever suffer losses.    Renters, homeowners, car, flood, health, disability, life insurance...  Get riders for any valuables, antiques, heirlooms or collectibles.

Watch the news, look up National Hurricane Center forecasts.  Knowledge is power, knowledge is confidence.  So go get knowledgable.  And prepare if you think you have valid reason to and not just out of "nervous Nellie" inclinations.  So keep abreast of the news.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 19, 2005, 8:45 pm



The 8 PM EDT (Wednesday Oct. 19, 2005) advisory from the National Hurricane Center shows Wilma as a potentially catastrophic category five hurricane.

Don't take hurricanes for granted! Even when Hurricane Katrina was crossing Florida as a small hurricane, it created a lot of damage. And remember that if a hurricane would hit WDW again like it did two different times last year, Fort Wilderness was closed for a while until downed trees could be removed and buildings repaired.

The Florida Keys are already evacuated of tourists and non-residents. It is also recommended that everyone in the entire peninsula of Florida (and that includes central Florida where WDW is) and the Florida Keys to "closely monitor the progress of extremely dangerous Hurricane Wilma."

Below is the latest projected path map (as of 5 AM EDT Wednesday, 10/19/05) from the National Hurricane Center of Hurricane Katrina's predicted area of landfall, with all the computer models averaged into the white dotted line ...



Click here to see the map larger.


For the latest information and the latest forecast map information, < click here. >



< Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist > writes:
The Hurricane Hunters reached the storm at 2:06 pm EDT, and reported a pressure of 892 mb, ten mb higher than the Atlantic record lowest pressure of 882 mb set this morning. The 3:56 pm EDT hurricane eye report showed the same pressure, 892 mb. Peak winds measured at flight level were 141 knots in the southern eyewall, compared to 162 knots measured this morning. Infrared satellite imagery shows that the cloud tops have warmed a bit since this morning, and Wilma is a weaker storm--but still a Category 5 capable of catastrophic damage. The eye diameter measured by the hurricane hunters was still a very tiny 5 nm, and an second concentric eyewall with diameter 10 nm has formed. This indicates that Wilma may soon undergo an eyewall replacement cycle, and will weaken to a Category 4 storm.



Where will Wilma go?

There is now a high degree of uncertainty in the forecast for Wilma. NHC has not adjusted the official forecast much with the 5 pm advisory, other than to slow down Wilma a bit. However, a major shift in the model guidance occurred with the just completed 12Z (8 am) runs, that may force NHC to make major modifications to the official forecast if further model runs continue to show this shift. Three of the top models--the GFS, GFDL, and UKMET models--now show that the trough of low pressure that was expected to pull Wilma sharply northwards and then northeast across Florida is progressing slower than expected, and will not dig as far south. If this forecast verifies, it would be very bad news for Mexico. Wilma may not pass east of Mexico through the Yucatan Channel as originally thought, and may instead make a landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula near Cozumel or Cancun Island on Thursday night or Friday morning, probably as a Category 4 hurricane.

However, this would be very good news for Florida. Any encounter with the Yucatan Peninsula would cause a serious disruption of the hurricane, and make it unlikely that Wilma could affect Florida as a major hurricane. A hit on southwest Florida as a Category 1 or 2 hurricane would be most likely, and the arrival of the hurricane would be delayed until Sunday. It is quite possible that Wilma would not affect Florida as a hurricane at all; the GFDL model forecasts that Wilma will spend three days over Mexico and emerge off the coast as a tropical storm and pass south of Cuba. So, if I lived in Florida and was thinking about evacuating today, I would wait another day and see what the forecast tomorrow brings. Keep in mind, though, that the NOGAPS model, which is one of the top four models for tracking hurricanes, is still showing that Wilma will pass through the Yucatan Channel and a make landfall in southwest Florida as a major hurricane. The Canadian model is showing this as well.

< - Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist >



Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 19, 2005, 9:29 pm

Yoo Hoo, EchoEars!

I just found the following on the National Hurricane Center's website < here > -- and it points out what I've been saying: Don't rely so much on the official dotted lines for the projected path of Hurricane Wilma... Anyplace in the projected "bubble" could be where Wilma winds up going -- including Walt Disney World.

As the forecaster says below, he is less confident of the hurricane computer model projections shown above, so don't let your guard down anywhere along the Florida peninsula...



Hurricane Wilma Discussion Number  18
NWS TPC/National Hurricane Center Miami FL
5 PM EDT Wed Oct 19 2005

Agreement among the track guidance models...which had been very good over the past couple of days...has completely collapsed today. The 06z runs of the GFS...GFDL...and NOGAPS models accelerated Wilma rapidly toward New England under the influence of a large low pressure system in the Great Lakes region. All three of these models have backed off of this solution...with the GFDL showing an extreme change...with its 5-day position shifting a mere 1650 NMI From its previous position in Maine to the western tip of Cuba. There is almost as much spread in the 5-day positions of the 12Z GFS ensemble members...which range from the Yucatan to well east of the Delmarva Peninsula. What this illustrates is the extreme sensitivity of Wilma's future track to its interaction with the Great Lakes low. Over the past couple of days...Wilma has been moving slightly to the left or south of the model guidance...and the left-most of the guidance solutions are now showing Wilma delaying or missing the connection with the low. I have slowed the official forecast just a little bit at this time...but if Wilma continues to move more to the left than expected...substantial changes to the official forecast may have to be made down the line. Needless to say...confidence in the forecast track...especially the timing...has decreased considerably.




From Rich: Also be sure to "keep a weather eye" on the < strike probabilities chart here > at the National Hurricane Center. Florida cities are starting to show up on the chart -- even ones in the Florida panhandle... For that matter, New Orleans is on the chart as well.
:uhoh:

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 20, 2005, 7:45 am



Mandatory evacuations will begin tomorrow for parts of southern Florida. At noon tomorrow everybody living from the Seven Mile Bridge to Key West has to evacuate. At 3 pm tomorrow everyone from Long Key Bridge to the Seven Mile Bridge will also be under a mandatory evacuation -- this includes Marathon and the rest of the middle Keys.

Officials want evacuees to keep driving north past Orlando if they are looking for a shelter.

The 4 AM CDT (Thursday Oct. 20, 2005) advisory from the National Hurricane Center shows Hurricane Wilma's maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 150 mph with higher gusts and it is now a category four hurricane but is still extremely dangerous, heading toward the Yucatan
Pensinsula...for now.... Some re-strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours.

The Florida Keys have been evacuated of tourists and non-residents. It is also still recommended that everyone in the entire peninsula of Florida (and that includes central Florida where WDW is) and the Florida Keys to "closely monitor the progress of extremely dangerous Hurricane Wilma."

Below is the latest projected path map (as of 4 AM EDT Thursday, 10/20/05) from the National Hurricane Center of Hurricane Katrina's predicted area of landfall, with all the computer models averaged into the white dotted line ...



Click here to see the map larger.


For the latest information and the latest forecast map information, < click here. >



Where will Wilma go?

< Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist > wrote at 2:45 AM GMT on October 20, 2005:
Just a quick update on the latest model runs: The 18Z (2 pm EDT) runs of the GFS and GFDL models have swung back towards Florida, and predict that the Yucatan may only get a quick (but severe) blow. The amount of weakening that might happen with Wilma over the Yucatan for just 12 hours or so is difficult to gauge. Also, there is the possibility of a threat to New England--the latest GFDL model run has Wilma hitting the Cape Cod area as a Category 2 hurricane on Monday night. I'll wait for the 00Z (8pm EDT) runs of the models that will be available in the morning before commenting more. The degree of uncertainty in both the track and intensity forecast of Wilma remains very high.

< - Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist >



Computer model tracks for Hurricane Wilma.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 20, 2005, 12:32 pm

Look on this page of the existing Hurricane Wilma thread for information and sources that I posted, will assist you or anyone WDW-bound in getting info, a post CarolKoster posted Oct 18 and the top of the next page a post CarolKoster posted Oct 19

< http://new.disneyecho.emuck.com/cgi-bin....;st=110 >

< http://new.disneyecho.emuck.com/cgi-bin....;st=120 >

Just scroll down, you WILL find these posts I made.  Wade through the text, it's important relevant info based on the busy 2004 hurricane season in Florida as affected WDW.

Now, Orlando will be on the EASIER side of Wilma as it makes landfall.  That is NOT to say Orlando is guaranteed to get off scott-free!  IF Wilma stays a strong storm, the WESTERN SIDE even though the "easier" side WILL get damage!  It happened to us in Louisiana for Katrina.  Our state was on the western side of Katrina, and there are LOTS of trees down, wind damage, trees into buildings and on top of cars.  The farther WEST you are the better it gets.  But Wilma is a large sized storm, can cover up a lot of land area.  Local to us with Katrina there was damage even 50+ miles west of the eyewall coming over Slidell and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Wilma will make landfall with the most severe side to the south and southeast of Orlando generally, and the "easier" side to the north and northwest.  If the storm's track moves it to a more northern landfall, Orlando will be closer to it and will feel more from it, if the storm's landfall is farther south Orlando will feel less effects, however it will experience Wilma in some way.

The 2004 Hurricane season was severe in Florida.  WDW recovered quickly but even in April 2005 when we were there we could still see blue tarps on some roofs in Orlando and there may be people in Orlando still recovering in their personal lives from those storms.  Another storm such as Wilma can undo a lot of recovery work in the last 11-14 months since those three 2004 storms went over.

Florida is a richer, better prepared state that handled the 4 hurricanes in 2004 well, although it takes a very long time to recover from so many storms.  They have a better governor, and Orlando's mayor and the city are certainly well experienced.  The building codes are superior and Orlando is inland and not below sea level, there are no levees in Central Florida.  So what happened in New Orleans is not going to happen in Central Florida.  With that said, there could still be wind damage.  However, guests at WDW hotels fared well and praise Disney for their care for guests who sheltered there even though the original intent of guests was to be there for vacation.

Last year for the three Central Florida hurricanes that went near, passed or almost over WDW-Orlando:  Disney was gracious and permitted travellers to cancel their plans if the travellers didn't want to deal with being there for the storms.  I don't honestly know what Disney may be doing about Wilma, except inland is where Floridians themselves want to be and Disney would in fact be housing Flordians seeking safe shelter inland.

Use the "Search" features of Disney Echo to look up Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne.  Anyway, we maintained threads of the before-during-after of those three Central Florida 2004 storms, each of the storms, and you can see for yourself what to expect and how guests were informed and treated.  Research it, get reassurance.  Get peace of mind and look those up.  

"Search" feature:  Scroll to the top of this page you are reading now.  See FIVE BUTTONS going across the top of the page.  The farthest left one says "Search".  Use that, and follow the prompts.  Use keywords Charley, Frances or Jeanne.  You should find long thick threads dated between August and Deptember 2004.

If you are truly worried:  Contact your travel agent, airline, airport-to-resort transporation companies, anyone you have dining reservations with, anyone you have tickets with (shows, the parks, etc.) and Disney Guest Services directly and determine for yourself what is going on, what the status is, if you can be refunded, if things will be postponed, if you can get "rain checks" to do those plans another time, when or if they will shut down and their policies for when they will resume services, etc.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 20, 2005, 1:50 pm

Quote (CarolKoster @ Oct. 20, 2005 11:32 am/pm)
Now, Orlando will be on the EASIER side of Wilma as it makes landfall.

We cannot assume that, merely based on the dotted line of a projected path that Wilma might go.



North of Orlando is still in the bubble of where Wilma could go, so be prepared for anything, including WDW being on the side of the hurricane that has worse winds.



Click here to see the map larger.


For the latest information and the latest forecast map information, < click here. >

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Florida.



< Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist >, 1:54 PM GMT on October 20, 2005:

Hurricane Wilma continues across the western Caribbean towards Mexico as a extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane capable of massive destruction. Wilma is currently undergoing a collapse of her inner eyewall, which will cause a short weakening trend that may last the remainder of the day. The inner eyewall of eight miles diameter is collapsing, and a new eyewall of 40 miles diameter is forming. This will reduce Wilma's peak winds to perhaps 135 mph today, at the low end of Category 4 strength. We'll have to wait until the next hurricane hunter mission arrives around 4 pm today to verify if this is the case.

As Wilma's eye reforms at a much larger size, the hurricane should begin to intensify again, and a return to Category 5 strength by Friday afternoon is a possibility. The larger eye will result in a much larger area being exposed to the extreme winds of the eyewall. If Wilma makes landfall along the Yucatan Peninsula, a stretch of coast perhaps 50 miles long will experience extreme damage.



Where will Wilma go?

There is still a high degree of uncertainty in the forecast for Wilma. NHC has not adjusted the official forecast much the past few days, which is wise when the computer models are having difficulty. A trough of low pressure moving across the central U.S. should turn Wilma northwest today towards Cozumel Island, and then due north by tomorrow. However, once Wilma reaches the vicinity of Cancun and Cozumel, the storm is expected to slow to a crawl or stall for 12 - 48 hours. This will result in the northeast tip of the Yucatan Peninsula receiving a horrific pounding, particularly if the eye comes ashore. This weekend is a very bad weekend to be a tourist in Cancun.

Finally, by Saturday, strong westerly winds will build in behind the trough and carry Wilma rapidly northeastward across South Florida or the waters between Florida and Cuba.
The absolutely critical thing is--where will Wilma stall out? The GFDL model believes Wilma will push inland over the tip of the Yucatan, and spend two days overland, and weaken to a tropical storm. The UKMET model believes Wilma will stall in the Yucatan Channel, and not lose much strength. The other models have modest variations on these two themes. The difference in postions is only 100 miles or so. This is impossible to reliably forecast even 12 hours in advance, given the weak steering currents that are likely to exist Friday. Will will just have to wait and see what happens. Very small changes in storm position will cause huge changes in Wilma's intensity.

A long encounter with the Yucatan Peninsula would cause a serious disruption of the hurricane. While the waters are still warm enough to support intensification once she starts moving through the Gulf of Mexico towards Florida, there will be increasing wind shear associated with the westerly winds driving Wilma that will inhibit intensification. In addition, Wilma will only have a day or so to intensify, as the westerly winds will accelerate her to a forward speed of about 30 mph once she approaches Florida. Wilma's likely intensity once she reaches Florida is tropical storm to Category 3 strength.



What kind of storm surge might affect Florida?

One can see from the storm surge map above that the southwest coast of Florida is very prone to high storm surges. This is because the Continental Shelf extends about 100 miles offshore, creating a very shallow area for the storm surge waters to build up in. If Wilma does hit the southwest coast of Florida as a Category 3 hurricane, which is the upper end of the intensity I think is likely, a 10 - 16 foot storm surge could flood most of Naples and all of Marco. Given the expected high forward speed of the hurricane at landfall in Florida--25 to 30 mph--regions to the south side of where the eye makes landfall will receive far greater wind damage and storm surge than is typical for a hurricane.

After Florida, then what?

After crossing Florida, Wilma is threat to the northern Bahama Islands. Wilma should pass well offshore North Carolina, but close enough to bring tropical storm force winds to the Outer Banks. Wilma is expected to merge with a large low pressure system as she approaches Maine of Nova Scotia about five days from now, and could bring tropical storm force winds to New England and the Canadian Maritime provinces.

< - Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist >



Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 20, 2005, 6:11 pm

I hate in hurricane season the wishes and prayers that hurricanes "go somewhere else, not 'here'".  No one wishes harm on anyone else!  Obviously, Katrina and Rita, Charley, Ivan, Jeanne and Frances all had to go "somewhere"!  I can tell you even in Hurricane Katrina country where we live you do not want the misery several Louisiana parishes are experiencing wished upon even your worst enemy.  What people local to us are suffering with, it's just terrible.

But it's inevitable within Hurricane Alley (the border of Texas-Mexico, along the Gulf Coast, on up the Atlantic Coast) that between June 1 and November 30 these storms will form nad have to go somewhere!

Those concerned for Orlando and WDW and Port Canaveral (Disney Cruise Line terminal) should pray Wilma stays as far south as possible.  That would brush Wilma, along one track I see, across Miami, which just got Katrina when Katrina was a Category 1 storm.  This isn't ideal, either.  The farther away any place is from the eyewall and on the western side of it (as it makes landfall the northern and northwestern half of Wilma) the "easier" that half will have it, less damage to deal with, etc.

As these things go, these are the best to hope for:  For it to move farther away or to be on the northwest side.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 20, 2005, 6:56 pm

From < Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist >, 9:05 PM GMT on October 20, 2005:

Hurricane Wilma made its expected turn northwest, and is now headed towards Cozumel Island as an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane capable of massive destruction. A new hurricane hunter plane arrived at the center at 2:45 pm EDT, and found a central pressure of 918 mb and surface winds of 150 mph. The 4:16 pm report had the same pressure and winds, so Wilma has leveled out in intensity. Wilma has completed an eyewall replacement cycle, and now has a large 40 mile diameter eye. Some intensification is likely the next 18 hours before Wilma comes ashore in the Yucatan. It is possible Wilma can eclipse its record 882 mb pressure, but she probably will not have enough time to do that.



Topography of the ocean bottom. Where a long expanse of shallow waters over the Continental Shelf (light blue) exist next to the coast, one can expect increased storm surge potential. The waters off the coast of Cancun/Cozumel are quite deep, limiting the maximum potential storm surge to about 11 feet. The Continental Shelf is quite extensive off the west coast of Florida, making that region prone to large storm surges. Image credit: NOAA.

Wilma's impact on Mexico

Wilma's impact on Mexico is likely to be catastrophic. A 50-mile wide stretch of coast will receive Category 4 to 5 sustained winds of over 150 mph, causing incredible damage. As Wilma sits in place for two days, the long duration of high winds will cause far more damage than a quickly moving storm would. The long duration extreme winds will probably cause some of the worst wind damage ever seen in a hurricane. The storm surge will not be as much as a problem, because deep water just offshore will prevent a huge storm surge from piling up. Still, the expected storm surge of up to 11 feet will cause widespread damage to coastal structures.In adddition, rainfall amounts of 15 - 25 will cause serious flooding. Wilma is likely to be Mexico's worst weather disaster in history.

Where will Wilma go?
A trough of low pressure moving across the central U.S. has turned Wilma more to the northwest today, on a track towards Cozumel Island. The lastest 12Z (8am EDT) runs of all four major models used to track hurricanes--the GFS, GFDL, NOGAPS, and UKMET--agree on a landfall on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula Friday, followed by a one to two day period of slow and erratic movement over land. By Sunday, strong westerly winds fill in behind the trough and pick up Wilma, and move her across South Florida by Monday. Once Wilma does make the crossing from Mexico to Florida, I expect little change in strength. While the waters are still warm enough to support intensification, this will be offset by increasing wind shear associated with the westerly winds driving Wilma.

How believable is all this? As we've seen many times this hurricane season, when the models come into alignment, it's usually a good sign that the forecast is correct. This is particularly true when data from the NOAA jet is used to initialize the models, which is the case here. However, in a case where the steering currents are weak, there is much less confidence. In addition, just a small 100 mile error in forecast means the difference between Wilma staying over warm waters and maintaining its intensity, or moving ashore and weakening significantly. The Canadian model (which has not performed well with Wilma) is forecasting that she will stay primarily over water the next three days.

Given all these factors, I'd give Wilma a 10% chance of arriving on the Florida west coast as a Category 3 or higher storm, 20% as a Category 2, 40% as a Category 1, and 30% as a tropical storm. On Florida's east coast, knock these value down by half a Category (10 - 15 mph).

After Florida, then what?

There is no change to the forecast. After crossing Florida, Wilma is threat to the northern Bahama Islands. Wilma should pass well offshore North Carolina, but close enough to bring tropical storm force winds to the Outer Banks. Wilma is expected to merge with a large low pressure system as she approaches Maine or Nova Scotia next week, and could bring tropical storm force winds to Cape Cod, Maine, and the Canadian Maritime provinces.

What's behind Wilma?

There is a large area of disorganized thunderstorms near 12N 57W, about 300 miles east of the Leeward Islands. Wind shear is too high to permit development of this area over the next day or two.

< - Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist >



Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 20, 2005, 7:01 pm

Orlando Sentinel website, might as well hear from their local daily newspaper what's going on.  They might mention Disney, so it's a purposeful read:

< http://www.orlandosentinel.com/ >

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 21, 2005, 9:17 am

Hurricane Wilma's eye wall is making landfall right now at Cozumel, Mexico as a category 4 hurricane -- but is still expected to turn towards Florida and make landfall someplace in that state sometime Monday, perhaps Monday afternoon.

Traffic is already backed up on interstate 75 as Florida residents evacuate.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 21, 2005, 9:36 am

Where Hurricane Wilma will go when it comes to Florida is still uncertain. Take a look at the projected paths from the computer models posted yesterday (scroll up five messages on this page) and compare them to this morning's computer models:



Two of them are still close to Orlando/Walt Disney World, although if the hurricane goes where those two paths are shown, it will be to WDW's south -- but strong winds on the east side of the hurricane will still be moving through WDW and the central Florida area as Wilma approaches.

And even though the National Hurricane Center's dotted line (showing the average of computer models' projected paths for Hurricane Wilma) remains south of Walt Disney World, Vero Beach and Castaway Cay, note that all of those Disney vacation destinations are well within the bubble of where the hurricane could go.



Click here to see the map larger.


For the latest information and the latest forecast map information, < click here. >

I urge all EchoEars in Florida along the coast to check out storm surge maps for your county at the < floridadisaster.org > website.

In addition to destructive winds and storm surge, Hurricane Wilma is bring a very large amount of rain to Mexico and Cuba -- and could very well do the same when it reaches Florida. So even inland areas far from where a storm surge could reach could still get flooding.

Wilma is expected to produce 10 to 20 inches of rain through Sunday across western Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula, with areas of 40 inches of rain possible -- especially over high areas of western Cuba.  The feeder bands of Hurricane Wilma will continue to bring a lot of rain to Florida as well, especially the Keys, with predictions of 2 to 4 inch rainfall amounts  possible through Sunday.

The National Hurricane Center has reports of a NOAA buoy in the eastern Gulf of Mexico already getting large swells of seawater and these swells are predicted to affect parts of the
northern Gulf Coast later today.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 22, 2005, 10:41 am



Below is the latest projected path map (as of 4 AM EDT Saturday, 10/22/05) from the National Hurricane Center of Hurricane Katrina's predicted area of landfall, with all the computer models averaged into the white dotted line ...



Click here to see the map larger.


For the latest information and the latest forecast map information, < click here. >



< Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist > writes: (8:37 PM GMT on October 21, 2005)



How will Wilma affect Florida?

The latest 8 am EDT (12Z) model runs are in, and paint a less rosy picture for Florida than the earlier set of runs. None of the models keep Wilma over land for more than 36 hours, and all the models agree that Wilma should be between Category 1 and Category 3 strength when she crosses Florida on Monday. Wind shear, dry air, and interaction with land will all take their toll on Wilma the next two days, and wind shear will continue to be a problem for her as she crosses the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday and approaches Florida.

However, Wilma is a huge storm, and will be able to maintain much of her strength if she remains over land only 36 hours or less. Given all these factors, I'd give Wilma a 20% chance of arriving on the Florida west coast as a Category 3 or higher storm, 40% as a Category 2, 30% as a Category 1, and 10% as a tropical storm. On Florida's east coast, knock these value down by half a Category (10 - 15 mph). The region of Florida most at risk is no clearer than three days ago, and could still be anywhere from the Keys to middle of the state.

The greatest threat to Florida will be from Wilma's storm surge and winds, since she will be moving too fast to dump more than 5 - 10 inches of rain. The rain will be concentrated on the north side of the hurricane, since there will be some cold air there that will trigger more condensation. Areas to the north of the eye's passage will see winds a full Category--25 to 30 mph--lower than those on the south. This is because the storm's high rate of forward motion, near 25 - 30 mph, will add to the windspeeds seen on the south side of the Wilma's counterclockwise rotation, and subtract on the north side. Storm surges tend to be worse with large and faster moving hurricanes, so I would expect a storm surge higher than average on the west coast of Florida. If Wilma is a Category 2 hurricane at landfall, expect a storm surge characteristic of a Category 3 hurricane. Storm surge flooding should be only 2 - 4 feet on the east coast of Florida, and wind damage will be the main threat there. Since the storm will be moving so fast, the duration of hurricane force winds will be just a few hours.

After Florida, then what?

After crossing Florida, Wilma should bring tropical storm force winds to the northern Bahama Islands, and possibly a 3-hour period of Category 1 hurricane force winds. Wilma should pass close enough to North Carolina's Outer Banks to bring tropical storm force winds and heavy rain there, as well. Wilma could bring strong tropical storm force winds to Cape Cod, Maine, and the Canadian Maritime provinces as she zooms northeast next week.


Figure 2. Early model tracks for disturbance southeast of Puerto Rico.


What's behind Wilma?

A large area of concentrated thunderstorms is near 13N 64W, about 350 miles south-southeast of Puerto Rico. This area has continued to become better organized this afternoon, despite the presence of only marginally favorable wind shear values of 10 - 15 knots. There are indications that a surface circulation center may be forming, and this system will need to be closely watched as it moves west or west-northwest at 15 mph. Wind shear values may decrease enough over the next day or two and allow a tropical depression to form.

< - Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist >




That's right, folks, in addition to Hurricane Wilma now we also have Tropical Depression TWENTY-FIVE!

Posted by: BambiTamby on Oct. 22, 2005, 11:13 pm

This is a record year, Rich!!  :uhoh:

Quote
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Alpha formed Saturday in the Caribbean Sea, setting the record for the most number of storms in an Atlantic hurricane season, forecasters said. Alpha is the season's 22nd tropical storm and marks the first time a letter from the Greek alphabet has been used because the list of storm names is used up. The previous record of 21 storms stood since 1933.

At 8 p.m. EDT, Alpha had sustained winds of about 40 mph _ 1 mph over the threshold for a tropical storm. It was centered about 70 miles south of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, and moving northwest at about 15 mph, the Hurricane Center said.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 5:01 am

As Captain Jack Sparrow said, "Now this is interesting..."

For the first time ever, the National Hurricane Center has run out of hurricane names and they're using the Greek alphabet for tropical storm/hurricane names. Yup, as you posted, Tamby, we've got ourselves Tropical Storm Alpha. Unlike the Alpha and Beta side of Space Mountain in the Magic Kingdom, let's home Alpha doesn't give us a wild ride but continues to stay out in the Atlantic away from land.
But first, we still have Hurricane Wilma to worry about.

Below is the latest projected path map (as of 4 AM CDT Sunday, 10/23/05) from the National Hurricane Center of Hurricane Katrina's predicted area of landfall, with all the computer models averaged into the white dotted line ...



Click here to see the map larger.


You can see where hurricane warnings, hurricane watches, tropical storm warnings, and tropical storm watches are now in effect.

For the latest information and the latest forecast map information, < click here. >

The good news is that the "bubble" of where Wilma might go has gotten smaller, but the bad news is that it still looks like there's a chance the hurricane could head for Walt Disney World. Castaway Cay and Disney's Vero Beach Resort still look like they're in danger of being affected by the storm.



< Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist > wrote on October 23, 2005:

Ever since the formation of two major hurricanes in July made it clear that the Hurricane Season of 2005 was going to challenge 1933 as the busiest season ever, I've been expecting to see the words "Tropical Storm Alpha" emblazoned on a hurricane tracking chart. Well, we've got the record now. The formation of Tropical Storm Alpha, the 22nd storm of the season, now makes 2005 the busiest hurricane season of all time. Still, it looks really strange to see the words "Tropical Storm Alpha" on the hurricane tracking charts, and gives a surreal cast to Hurricane Season of 2005 as we approach the Halloween season.

In keeping with the season, we have two very scary storms to talk about. The eye of very dangerous Category 2 Hurricane Wilma is moving offshore the Yucatan mainland this evening, a little earlier than I expected. This makes it more likely Wilma will be a bit stronger at landfall in Florida Monday--perhaps a strong Category 2 with 105 mph winds. We are not good at making intensity forecasts, and Wilma could easily be a Category stronger--or weaker. The argument for a weaker hurricane goes like this: Wilma's inner eyewall has collapsed, leaving an outer eyewall with diameter 80 miles in place. When an inner eyewall collapses like that, it usually takes at least a day for the eyewall to reform, and by a day from now, Wilma will start experiencing increased wind shear which will weaken her down to a Category 1.

The argument for a stronger hurricane goes like this: Wilma still has a large, intact circulation, and is still a Category 2 hurricane. She will not follow the usual normals (since this is the Hurricane Season of 2005, after all), and will re-intensify quickly over the warm waters that nurtured her rise to Category 5 status this week. By late Sunday, she will be a Category 3 hurricane again, and large enough and fast moving enough that the shear affecting her will be unable to significantly weaken her. Wilma will make landfall as a major hurricane on Florida's west coast.

So, both scenarios are plausible, and Florida must be prepared for the arrival of a major hurricane on Monday. Landfall anywhere between Sarasota and the Keys is possible.

A deluge of rain

Rainfall amounts in Mexico from Wilma have been extreme. Isla Mujeres, just offshore from Cancun, has reported almost 35" of rain over the past 1 1/2 days, and at one point reported 4" of rain in one hour between 2 and 3 am EDT today. Rainfall amounts in Cuba have not been nearly so extreme--at least in the areas of western Cuba that are still reporting data. San Juan y Martinez measured 10.7 cm (4.2 inches) of rain the past 24 hours, and storm total rainfall amounts of up to 18 cm (7 inches) have been measured in Cuba's westernmost province. Grand Cayman received five inches, Jamaica's Kingston airport eight inches, and Belize four inches. The north coast of Honduras has had numerous locations receive ten inches of rain, with one unofficial report of 20 inches. Rainfall in Haiti reached 8 - 10 inches, and, triggered flash floods that killed 11 people.



How will Wilma affect Florida?

The latest 8 am EDT (12Z) model runs are in, and continue to agree on the basic scenario that Wilma will move offshore the Yucatan tonight as a weak Category 2 hurricane. On Sunday, the storm will move slowly north and then northeast as westerly winds from a strong trough of low pressure start affecting the storm. There is about an 18-hour window of opportunity for Wilma to re-intensify to a Category 3 hurricane on Sunday. By Sunday night, the Wilma will begin to accelerate, and wind shear will begin to weaken the storm. By Monday morning, Wilma will cross the west coast of Florida between Fort Myers and the Keys as a Category 1, 2, or 3 hurricane. My best guess is that Wilma will be a 110-mph Category 2 hurricane hitting near Marco. Storm surges tend to be worse with large and faster moving hurricanes, so I would expect a storm surge characteristic of a Category 3 hurricane, 10 to 16 feet, in and south of Marco, causing very heavy damage in that city. Fortunately, the area south of Marco is primarily uninhabited--the Everglades swamp. However, if Wilma comes ashore north of Naples--or further south near the Keys--storm surge flood damage in those areas could easily reach billions of dollars. Storm surge flooding should be only 2 - 4 feet on the east coast of Florida, where wind damage is the primary threat.

Wilma's winds and rain

Wilma will be moving too fast to dump more than 5 - 10 inches of rain. The rain will be concentrated on the north side of the hurricane, since there will be a cold front there that will trigger more condensation. Areas to the north of the eye's passage will see winds a full Category--25 to 30 mph--lower than those on the south. This is because the storm's high rate of forward motion, near 25 - 30 mph, will add to the windspeeds seen on the south side of the Wilma's counterclockwise rotation, and subtract on the north side. Since the storm will be moving so fast, the duration of hurricane force winds will be just a few hours.

After Florida, then what?

After crossing Florida, Wilma should bring tropical storm force winds to the northern Bahama Islands, but not hurricane force winds. Wilma should pass close enough to North Carolina's Outer Banks to bring 40 mph winds there. Wilma is not expected to bring high winds to New England, but could bring 50 mph winds to Nova Scotia five days from now.

Tropical Storm Alpha

Alpha has formed 200 miles southeast of Hispanolia. < Long range radar from San Juan, Puerto Rico > shows some increasing spiral banding and echo intensity, and satellite imagery shows a good outflow channel developing to the southeast. Wind shear of about 10 knots is eroding the northwest portion of the storm.



Given the storm's expected track over Haiti, the 8 - 12 inches of rain expected may cause heavy loss of life in that country due to the inability of the deforested hillsides to handle flood waters. The Dominican Republic, which still has 70% of its forest cover, should fare relatively well.

< - Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist >



Posted by: jac1992 on Oct. 23, 2005, 11:49 am

HURRICANE WILMA INFORMATION

There is now an official Hurricane and Flood Warning in place for most of Florida. If you wish for more information on those places in Florida please mail me or e-mail me at: jackachandler@btinternet.com

I will keep you all updated on Hurricane Wilma and will keep checking my mail for any requests.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 1:40 pm

Thank you, Jack! And EchoEars, you can also put any questions you have here, and we'll reply for all to see. Jack, as you hear things or come up with answers to questions you get in email, please also share what you have here in this topic. Thanks!
Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 2:07 pm

Tropical Storm Alpha has been downgraded to a tropical depression.

Hurricane Wilma

Even though WDW might not be directly hit by Hurricane Wilma, predictions are that it could receive tropical storm-force winds and hurricane winds could be felt in the southern sections of central Florida. At the very least, travel on the roads and out of airports will be hindered, affecting those vacationing at WDW and Disney's other FL properties. Disney Cruise Line's port at Port Canaveral will be closed starting tonight, and Disney's Vero Beach Resort will probably be affected in some way.

Florida emergency officials said today on a live press conference not to pay so close attention to the "narrow black line" on the National Hurricane Center's projected path map of Hurricane Wilma, as it will most likely go either north or south of that line.

Below is the latest projected path map (as of 10 AM CDT Sunday, 10/23/05) from the National Hurricane Center of Hurricane Katrina's predicted area of landfall, with all the computer models averaged into the white dotted line ...



Click here to see the map larger.


Even though this map shows where hurricane warnings, hurricane watches, tropical storm warnings, and tropical storm watches are now in effect please consult with your local news/weather media for current advisories about what you should now do to prepare for the hurricane.

The entire state of Florida remains under a state of emergency, declared by Gov. Jeb Bush Saturday to ensure that necessary supplies and disaster response teams are in place for Wilma's arrival. Yesterday he said, "This is the time to prepare." Today in a live press conference he said, "The time to go is now."

Florida has food, water, ice and other supplies ready, as well as disaster-response teams that include up to 7,500 National Guard members.

Tropical storm-force winds may be affecting the WDW/Orlando area as Hurricane Wilma crosses central/southern Florida later today and tomorrow. Even hurricane-force winds might be in southern parts of central Florida.

Important information has been released for residents of most Central Florida counties Sunday afternoon -- Schools are closed in Orange, Seminole, Polk, Lake, Sumter, Brevard, Volusia and Osceola counties Monday -- A curfew will be in effect from dusk Sunday until 5:00 p.m. Monday for the evacuation areas in Brevard County.



Click here to see the projected wind map larger.


The now category two Hurricane Wilma is expected to gain strength over the next 12 hours and may be a category 3 hurricane when it hits Florida.



Click here to see the strike probabilities map larger.


For the latest information and the latest forecast map information, < click here. >



< Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist > wrote this afternoon, October 23, 2005:

Data from satellites, Cancun radar, and the hurricane hunters all show that the inner eyewall is now re-establishing itself over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This inner eyewall has a diameter of about 12 miles, and if it has time to fully form, could generate Category 3 hurricane winds at landfall in southwest Florida... the wind shear will steadily increase, putting an end to Wilma's intensification phase and probably weakening her just before landfall on Monday. Wilma's size and fast forward motion may not give the shear much chance to weaken her significantly, and there is still about a 10% chance that Wilma could hit Florida as a Category 3 hurricane. However, given the limited time Wilma has to re-establish her inner eyewall, and the significant shear expected to assert itself, the most likely intensity at landfall is a Category 2. A Category 1 storm at landfall is a good possibility, as well. Ordinarily, the crossing of the Florida Peninsula should weaken a hurricane by about 10 mph, but in Wilma's case, her winds should be 15 - 20 mph weaker on the east coast of Florida, due to the extra time significant wind shear will have to weaken her.

Assuming my forecast of a landfall near Marco, Florida as a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds is a good one, we can expect a storm surge of 8 to 14 feet near that city and to the south. The Keys would see storm surge flooding of 5 to 8 feet. Fortunately, the area south of Marco is primarily uninhabited--the Everglades swamp. However, if Wilma comes ashore north of Naples--or further south near the Keys--storm surge flood damage in those areas could easily reach billions of dollars. Storm surge flooding should be only 2 - 4 feet on the east coast of Florida, where wind damage is the primary threat.

Wilma's winds and rains

Wilma will be moving too fast to dump more than 5 - 10 inches of rain. The rain will be concentrated on the north side of the hurricane, since there will be a cold front there that will trigger more condensation. Areas to the north of the eye's passage will see winds a full Category--25 to 30 mph--lower than those on the south. This is because the storm's high rate of forward motion, near 25 - 30 mph, will add to the windspeeds seen on the south side of the Wilma's counterclockwise rotation, and subtract on the north side. Since the storm will be moving so fast, the duration of hurricane force winds will be just a few hours.



After Florida, then what?

After crossing Florida, Wilma should bring 50 - 60 mph winds to the northern Bahama Islands, but not hurricane force winds. Wilma should pass close enough to North Carolina's Outer Banks to bring 40 mph winds there and up to an inch of rain. It now appears that Wilma will bring 40 mph winds and 1 - 3 inches of rain to southeast Massachusetts, along with 20 foot waves. Boston, which has already had its fourth wettest October ever with 7.52 inches of rain, may break its October record. Nova Scotia will probably bear the brunt of Wilma's fury, receiving a direct hit by the center, along with 45 - 55 mph winds and rains of 3 - 5 inches.

< - Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist >



Port Canaveral, Disney Cruise Line's home base, will be closing tonight as Hurricane Wilma approaches.

< Curfew set; port closes, bus service canceled >

In anticipation of high winds brought on by Hurricane Wilma, Canaveral Port Authority officials and Coast Guard officials decided to close Port Canaveral at 8 p.m. today.

The port is closed until further notice to all vessel traffic and all non-essential employees are being asked by port officials not to report to work until after the threat.

“We continuously look at the forecast and there are a lot of things to consider when making the decision to shut down a port,” said Port Authority spokeswoman Rosalind Postell. “There is a tremendous impact when a port is shut down and it’s a decision that’s not made quickly.”

Kennedy Space Center and Patrick Air Force Base will be closed Monday, except for mission essential staff.

A curfew will be in effect from dusk tonight until 5 p.m. Monday. This curfew is for the evacuation areas only, which are all mobile home and manufactured housing communities and parks throughout Brevard County. Persons found in these areas who cannot provide proof of residence will be arrested.



< The bottom line: Impact on Florida, Space Coas >

By David Larimer, Florida Today

October 23, 2005

Impact on Florida: According to current computer guidance, Wilma is now expected to arrive in Southwest Florida on Monday morning. The eye is forecast to be near the coast south of Naples, Fla. at 7 a.m. Monday.

Overall, the track has been shifted a bit southward in the 5 a.m. and 11 a.m. advisories. The projection has the eye making landfall south of Naples, sliding south of Lake Okeechobee on a northeast track cross the Florida Peninsula and exiting south of Fort Pierce late Monday morning.

Eye location: The eye at the time of exit could be about 60 to 70 miles south of Melbourne. But forecasters warn that hurricane force winds radiate out 70 miles from the center of Wilma. Tropical storm force winds of at least 39 mph extend out 200 miles from the core.

Wind speeds: Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said Wilma is expected to be a Category 1 or 2 storm as it approaches Florida's west coast with sustained winds around 105 mph. The storm is expected to be a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 75-80 mph as the eye exits the peninsula south of Fort Pierce on Monday.

Brevard County forecast: Widespread rain and isolated thunderstorms are expected tonight with winds increasing to east 35 to 45 mph after midnight. On Monday, winds of 50 to 60 mph with gusts to 75 mph are forecast, decreasing to 45 to 55 mph in the afternoon.

According to the National Weather Service in Melbourne, tropical storm force winds are expected to spread across Brevard starting before 8 a.m. Monday. Hurricane force winds are expected to impact Okeechobee, Martin, southern Osceola and St. Lucie counties by mid-morning possibly spread into Indian River and southern Brevard counties.

Tornadoes: The threat of strong tornadoes will be increasing tonight and early Monday morning, continuing through midday. The greatest risk of tornadoes will be in outer rainbands preceding Wilma and in the inner rainbands near and to the right of the center of Wilma as it rapidly crosses the peninsula, the weather service said.

Late-season tropical cyclones moving in from the Gulf of Mexico have produced killer tornadoes in the past.

Cooler quickly: By Monday night, skies will clear quickly and the counterclockwise winds of Wilma will import cool, dry air into Central Florida. Expect a low in the mid-50s at sunrise Tuesday and high Tuesday afternoon in the lower 70s under sunny skies.

Quote from the National Hurricane Center: "It is important to stress that one should not focus on the exact forecast track since Wilma has a large wind field and significant impacts will likely be felt well away from the center."

Posted by: jac1992 on Oct. 23, 2005, 2:38 pm

I have the most recent data here for parts of Florida with Hurricane and/or Flood Warnings:

These bulletins are currently in effect for your area:
Florida counties

Alachua
FLOOD WATCH

Brevard
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH

Citrus
HURRICANE STATEMENT until 02:30 PM EDT

Flagler
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH

Hernando
HURRICANE STATEMENT until 02:30 PM EDT

Highlands
HURRICANE STATEMENT until 02:30 PM EDT

Hillsborough
HURRICANE STATEMENT until 02:30 PM EDT

Indian River
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH

Lake
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH

Levy
HURRICANE STATEMENT until 02:30 PM EDT

Marion
FLOOD WATCH

Orange
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH

Osceola
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH

Pasco
HURRICANE STATEMENT until 02:30 PM EDT

Pinellas
HURRICANE STATEMENT until 02:30 PM EDT

Polk
HURRICANE STATEMENT until 02:30 PM EDT

Putnam
FLOOD WATCH

Seminole
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH

St Johns
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH

Sumter
HURRICANE STATEMENT until 02:30 PM EDT
Volusia
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH

:hurricanewilma:

Posted by: jac1992 on Oct. 23, 2005, 2:44 pm

HURRICANE WILMA IS A CATEGORY 2 HURRICANE
IT IS EXPECTED TO HIT KEY WEST AT AROUND 9-12PM EDT

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 2:59 pm

In addition to the information Jack is providing, Orlando's "Local6" TV station has these links which are of interest to Disney fans and their Florida Disney vacations:

For information about Orange County, Florida (which Walt Disney World is in part of) < click here for the latest from Orlando's TV 6 >. Among the closures already announced for Monday, Oct. 24th, it has already been announced that all Orange County public schools are closed Monday.

For information about the other Florida county (Osceola) which southwest parts of WDW are located in < click here for the latest from Orlando's TV 6 >. As I write this, the information there reports that Osceola County will be issue evacuation information sometime today or tonight for residents living in manufactured homes and low lying areas prone to flooding in that county. Among other things,  Osceola Schools will be closed on Monday, Oct. 24th.

For information about Brevard County, home of Disney's Cruise Line's port at Port Canaveral, < click here >. In addition to the school closures listed above, all public schools in Brevard County will be closed on Monday, Oct. 24th.

And from < this page on Local6.com > is news that important information has been released for residents of most Central Florida counties Sunday afternoon -- Schools are closed in Orange, Seminole, Polk, Lake, Sumter, Brevard, Volusia and Osceola counties Monday -- A curfew will be in effect from dusk Sunday until 5:00 p.m. Monday for the evacuation areas in Brevard County.

< 9  counties in Florida are now under advisories, watches, or severe weather warnings: >
  • < Northern Brevard County > (Disney Cruise Line's ships dock at Port Canaveral in Northern Brevard County)
  • < Southern Brevard County >
  • < Flagler County >
  • < Northern Lake County >
  • < Southern Lake County >
  • < Orange County (Walt Disney World} >
  • < Osceola County (Walt Disney World) >
  • < Polk County >
  • < Seminole County >
  • < Sumter County >
  • < Coastal Volusia County >
  • < Inland Volusia County >

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 3:17 pm

The Florida Keys may be hit by tropical storm force winds in as little as less than an hour from now.

An inland hurricane warning is in effect for Okeechobee and Osceola counties. Walt Disney World is partially located in Osceola County. The inland hurricane warning will remain in effect until 4 pm EDT Monday. An inland tropical storm warning is in effect for Orange, Lake, Seminole and interior Volusia counties. A large portion of Walt Disney World is located in Orange County.

A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours.

Hurricane Wilma is expected to approach the southwest coast of Florida early on Monday and accelerate very rapidly across the peninsula during the day. All preparedness actions to protect life and property should be completed today.

Based upon the current official forecast from the National Hurricane Center, strong winds from Wilma will begin arriving over east central Florida in the pre-dawn hours Monday. As Wilma races across the peninsula on Monday winds will increase rapidly.

The greatest threat for the strongest winds will be near Lake Okeechobee and Okeechobee County including southernmost portions of Osceola County. Portions of Walt Disney World are located in Osceola County.

An inland hurricane warning is issued when a land falling hurricane is expected to spread hurricane force winds, 74 mph or greater, over interior portions of central Florida during the next 24 hours. Be prepared to move to a small interior room away from windows. If you live in a mobile home, or a home that affords little protection from flying debris, evacuate to a more secure building. Many mobile homes may experience significant damage from the hurricane force winds and falling trees especially in Okeechobee County.

Do not focus on the exact track of Wilma as the area of greatest impact will not be known until late tonight or early Monday. There remains some uncertainty in the exact track. Do not get caught off-guard or delay your actions, implement your hurricane and tropical storm plans. All east central Floridians are strongly urged to make preparations for hurricane and tropical storm conditions. This includes all at Walt Disney World.

Wind impacts

The inland hurricane warning for Orange County has been replaced by an inland tropical storm warning as the threat of sustained hurricane force winds has lessened but this does not mean to let down your guard, sustained tropical storm force winds are expected with gusts possibly to near hurricane force especially in eastern Orange County.

The greatest threat from Wilma across east central Florida is for destructive winds. The tropical storm force wind field is very large and therefore will arrive well before the approach of the core winds. Tropical storm force winds are expected to begin across Okeechobee, Osceola, Martin, Saint Lucie and Indian River counties -- Disney's Vero Beach Resort is located in Indian River County -- very early monday morning and spread across Brevard, Orange (WDW), Lake, Seminole, and Volusia counties starting before 8 am.

Hurricane force winds are expected to impact Okeechobee, Martin, southern Osceola (WDW is in part of Osceola County) and Saint Lucie counties by mid-morning on Monday and possibly spread into indian River (Disney's Vero Beach Resort) and southern Brevard counties.

Because the of the rapid movement of Wilma, winds will be highest immediately near the center and to the right. It is likely a band of destructive winds with gusts to around 100 mph will move across the Florida peninsula Monday morning. The locations that may experience the greatest wind impact will not be known until Monday morning. By that time Wilma will be moving very fast. Tropical storm force winds will continue across east central Florida through Monday afternoon and begin weakening rapidly by late afternoon as wilma continues to move offshore into the atlantic. A cold front will be pulled southward behind wilma and gusty northerly winds will likely continue into Tuesday.

Flood impacts

A flood watch is in effect for all of east central Florida through Monday. Because Wilma will be moving rapidly across the state, widespread excessive rainfall is not expected.

However, rainfall amounts of a couple inches may occur in heavy showers and isolated thunderstorms late this afternoon and tonight along and to the north of a frontal boundary.

Additional heavy rain will be possible as outer rainbands from Wilma lift northward up the Florida peninsula and intersect this frontal boundary. The heaviest rains are expected to occur late tonight and Monday morning mainly from Orlando southward (including Walt Disney World) as the core of Hurricane Wilma moves across south Florida.

If you are in a flood prone area, or in an area that is already experiencing drainage problems, do what is necessary to protect life and property.

Posted by: jac1992 on Oct. 23, 2005, 3:35 pm

Here is my latest information on Hurricane Wilma:
These bulletins are currently in effect for your area:
Florida counties
Alachua
FLOOD WATCH
Brevard
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH
Citrus
HURRICANE STATEMENT until 05:30 PM EDT
Flagler
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH
Hernando
HURRICANE STATEMENT until 05:30 PM EDT
Highlands
HURRICANE STATEMENT until 05:30 PM EDT
Hillsborough
HURRICANE STATEMENT until 05:30 PM EDT
Indian River
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH
Lake
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH
Levy
HURRICANE STATEMENT until 05:30 PM EDT
Marion
FLOOD WATCH
Orange
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH
Osceola
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH
Pasco
HURRICANE STATEMENT until 05:30 PM EDT
Pinellas
HURRICANE STATEMENT until 05:30 PM EDT
Polk
HURRICANE STATEMENT until 05:30 PM EDT
Putnam
FLOOD WATCH
Seminole
FLOOD WARNING
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH
St Johns
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH
Sumter
HURRICANE STATEMENT until 05:30 PM EDT
Volusia
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH

UPDATE:
AGAIN, AS PROMISED, MY LATEST INFORMATION ON HURRICANE WILMA[B]


Tornado Watch[U]
Cirus, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sumter

Flood Warning

Seminole

Hurricane Statement
Brevard, Citrus, Flager, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Levy, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Seminole, St Johns, Sumter, Volusia

Flood Watch

Alachua, Brevard, Flagler, Indian River, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Putnam, Seminole, St Johns, Volusia

Please note that all this information is from official websites and can be found on: www.wftv.com and click weather and then follow the links. I will be putting all this information on about what is happening and from now on the website.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 3:49 pm

Just a suggestion...

Please post OFFICIAL websites of counties and cities affected by Wilma, and I urge residents of those places, as well as anyone concerned for friends and family in those places, to keep abreast of OFFICIAL information.  It's great to post what counties are doing what.  But we found during and after Katrina that those affected need to be pointed to where OFFICIAL information can be found, and those affected need to check these official sources DAILY.  Info on when to come home, what got damaged and how badly, when electricity, sewer lifts (means when you can flush the toilet and it all "stays down" instead of backing up! ) , drinkable water supply, phones, cell phones, cable TV, natural gas, jobs, banking, city services, county services, relief sites, where insurance claims locations are, where Red Cross and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will be, what roads and bridges are closed and when they will reopen and alternate routes....  It's a LOT to keep up with!  Simpler merely to find OFFICIAL city, county and State of Florida resource URLs and post those.

Also there was a HUGE problem after Hurricane Katrina with rumors going out on the Internet.  OFFICIAL websites offer info straight from officials with the responsibility of public safety.  

Also post URLs for news-talk radio stations and TV stations and daily newspapers in the affected areas.  Those interested can listen to streaming audio from radio and view streaming video from TV stations live as it happens.  Many of these newspaper, TV and radio station sites also have chat forums where locals can get in contact with each other and know what happened to their neighborhoods, sources of info and what to do and where to go, etc.  We found this HIGHLY valauable while we were evacuated from Katrina in Houston, Texas.  You want LOCAL media (radio particularly news-talk format, TV stations with news departments, and the daily newspapers) and NOT CNN, MSNBC or FOX News Channel.  As great as those are, it's LOCAL media that supplies the really interesting and essential stories, national media provides merely summaries and overviews.

We lived this life and are still living this life post-Katrina, and what worked best during and post-Katrina was solid info from entities already doing the info gathering, such as local governments and local media.



Edited in by Rich Koster, as an update/addition to what Carol wrote:

Jack, I agree with my wife Carol. And here on the Disney Echo we've been providing these links as well as timely information not only for hurricanes/tropical storms affecting Disney fans' Disney vacations/areas they are interested in, not only for this year's storms but last year's as well. You are welcome to check back to earlier topics to see how extensive our coverage has been as well as the style in which they have been reported.

Quote (jac1992 @ Oct. 23, 2005 14:35 am/pm)
I will be putting all this information on about what is happening and from now on the website.


Please, I appreciate your help Jack, but check what has already been posted here in the latest pages of this topic (and this topic only, to provide an easy way for EchoEars to find the information) about Hurricane Wilma.

-Rich

Posted by: jac1992 on Oct. 23, 2005, 3:54 pm

Thank you for that, Carol!

Please note that soon The Florida Keys will soon be hit by Tropical Storm Winds.
Let us keep all people who live there in our thoughts
Thank you

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 3:57 pm

On the first page of this topic EchoEars can find many links to weather and news sources where they can find information -- including local streaming video from Florida TV stations. There's no need for me to repeat that information here (just go back to the earliest posts in this topic, EchoEars).

See the previous page of this topic for the latest projections about Hurricane Wilma's affect on Florida.

Posted by: jac1992 on Oct. 23, 2005, 4:00 pm

http://www.wftv.com/severeweather/index.html


THIS URL IS A LINK WHICH WILL TAKE YOU TO AND OFFICIAL SITE TELLING YOU INFORMATION ON HURRICANE WILMA.


:hurricanewilma:   EXPECTED SOON

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 4:09 pm

Quote (jac1992 @ Oct. 23, 2005 15:00 am/pm)
http://www.wftv.com/severeweather/index.html


THIS URL IS A LINK WHICH WILL TAKE YOU TO AND OFFICIAL SITE TELLING YOU INFORMATION ON HURRICANE WILMA.


:hurricanewilma:   EXPECTED SOON

Jack, that is not necessary, but thanks.

We've been posting repeatedly here that the best place for the latests information about it is the National Hurricane Center at < www.nhc.noaa.gov >. That is the one and only, best place for the most accurate and current information about Hurricane Wilma, better than any TV station or other website which because all the other places get their information from the National Hurricane Center... Everything else is speculation.

So, take a break and re-read what we've already posted in this topic, Jack -- as well as other topics about last year's storms -- before adding duplicate information here.



EchoEars, note!

Max Mayfield of the National Hurricane Center will have an update in less than an hour about new, revised information about the projected path of Hurricane Wilma, which will be a much smaller "cone of uncertaincy" area of impact than previous information. It will be posted here and can also be seen sometime between now and 5 pm Eastern on FOX News, as he announces it live.

Posted by: jac1992 on Oct. 23, 2005, 4:12 pm

< Hurricane Tracker >

This link will take you to WFTV website and has an interactive tracker of Hurricane Wilma. This might help you if you know someone who will be affected by Wilma

Posted by: jac1992 on Oct. 23, 2005, 4:27 pm

i will carry on but posting minor info, i will check back on information which I have been doing and hopefully it will be better, does anyone know what time she is going to make landfall?
Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 4:38 pm

Hi Jack and Welcome to the Disney Echo.  I see you joined us recently.

The National Hurricane Center posts information about landfall times, so refer to that as an official source of approximately when Hurricane Wilma will make landfall.

Best not to duplicate what other official and media sites are posting, it's just so very much information, much better to indicate where those sites are and let those interested do the clicking around.

My husband Rich Koster is the Moderator of Disney Echo.  He works in real life for the FOX affiliated TV station in New Orleans, itself a victim of hurricane Katrina since the first floor took on feet of water.  He seems to be digging around for Wilma information and how it is affecting WDW and Port Canaveral (homeport of Disney Cruise Line) and posting relevant information narrow-interest to Disney interests since many people post here interested in travelling to WDW in Orlando or taking a Disney Cruise.

But it's VERY interesting to watch streaming video, and I'll re-dig up the URLs so that everyone can log on and see the various TV and radio and Orlando Sentinel coverage of Wilma.  From last year's experience in covering the Florida hurricanes they DO post information on the impact on Central Florida theme parks.  We will pass that info on to Disney Echo readers when it's available after the storm passes.

Welcome, Jack, and we hope all is well with you in the UK and that you and fellow Disney fans join us in hoping the Orlando theme parks have minimal damage from Wilma.  I heard earlier there was distinct liklihood of only power outages and minor wind damage.  Last year it was truly miraculous how fast Disney got back in business after Jeanne, Frances and Charley took punches at them!  Let's hope the same is true with Wilma passing through and to the south.  The "easier" side of the storm is brushing up on Disney's properties, so that is the good news for fans and vacationers.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 4:38 pm

Quote (jac1992 @ Oct. 23, 2005 15:27 am/pm)
does anyone know what time she is going to make landfall?


Perhaps in the next update from the National Hurricane Center coming out within the hour they will have a more specific landfall time as well as tightening the predicted area where Wilma is expected to make landfall, but as of now there has been no official exact time given -- except that it will probably be sometime tomorrow. Wind effects are already being felt in Florida as Wilma approaches and the major roads/turnpikes/interstates are clogged as people evacuate to safer areas.

Posted by: yensid on Oct. 23, 2005, 4:41 pm

:uhoh:

I feel for all in Wilma's path, but the real question I want to know is  will we be able to take our vacation still. We are to fly in to orlando late on the 26th and leave on the 31st. How does it look for WDW right now? I've called WDW several times and just real real vague answers...

Thanks for all your help

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 4:43 pm

Originally posted on Page One of this thread June 2005:

In addition to the official links above, you can follow local Central Florida weather coverage, particularly of hurricanes, freezes or extreme weather events by going to the following links. Remember to scroll down and down and down if you have to or otherwise use interactive search engines on these sites. Look for headlines having to do with "tourism industry" or "Disney" or "Walt Disney World" or "theme parks" or "hotels" or anything related to Central Florida tourism, Walt Disney World and the weather. Even if you are visiting Orlando and simply want to know the weather, you can view local weather forecast information through these links.  Streaming audio and video, news weblogs, some sites have cat forums...  FASCINATING to follow along as it happens from anywhere in the world!

WFLF AM 540  News Talk:

< http://www.540wfla.com/main.html >

WDBO AM 580  News, Weather & Traffic:

< http://580wdbo.com/ >

Orlando Business Journal:

< http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/ >

Orlando Sentinel, You will have to join to read articles, but it's free of charge. :

< http://www.orlandosentinel.com/ >  

WESH-TV Channel 2  NBC:  

< http://www.wesh.com/index.html >

WKMG-TV Channel 6  CBS:  

< http://www.local6.com/index.html >

WFTV-TV Channel 9  ABC:

< http://www.wftv.com/index.html >

WOFL-TV Channel 35  Fox:

< http://www.wofl.com/ >


Jbrowna has this information to offer about WDW preparations under hurricane conditions, I hope this reassures anyone needing the information.

< http://new.disneyecho.emuck.com/cgi-bin....9;st=10 >


These are the counties where Walt Disney World Properties are.  Be willing, site by site, to use serach engines or scroll or click around to find information.

ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA Office of Emergency Management
Hurricane Preparedness Page
Click on links to learn about hurricanes and what to do before and after one:

< http://www.ocoem.com/9_99/all_hazards/Hurricane/Hurricane.htm >

OSCEOLA COUNTY, FLORIDA

Frequently Asked Questions Page:

< http://www.osceola.org/index.c....AQ >

Supply kit contents should be:

< http://www.osceola.org/index.c....Prepare >

Links to .pdf files of local maps to download of Central Florida, Kissimmee and Osceola County:

< http://www.osceola.org/index.c....s >

Emergency services standard operating procedures links:

< http://www.osceola.org/index.c....ES_ESOP >

CITY OF ORLANDO, Home page will have links to specific weather emergency information and Frequently Asked Questions:

< http://www.ci.orlando.fl.us/ >

CITY OF KISSIMMEE Home page will feature links to emergency announcements:

< http://www.kissimmee.org/ >

STATE OF FLORIDA Family Preparedness Guide in .pdf format, full color, choose language:

< http://www.myflorida.com/myflorida/family_prepare_guide.html >

STATE OF FLORIDA home page, use site's search engine to go to specific areas of concern:

< http://www.myflorida.com/ >

ORLANDO TRAFFIC Information:

< http://www.traffic.com/Orlando-Traffic/Orlando-Traffic-Reports.html >

< http://www.wftv.com/traffic/index.html >

Link to highway information and road closures:

< http://www.dot.state.fl.us/publicinformationoffice/trafficwarnings.htm >

Port Canaveral is home port to Disney Cruise Line's Disney Magic and Disney Wonder cruise ships (but the Disney Magic is temporarliy based out of California this summer for the special 50th Anniversary Celebration) and you can check out the official Port Canaveral website here:

< http://www.portcanaveral.org/ >

Last year that website was offering a live webcam showing the cruise ship activity at Port Canaveral, but I don't see that webcam this year.

Posted by: mamaloya on Oct. 23, 2005, 4:48 pm

I am getting chills just hearing about the Keys.  It brings back some really bad memories.  My heart goes out to everyone in S. Fl.
Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 4:55 pm

Quote (yensid @ Oct. 23, 2005 15:41 am/pm)
:uhoh:

I feel for all in Wilma's path, but the real question I want to know is  will we be able to take our vacation still. We are to fly in to orlando late on the 26th and leave on the 31st. How does it look for WDW right now? I've called WDW several times and just real real vague answers...

Thanks for all your help

yensid, welcome to the Disney Echo! Are you the same "yensid" who used to be on the EMuck system years ago?

Based on what has happened in the past in the Orlando area as well as elsewhere, I expect the Orlando International Airport to close sometime later today/tonight, as a precaution. When it reopens will probably be before your scheduled flight, but of course that will depend on what amount of damage Wilma brings. You should know by this time tomorrow what, if anything, would affect your upcoming vacation.

Cast Members at WDW who are also Disney EchoEars have posted publically here -- as well as told me privately -- about the "ride out" team that has already been in place there. We'll know soon at the upcoming next update from the National Hurricane Center about how close Wilma is expected to come to WDW with damaging winds.

That update will be coming within five minutes from now.
:hurricanewilma:

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 4:57 pm

Quote (yensid @ Oct. 23, 2005 15:41 am/pm)
:uhoh:

I feel for all in Wilma's path, but the real question I want to know is  will we be able to take our vacation still. We are to fly in to orlando late on the 26th and leave on the 31st. How does it look for WDW right now? I've called WDW several times and just real real vague answers...

Thanks for all your help

Hi, welcome to the Disney Echo!

Go "zen" for a second, take deep breaths and just think for a moment:  No two hurricanes are the same.  However the experiences of the 2004 hurricane season and the three that hit Florida in 2004 are a good indication.  You can "Search" here on Disney Echo for Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne, the three that went over Central Florida, and get an indication of what to expect and how Disney handled services for guests.  Also, think that Wilma as I write this hasn't happened yet, so think, take those deep breaths, that Disney cannot advise you if something hasn't happened yet, since no two hurricanes are the same and they cannot assess damage anywhere or impact on guests if it hasn't happened yet.  No one has that crystal ball. :)

That might not be the answer you were looking for, however it's based on reality on the ground at the moment and based on Disney Echo having covered Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne very closely in 2004 as affected WDW and Disney Cruise Line.

I'm quoting a message I posted earlier in this thread.  There are links in it that will help you with what to expect.  Since Wilma hasn't happened yet these links and texts are the next best thing about advising you at this moment.  I know it's a hassle and a bummer and the unknown is likely maddening.  However, hurricanes affecting travel plans in Florida happened so much in Florida last year chances are good at a quick bounce back and procedures already in place so you can get some information in a methodical way.  

Right now those affected are seeing to securing their property (including Disney), dealing with last minute business details (including Disney) and preparing to leave on evacuation or sheltering as the case may be (including Disney).

Quoting:

Posted: Oct. 20, 2005 11:32 am/pm Edit MSG Quote
Look on this page of the existing Hurricane Wilma thread for information and sources that I posted, will assist you or anyone WDW-bound in getting info, a post CarolKoster posted Oct 18 and the top of the next page a post CarolKoster posted Oct 19

< http://new.disneyecho.emuck.com/cgi-bin....;st=110 >

< http://new.disneyecho.emuck.com/cgi-bin....;st=120 >

Just scroll down, you WILL find these posts I made.  Wade through the text, it's important relevant info based on the busy 2004 hurricane season in Florida as affected WDW.

Now, Orlando will be on the EASIER side of Wilma as it makes landfall.  That is NOT to say Orlando is guaranteed to get off scott-free!  IF Wilma stays a strong storm, the WESTERN SIDE even though the "easier" side WILL get damage!  It happened to us in Louisiana for Katrina.  Our state was on the western side of Katrina, and there are LOTS of trees down, wind damage, trees into buildings and on top of cars.  The farther WEST you are the better it gets.  But Wilma is a large sized storm, can cover up a lot of land area.  Local to us with Katrina there was damage even 50+ miles west of the eyewall coming over Slidell and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Wilma will make landfall with the most severe side to the south and southeast of Orlando generally, and the "easier" side to the north and northwest.  If the storm's track moves it to a more northern landfall, Orlando will be closer to it and will feel more from it, if the storm's landfall is farther south Orlando will feel less effects, however it will experience Wilma in some way.

The 2004 Hurricane season was severe in Florida.  WDW recovered quickly but even in April 2005 when we were there we could still see blue tarps on some roofs in Orlando and there may be people in Orlando still recovering in their personal lives from those storms.  Another storm such as Wilma can undo a lot of recovery work in the last 11-14 months since those three 2004 storms went over.

Florida is a richer, better prepared state that handled the 4 hurricanes in 2004 well, although it takes a very long time to recover from so many storms.  They have a better governor, and Orlando's mayor and the city are certainly well experienced.  The building codes are superior and Orlando is inland and not below sea level, there are no levees in Central Florida.  So what happened in New Orleans is not going to happen in Central Florida.  With that said, there could still be wind damage.  However, guests at WDW hotels fared well and praise Disney for their care for guests who sheltered there even though the original intent of guests was to be there for vacation.

Last year for the three Central Florida hurricanes that went near, passed or almost over WDW-Orlando:  Disney was gracious and permitted travellers to cancel their plans if the travellers didn't want to deal with being there for the storms.  I don't honestly know what Disney may be doing about Wilma, except inland is where Floridians themselves want to be and Disney would in fact be housing Flordians seeking safe shelter inland.

Use the "Search" features of Disney Echo to look up Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne.  Anyway, we maintained threads of the before-during-after of those three Central Florida 2004 storms, each of the storms, and you can see for yourself what to expect and how guests were informed and treated.  Research it, get reassurance.  Get peace of mind and look those up.  

"Search" feature:  Scroll to the top of this page you are reading now.  See FIVE BUTTONS going across the top of the page.  The farthest left one says "Search".  Use that, and follow the prompts.  Use keywords Charley, Frances or Jeanne.  You should find long thick threads dated between August and Deptember 2004.

If you are truly worried:  Contact your travel agent, airline, airport-to-resort transporation companies, anyone you have dining reservations with, anyone you have tickets with (shows, the parks, etc.) and Disney Guest Services directly and determine for yourself what is going on, what the status is, if you can be refunded, if things will be postponed, if you can get "rain checks" to do those plans another time, when or if they will shut down and their policies for when they will resume services, etc.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 5:01 pm

NOTE: < CLICK HERE > to jump to hurricane and tropical storm information from the 2006 hurricane season.



UPDATE: Hurricane Wilma is now a category 3 hurricane.


Hurricane Wilma is a very strong category 2 hurricane could be a category 3 hurricane before hitting Florida with an expected 9-17 foot storm surge for the Florida Keys and along the Florida coast, including a significant storm surge coming on the back side of the storm. The storm surge will cut off highways in the Florida Keys very shortly. Lake Okechobee can expect a 5-8 foot storm surge.

The forward motion of Hurricane Wilma is increasing and will continue to increase, so the eye of Wilma hitting the Florida coast early tomorrow morning. Damaging storm surge and high winds in advance of the storm will occur today.


Bulletin
Hurricane Wilma advisory number  34
NWS TPC/National Hurricane Center Miami FL
4 PD CDT Sun Oct 23 2005

...Wilma a little stronger and accelerating northeastward toward Florida...
...Tropical storm-force winds impacting western Cuba and approaching the lower Florida Keys...

A hurricane warning remains in effect for all of the Florida
Keys...including the Dry Tortugas and Florida Bay...along the
Florida west coast from Longboat Key southward...and along the Florida east coast from Titusville southward...including Lake Okeechobee.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect along the Florida west coast north of longboat key to Steinhatchee River...and along the Florida east coast north of titusville to Flagler Beach.

A tropical storm watch remains in effect along the east coast of Florida from north of Flagler Beach to Fernandina Beach.

At 4 PM CDT...2100z...the government of Mexico has discontinued all warnings for the Yucatan Peninsula.

A hurricane warning remains in effect for the Cuban provinces of Ciudad de la Habana...la Habana...and Pinar del Rio.  A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Isle of Touth.  A hurricane watch remains in effect for the province of Matanzas.

A hurricane warning remains in effect for the northwestern
Bahamas...including the Abacos...Andros Island...Berry Islands...Bimini...Eleuthera...Grand Bahama Island...and New Providence.

For storm information specific to your area...including possible
inland watches and warnings...please monitor products issued by your local weather office.

At 4 PM CDT...2100z...the center of Hurricane Wilma was located near Latitude 23.5 north... Longitude 84.9 west or about 210 miles... 340 km... west-southwest of Key West Florida and about 295 miles... 475 km...southwest of the southwestern coast of the Florida peninsula.

Wilma is moving toward the northeast near 14 mph...22 km/hr.  A continued northeastward motion and a gradual increase in forward speed are expected tonight and Monday.  On this track...the center of wilma is forecast to be near the southwestern coast of the Florida peninsula early Monday morning.  However...Wilma is a large system and tropical storm force winds will reach the Florida Keys and Florida peninsula tonight...well in advance of the center.

Data from air force and noaa hurricane hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased and now are near 105 mph...165 km/hr...with higher gusts.  Wilma is a category two hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.  Some strengthening is possible tonight and early Monday...and Wilma could be near category three strength as it nears the southwestern Florida coast.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to  85 miles...140 km... from the center...and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 230 miles...370 km.  NOAA buoy 42056 in the northwestern Caribbean sea...about 230 miles south-southwest of the center of Wilma...recently reported sustained tropical storm force winds of 39 mph.  Sustained tropical storm force winds have also recently been reported in Havana Cuba.

An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft just reported a minimum central pressure of 959 mb...28.32 inches.

Storm surge flooding of 9 to 17 ft above normal tide levels is possible along the southwest Florida coast near and to the
south of where the center of Wilma makes landfall.  Storm surge flooding of 5 to 8 ft above normal is possible in the Florida Keys and Florida Bay...as well as in Lake Okeechobee.  Storm surge flooding of 2 to 4 feet is possible along the extreme southeastern coast of Florida.

Wilma is expected to produce additional rainfall accumulations of 10 to 15 inches through Monday across portions of western Cuba... And 1 to 2 inches across the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula... with isolated maximum storm total amounts approaching 50 inches. Rainfall across southern Florida... Including the Keys... through Tuesday is expected to be 4 to 8 inches... with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches possible.

Large swells generated by Wilma will continue to affect portions of the northeastern Gulf Coast from the Florida Keys northward tonight and early Monday.

Isolated tornadoes are possible over the central and southern
Florida peninsula and the Florida Keys tonight and Monday.

An intermediate advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 7 PM CDT followed by the next complete advisory at 10 PM CDT.



I am now repeating key information which is still current, which I posted earlier (found on previous pages of this topic) about Hurricane Wilma:



An inland hurricane warning is in effect for Okeechobee and Osceola counties. Walt Disney World is partially located in Osceola County. The inland hurricane warning will remain in effect until 4 pm EDT Monday. An inland tropical storm warning is in effect for Orange, Lake, Seminole and interior Volusia counties. A large portion of Walt Disney World is located in Orange County.

A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours.

The entire state of Florida remains under a state of emergency, declared by Gov. Jeb Bush Saturday to ensure that necessary supplies and disaster response teams are in place for Wilma's arrival. Yesterday he said, "This is the time to prepare." Today in a live press conference he said, "The time to go is now."

Florida has food, water, ice and other supplies ready, as well as disaster-response teams that include up to 7,500 National Guard members.

Tropical storm-force winds may be affecting the WDW/Orlando area as Hurricane Wilma crosses central/southern Florida later today and tomorrow. Even hurricane-force winds might be in southern parts of central Florida.

Important information has been released for residents of most Central Florida counties Sunday afternoon -- Schools are closed in Orange, Seminole, Polk, Lake, Sumter, Brevard, Volusia and Osceola counties Monday -- A curfew will be in effect from dusk Sunday until 5:00 p.m. Monday for the evacuation areas in Brevard County.

Orlando's "Local6" TV station has these links which are of interest to Disney fans and their Florida Disney vacations:

For information about Orange County, Florida (which Walt Disney World is in part of) < click here for the latest from Orlando's TV 6 >. Among the closures already announced for Monday, Oct. 24th, it has already been announced that all Orange County public schools are closed Monday.

For information about the other Florida county (Osceola) which southwest parts of WDW are located in < click here for the latest from Orlando's TV 6 >. As I write this, the information there reports that Osceola County will be issue evacuation information sometime today or tonight for residents living in manufactured homes and low lying areas prone to flooding in that county. Among other things,  Osceola Schools will be closed on Monday, Oct. 24th.

For information about Brevard County, home of Disney's Cruise Line's port at Port Canaveral, < click here >. In addition to the school closures listed above, all public schools in Brevard County will be closed on Monday, Oct. 24th.

And from < this page on Local6.com > is news that important information has been released for residents of most Central Florida counties Sunday afternoon -- Schools are closed in Orange, Seminole, Polk, Lake, Sumter, Brevard, Volusia and Osceola counties Monday -- A curfew will be in effect from dusk Sunday until 5:00 p.m. Monday for the evacuation areas in Brevard County.

< 9  counties in Florida are now under advisories, watches, or severe weather warnings: >
  • < Northern Brevard County > (Disney Cruise Line's ships dock at Port Canaveral in Northern Brevard County)
  • < Southern Brevard County >
  • < Flagler County >
  • < Northern Lake County >
  • < Southern Lake County >
  • < Orange County (Walt Disney World} >
  • < Osceola County (Walt Disney World) >
  • < Polk County >
  • < Seminole County >
  • < Sumter County >
  • < Coastal Volusia County >
  • < Inland Volusia County >


Hurricane Wilma is expected to approach the southwest coast of Florida early on Monday and accelerate very rapidly across the peninsula during the day. All preparedness actions to protect life and property should be completed today.

Based upon the current official forecast from the National Hurricane Center, strong winds from Wilma will begin arriving over east central Florida in the pre-dawn hours Monday. As Wilma races across the peninsula on Monday winds will increase rapidly.

The greatest threat for the strongest winds will be near Lake Okeechobee and Okeechobee County including southernmost portions of Osceola County. Portions of Walt Disney World are located in Osceola County.

An inland hurricane warning is issued when a land falling hurricane is expected to spread hurricane force winds, 74 mph or greater, over interior portions of central Florida during the next 24 hours. Be prepared to move to a small interior room away from windows. If you live in a mobile home, or a home that affords little protection from flying debris, evacuate to a more secure building. Many mobile homes may experience significant damage from the hurricane force winds and falling trees especially in Okeechobee County.

Do not focus on the exact track of Wilma as the area of greatest impact will not be known until late tonight or early Monday. There remains some uncertainty in the exact track. Do not get caught off-guard or delay your actions, implement your hurricane and tropical storm plans. All east central Floridians are strongly urged to make preparations for hurricane and tropical storm conditions. This includes all at Walt Disney World.

Wind impacts

The inland hurricane warning for Orange County has been replaced by an inland tropical storm warning as the threat of sustained hurricane force winds has lessened but this does not mean to let down your guard, sustained tropical storm force winds are expected with gusts possibly to near hurricane force especially in eastern Orange County.

The greatest threat from Wilma across east central Florida is for destructive winds. The tropical storm force wind field is very large and therefore will arrive well before the approach of the core winds. Tropical storm force winds are expected to begin across Okeechobee, Osceola, Martin, Saint Lucie and Indian River counties -- Disney's Vero Beach Resort is located in Indian River County -- very early monday morning and spread across Brevard, Orange (WDW), Lake, Seminole, and Volusia counties starting before 8 am.

Hurricane force winds are expected to impact Okeechobee, Martin, southern Osceola (WDW is in part of Osceola County) and Saint Lucie counties by mid-morning on Monday and possibly spread into indian River (Disney's Vero Beach Resort) and southern Brevard counties.

Because the of the rapid movement of Wilma, winds will be highest immediately near the center and to the right. It is likely a band of destructive winds with gusts to around 100 mph will move across the Florida peninsula Monday morning. The locations that may experience the greatest wind impact will not be known until Monday morning. By that time Wilma will be moving very fast. Tropical storm force winds will continue across east central Florida through Monday afternoon and begin weakening rapidly by late afternoon as wilma continues to move offshore into the atlantic. A cold front will be pulled southward behind wilma and gusty northerly winds will likely continue into Tuesday.

Flood impacts

A flood watch is in effect for all of east central Florida through Monday. Because Wilma will be moving rapidly across the state, widespread excessive rainfall is not expected.

However, rainfall amounts of a couple inches may occur in heavy showers and isolated thunderstorms late this afternoon and tonight along and to the north of a frontal boundary.

Additional heavy rain will be possible as outer rainbands from Wilma lift northward up the Florida peninsula and intersect this frontal boundary. The heaviest rains are expected to occur late tonight and Monday morning mainly from Orlando southward (including Walt Disney World) as the core of Hurricane Wilma moves across south Florida.

If you are in a flood prone area, or in an area that is already experiencing drainage problems, do what is necessary to protect life and property.

Posted by: yensid on Oct. 23, 2005, 5:02 pm

:uhoh:
No I don't remember being on EMuck. I've been around with this nick since the late 80's. It's just killing me about Wilma. We are haveing our first big family... trip 4 families....all kinds of this have went wrong this year and stood in it's way...I was going to have to miss the first two days because of a civil trial I have to testify in...that got postponed...then we had a death in the family....but everyone still wants to go...then 2 months ago I herniated several discs in my back and had to undergo surgery and have been rehabing like crazy trying to get ready....now this hurricaine...it's like someone's trying to tell us not to go on this trip....This is my son's first trip to WDW. He's been saving since he was old enough to walk ..he's 8 now...and he can't wait....hope everythig works out...especially for all those in Florida

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 5:17 pm

I posted a bit earlier for you, yensid.

I am so sorry to hear of all your family has been through in setting up this wonderful WDW vacation you had planned!  I do hope it turns out alright for you to go and see the magic of Disney in Orlando!  We kept our "long weekend" plans October 2004 after Jeanne went through, we went a week after the storm, and all was quite well!  Astounding how Disney cleaned up so quickly afterward!  So the thing to "pray" or cross your fingers for is that Wilma stays very far to the south from Orlando as possible.  Orlando will be on the easier side of the storm, but Wilma being more southerly would be best for Orlando.  

Caveat, of course, is none of us wishes harm to anyone in any city or community anywhere!  But these storms have to go somewhere, unfortunately.  Praying/Hoping it "goes somewhere else" always implies the flip side, that "someone else" gets impacted.  Not a good thing.  But hurricanes are unpredictable, and can surprise even the experts by diminishing due to a variety of climate and environmental factors.

Use those news media links, just earlier in this thread, which I posted.  And if the idea of fulfilling your trip is scaring your under the circumstances, WDW isn't going anywhere and you can always rebook and use airline tickets for another time.  In 2004 Disney was gracious about this.  Just follow the news and just do what you think is best.  Hurricane season runs annually June 1-November 30, we've got "Alpha" the next named storm out there already in an historic hurricane season, and experts in these matters are predicting a 10-20 year cycle of particularly active hurricane seasons.  

To the good and most reassuring, Disney World is inland where the coastal folks want to be because of the safe building codes in Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.  You might find the airport closed for a time or airport delays to be an obstacle to getting that dream Disney vacation cookin', so check your airline for it's plans and keep checking.  Refer to those other links and experiences I posted about, and gather info from that, and then decide accordingly.  WDW isn't going anywhere and was there in April 2005 when we went last, was there a week after Jeanne in 2004, so postponing isn't always a bad thing.  But just follow the news and do what you think is best after checking into the info I posted about.

I hope this helps a bit, y'all take good care, and welcome to Disney Echo from Rich and I in Hurricane Katrina country (New Orleans suburb) !

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 5:23 pm

Must have been someone else using Walt's last name backwards then (and the name of the sorcerer in Fantasia) and not you. Still glad that you've joined us, yensid, but sorry to hear about your back and the death in your family.
Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 5:31 pm



Hurricane Wilma is expected to hit the Florida peninsula, possibly as a category 3 hurricane -- or at least a strong category 2 hurricane -- south of Naples, Florida between Naples and Ft. Myers/the Florida Keys, Florida The eye of hurricane is expected to hit the peninsula of Florida early tomorrow morning, with the most damaging winds and storm surge occuring there as well as the Florida Keys.

Broward County in southern Florida was hard hit last year as well, but Hurricane Wilma is predicted to be worse than any of the previous storms to hit Florida this year or last year. Wilma is currently a strong category 2 hurricane and could build to a category 3 hurricane before making landfall in Florida. Wilma could be a category 2 hurricane the entire time it crosses the Florida peninsula because of the fast forward motion it is expected to have.

Included in the warnings and evacuations currently in effect, Miami/Dade County has a mandatory evacuation in place for low-lying areas as well as residents in mobile homes -- and a voluntary evacuation for all other residents. The Florida Keys had been under a mandatory evacuation.

The Ft. Lauderdale airport will be closing to all outgoing flights at 8 pm and all incoming flights at 9 pm tonight.

Evacuations have been stopped for the Florida Keys now -- because if people haven't gotten out already the weather is deteriorating too quickly now to get out safely at this time.

Below is the latest projected path map (as of 5 PM EDT Sunday, 10/23/05) from the National Hurricane Center of Hurricane Katrina's predicted area of landfall, with all the computer models averaged into the white dotted line ...



Click here to see the map larger.


For the latest information and the latest forecast map information, < click here. >



Click here to see the map larger.




Click here to see the map larger.





< Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist >, wrote today:

Wilma has entered a slow intensification phase the past three hours. The pressure has fallen from 963 mb to 959 mb, the eye has shrunk in diameter from 60 nm to 45 nm, and satellite imagery shows cooling cloud tops in the eyewall region--all signs of an ongoing intensification cycle. In response to this intensification cycle, the Hurricane Center has now upped their forecast of the maximum storm surge from 13 feet to 17 feet over southwest Florida. At the current rate of intensification, Wilma could become a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds by midnight.

This intensification phase should slow down or reverse by midnight, since shear is now increasing over the storm. Shear is now about 15 knots, up from 10 knots this morning. The hurricane hunters noted that strong westerly winds aloft have pushed the top of the storm eastward, so that the area of calm in the eye at 10,000 feet is about ten miles east of the surface calm area. This stretching is also beginning to be evident on satellite images, with the shape of the hurricane appearing less circular. Assuming that the shear begins weakening the hurricane at midnight, only six or eight hours remain for the shear to weaken the hurricane before landfall at 6 am or 8 am Monday morning. This may not be enough time to weaken the storm much, so I am still anticipating a 105 mph Category 2 hurricane at landfall. By the time Wilma crosses the Florida Peninsula and arrives at the east coast of Florida, she should have top winds of about 85 mph.

< - Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist >




The computer forecast model maps I posted earlier in this topic are still the most current ones available on the internet.



Click the above map to see a graphical version of the Orlando-area hurricane statement
. If your internet browser is set currectly for Java programs, you will be able to click on the Expand button on that web page's header -- it looks like a downward-pointing triangle in a circle, on the right side near the top of the web page) to see the most current version of the above map. I needed to use Internet Explorer for this to work.



The Miami, FL-area graphical hurricane forecast map page is here
.




The < Tampa, FL-area graphical hurricane forecast map page is here >.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 6:00 pm

Look on these sites for news, information, and especially streaming video of their live news coverage of Hurricane Wilma:

Ft. Myers, Florida TV stations:

ABC Affiliate: WZVN-TV Ch. 26:

< http://www.abc-7.com/ >

CBS affiliate:  WINK-TV Ch. 11:

< http://www.winktv.com/ >

NBC affiliate: WBBH-TV ch. 20:

< http://www.nbc-2.com/ >

West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens, Florida TV stations:

ABC affiliate: WPBF Ch 25

< http://www.wpbfnews.com/index.htm >

CBS affiliate: WPEC-TV ch. 12:

< http://www.wpecnews12.com/ >

FOX affiliate: WFLX-TV Ch 29:

< http://www.wflxfox29.com/ >

NBC affiliate: WPTV-TV Ch. 5:

< http://www.tcpalm.com/tcp/wptv >

Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida TV stations:

ABC affilitate: WFTS-TV Ch. 28:

< http://www.wfts.com/ >

CBS Affiliate: WTSP-TV Ch. 10:

< http://www.wtsp.com/ >

FOX Affiliate: WTVT-TV Ch. 13:

< http://www.wtvt.com/ >

NBC Affiliate: WFLA-TV Ch. 8:

< http://www.wfla.com/ >




Also:  If all you're interested in is Disney or WDW info, then it's a matter of waiting to hear on news the outcome of the place after landfall.  The Orlando media links I posted just above WILL post some information AS DISNEY DECIDES TO ANNOUNCE IT AFTER WILMA HAS PASSED.  That may not be the quick simple answer any of you, especially travellers with very soon departures for Disney, were looking for.  I can't help it, there is no crystal ball and no knowing at this point, since no two hurricanes are quite the same, how Wilma will impact WDW.  As I told yensid, we cannot know beforehand how much damage or lack of damage there is until Wilma has happened.  Take a few steps back, you'll realize this to be true.  All kinds of travellers are wondering and worrying too.  There are even Hurricane Katrina evacuees in Central Florida muttering "Oh no, not again!"  

So hang in there.  Cruising the news media sites will help you stay abreast of status reports from Orlando.  When Disney announces something, you'll see it posted within the Orlando news media sites.

You can also go to Google:

< http://www.google.com >

And choose "News", then "Advanced Search".  Enter "Disney Wilma" or play with it, choose today's date, and hit Submit or Enter.  If Disney is issuing press releases or news, it will show up there on Google News searches.  Be diligent about following this, and the answers you are seeking will show up.

Reposting starting:

Originally posted on Page One of this thread June 2005:

In addition to the official links above, you can follow local Central Florida weather coverage, particularly of hurricanes, freezes or extreme weather events by going to the following links. Remember to scroll down and down and down if you have to or otherwise use interactive search engines on these sites. Look for headlines having to do with "tourism industry" or "Disney" or "Walt Disney World" or "theme parks" or "hotels" or anything related to Central Florida tourism, Walt Disney World and the weather. Even if you are visiting Orlando and simply want to know the weather, you can view local weather forecast information through these links.  Streaming audio and video, news weblogs, some sites have cat forums...  FASCINATING to follow along as it happens from anywhere in the world!

WFLF AM 540  News Talk:

< http://www.540wfla.com/main.html >

WDBO AM 580  News, Weather & Traffic:

< http://580wdbo.com/ >

Orlando Business Journal:

< http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/ >

Orlando Sentinel daily newspaper:

< http://www.orlandosentinel.com/ >  

WESH-TV Channel 2  NBC:  

< http://www.wesh.com/index.html >

WKMG-TV Channel 6  CBS:  

< http://www.local6.com/index.html >

WFTV-TV Channel 9  ABC:

< http://www.wftv.com/index.html >

WOFL-TV Channel 35  Fox:

< http://www.wofl.com/ >


Jbrowna has this information to offer about WDW preparations under hurricane conditions, I hope this reassures anyone needing the information.

< http://new.disneyecho.emuck.com/cgi-bin....9;st=10 >


These are the counties where Walt Disney World Properties are.  Be willing, site by site, to use serach engines or scroll or click around to find information.

ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA Office of Emergency Management
Hurricane Preparedness Page
Click on links to learn about hurricanes and what to do before and after one:

< http://www.ocoem.com/9_99/all_hazards/Hurricane/Hurricane.htm >

OSCEOLA COUNTY, FLORIDA

Frequently Asked Questions Page:

< http://www.osceola.org/index.c....AQ >

Supply kit contents should be:

< http://www.osceola.org/index.c....Prepare >

Links to .pdf files of local maps to download of Central Florida, Kissimmee and Osceola County:

< http://www.osceola.org/index.c....s >

Emergency services standard operating procedures links:

< http://www.osceola.org/index.c....ES_ESOP >

CITY OF ORLANDO, Home page will have links to specific weather emergency information and Frequently Asked Questions:

< http://www.ci.orlando.fl.us/ >

CITY OF KISSIMMEE Home page will feature links to emergency announcements:

< http://www.kissimmee.org/ >

STATE OF FLORIDA Family Preparedness Guide in .pdf format, full color, choose language:

< http://www.myflorida.com/myflorida/family_prepare_guide.html >

STATE OF FLORIDA home page, use site's search engine to go to specific areas of concern:

< http://www.myflorida.com/ >

ORLANDO TRAFFIC Information:

< http://www.traffic.com/Orlando-Traffic/Orlando-Traffic-Reports.html >

< http://www.wftv.com/traffic/index.html >

Link to highway information and road closures:

< http://www.dot.state.fl.us/publicinformationoffice/trafficwarnings.htm >

Port Canaveral is home port to Disney Cruise Line's Disney Magic and Disney Wonder cruise ships (but the Disney Magic is temporarliy based out of California this summer for the special 50th Anniversary Celebration) and you can check out the official Port Canaveral website here:

< http://www.portcanaveral.org/ >

Last year that website was offering a live webcam showing the cruise ship activity at Port Canaveral, but I don't see that webcam this year.

End of reposting.

Refer to links I posted earlier about what to expect at Disney based on 2004 hurricane experiences and dealing with guests.  Scroll back in this thread.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 6:12 pm

Hurricane Charley and Frances thread on Disney Echo, so you can see a process of when that storm made landfall and impacted WDW in 2004:

< http://new.disneyecho.emuck.com/cgi-bin....frances >

Hurricane Jeanne thread on Disney Echo, so you can see a process of when that storm made landfall and impacted WDW in 2004:

< http://new.disneyecho.emuck.com/cgi-bin....&t=5957 >

I know it's several pages, but 2004 was an historic hurricane season year for Florida.  Your patience and diligence in scrolling through these two threads will be rewarded with information on how Disney handled the guest reservations, and cancelling, experience in 2004 and also how Disney Echo EARS and others rode the storms out at WDW in 2004.

You can use "Search" here on Disney Echo for Charley, Frances and jeanne and find other threads that are related, these were the primary ones we tried to keep intact as an information resource for future hurricane seasons after 2004. :)

I hope this helps and reassures folks!

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 6:15 pm

Deb Wills has started a blog about Hurricane Wilma and WDW on her All Ears Net.com website.  Here is the blog link:

< http://www.allearsnet.com/news/hwilma.htm >

From Deb Will's Wilma blog link, crediting Deb Wills and All Ears Net.com, see above for the site URL:

Hurricane Wilma Update

Sunday, October 23, 2005 - Afternoon

Hoop-Dee-Doo 9:30pm Show Cancelled for 10/23 - Due to anticipated weather impacts as a result of Hurricane Wilma, the 9:30pm showing of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground has been cancelled for the evening of Sunday, October 23. The first two shows (5pm and 7:15pm) will occur as scheduled.

(From Walt Disney World) Hurricane Wilma is continuing its path through the Gulf of Mexico and is headed toward Florida's Gulf Coast. We continue to monitor the storm's path and are taking proactive measures for any potential impact to the Walt Disney World® Resort. We will make all decisions about tomorrow's park operating hours at 6 p.m. tonight. The safety of our Guests and Cast remains our top priority.

Fort Wilderness Guests Relocated to All-Star Resort 10/23 - Due to anticipated weather impacts as a result of Hurricane Wilma, Guests of Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground are being temporarily relocated to Disney's All-Star Resort as of Sunday, October 23. The campground will be closed to overnight Guests as of 3pm Sunday.

We anticipate feeling the strongest impact from the storm midday on Monday, Oct. 24.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 - Morning

Hurricane center chief Mayfield: Wilma to "rocket" toward Florida - Orlando Sentinel October 23, 2005, 11:07 AM

Orange, Volusia, Lake and Seminole county public schools will be closed Monday, officials announced today. Polk County schools earlier announced they would be closed.

Seminole Community college, which earlier announced it would remain open, has reversed course. All campuses of the school will be closed Monday.

Valencia Community College canceled Monday classes, officials announced Sunday

Brevard County public schools, the Brevard campus of the University of Central Florida, Brevard Community College, all county government offices and YMCA will be closed Monday based on current wind and weather forecasts.

-------

If you want to keep checking Deb Wills' All Ears Net.com site for updates, feel free.  We're all out here in cyberspace simply trying to help Disney fans and Disney travellers get information. :)

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 6:23 pm

Reposting what I've posted earlier, to help inform folks here on Disney Echo:


Posted: Oct. 18, 2005 17:05 am/pm   Edit MSG Quote
Track Wilma here:

< http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ >

All kinds of info, and click on the graphic called "5-Day Cone of Probability" for the next 5-days of where Wilma might be going.

YOU FOLKS IN CENTRAL FLORIDA (OR TRAVELLING THERE SOON FOR VACATION) BETTER LISTEN UP AND FOLLOW THE NEWS!

The current track has Wilma making landfall on the Western Coast of Florida (Gulf Coast) right between Tampa-St. Petersburg and the Florida Keys.  When you look at the 5-Day Cone you will see what I am talking about.  This area got hit by one of the 2004 hurricanes.

If you are WDW-bound:  Orlando will be on the EASIER LESS SEVERE side of Wilma, excellent news for you.  The buildings in Orlando generally are of updated code, and many of them have already repaired adequately since the 2004 brush with 4 hurricanes.  They can withstand Category 3 winds.  You might lose power.  You might lose landline phone.  You might lose cell phone.  You might not get room service, nor housekeeping to care for your bedroom linens or clean.  Disney will secure their property and send employees home to be with their families and secure their own homes.  Disney will have "ride out crews" at resorts to see both to guest nees and safety and report back with any damage the storm caused.  You may be asked to leave Fort Wilderness Campground and move to a resort room, since the danger there is of falling trees.  Events at the parks will start closing down as the storm approaches, so that employees can secure the parks in advance of the storm and for guest safety.  The parks will reopen when damage assessments are done as soon as winds reach a safe enough level to venture out, so be PATIENT and let Disney do what it has to do to reopen safely and for your enjoyment.  You may receive a written notice with INSTRUCTIONS in your resort room:  READ IT AND HEED IT and do all that it says for you/family to do!  You can watch movies on some of the Disney Resort cable channels to pass the time.  You may be asked to provide for your own food such as purchasing non-perishable food and drinks for your room and perhaps getting a flashlight (sometimes Disney can provide one to guests, but ask or just go out and get one on your own).  Don't go outside, stay away from windows for your own safety until Disney gives the all clear after the storm passes.  You are in good hands, good solid buildings, and in 2004 most Disney buildings rode those series of storms out excellently.  Tune to local TV and Weather Channel for news, essential information, and travel information.  If you are preferring to leave the area, the roads will congest up raapidly as people from low-lying areas seek to go inland to Orlando and other communities (you are already inland, so you'll be fine! ) and flights outbound may be filled up rapidly by others wishing to leave.  Call your airline, any place where you had tickets to shows, resort-to-airport transportation, any reservations at all to ask what their cancellation policy is or if you can get a refund or if you can move up using that (especially if it's transporation-related).  IT WILL TAKE A LONG TIME TO GO ON ROADS 'CAUSE OTHERS ARE EVACUATING OR SECURING THEIR PROPERTIES SO PLAN AHEAD!!!  The Orlando International Airport is NOT a shelter!  The Orlando International airport does not control airline schedules, so instead phone your airline or use the Internet to confirm flights.  It will take much longer than  an hour to reach the airport one-way if you want to depart, so allow double or triple time to get there if you are outbound due to the storm.  Any questions or concerns, take them up with customer service with travel insudtry entities you deal with (car rental agencies, airlines, ground transporation, Disney Guest Servces and hotel management, any hotel management off-site, restuarants and shows you have tickets to, condo's you are renting, etc., you get the idea: If you made any vacation arrangements contact them and find out about refunds or rain checks or how to get out if you prefer to leave, or how to ride the storm out if you want to hunker down and stay).

The news may sound like a lot of blah-blah-blah, but within that is essential information for your safety and making immediate plans.  Would suggest paying attention to the LOCAL news and not CNN or Weather Channel, because LOCAL NEWS tells you much more than CNN will about what to expect, how to prepare, and what the transportation is like.  Disney WILL TELL YOU many things you need to know, if you do not hear from Disney certainly go and ask especially if nothing printed shows up in your room about how to take good care of yourself.

Do not resent that Disney may close things down and send their staff home 'til the storm is over.  You'd want to be with your family and protect your own home if it was happening to you!  It is usual and customary for businesses to send most of their staff home.  The "ride out crews" are there to help guests and offer damage assessments to Disney management.  You will find this comforting, actually, since we got many reports from Disney Echo EARS at WDW for the 2004 series of hurricanes that Disney staff did the utmost for their guests.  However, don't expect room service or housekeeping to change the sheets, instead expect shelter from the storm, until the storm has passed and normal operations like you're used to can resume.  Hurricanes are EMERGENCIES so respect that, suck it in, deal with it, and be PATIENT and pray for Disney and it's employees and their families to ride out the storm and to be safe, themselves.  They are tired of hurricanes after the 2004 season, some of them suffered property losses they may still be dealing with, so having another one come along is not what they want, either.

Understand this, put yourself in their place, realize you chose to travel in hurricane season (June 1-November 30 each year) so just be patient and understanding and even in a hurricane you will find Pixie Dust in your heart and in your life as you develop a tall and interesting travel tale to tell.

Posted: Oct. 20, 2005 11:32 am/pm   Edit MSG Quote

[....]

Now, Orlando will be on the EASIER side of Wilma as it makes landfall.  That is NOT to say Orlando is guaranteed to get off scott-free!  IF Wilma stays a strong storm, the WESTERN SIDE even though the "easier" side WILL get damage!  It happened to us in Louisiana for Katrina.  Our state was on the western side of Katrina, and there are LOTS of trees down, wind damage, trees into buildings and on top of cars.  The farther WEST you are the better it gets.  But Wilma is a large sized storm, can cover up a lot of land area.  Local to us with Katrina there was damage even 50+ miles west of the eyewall coming over Slidell and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Wilma will make landfall with the most severe side to the south and southeast of Orlando generally, and the "easier" side to the north and northwest.  If the storm's track moves it to a more northern landfall, Orlando will be closer to it and will feel more from it, if the storm's landfall is farther south Orlando will feel less effects, however it will experience Wilma in some way.

The 2004 Hurricane season was severe in Florida.  WDW recovered quickly but even in April 2005 when we were there we could still see blue tarps on some roofs in Orlando and there may be people in Orlando still recovering in their personal lives from those storms.  Another storm such as Wilma can undo a lot of recovery work in the last 11-14 months since those three 2004 storms went over.

Florida is a richer, better prepared state that handled the 4 hurricanes in 2004 well, although it takes a very long time to recover from so many storms.  They have a better governor, and Orlando's mayor and the city are certainly well experienced.  The building codes are superior and Orlando is inland and not below sea level, there are no levees in Central Florida.  So what happened in New Orleans is not going to happen in Central Florida.  With that said, there could still be wind damage.  However, guests at WDW hotels fared well and praise Disney for their care for guests who sheltered there even though the original intent of guests was to be there for vacation.

Last year for the three Central Florida hurricanes that went near, passed or almost over WDW-Orlando:  Disney was gracious and permitted travellers to cancel their plans if the travellers didn't want to deal with being there for the storms.  I don't honestly know what Disney may be doing about Wilma, except inland is where Floridians themselves want to be and Disney would in fact be housing Flordians seeking safe shelter inland.

Use the "Search" features of Disney Echo to look up Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne.  Anyway, we maintained threads of the before-during-after of those three Central Florida 2004 storms, each of the storms, and you can see for yourself what to expect and how guests were informed and treated.  Research it, get reassurance.  Get peace of mind and look those up.  

"Search" feature:  Scroll to the top of this page you are reading now.  See FIVE BUTTONS going across the top of the page.  The farthest left one says "Search".  Use that, and follow the prompts.  Use keywords Charley, Frances or Jeanne.  You should find long thick threads dated between August and Deptember 2004.

If you are truly worried:  Contact your travel agent, airline, airport-to-resort transporation companies, anyone you have dining reservations with, anyone you have tickets with (shows, the parks, etc.) and Disney Guest Services directly and determine for yourself what is going on, what the status is, if you can be refunded, if things will be postponed, if you can get "rain checks" to do those plans another time, when or if they will shut down and their policies for when they will resume services, etc.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 6:33 pm

Might as well know how a major US golf tournament at WDW turned out just ahead of Hurricane Wilma landfall....

Oct 23, 2005 — TORONTO (Reuters) - American Lucas Glover birdied his final two holes to claim his first U.S. PGA Tour title with a one shot victory over compatriot Tom Pernice Jr at the Funai Classic in Orlando, Florida on Sunday.

With Hurricane Wilma steaming toward Florida, Glover fired a final round seven-under 65 at Walt Disney World Resort's Magnolia Golf Club for a winning total of 23-under 265.

Pernice finished with a flawless three-under 69 but after a birdie on the par-five 10th, he stalled and closed his round with eight straight pars for a 22-under 266 total.

Briton Justin Rose (68 ), Australia's Geoff Ogilvy (69) and Americans Ryan Palmer (64), Harrison Frazar (68 ) and 2002 PGA champion Rich Beem (70) all finished two shots adrift in a tie for third on 21-under 267.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 6:38 pm

All of the Hurricane Wilma information and maps are still current
on the previous page of this topic so click here to see that.

I've also updated the map data, so after going to that page click your web browser's refresh button.

Repeating important information Carol and I posted above:

  • Walt Disney World is under a Hurricane Warning for Hurricane Wilma
  • Florida Governor Bush today said, "The time to go is now."
  • Disney Cruise Line's Port Canaveral is closing tonight.
  • WDW officials are monitoring the storm's path and taking proactive measures for any potential impact to the Walt Disney World® Resort, keeping the safety of all Guests and Cast Members as their top priority. All decisions about tomorrow's park operating hours will be made on or after 6 pm EDT tonight (Sunday, October 23rd).
  • The 9:30pm Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue Show is cancelled for tonight (Sunday, October 23rd).
  • Guests at Disney's Ft. Wilderness Resort & Campground were temporarily evacuated to Disney's All-Star Resort today (Sunday, October 23rd) or allowed to leave earlier than they previously anticipated, driving their campers/RVs to safety north of the Walt Disney World area. The campground was closed to all overnight Guests starting at 3 pm today.
I wonder if WDW will update its < online calendar > to show any changes to the previously-posted information about the hours of WDW theme parks.
:hurricanewilma:

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 7:02 pm

WDW lies in both Orange and Osceola Counties.  Port Canaveral is in Brevard County, it is where the Disney Cruise Line docks.

From WFTV-TV Channel 9, Orlando, these are graphics of FORECASTS of what to expect:

Osceola County:

Inland Hurricane Warning and Flood Watch

Tornado Watch likely overnight and Monday morning

Winds: 50-65 miles per hour
Gusts: 75 miles South
Timeframe: 8 am - 1 pm Monday Eastern time zone

Orange County:

Inland Tropical Storm Warning and Flood Watch

Tornado Watch may be required tonight (night before Wilma's landfall)

Winds: 40-50 miles per hour
Gusts: 60 miles per hour
Timeframe: 8 am - 1 pm Monday Eastern time zone

Brevard County:

Hurricane Warning and Flood Watch

Tornado threat highest: Monday morning
Winds: 50-60 miles per hour
Gusts: 70 miles per hour
Timeframe 9 am - 2 pm Monday Eastern time zone


From Local 6, Orlando:

Orange County:

< http://www.local6.com/station/3661116/detail.html >

Osceola County:

< http://www.local6.com/station/3661119/detail.html >

Brevard County:

< http://www.local6.com/news/3698916/detail.html >

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 7:37 pm

Port Canaveral, where the Disney Cruise Line ships have their home, is closing tonight. Just as they are at Walt Disney World, Disney officials are watching Hurricane Wilma very closely, keeping the safety and security of their Guests at a top priority, as always.

The Disney Magic sailed away from Port Canaveral on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2005. With Hurricane Wilma moving across Cozumel in the western Caribbean and now headed east in the Gulf of Mexico towards Florida and very near Key West during tonight and tomorrow, it was necessary to alter the ship's itinerary so that Guests could enjoy safe conditions and fair weather. Therefore, this voyage sailed to the eastern Caribbean and is stopping at the ports of St. Maarten, and St. Thomas as well as Disney's private island Castaway Cay.

The Disney Wonder set sail from Port Canaveral earlier today. Disney will continue to monitor the path of Hurricane Wilma carefully and should conditions change, they are prepared to alter the ship's itinerary, scheduled for the Bahamas at this time.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 8:17 pm

Anyone seeking information, here are some phone numbers and other information:

From WESH-TV:

For Orange County, relevant to WDW:

ORLANDO INFORMATION LINE: (407) 246-4268 (OPENS AT 6 PM)

HOTELS HOTLINE: (407) 354-5555

Orlando law enforcement:

ORANGE LAW ENFORCEMENT:
# Emergency Operations Center partially activated for Hurricane Wilma
# Local state of emergency declared in Orlando at 11 a.m.
# Orange County residents advised to monitor local news for hurricane updates
# No evacuation orders issued for Orange County at this time
# People living in mobile homes and low-lying areas should review evacuation plans now
# Orlando city offices, including City Hall, closed Monday
# All state courthouses in the Ninth Judicial Circuit (Orange and Osceola Counties) closed Monday
# Orange County Clerk of Courts closed Monday
# Gatorland closed Monday
# Walt Disney World closed Monday morning. Parks may open in the afternoon

Orange County health:

ORANGE HEALTH:

# Evacuees should consider staying in hotels, motels or with family or friends prior to choosing an emergency shelter
# Shelters should be considered last resort since they are not built for comfort
# Garbage, yard waste and recycling collection in Orlando canceled Monday

ORANGE TRANSPORTATION:

# All tolls suspended on Florida's Turnpike
# The Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority is suspending tolls on all Central Florida roads from 6 p.m. Sunday until 6 a.m. Tuesday. This includes S.R. 429, S.R. 417, S.R. 408 and S.R. 528

KISSIMMEE INFORMATION LINE: (407) 344-INFO (4636)

# OSCEOLA LAW ENFORCEMENT: Emergency officials monitoring storm and checking availability of hotel rooms in area for possible evacuees
# The county will be issuing evacuation information later today for residents living in manufactured homes and low-lying areas prone to flooding.

OSCEOLA TRANSPORTATION:
# All tolls suspended on Florida's Turnpike
# Kissimmee Gateway Airport will close at 9 p.m. today and remain closed until late Monday afternoon.

OK, now READ DON'T SKIM.

IF Hurricane Wilma's eye is going to make landfall at around daybreak Monday morning (tomorrow morning) THEN it stands to reason that anyone left to answer the phone will be VERY BUSY or EVACUATED or AT HOME SHELTERING IN PLACE because the first effects of Wilma are reaching land Sunday night before a daybreak landfall.  It's a process that includes employees of various agencies being allowed to be safe from teh storm, too, in advance of it's landfall, before driving conditions become too hazardous.

This is not to suggest not calling to ask information if you are bound for WDW soon, it is to beg your understanding and patience by providing information to you right now as to what is likely going on, and consequently take that into consideration.

To reassure travellers to WDW:  Look above at the little note Disney issued that they would consider reopening their parks Monday afternoon when and if conditions and damage reports warrant.  The Weather Channel reported this evening the long range weather report for Florida is for "sunny skies" right after the storm passes into the middle of the week (Wednesday).

So I would suggest keeping in touch with your airline, car rental agencies, Disney press releases and other travel information sites including your travel agent if you've been using one.

The Orlando International Airport does not schedule flights, is not a shelter, and they would ask you to contact your airline directly for flight delays, cancellations, resumptions, etc.  This has been their practice in past hurricanes.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 8:27 pm

Disney Echo EARS along the Atlantic Coast on up north to Maine and Canada should be on the lookout for higher coastal tides and erosion post-Wilma, after she is finished with Florida she will go north up the coastline but parallel with it.

Check the 5-day Cone forecast on the National Hurricane Center website, you see clearly for most of the rest of this week where Wilma will be heading.

< http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ >

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 8:32 pm

If you are reading a lot of websites, news stories, news web logs, and simply want to know about "Disney", try this if you have a Windows operating system:

Hit at the same time CRTL F.  It means Control Find, and it's a little Search feature.  in Windows XP the little Search function is at the bottom of the screen.  Play around with it to understand how it works.  Type in Disney.  It will find that word in text for you, if it's there it goes to it, if that keyword you choose isn't there that means no announcements or news was posted.  Try the technique on another page.

Use this with any keywords you want to search for in a lot of text.  Saves a lot of time.  If nothing is posted, it might not be announced yet.  So keep coming back to check later, check others news sites, etc.  Be patient.

If you don't have Windows try some "Search" aspect for text in the operating system you do have.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 8:37 pm

From Local 6 TV, Orlando:

Rain Moves Into Central Florida As Wilma Approaches
Tropical-Force Winds Expected In Orange County

POSTED: 8:14 pm EDT October 23, 2005

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Wilma continued to get better organized and strengthen Sunday night as it accelerated northeastward toward South Florida for an early Monday landfall, according to the National Hurricane Center.

After meandering at a crawl through the Caribbean for several days, Wilma pulled away from the Yucatan peninsula as a Category 2 storm and was expected to speed "like a rocket" toward Florida before making landfall around dawn Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The latest projected path of Hurricane Wilma continues to show the storm pulling across the state by Monday at 8 a.m. as a possible Category 2 storm, with possible tropical storm-force winds reaching Orlando, according to Local 6 News meteorologist Tom Sorrells.

Orange County residents can expect tropical-storm force winds from 30 to 40 mph with the possibility of higher gusts. The hurricane should impact Orange County between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m bringing up to four inches of rain in some areas.

"It is still a very large storm and we are looking at a lot of wind with it," Local 6 News meteorologist Michele Cimino said Sunday. "We are looking at possible tropical storm-force winds as far north as Orlando as well as some hurricane-force winds in the southern parts of Central Florida."

The storm began its northeast movement toward Florida Sunday with hurricane-force winds extending out 85 miles and tropical storm-force winds extending out 200 miles.

Wilma is expected to make landfall late Sunday or early Monday morning before 8 a.m. Once the storm hits the state, it is expected to move through in only a few hours.

Most of Central Florida can expect showers and thunderstorms for most of Sunday and Monday.


At 8 p.m., the center of Wilma was located near latitude 23.9 north, longitude 84.4 west or about 170 miles, 275 km, west-southwest of Key West Florida and about 225 miles, 365 km, southwest of the southwestern coast of the Florida peninsula.

End of material.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 8:47 pm

I'm quoting from the 8 pm ET advisory of the National Hurricane Center in order to make a point, quoting:

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO  85 MILES...140 KM...  FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 230 MILES...370 KM.

End of quote.

OK, where ever Wilma makes landfall, from the center of the eye, measure outward towards Orlando approximately 85 miles (get a map for this).  That is how far hurricane force winds of at least 75 miles per hour are.  Measure towards Orlando approximately another 145 miles and that is where winds of 35-74 miles per hour are, total of 230 miles out from center.

So if you know that information you can know approximately the wind speeds WDW will likely experience.

BUT Disney does tell the media they expect to re-open the WDW parks Monday afternoon!  In 2004 the parks fared well, Animal Kingdom suffered a lot of tree damage, Fort Wilderness Campground got tree damage.  But mostly the parks and resorts were able with re-open within a day or two later.

Cross fingers and pray all will be well.  Everyone is storm weary and a lot of vacationers want their vacation break to take place as planned.  So much is unknown at this point, but take it in stride as we learned to do in 2004, and WDW is built very well, let's hope history is a good predictor and WDW will be OK!

Continuing to lift up WDW employees and their families, their homes and their property.  WDW employees are who make the magic happen!  So we hope for them and for their families for all to be safe and well.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 8:56 pm

From the Orlando Sentinel Hurricane Wilma news log:

< http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_we....ex.html >

Universal, Sea World expect to open Monday

Although Disney is closing on Monday, the Sentinel's Mark Chediak reports that other major theme parks, including Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld and Discovery Cove, expected to open but were keeping an eye on the storm.

“We're closely monitoring the situation,” said Courtney Huff, spokeswoman for Universal Orlando.




Disney to close

Disney has decided to close
  • all four Walt Disney World Theme Parks,
  • Typhoon Lagoon,
  • Downtown Disney
  • and Disney’s Wide World of Sports
They will not open tomorrow morning, Monday, October 24th.

Weather permitting, Walt Disney World may reopen one or more theme parks after the storm passes on Monday to entertain the tens of thousands of Guests currently staying in its resort hotels.

Disney is asking its Cast Members to report to work by 7 a.m. to avoid winds.

"Due to the potential of tropical storm force winds associated with Hurricane Wilma, all four Walt Disney World Theme Parks, Typhoon Lagoon, Downtown Disney and Disney’s Wide World of Sports will not open tomorrow morning, Monday, October 24.

"We have made this decision in an abundance of caution based on information from the National Weather Service, the National Hurricane Center and local emergency preparedness officials, all of whom currently expect the storm to pass more than 100 miles south of the resort.

"All resort hotels will remain open, though Guests staying at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground have been relocated to other hotels on property.

"All Cast Members scheduled to work Monday morning at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort hotels and the Disney Reservation and Call Centers should report to their work locations no later than 7 a.m. to avoid stronger winds expected later in the morning. All other Cast Members should contact their Cast Hotlines or their leaders for information about their schedule for Monday."

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 10:09 pm

The Disney announcement went on to say that this decision was made "in an abundance of caution based on information from the National Weather Service, the National Hurricane Center and local emergency preparedness officials, all of whom currently expect the storm to pass more than 100 miles south of the resort." ...and... "Walt Disney World Resort has an extensive hurricane preparedness plan and is staffed and prepared for a realm of possible impacts that this type of weather could have on our property.

"Guests who have questions should call (407) W-DISNEY or (407) 934-7639."

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 10:21 pm

This year hurricane season started on June 1st, as it usually does. Between June 1st and today there have been 22 named storms -- which is an average of 1 every 6 1/2 days.
Posted by: BambiTamby on Oct. 23, 2005, 10:39 pm

Quote
Cross fingers and pray all will be well.  Everyone is storm weary and a lot of vacationers want their vacation break to take place as planned.  So much is unknown at this point, but take it in stride as we learned to do in 2004, and WDW is built very well, let's hope history is a good predictor and WDW will be OK!

Continuing to lift up WDW employees and their families, their homes and their property.  WDW employees are who make the magic happen!  So we hope for them and for their families for all to be safe and well.


In my prayers, Carol! :praying:

Rich... every 6 1/2 days????? WOW! :o

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 10:41 pm

Quote (BambiTamby @ Oct. 23, 2005 21:39 am/pm)
Rich... every 6 1/2 days????? WOW! :o

Carol ran the numbers (she's better with that math stuff than me) and wanted me to point that out to the Disney EchoEars, so I made sure I typed in everything she said. Yup! Amazing, isn't it.
:o

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 10:44 pm

Wilma is a category 3 hurricane now.

It has sustained winds of 115 mph according to the just-released information from the National Hurricane Center. It continues to move toward the ENE towards the peninsula of Florida.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 11:04 pm

Quote (RichKoster @ Oct. 23, 2005 17:38 am/pm)
I wonder if WDW will update its < online calendar > to show any changes to the previously-posted information about the hours of WDW theme parks.
:hurricanewilma:

I'll answer my own question... It is close to 11 pm Eastern time, several hours after WDW made the announcement about all WDW theme parks being closed tomorrow, and the official website still doesn't reflect the news we've reported here tonight about WDW being closed.
:rock:

And we're not even being paid around here to bring you the latest Disney news! LOL

Here's hoping -- and praying that WDW as well as the Orlando area is spared damages and loss of life/injuries from Hurricane Wilma.
:praying:

Tink, sprinkle loads of pixie dust over the place... That might help!
:pixiedust: :tinkflying: :pixiedust:

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2005, 11:12 pm

Quote (RichKoster @ Oct. 23, 2005 16:31 am/pm)
< Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist >, wrote today:

Wilma has entered a slow intensification phase the past three hours. The pressure has fallen from 963 mb to 959 mb, the eye has shrunk in diameter from 60 nm to 45 nm, and satellite imagery shows cooling cloud tops in the eyewall region--all signs of an ongoing intensification cycle. In response to this intensification cycle, the Hurricane Center has now upped their forecast of the maximum storm surge from 13 feet to 17 feet over southwest Florida. At the current rate of intensification, Wilma could become a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds by midnight.

This intensification phase should slow down or reverse by midnight, since shear is now increasing over the storm.

Well, meteorologist Jeff Masters of Weather Underground was correct when he predicted Hurricane Wilma would intensify to a category 3 hurricane tonight, but it looks like he was wrong about its intensification reversing by midnight.
:hurricanewilma:

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 12:03 am

If you're tracking where Hurricane Wilma goes, make note of this on your hurricane tracking map:

Castaway Cay is located at:
26.05 North Latitude
77.32 West Longitude

Walt Disney World is located at:
28.33 North Latitude
81.21 West Longitude

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 12:07 am

< Floridians Hunker Down as Wilma Approaches >

By Lesly C. Simmons < RedCross.org > Staff Writer

Sunday, October 23, 2005

ORLANDO — Emergency crews from across the country pulled into Orlando over the weekend, using the Epcot parking lot at Walt Disney World as their staging area.

By Sunday afternoon, Wilma’s outer bands began lashing the south coast of Florida, causing flooding in the Keys and increasing concerns about the threat of the storm as it picked up speed in the Gulf of Mexico.

Despite everything the U.S. has seen during this year’s hurricane season and mandatory evacuation orders issued by state officials, only about five to seven percent of residents in the Keys chose to evacuate.

“We had law enforcement encouraging people to leave, but unfortunately we cannot make them go,” said Irene Toner, director of emergency management for Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys. “We are very discouraged about the low number of people evacuated.”

Wilma marks Florida's eighth hurricane since August 2004 and the fourth time this year the Keys were ordered evacuated... State emergency officials urged residents and tourists in southern Florida to head north toward Orlando. Hotels throughout the region posted "No Vacancy" signs as Floridians moved farther north from the projected path of the storm, expected to make landfall sometime early on Monday.

News scrolls urged residents heading to shelters to bring ample clothing, bedding, medications and enough food to last for at least three days. For those that did chose to leave, the American Red Cross had dozens of shelters open or on standby to serve evacuees.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 1:36 am

Here is the latest map showing all the computer models the National Hurricane Center bases its forecast map on:



The National Hurricane Center reports that its model guidance is now tightly packed around the previous forecast track... so no significant changes were made other than to increase Hurricane Wilma's forward speed at all times on the map.

But as the National Hurricane Center pointed out, "despite the good agreement among the models on where Wilma will go, it remains important to stress that one should not focus on the exact forecast track since Wilma has a large and expanding wind field... and significant impacts will likely be felt well away from the center."

Hurricane force winds will probably be reaching the west coast of Florida within the next hour, according to the Weather Channel.

The 5 pm National Hurricane Center forecast on Sunday 10/23 called for an 8 am Monday arrival near Naples for Hurricane Wilma, and about 40 nautical miles east of Port St. Lucie by 2 pm Monday, but these times are no doubt later than when the storm will actually arrive because of its increasing forward speed.






Click here to see the map larger.


For the latest information and the latest forecast map information, < click here. >

Bulletin
Hurricane Wilma intermediate Advisory Number 35A
NWS TPC/National Hurricane Center Miami FL
1 am EDT Mon Oct 24 2005

...Wilma headed for the southwest Florida coast...tropical storm force winds lashing the lower Florida Keys and western Cuba...

A hurricane warning remains in effect for all of the Florida Keys... including the Dry Tortugas and Florida Bay...along the Florida west coast from Longboat Key southward... and along the Florida east coast from Titusville southward... including Lake Okeechobee.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect along the Florida west coast north of Longboat Key to Steinhatchee River...and along the Florida east coast north of Titusville to St. Augustine.

A tropical storm watch is now in effect along the northeast coast of Florida from north of St. Augustine to Fernandina Beach.

A hurricane warning remains in effect for the Cuban provinces of Ciudad de la Habana...la Habana...and Pinar del Rio. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Isle of Youth. A hurricane watch remains in effect for the province of Matanzas. These warnings and watches will likely be discontinued later this morning.

A hurricane warning remains in effect for the northwestern Bahamas...including the Abacos...Andros Island...Berry Islands... Bimini...Eleuthera...Grand Bahama Island...and New Providence.

For storm information specific to your area...including possible inland watches and warnings...please monitor products issued by your local weather office.

At 1 am EDT...0500z...the center of the large eye of Hurricane Wilma was located near Latitude 24.7 north... Longitude 83.3 west or about 100 miles west of Key West Florida...and about 140 miles southwest of Naples Florida.

Wilma is moving toward the northeast near 18 mph...and an increase in forward speed is expected today. On this track...the center will make landfall along the southwestern coast of the Florida peninsula later this morning. However... Wilma is a large hurricane and tropical storm force winds will reach the Florida peninsula well before the eye makes landfall. The eastern portion of the eyewall... accompanied by the strongest winds... will reach the southwestern coast of Florida about 2 hours before the center of the large eye makes landfall.

Maximum sustained winds are near 115 mph...with higher gusts. Wilma is a category three hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Little change in strength is expected until landfall. Some weakening is likely as Wilma crosses the southern Florida peninsula.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 85 miles from the center...and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 230 miles. A wind gust to 53 mph was reported at Havana Cuba and a wind gust to 49 mph was reported at Key West.

The minimum central pressure recently reported by an Air Force Reserve unit hurricane hunter aircraft was 954 mb...28.17 inches.

Storm surge flooding of 9 to 17 ft above normal tide levels is possible along the southwest Florida coast near and to the south of where the center of Wilma makes landfall. Storm surge flooding of 5 to 8 ft above normal is possible in the Florida Keys and Florida Bay... as well as in Lake Okeechobee. Storm surge flooding of 2 to 4 feet is possible along the extreme southeastern coast of Florida.

Wilma may produce additional rainfall accumulations of 5 to 10 inches through today across portions of western Cuba. Rainfall across southern Florida and portions of central Florida... including the Florida Keys is expected to be 4 to 8 inches... with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches possible. Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches will be possible over portions of the northwest Bahamas.

Large swells generated by Wilma will continue to affect portions of the northeastern gulf coast from the Florida Keys northward today.

Some tornadoes are possible over portions of the central and southern Florida peninsula and the Florida Keys this morning.

Repeating the 1 am EDT position......24.7 N... 83.3 W. Movement toward...northeast near 18 mph. Maximum sustained winds...115 mph. Minimum central pressure... 954 mb.

An intermediate advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 3 am EDT followed by the next complete advisory at 5 am EDT.

Posted by: jac1992 on Oct. 24, 2005, 3:00 am

Keep checking your local News Channel for information on Hurricane Wilma. On < National Hurricane Center > keep checking for the latest information.
Posted by: jac1992 on Oct. 24, 2005, 3:20 am

WDW is still closed![B][U]
But still strangely enough the < Online Calender > still says it is open from 9am to 9pm

Strange!

:hurricanewilma:

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 6:43 am

People are slow to do the website update thing, Jack.  If you scroll back and read what's already been posted, WDW announced Sunday it would be closed Monday but would consider opening Monday afternoon pending conditions. :) Besides, if all is well Disney intends to keep its regular operating hours, once it does damage assessments to all buildings and rides and attractions, and any buildings their visitors and their employees use.

Besides, I know you are posting from Great Britain, but WDW would be closed anyway as I write this, it's between 6 am and 7 am Eastern Daylight Time! ;)

Folks, we've been posting WDW info re: Wilma, just scroll back a page or two to find it.  Some of it is in boldface darker type.  It remains in effect 'til Disney announces to the press otherwise.  So Jack and everyone, BE PATIENT 'til Wilma has passed through Florida more than it has.  WDW will remain closed for everyone's safety until wind conditions are safe for everyone to travel, and damage assessments can be made.

Landfall of Wilma happened a few minutes ago, at Port Romano FL on Florida's Western Gulf Coast.

So Wilma is making landfall.  Once the eye gets totally on land the storm will begin to diminish before it heads to the East Coast and to the Atlantic.  From there it moves up the eastern seaboard to wreak havoc on New England later this week, already soaked by heavy rains and flooding in the last two weeks.  They are about to get Wilma's rains.  So you East Coast Disney Echo EARS monitor the news!

Scroll back a page or two and you'll find a list of media links for Fort Myers, West Palm Beach, Tampa-St. Petersburg and Orlando TV stations and Orlando radio stations and the Orlando Sentinel newspaper.  

This truly is fascinating to do, just click around and use those URLs as a list, click around and look for streaming video and audio.

I know Jack is urging watch national coverage, but watch LOCAL coverage especially if you are particularly interested in travelling into and out of Orlando this week on vacation and want to know whether the airport will re-open, conditions of specific roads and highways to reach WDW, the condition of WDW itself and suchlike.  

To get through text, use CTRL F as "Control Find" and "search" for keyword "Disney" (without the quotes).  If nothing is posted nothing is announced or observed, yet.  Search through news logs on media sites.  

You can also use Google News Advanced Search with keywords Disney Wilma and BE PATIENT for anything official about WDW reopening, damage assessments, advisories for tourists updated regularly, etc. over there.

When Rich and I get a bit more awake and son off to school we can do more coverage.  Disney World isn't going to announce anything until local winds are at a lower miles per hour (usually less than 30-40 ) to make it safe to go outside, look around, check with highway and airport officials, inspect their own buildings and roads for damage and debris, clean up and then they will announce their plans for WDW.  It'll be awhile.  So kick back! ;)

Posted by: mamaloya on Oct. 24, 2005, 7:17 am

If you think about it, it is probably best that WDW close "weather" or not they expect damage just because of the idiot factor.  If they were to open it would encourage lots of people to stay or go into the parks instead of leaving, and then if it does freakishly intensify and people get hurt or even if it does not intesify too much but they get hurt, WDW will be blamed.  People do stupid things during hurricanes.  If you are the only thing open, you will be an idiot magnet.
Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 7:39 am

I'd rather have refrigerator magnets than idiot or hurricane magnets!

From the Orlando Sentinel's news log about Hurricane Wilma:

Orange County enjoys good news

From the Orange County government Web site:

The good news for Orange County is we are no longer in the cone that accounts for the track's margin of error.  It appears the worst of the storm will be to our south.

The big concern for us in central Florida is possible tornadoes that could spawn by the hurricane, as we have already seen in Brevard County.  We expect winds up to 40 mph and higher gusts in some areas. The expectation is high wind gusts between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m on Monday.

Mayor Crotty added, "Orange County Government is open for business on Monday. We have a lot to do.  Public Works, Public Safety and we have an important county commission meeting on Tuesday."

Orange County Courthouse in both Orange and Osceola counties will be closed on Monday.  Both courthouses are expected to re-open on Tuesday, October 25, 2005.

Stay tuned to Orange TV, Cable Channel 9 for updates. Call 311 for county information and sandbag distribution.

Tornado warning for Orange, Osceola county

From the National Weather Service in Melbourne:

A tornado warning has been isssued for southeastern Orange County and northeastern Osceola County, including the city of Holopaw until 6 am.

At 5:12 a.m. the National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated a severe thunderstorm with significant rotation 10 miles southeast of Holopaw... moving northwest at 20 mph.

The tornado is expected to be near 6 miles northeast of Holopaw by 5:40 a.m.

The safest place to be during a tornado is in a strong building on the lowest floor... in an interior room such as a bathroom or closet. Keep away from windows. Get under a workbench or other piece of sturdy furniture. Use blankets or pillows to cover your body.

Evacuate Mobile homes or vehicles for more substantial shelter. If no shelter is available... lie flat in the nearest ditch or other low spot and cover your head with your hands. Abandon your vehicle if the tornado is nearby.

Tornadoes at night are difficult to see. Watch for the popping of electric lines and transformers or listen for the sound of loud rumbling as that of an approaching freight train. Tornadoes are often associated with storms which also produce large hail and excessive lightning.

Additionally, a tornado watch has been issued for central and southern Florida costal waters until 11 a.m.

Lynx is on the prowl; no highway tolls

Lynx is maintaining its full weekday schedule for this morning though officials said that would change if sustained winds reach 35 mph. Access Lynx van service for disabled riders also was sticking to a regular schedule Monday morning for the time being. Meanwhile, tolls remain lifted on all expressways through Central Florida.

--Scott Powers, Sentinel Staff Reporter

Orange expects localized flooding

Orange County's emergency officials said Hurricane Wilma will bring her worst to Central Florida before noon today. In a briefing that concluded about 6:40 a.m., emergency management officials said they don't expect severe damage in Orange County, but the area could experience localized flooding.

"The critical hours for us will be the next several hours, from now until about noon," Public Safety Director Jerry Demings said.

County officials' worst fear is rain-wrapped tornadoes spawned by Wilma, which are difficult to detect amid heavy storms. They urged residents to monitor TV and radio reports, and to head for small, windowless rooms on the ground floor at the first indication of a twister.

"You've got to hustle in there and wait it out," County Fire Chief Carl Plaugher said.

Central Florida's Urban Search and Rescue Team -- firefighters trained in rescues in the aftermath of a disaster -- has been deployed to the Citrus Bowl until the hurricane passes. After the storm, it will probably be sent to South Florida, where damage is expected to be more severe.

A school district official said damage assessment teams are standing by, as well, ready to gauge the condition of county school buildings.

--Mark Schlueb, Sentinel Staff Writer

Morning traffic is normal

Despite a strong, steady, windy rain, all appeared relatively normal on Orlando's eastside streets this morning, and a trickle of pre-rush hour traffic kept the streets active. The Florida Highway Patrol reported only three minor traffic crashes in Central Florida - in Lake Helen, Apopka and Windermere - and no road closures anywhere.

With flags flapping hard along the roadside, several stray people were making their way by foot along East Colonial Drive east of State Road 436, a stretch with a high number of homeless people. With all power on, a small handful of gas stations and fast-food restaurants were open for business and drivers found no lines yet at either the pumps or the drive-up windows.

--Scott Powers, Sentinel Staff Reporter

About 13,000 Progress Energy customers without power

Progress Energy Florida had about 13,000 homes and businesses without power shortly before 7 a.m. today, according to spokeswoman Dana Yeganian.

"It’s pretty well scattered throughout our territory," she said. DeLand on the north and Highlands County on the south have some of the higher concentrations of power outages for the company, she said, with most Progress Energy customers well north of the hurricane's landfall. Progress Energy has about 1.9 million customers in more than 30 counties throughout Central and North Florida, covering the Interstate 4 corridor.

Winds here are at tropical force strength

Sustained winds are blowing at 36 mph out of the north-northeast, with gusts up to 44 mph at Orlando International Airport, according to the National Weather Service. Rain totals reached 2.55 inches at OIA, 1.77 inches at Orlando Executive Airport and 1.49 inches at Sanford International Airport since 1 a.m., according to the weather service. Click here for a map of the winds.

--Scott Powers, Sentinel Staff Writer

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 7:44 am

I just checked the Orlando Sentinel website and as of before 8 am Eastern/7 am Central there is NO WORD about WDW or the other theme parks in Orlando (Universal, Sea World) re-opening yet.  Later today there likely will be word.  SO BE PATIENT!

However there is good news for Orlando shoppers, some of the major malls plan to go ahead and open!  

However monitor local Orlando conditions via those media websites, it'll be windy shopping at best!

You do not want a tornado to rip you or your purchases as you enter or depart the malls, and there CAN be that danger as the Monday of Wilma landfall progresses on.  

So hang in there, monitor the news.  Better to be safe.  Take it from someone in Katrina Country!

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 7:52 am

There is a tornado warning for southern Brevard County.  As I mentioned earlier, this is the coastal county on the Atlantic Ocean where a lot of cruise ship terminals are, including for Disney Cruise Line at Port Canaveral.  Earlier, FOX News Channel reported a tornado sighting at Kennedy Space Center, and when you sail away on Disney Cruise Line you can see KSC from the ship.  KSC is near Titusville FL.

FOX News Channel is also quoting this morning from the Orlando Sentinel news log about Wilma (I did too, before they did!!! ) and reporting localized flooding, including on parts of I-4.

You cannot "order up" what you want from the weather gods as if you were in the fast food restaurant drive-up window where you get your food in less than a minute.  Real life and real life weather processes are not that way, sorry to say.  It is difficult to be patient, I know.  But the authorities in cities, counties, highway authorities and Disney damage assessment teams CANNOT and WILL NOT go out until winds and local weather conditions settle down to a safe level.

There are "ride out crews" at the WDW resorts, teams of Cast Members (employees) caring for the guests and reporting back to management of conditions, damage, etc.

WDW has been there since the early 1970s.  And the three storms of 2004, Charley, Frances and Jeanne, taught them a LOT!  So trust Disney knows what it's doing and will announce when they plan to re-open the parks when conditions and clean up permit them to. :)

Posted by: sadizney on Oct. 24, 2005, 8:02 am

My poor friend and her family arrived in WDW yesterday as part of Make-A-Wish Foundation. I hope they get some nice days in at WDW this week...if it does open soon. :(
Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 8:28 am

Quote (CarolKoster @ Oct. 24, 2005 06:52 am/pm)
FOX News Channel is also quoting this morning from the Orlando Sentinel news log about Wilma (I did too, before they did!!! ) and reporting localized flooding, including on parts of I-4.

They also were showing video from one of the Orlando TV stations which had a live camera on that part of interstate 4 with the flooding on the left-most lanes -- but I don't see a way to see the streaming video on the internet for any of the Orlando TV stations except < WFTV-TV >.

Right now FOX News has a reporter live in Everglades City, FL out in the street and he says the back end of Hurricane Wilma feels worse than the approaching side of it was. He was almost hit a minute ago by a tree blowing down the street and then by a large metal section of a roof torn off a building.

I'm trying to find more information on how Disney's Vero Beach Resort is doing, because winds on that side of Florida are reported higher than they have ever been since the 1950s.

A falling tree has killed one person this morning in Coral Springs, FL.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 8:35 am

You can watch live streaming video from a West Palm Beach TV station, where the eye of Hurricane Wilma is going over right now, from WPEC-TV News 12 combined with WFLX-TV FOX 29 at the < Palm Beach Post website at www.palmbeachpost.com >
Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 9:02 am

The live streaming video on WPEC-TV News 12 combined with WFLX-TV FOX 29 at the < Palm Beach Post website at www.palmbeachpost.com > showed that while the eye of Hurricane Wilma is now passing over West Palm Beach, FL it looks like Vero Beach, home of Disney's Vero Beach Resort, will not have the eye go over that area. It will pass to the south of it.

However, I don't know how far north of the eye the eye wall extends -- so even though the eye won't go over Disney's Vero Beach Resort they still might get very high winds -- perhaps even hurricane-force winds there.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 9:03 am

National Hurricane Center just announced that the winds of Hurricane Wilma have decreased and it is downgraded to a category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds.
Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 9:08 am

Winds at Disney's Vero Beach Resort, just north of the eye of Hurricane Wilma as it passes easterly south of Vero Beach, are currently at 43 mph.

More than half a million million people have lost power in the state of Florida this morning -- and additional communities west of Palm Beach have just lost power in the last ten minutes as the eye passes over them.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 9:08 am

From the Orlando Sentinel newspaper online Wilma news log.  I am being selective, posting what will give Disney Echo EARS and travellers heading to WDW soon an idea of current conditions in Orlando only.  For general Wilma news head to the other stations in Fort Myers, Tampa and Palm Beach or national media.

WDW is in both Osceola and Orange Counties, Disney Cruise Line  terminal is in Brevard County.

Begin quoted material:

Some airlines at OIA suspend service

Reporter Beth Kassab reports from Orlando International Airport...

Delta Airlines and potentially several other airlines are suspending service at 9 a.m. because of expected high winds and adverse weather conditions. The airlines are not expected to resume service until 4 p.m. today.


FP&L expected to take hardest hit

Florida Power & Light is expected to take the hardest hit from the storm, as Wilma crosses the heart of its 27,000 square mile territory of south and east Central Florida.

Company representatives said as many as two million of its customers might be affected by the time the storm exits the state this afternoon.

To cope with massive outages, FPL lined up a record of more than 1,000 out-of-state restoration crews to help out, along with more than 600 crews to assist with tree and vegetation removal.

FPL said that was the most the outside help the company had ever assembled in advance of a hurricane and would allow the utility to deploy a combined workforce of more than 5,000 once the weather calms enough to allow crews to begin restoring power.
-- By Jerry W. Jackson, Sentinel Staff Writer

Wilma knocks out power to 1,200 in Osceola County

From Kissimmee Utility Authority:

High winds from Hurricane Wilma have knocked out power to approximately 1,212, or two percent, of Kissimmee Utility Authority’s 58,000 electric customers in Osceola County.

   At 7:09 a.m. today, the utility reported the loss of a major distribution feeder that serves the Orange Gardens area of Kissimmee. KUA crews were dispatched at 7:10 a.m. and are currently riding out the lines to determine the cause of the outage. Sporadic outages totaling 25 customers have also been reported along south Pleasant Hill Road. Crews have also responded to those outages.

Orlando morning briefing

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said at an 8:15 a.m. morning news conference that Wilma's heaviest winds and rain are expected in next hour. Wind gusts could reach 75 mph. Several traffic lights are out.

Mike McCoy, Orlando Police Chief says fire and police will be able to respond to 911 calls, unlike last year, when winds prevented emergency response crews from being dispatched during the height of the hurricanes.

Lynx busses are running now, but they will curtail services if winds exceed 35 mph.  More information about Lynx is available at 407-423-8747.

For more information the city's information line is 407-246-4268. Additional numbers and community resources are available here.

I-Drive stirs to life

Traffic was very light along Central Florida Parkway and International Drive between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. But a few hardy tourists ventured into hotel coffee shops and restaurants despite gusty winds and driving rain.

At the Starbridge Suites on I Drive, Cur Smith, 16, checked his e-mail on a computer in a corner of the lobby. Smith, who's here with his family from a London suburb, said missing a day of park-hopping won't be a major disappointment, because there's still a week left on the family's trip.

The family has been following the progress of Hurricane Wilma since they arrived in Orlando last week.

They had seen TV coverage of Hurricane Katrina, but weren't too worried about Wilma, since the brunt of the storm was to the south.

"It's not so frightening," said Smith. "We were told it would be OK. We're just keeping an eye on it."

The family planned to stay tucked in their hotel room and watch TV much of the day, he said.

Another visitor from the UK, Bryan Cowan maintained a stiff upper lip while discussing the storm.

"You've got to carry on, don't you," said Cowan, joined by his wife and 9 year old.

"We'll get some breakfast, then pick up a video to watch on the telly and probably play some cards, just mess about a bit."

At the nearby Ponderosa Steakhouse, which opens every day for breakfast, a few tourists were enjoying coffee, but the real crowd wouldn't come until later in the morning, said general manager Randy Penvose.

"The tourists are not in a hurry today with the parks closed," he said. "But it will be crazy later on in here, I'm sure."


--Chris Cobbs, Sentinel Staff Writer

Hoping this is as bad as it gets

The winds and rain have really picked up the in past 20 minutes or so in Waterford Lakes.

Judging by my pool, which I drained down yesterday in preparation for Wilma, we’ve had about 5 inches of rain – most of it in the past two hours. Guess I’ll have to brave the weather and drain it down some more.

The winds are interesting to watch. The palms are whipping around and the oaks are shaking a bit. But the pool screen, which was ripped apart by Charley, seems to be holding up pretty well under the strain.

I didn’t board up this time – no one in my neighborhood did – but there have been a couple of times in the last few minutes where some particularly intense bursts of wind have made me question whether that was smart. Let’s hope we’re in the thick of it now, and that the worst is over.

I’m headed out to take down the pool a bit more!

-- Chuck Clark, News Editor

Power out in Orange Gardens neighborhood

About 1,200 of Kissimmee Utility Authority's 58,000 electric customers - most in the Orange Gardens neighborhood - were without power for about half an hour this morning because the hurricane blew a palm tree into overhead power lines, utility spokesman Chris Gent said.

Electric service was restored about 7:40 a.m. Less than 40 customers along Pleasant Hill Road remained without power at 8:45 a.m. Crews were trying to pinpoint the source of the problem, Gent said.

Elsewhere in Osceola County, the rain and winds were heavy and traffic was light, but no major flooding or damage was reported, county spokesman Don Madden said. Initial reports of damage in rural Holopaw, east of St. Cloud, were unfounded, he said. Only about 130 people showed up at three of the four shelters the county opened, Madden said. One shelter, in Celebration, had no occupants.

There was a tornado watch in the county but no reliable reports of touchdowns, authorities said. "There's a lot of rain and wind but nothing serious," St. Cloud police Chief Patrick Kelly said. -- Susan Jacobson, Sentinel Staff Writer

Tornado hits in Brevard

A tornado reportedly destroyed a building in Floridana Beach and damaged an apartment complex in West Melbourne shortly before 8 a.m. No injuries were reported.

The National Weather Service reported the same tornado apparently touched down on State Road A1A in Floridana Beach then skipped over to West Melbourne.

In Floridana Beach, a building was flattened and debris blew across S.R. A1A, closing the road, according to the Brevard Office of Emergency Management.

In West Melbourne the twister caused severely damaged the roof of one building and damaged another building in the Grand Oaks Apartment Complex at John Rhodes Boulevard and U.S. Highway 192, according to the Brevard Office of Emergency Management.

--Scott Powers, Sentinel Staff Writer

End of quoted material.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 9:14 am

< WPBF-TV > also has live streaming video, broadcasting while the eye is going over their city. They can feel their building shaking and the trees outside are bent almost completely over.

FOX News also has a live shot right now from West Palm Beach, FL with Trace Gallagher. I urge you to watch that if you can -- much better video and live reporting than the local West Palm Beach TV stations.

Boyton Beach in West Palm Beach county has had of 110 mph but the calm of the eye is about to go over them (with no winds) before the back side of the eye goes over them again a few minutes later.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 9:23 am

Probably, Sadizney, Monday (today) will be mostly a "no go" to any of the Central Florida theme parks until the winds die down and the danger of tornadoes passes.  This storm as it hits Florida is NOT as strong as Katrina was.  However when Wilma hit the Yucatan of Mexico it was stronger than Katrina over there.  Also you have to know the facts, that Florida having been through hurricane season in 2004 learned a LOT and they have better Governor and officials for emergency preparedness than Louisiana.  If you scroll back in this thread I did post the URLs about Charley, Frances and Jeanne from 2004, and you can reread those and relive how it went back then.

WDW came through in good shape following the rough season of 2004, and for Wilma they are farther north, and judging by cruising around the Orlando media websites it looks like there is definitely Wilma's presence but less severe than in 2004 (storm farther away this time, that's why).

So read and cruise on the media links, get confidence!  And BE PATIENT with hearing news, they simply have to ride out the process to it's end, and like I said you cannot do that in the "fast food drive up" parallel of wanting to hear the news you want to hear. ;)

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 9:23 am

The eye of Hurricane Wilma is expected to exit Florida at about 10 am EDT -- but the back side of the hurricane still has very destructive winds so the damage will not stop with the eye itself leaving. It is moving at 25 mph but its forward movement is accelerating higher than that as a cold front is helping to push it along.

Right now winds at the Orlando International Airport are at 45 mph.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 9:29 am

I cruised to Orlando major media websites and WDW will stay closed until at least Monday afternoon of Wilma's landfall (depending on weather conditions and damage assessments and employees being able to come in for work) and Universal Studios is closed on Monday of Wilma's landfall.  This as of 9:30 am Eastern time today.

For additional information, scroll backwards in this thread even going back a few pages.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 9:35 am

Weather at WDW currently isn't too bad but they are about to get a feeder band from Hurricane Wilma with very intense weather (high winds, heavy rain) which is moving from the east, currently in a north-south line just west of Melbourne.

There is an Emergency Operations Center meeting now starting from Osceola County near WDW in Kissimmee being broadcast on WFTV channel 9 in Orlando and on the internet.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 9:42 am

The biggest news at the meeting (not already reported here above) is that there still is a potential for 70 mph gusts in Osceola County today and it is still under a hurricane warning until 4 pm this afternoon.

Exercise caution and stay inside if at all possible.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 9:54 am

Here is a picture grabbed just a couple of minutes ago from Eyewitness News - Channel 9 WFTV-TV in Orlando showing interstate 4 near Walt Disney World at the Central Florida Greeneway/SR 417:



Click here to see the picture larger.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 10:01 am

Florida Governor Jeb Bush just came to the podium in a news conference about Hurricane Wilma's impact on Florida. FOX News is covering it live. He declared 14 counties in Florida disaster areas and urged people to stay in homes until the storm passes.
Posted by: jac1992 on Oct. 24, 2005, 10:17 am

< Live Webcam from Ft. Lauderdale >

This link will take you to a live webcam of Ft. Lauderdale where Wilma has hit.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 11:07 am

As Hurricane Wilma makes its way off the peninsula of Florida, the danger still remains for all of central Florida including Walt Disney World: Heavy rainfall of over 6 inches of rain today can cause street flooding and flooding of low-lying areas.



Bulletin
Hurricane Wilma Advisory Number  37
NWS TPC/National Hurricane Center Miami FL
11 am EDT Mon Oct 24 2005

...Large eye of Wilma over Palm Beach and Martin Counties in
southeastern Florida...
...Hurricane Force winds on back side of eye moving into metropolitan areas of southeastern Florida...
...Remain indoors...

A hurricane warning remains in effect for all of the Florida Keys... including the Dry Tortugas and Florida Bay... Along the Florida west coast from Longboat Key southward... And along the Florida east coast from Titusville southward... including Lake Okeechobee.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect along the Florida west coast north of Longboat Key to Steinhatchee River... And along the Florida east coast north of Titusville to St. Augustine.

At 11 am EDT...1500Z...the tropical storm watch along the northeast Coast of Florida from north of St. Augustine to Fernandina Beach has been discontinued.

A hurricane warning remains in effect for the Cuban provinces of Ciudad de la Habana...la Habana...and Pinar del Rio.  A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Isle of Youth.  A hurricane watch remains in effect for the province of Matanzas. These warnings and watches will likely be discontinued later today.

A hurricane warning remains in effect for the northwestern
Bahamas...including the Abacos...Andros Island...Berry islands...Bimini...Eleuthera...Grand Bahama island...and New Providence.

For storm information specific to your area...including possible inland watches and warnings...please monitor products issued by your local weather office.

At 11 am EDT...1500Z...the center of Hurricane Wilma was located near Latitude 26.9 North... Longitude 80.0 West or about 15 miles... 25 km... north-northeast of West Palm Beach Florida.

Wilma is moving toward the northeast near 25 mph...41 km/hr.  A continued increase in forward speed is expected during the next 24 hours.  On this track the large eye will emerge off the east coast of the southern Florida peninsula and move into the Atlantic later today.  However...Wilma is a large hurricane and the strongest Winds in the eyewall extend well away from the center.  Persons are urged not to venture outdoors during the relative calm of the eye because winds will soon increase quite rapidly.  

Maximum sustained winds are near 105 mph...165 km/hr...with higher gusts. Wilma is a category two hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.  Wind speeds about one category stronger could be experienced in high rise buildings.  Some continued gradual weakening is likely as Wilma emerges off the southern Florida peninsula today.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 100 miles...160 km... from the center...and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 260 miles...415 km.

Estimated minimum central pressure is  956 mb...28.23 inches.

Storm surge should be decreasing along the southwestern Florida coast...the lower Florida Keys...and extreme southeast Florida. Storm surge flooding should begin to decrease in upper Florida Bay later this afternoon through this evening.  As Wilma exits Florida...storm surge flooding of 2 to 4 feet is still possible along the Palm Beach...Martin...and St. Lucie shorelines to the north of the storm track.  Storm surge of 5 to 8 feet is still possible in Lake Okeechobee.

Wilma is expected to produce additional 2 to 4 inch rainfall amounts over portions of central and southern Florida...with maximum storm total amounts of 12 inches possible.  Western Cuba may receive additional 1 to 3 inch rainfall amounts over localized areas. Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches are possible over portions of the northwestern Bahamas.

Tornadoes are possible over portions of the central and southern Florida peninsula today.

Repeating the 11 am EDT position...26.9 n... 80.0 w.  Movement toward...northeast near 25 mph.  Maximum sustained winds...105 mph.  Minimum central pressure... 956 mb.

Intermediate advisories will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 1 pm EDT and 3 pm EDT followed by the next complete advisory at 5 pm EDT.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 11:23 am

And with that advisory, we're switching away from providing the Hurricane Wilma advisories from the National Weather Service and now concentrating more on follow-up news stories about events more closely-related to what Hurricane Wilma's impact was on WDW, Disney Cruise Line, Castaway Cay and Disney's Vero Beach Resort. We don't need to post any more of those advisories unless they mention something about Castaway Cay.
Bye-bye, Wilma!  :hurricanewilma:

Look for upcoming news reports about when Walt Disney World will begin reopening and what, if any, damage WDW received from the hurricane. Also look for news about Disney's Vero Beach Resort, which appears to have been in more danger than WDW, as well as how Port Canaveral fared with the tornadoes in that area, and what will happen with Disney's Castaway Cay as the hurricane approaches, including possible storm surge damage.

The closure last night and today of Walt Disney World’s parks for Hurricane Wilma is the first time this has happened at the WDW Resort this year. Last year, two hurricanes came much closer to WDW forcing similar closings. Just like last year, WDW Resort Guests today will be asked to stay in their hotel rooms and until the danger passes and then when it is safer extra entertainment and free activities will be provided in each Resort's public areas/lobbies, with Disney Characters, movies, and other fun things to do until the parks reopen.

WDW Resort Guests who have questions should call (407) W-DISNEY or (407) 934-7639.

All Cast Members scheduled to work this morning at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort hotels and the Disney Reservation and Call Centers were instructed to report to their work locations no later than 7 am today. All other Cast Members should contact their Cast Hotlines or their leaders for information about today's work schedule.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 11:51 am

Quote (RichKoster @ Oct. 24, 2005 09:01 am/pm)
Florida Governor Jeb Bush just came to the podium in a news conference about Hurricane Wilma's impact on Florida. FOX News is covering it live. He declared 14 counties in Florida disaster areas and urged people to stay in homes until the storm passes.

And now President George W. Bush has declared the state of Florida a major disaster area.

3.1 million homes and businesses in Florida are now without electricity.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 12:32 pm

According to the Orlando Sentinel web lof of news about Wilma, Orlando International Airport has reported 46 miles per hour winds.  Needless to say, no flights in or out 'til that kind of thing settles down!  Call your airline if you are concerned about flights.

Still cruising the Orlando web sites of news media and NO WORD yet when Disney World will re-open.  Sit tight, be patient.  Gotta wait for the weather to be safe, like has been mentioned before.  For purposes of being there on vacation to do the parks, looks like today is a "wash out" day.  But at least you get a travel story to tell your kids and grandkids about!  Looks like Orlando is getting some effects, but better than last year and the rest of the week might be OK...  But just wait to hear OFFICIAL words from Disney, Department of Transportation, Orlando International Airport, etc.!  Storm hasn't passed yet, it's heading northeasterly, so it will continue to brush Orlando as it heads to the Atlantic, so they want to err on the side of caution and safety for their hotel guests hunkering down in the resort complexes and hotels.  People are chomping at the bit to see the parks, but if you've seen the video of adults being buffeted by winds, imagine taking your three-year old out in that with debris flying around.  So hang in there a bit longer.

This is why they strongly tell you to leave....  Brevard is the coastal county where Disney Cruise Line's terminal is.

< http://www.local6.com/weather/5159859/detail.html >

Wilma Spawns Tornadoes; 2-Story Home Lifted Into Road

POSTED: 10:17 am EDT October 24, 2005
UPDATED: 12:08 pm EDT October 24, 2005

As many as four tornadoes from Wilma touched down in Brevard County, Fla., Monday morning, including one that lifted a two-story home and moved it into a road, according to Local 6 News.

A woman in Melbourne Shores said she was sitting down watching TV when she heard a loud noise and then her second story was ripped from the home, Local 6 News reporter Vanessa Medina said.

The wind continued to rip the house until only a shell of the first floor was left.

Neighbors said they found and rescued the woman yelling for help in her home's debris.

"Suddenly, there was a big whoosh and she was sitting out in the open air and the roof came off," resident Henry Bunso said. "Her mattress ended up on top of her. She began screaming and I ran over and pulled the mattress off.

The woman was not seriously injured when her house was blown into the road.

Also, residents at the Grand Oaks Apartments in West Melbourne reported a tornado caused significant damage to several units.

City officials in West Melbourne said that a tornado lifted a car from the apartment's parking lot and slammed it into a location near the apartments, Local 6 News reporter Louis Bolden reported.

"The city manager took one look at this and was certain that a tornado did this because of the branches," Bolden said.

Local 6 News showed video of roof damage at the apartment complex.

There were no injuries reported at the complex.

Monday, a tornado apparently touched down off Highway 192, near Wickham Road, Medina said.

Four tornadoes were reported in the southern half of the state Sunday night. One of the reported tornadoes was reported near Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral that caused some structural damage, but no injuries.

Posted by: jac1992 on Oct. 24, 2005, 12:52 pm

I will be online for most of the night here (GMT) and will be keeping check on WDW! But most of the praise to Rich and Carol. They have been the best covering this and I tried as well! Thank you to them!
Posted by: jac1992 on Oct. 24, 2005, 12:58 pm

< WDW Closed Today >

The theme parks of the Walt Disney World Resort were closed today, Monday, October 24, in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Wilma.

Although Hurricane Wilma is expected to pass about 100 miles south of Walt Disney World, it has strengthened as it approached Southeast Florida.

Disney World officials are taking precautions by closing the theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom), the resort’s water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon), and the entertainment areas Downtown Disney and Disney’s Wide World of Sports.

Hurricane Wilma may cause considerable damage with its high winds and heavy rain.

The Walt Disney World theme parks may reopen tomorrow weather permitting, although if the effects of Hurricane Wilma remain strong, all or some of the parks may remain closed. The resort is monitoring the situation and taking advice from hurricane and emergency preparation officials.

Last year, the Disney theme parks at Walt Disney World closed for several days through the hurricane season when major hurricanes such as Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne created major devastation across parts of Florida.

Walt Disney World escaped the 2004 hurricane season with minor landscaping and light structural damage, but no wide problems or injuries were reported, most likely due to planned closures and storm plans.

The closure today of Walt Disney World’s parks for Hurricane Wilma is the first for the resort this year. Guests will remain in their hotel rooms, and as with last year, extra entertainment will be provided in the hotel gathering areas, with characters, movies, and other activities.

This website confirms that WDW was closed today and that it may open tomorrow weather permitting so from the sound of this it will not be open today! That is a bit of good news though!

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 1:06 pm

Jack, all that website has done is re-write WDW's official announcement from yesterday. They are speculating about tomorrow's opening... actually WDW may reopen some or all of the big 4 WDW theme parks today.

I'm watching for a new announcement from Disney about their plans to reopen today -- but it has not been released yet.

For the official word and not speculation, we'll have to wait a bit more.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 1:53 pm

Re-opening Information for WDW:



NOTE: See the updated information about this by clicking here... It was decided to reopen some things today and not limit it only to WDW Resort Guests. Now back to the original post...



According to printed information being given out to Walt Disney World Resort Guests, the Magic Kingdom will be opening today sometime between 2 pm and 4 pm EST but only for WDW Resort Guests. It will not be open today for Day Guests (Guests not staying at an official WDW Resort) but would have normal closing hours tonight.

Epcot would be the same way, opening only for WDW Resort Guests sometime this afternoon, with normal closing hours.

Downtown Disney, the WDW golf courses and miniature golf courses would today open to Resort Guests ONLY but the opening times would depend on the weather, sometime this afternoon.

The Disney-MGM Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Wide World of Sports and all the water parks would not open until Tuesday.

Disney Transportation would start running today after the storm passed.

Some WDW Resort restaurants and room service were not operating but Disney arranged for breakfast and lunch buffets to be available at 4 seating times for breakfast and lunch for WDW Resort Guests.

The movies being shown in the Walt Disney World Resort rooms, extra entertainment not usually presented, are:
  • Channel 14: "Armageddon," "The Count of Monte Cristo," "Dead Poets Society," "Pearl Harbor," and "The Sixth Sense."
  • Channel 18: Johnny Depp in "The Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl," "Remember the Titans," "Shanghai Noon," "Holes," and "The Parent Trap (1998)."
  • Channel 23: "The Little Mermaid," "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh," "Finding Nemo," "Tarzan," and "Toy Story."
  • Channel 19: Opening and Transportation Updates.

The Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue was cancelled starting Sunday at 9:30 pm, might reopen Tuesday.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 2:10 pm

Bad news: Hurricane Wilma, now over the warm Caribbean waters in the Bahamas, has strengthened to become a category 3 hurricane again.

Even worse, Disney's own private island, Castaway Cay, is currently being hit by the high winds from Hurricane Wilma.


There's no word yet about any damage, since it is still happening as I write this.

What Disney Cruise Line did the two times last year that the island was under assault from hurricanes was to take all food, merchandise and bike/beach rental things and load them into the last Disney cruise ship to be at the island prior to the arrival of the hurricane. The normal CM inhabitants of the island were also taken by that ship, returning when conditions improved. Then damaged parts of the island were rebuilt/re-landscaped before it was used by Disney Cruise Line Guests after that.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 2:34 pm

Here's a current color-enhanced satellite image of Hurricane Wilma back out in the open water with winds over 115 mph, pounding Disney's Castaway Cay.



Hurricane-force winds extend 90 miles out from the eye of the storm.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 3:25 pm

First Pictures of Walt Disney World after Hurricane Wilma!

From FOX News, here are the first pictures taken of Walt Disney World, Sea World, International Drive, and Universal Studios after Hurricane Wilma:





Disney's Animal Kingdom: Wow! Look at that one branch down.  :uhoh:

This was billed as "new video shows damage at Walt Disney World." ;)










These pictures are from Sea World.












These pictures are from a Sbarro's on International Drive.



Gee, I hope they can fix that table... They might need a FEMA loan to lift that table upright...



...and put the umbrellas back in. ;)










Let's take a look at Universal Studios...









Oh my gosh! That looks horrible!

What? You mean that's what Universal Studios always looks like?




Oh! ...nevermind. ;)

If any EchoEars (Cast Members included) are at WDW now and can send me pictures of damage from Hurricane Wilma at WDW, I'll post them here!

Posted by: jac1992 on Oct. 24, 2005, 3:30 pm

do you have any pictures of any of the other parks, water parks or downtown disney? i really want to see some photots and see how bad the damage is
Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 3:33 pm

See above. I got these from FOX News, and they are pretty poor pictures. Doesn't look like anything is wrong at all!

That's why I asked for any Disney EchoEars there at WDW now -- including Cast Members -- to pass along any pictures they might have taken of Hurricane Wilma damage.

Posted by: jac1992 on Oct. 24, 2005, 3:39 pm

Do you think that they will have to set up a fund to help re-build the state? If they do I will be donating a lot of money!
Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 24, 2005, 3:42 pm

Official Disney Press Release:

Hurricane Wilma - Walt Disney World Operational Update - Monday, October 24, 2005 - 3:00 pm EDT


The Walt Disney World Resort safely withstood the impact of Hurricane Wilma.

We have updated our operating hours and re-opened Magic Kingdom and Epcot as well as Downtown Disney and Disney's BoardWalk.

All Disney theme parks, water parks, and other entertainment options will resume their normal operating schedules on Tuesday, October 25.

Our hours of operation for the rest of Monday, October 24, are as follows:
  • Magic Kingdom: 1:00 p.m. - midnight
  • Epcot: 1:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
  • Downtown Disney: 1:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. (Downtown Disney Pleasure Island open until 2:00 a.m.)
  • Resort Hotels (except Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground): Open
  • Disney’s Fantasia Gardens & Fairways: 1:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
  • Disney’s Winter Summerland: 1:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
  • Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex: Open for Events
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Closed
  • Disney-MGM Studios: Closed
  • Disney’s Blizzard Beach: Closed
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon: Closed
  • Walt Disney World golf courses: Closed



Updated Magical Express and Resort Airline Info for October 24, 2005

  • Resort Airline Check-In -- Due to the uncertainty of weather conditions and flight departure schedules, the Resort Airline Check-In service will NOT be available on Monday, October 24, 2005.

  • Transportation to Orlando International Airport (Disney's Magical Express) -- The DME Motorcoaches resumed transportation to and from Orlando International Airport at 11:00 a.m. this morning. Reminder - Guests with modified flights should be directed to call DME Guest Services at 1-866-599-0951.

  • Flight Status -- Since weather conditions may impact flight departures, Guests are advised to contact their airline directly to verify flights (numbers listed below). If Guests modify their flight, they should contact Disney’s Magical Express Guest Services at 1-866-599-0951 so that their transportation can rebooked back to the airport.

Walt Disney World Resort will return to normal operations in all areas on Tuesday, October 25.

Source: Walt Disney World Resort

Posted by: polyfan42 on Oct. 24, 2005, 4:56 pm

Quote (RichKoster @ Oct. 24, 2005 14:25 am/pm)


Gee, I hope they can fix that table... They might need a FEMA loan to lift that table upright...


Rich, you are a hoot!!!! LOL

Posted by: BambiTamby on Oct. 24, 2005, 9:00 pm

I double that "Rich is a hoot!" :nod:

But seriously, thank you for keeping us updated, Rich!  :bowdown:
Actually, your reports here are better than the ones I'm reading on any other news sites! :thumbsup:

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 25, 2005, 10:48 am

Wilma went to the south of Orlando but went along the Atlantic Coast nearest to Orlando, and through it all Orlando was on the western half "easier" side of Wilma.  Lucky Orlando, lucky Disney, all things considered.  Last year Disney did a remarkable job of getting back up and running.  Their employees are still employed, collect paychecks with minimal disruption, can support their families, have a sense of rebuilding and hope for the future so they do a good job once they return to the work force, and frankly the company's revenue streams remain intact or with very minimal interruption.  This is how hurricane aftermath and recovery is supposed to go (unlike New Orleans) .  So bravo Disney  :bowdown: for doing the right thing:  Ensuring the security of your property and employees, caring for hotel guests, and quickly knowing the status of your operation and getting right back in business.

The other parks will open when they can get things cleaned up and repaired.  Look at what Wilma did in South Florida, and then by comparison in Orlando we can count many blessings!  Be patient with the process.  And while we are counting blessings, know that with near misses like this it's more like "dodging a bullet" that someday may in fact hit it's target, who knows when?  Value the good fortune, do not take it for granted, and resolve to "be prepared" next time.

But anyone with WDW plans can apparently go ahead once you simply double-check with airline flights (don't "assume" everything is OK, verify it) and ground transportation and dining and show reservations, hotel reservations, etc.  VERIFY all that before you leave home, no nasty surprises once you leave home and show up to start your trip!

Wishing all in Florida prayers and pixie dust for a speedy rebuild and recovery not only from Wilma in 2005, but from Ivan, Jeanne, Frances and Charley in 2004 still going on in 2005.

:pixiedust:  :hearts:  :hearts:  :pixiedust:  :hearts:

You folks in the Northeast about to face flooding, heavy rains, wind and wet snowfall, we have a separate thread in Faith, Trust & Pixie Dust Forum just for you, and just know all our thoughts go out to you. :hearts:

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 25, 2005, 11:08 am

This is a general purpose "hurricane" thread.

I want to point out that although it's highly unusual for hurricanes to form this late in the season, it's not out of the realm of possibility that we could get another named storm before the official end of hurricane season 2005, November 30th.  The next one in the Greek alphabet is "Beta" so that is the name of the next tropical storm that forms.

In fact, even though the official end of annual hurricane season is November 30, I've known of some forming in December!  So it can happen!

The point being: We've got a month and a week (as of the date I write this) left in the current hurricane season.  Vacation travel to Orlando or Disney Cruise Line CAN still be impacted!  I mean, who knew a hurricane would form the first weekd of June, but some did, and who knew a hurricane could hit the coast of Spain, but one did!  In a very historic weather year, anything can still happen.

So hope for the best.

But prepare for the worst.

This year in particular, let's face it, it's the realistic thing to do, just to be on the safe side:  Prepare for the worst.

If you have WDW travel plans between now and November 30, sit down now and know who and where and how to contact those you've plunked down money or advance plans with:  Airlines, hotels, ground transportation, show tickets, dining reservations, tours and activities, condo rentals, car rentals, etc.  Do they offer postponements, rebookings, "rain checks", full or partial refunds?  Can you cancel if the prospect of severe weather threatens?  If you cancel on short notice due to the approach of severe weather what are their policies and procedures?  Can you quickly reach a travel agent if you used one?  Should you consider travel insurance?  Would you want to go through this, sheltering at Disney rather than enjoying Disney?  Any "special needs" folks in your party, how would you accomodate them if a severe weather situation came up and you had to shelter at Disney or cancel or postpone a trip?  If you wanted to cut your vacation at Disney short, could you get to the airport or your ground transportation reliably without being stranded (roads close due to conditions, or the airport closes due to conditions and all outbound flights get booked ) ?

And forever, hurricane season is always June 1 - November 30.  If you book a trip in those months of the year, know you are doing so knowingly due to it being hurricane season, you are taking on the chance that nothing will happen but in fact something could.

So if you book a WDW vacation or any vacations in states that receive hurricanes, ask all these questions before you plan and make your bookings.  Ask them of everyone who accepts your vacation money. Think hard about them with every plan you make, every step you take towards a "magical vacation".  I cannot answer these for you, only you can ask them of anyone you choose to do business with.  Ask the hard questions, listen to their answers, and don't accept attempts at "glossing over" concerns you may have, and don't lapse into temptation to "gloss over" these concerns.  

In so doing, you will in fact be making firm and confident travel plans, instead of going "Oh woe is me" later on.  You guarantee "magic" will happen when you incorporate the "wild card" of hurricane season into your plans and make "alternate plan B or C or D" accordingly.

If you take nothing else from Disney Echo as you stay a member here or simply "lurk" here without joining, know I am pointing you to realistic good advice about WDW vacations in hurricane season.

Happy trails! :cowboy:

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 26, 2005, 12:07 am

Disney was lucky in regards to Walt Disney World plus the Disney Cruise Line ships as well, it seems... not so lucky for Disney Cruise Line's western Caribbean ports of call and Castaway Cay...

Disney's Castaway Cay and Hurricane Wilma

Update:
Disney Cruise Line's private island of Castaway Cay was hit hard by tropical storm-force winds of Hurricane Wilma. The stingray excursion won't be happening anymore because the netting washed away and the stingrays escaped out to sea. Excursion boats were damaged and cleanup needs to be done, but some boat tour excursions are cancelled. Banana boats and parasailing fared well, and will continue to be available for Guests. The family beach was also damaged, the netting there washing away as well -- so there is no swimming on the family beach for the time being until repairs are made. The beach can still be used for sunbathing on the sand, but for swimming everyone is now allowed to use what had been the adults-only beach. Disney Cruise Line is refunding the money for cancelled excursions to its passengers now aboard the Disney Wonder, arriving at Castaway Cay tomorrow.

Disney Cruise Line Guests who sailed on the Disney Wonder out of Port Canaveral on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2005, left Port Canaveral early -- at 4:05 pm -- in order to have more time for the ship to get away from Hurricane Wilma.

The Wonder had its itinerary changed because of Hurricane Wilma:
  • Sunday: Left Port Canaveral
  • Monday: Day at Sea east of the Bahamas to avoid bad weather
  • Tuesday: Nassau (Instead of the usual Castaway Cay stop)
  • Wednesday: Castaway Cay
  • Thursday: Back at Port Canaveral


The Disney Magic is also fine after Hurricane Wilma, but its itinerary was changed to go into the eastern Caribbean rather than its originally-scheduled western Caribbean cruise. Airline flight delays caused the ship to leave Port Canaveral a bit late, around 6 pm, but then the Captain sailed the Magic at a fast rate throught the night, getting the ship away from Alpha. The Captain of the Magic told passengers that Alpha crossed the ship's path 250 miles behind it. They had a relatively-normal port of call in St. Martin today and the Magic will also be making a stop in Castaway Cay, weather permitting.

So Castaway Cay suffered damage from Hurricane Wilma but the Disney Cruise Line schedule is returning to normal, except for Western Caribbean cruises.

Cozumel and Grand Cayman

Take a look at the extensive damage done by Hurricane Wilma to the cruise ship piers and buildings at Cozumel, Mexico: click here and click here and click here and click here.

Disney Cruise Line has to wait until it is determined when the Punta Langosta pier can be reopened before making any announcements about future stops at Cozumel, as well as having the ship channel leading to the pier inspected to see if dredging is needed before large ships return.

You ought to be thankful you weren't stuck in Cozumel when Hurricane Wilma hit it:

    < Wilma tore Cozumel hotel to shreds with tourists inside >

    By Greg Brosnan

    24 Oct 2005 23:21:01 GMT

    COZUMEL, Mexico, Oct 24 (Reuters) - When vicious hurricane winds and massive waves pounded Mexico's Caribbean island of Cozumel, 17 people ran from one improvised bunker to another as the Hotel Barracuda collapsed in bits around them.

    They first tried to ride out Hurricane Wilma in their rooms but then took refuge in a first floor corridor as doors flew off, windows exploded and the churning ocean tore back and forth through the shattered lobby below... when water poured in from above ...now nothing at all is left of Hotel Barracuda.

    Cozumel, a popular scuba diving center and cruise ship destination, bore the brunt of Wilma's attack on Mexico's Caribbean coast last week.

    Hotels and seafront stores and restaurants were shattered and its streets were left deep in water and debris.

    "I thought, we're not going to make it," said Ad Kolster, a 38-year old shipping agent who abandoned the coral island on Monday with Van Erp on the first ferry out since the storm.

    Still shocked, the two clicked through photos and video-clips on a digital camera that showed the wind howling and sea crashing against the hotel as debris flew about. Water gushed in through the windows and the corridors flooded.

    The low point was when one guest managed to make a cellular phone call out and was told that even fiercer wind and rain was on its way. "We thought it was the end. Nobody would say it, but everyone was thinking it," Van Erp said.

    Cozumel... could be out of business for months. One of its three piers for cruise ships was pulverized, massive chunks of concrete torn away and thrown onto the beach, and another suffered substantial damage.

    Locals say the clean-up will be long and expensive...

    (Click < here > for the entire article.)




If Cozumel is out of commission for quite a while, and it looks like it might be, the Disney Cruise Line may switch all Western Caribbean cruises to the Eastern Caribbean itinerary. At this point, Disney Cruise Line says it is too early to decide if they will permanently change the Western Caribbean cruise ports of call, but all western cruises for the time being are using the eastern cruise route. Disney Cruise Line doesn't know yet if 60 days from now that will still be the case. It depends on the how fast Cozumel and Key West, Florida are restored.


    Cozumel’s piers have collapsed, , except the San Miguel pier(passenger boat ferry) which is partly operative. This situation has created difficulties for provisioning the island although the airport hasn’t suffered damages.

    In a 5:00 PM session the State Civil Defense Council, the Port Administration of Quinantan Roo (Apigroo) revealed the unhappy news that the Cruise Ship dock Puerta Maya had totally collapsed and the the supply ferry is inoperative due to damages it suffered.

    The San Miguel Pier (passenger ferry) is partially operative as an anchorage for ferries and it has been suggested the it be used as a platform for the unloading of food supplies that don’t require the use of machinery.

    The authorities are also considering the possibility of using the airport for shipping equipment and heavy machinery to Cozumel since the airport is undamaged…



The good news is that Grand Cayman didn't get any damage:


    "The Cayman Islands were spared the wrath of category five Hurricane Wilma on Wednesday 19 October...  the eye of the hurricane passed about 170 southwest of Grand Cayman between 5:00 am and 6:00 am on Wednesday with wind speed of around 55 miles per hour. He added that the Island experienced tropical storm conditions from 3:00 am on Wednesday morning... The disaster office said there was no major damage but declined to offer an estimate on the flooding brought about by over three inches of rainfall." Click here for the entire article.


Disney Cruise Line is evaluating the situation. From what they've heard, Grand Cayman wasn't hit too bad but Cozumel is a disaster. The pier used by the Disney Magic when it docks in Cozumel is at least partially gone. All Disney Cruise Line cruisers with upcoming Western Caribbean cruises should keep checking on the < Disney Cruise Line website > for official postings. Your cruise might have an alternate itinerary, such as this week's scheduled western cruise now being changed to an eastern one.



UPDATE:



There is updated information from Disney Cruise Line here on their webpage

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 26, 2005, 1:04 am

< Official Report from the Disney Cruise Line Crisis Communication Page: >


    IMPORTANT INFORMATION

    Thank you for your interest in the ports of call featured on our western Caribbean itinerary.

    As you may be aware, Hurricane Wilma passed directly over the island of Cozumel. While the island of Cozumel is involved in its recovery, we will be unable to call on this port. Therefore, we have changed our itinerary for our November 5, 2005, and November 19, 2005, western Caribbean cruises as follows:

    November 5, 2005 Sailing
    Saturday: Port Canaveral, Florida
    Sunday: Key West, Florida
    Monday: Day at Sea
    Tuesday: Grand Cayman, The Cayman Islands
    Wednesday: Costa Maya, Mexico
    Thursday: Day at Sea
    Friday: Disney’s Castaway Cay, Bahamas
    Saturday: Port Canaveral, Florida


    November 19, 2005 Sailing
    Saturday: Port Canaveral, Florida
    Sunday: Disney’s Castaway Cay, Bahamas
    Monday: Day at Sea
    Tuesday: Grand Cayman, The Cayman Islands
    Wednesday: Costa Maya, Mexico
    Thursday: Day at Sea
    Friday: Disney’s Castaway Cay, Bahamas
    Saturday: Port Canaveral, Florida

    We anticipate additional western Caribbean voyages will need to be modified, as damage evaluation continues in Cozumel. We will post any updates as they occur < on the website >, so feel free to check back with us often.





That's good news about Key West, Florida as well as Grand Cayman in The Cayman Islands and Costa Maya, Mexico returning as ports of call as of the November 5th cruise. At this point it is anybody's guess as to when the Disney Magic will be able to stop at Cozumel again.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 27, 2005, 7:17 am

Update: Hurricane Beta

Oh, no! Now we've got < Tropical Storm Beta!!! >



From the < National Hurricane Center >:

    Bulletin
    Tropical Storm Beta Advisory Number 2
    NWS TPC/National Hurricane Center Miami FL
    5 am EDT Thu Oct 27 2005

    ...Record 23rd tropical storm of season forms in southwestern
    Caribbean Sea...
    ...very heavy rainfall expected in portions of Central America...

    At 5 am EDT...0900Z...the government of Colombia has issued a hurricane watch in addition to the tropical storm warning already in EFFECT for the islands of San Andres and Providencia.

    A tropical storm warning is in effect for the entire Caribbean coast Of Nicaragua from the border with Costa Rica northward to Cabo Gracias a Dios near the Nicaragua/Honduras border...and adjacent Islands.  Hurricane conditions are also possible within the next 36 hours within the tropical storm warning area.

    For storm information specific to your area...including possible inland watches and warnings...please monitor products issued by your local weather office.

    At 5 am EDT...0900z...the center of Tropical Storm Beta was located near latitude 11.4 north... longitude 81.8 west or about 75 miles... 125 km... south of San Andres Island and about 140 miles... 230 km...east-southeast of Bluefields Nicaragua.

    Beta is moving toward the northwest near 5 mph... 7 km/hr... and this general motion is expected to continue during the next 24 hours.

    Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph... 65 km/hr...with higher gusts.  Some strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours.

    Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 35 miles... 55 km from the center.

    Estimated minimum central pressure is 1005 mb...29.68 inches.

    Tropical Storm Beta is expected to produce rainfall totals of 10 to 15 inches across western Panama... Costa Rica... and Nicaragua... with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches.




The bad news is that Tropical Storm Beta is expected to become Hurricane Beta.

The good news is that it is expected to only become a minimal hurricane and isn't expected to affect any part of the United States.
:lookaround:

Posted by: jac1992 on Oct. 27, 2005, 7:44 am

not another one!
Posted by: mamaloya on Oct. 27, 2005, 9:26 am

OK, now please Rich, correct me if I am wrong.  They name the storms before they are hurricane strength.  What are the criteria it has to meet before a storm.  Now, not all of the storms that got names were not hurricanes.  We have not had 23 hurricanes, only 23 storms that got to such and such wind speed.

Now, this is just a theory, but is it possible that the reason we have more names storms now is that we are better able to identify them earlier. I mean, are we picking up storms earlier than we would have in say, the 60's?  Obviously we are predicting them far more accurately than we did back then.  Our technology is far greater.  People are hearing "23 named storms" and thinking "23 hurricanes, record #, oh no global warming....etc, etc."  Is it possible that there are no more tropical storms than 20-30-40 years ago, we just see them easier and faster and earlier now?

Just a thought!

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 27, 2005, 4:04 pm

Sandra, that is an excellent point! I wonder if we know about more named storms because of increased technology makes them more aware of the intensity of these storms better than "the old days" when we might have had more storms that were intense but we weren't aware of it back then. I haven't heard anybody else think of something like that -- and you might very well be right.

Storms get their name when they go up from a tropical depression (where they only have a number) to become a tropical storm. The tropical storm then keeps the same name when it becomes a hurricane -- and even keeps it after eventually getting smaller/less intense, going back down to a tropical storm again, followed by being a tropical depression again, and then down to a tropical wave.

< Here's what the National Hurricane Center says about storm intensity/names: > When a tropical depression (see "< tropical cyclone >") gets sustained winds over 38 mph then it becomes a tropical storm and gets a name. Tropical storm-force winds range from 39 mph (34 kt or 63 km/hr) to 73 mph (63 kt or 118 km/hr). Sustained winds higher than that are hurricanes.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 27, 2005, 4:06 pm

Oh, by the way, they expect Tropical Storm Beta to become Hurricane Beta before tonight -- and it is also predicted that it will certainly be a hurricane before it makes landfall.

Still no worries for the U.S. and the entire Gulf of Mexico: It is not expected to even get into the gulf.

Posted by: mamaloya on Oct. 27, 2005, 4:37 pm

Thanks for the compliment Rich.  I do have my moments (as seldom as they may be).  LOL
Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 28, 2005, 9:18 am

Quote (RichKoster @ Oct. 27, 2005 06:17 am/pm)
The good news is that it is expected to only become a minimal hurricane

UPDATE: What will be Hurricane Beta is now expected to be a category 2 hurricane before it makes landfall.
:hurricane:

Posted by: kimmbagley on Oct. 28, 2005, 2:04 pm

Hey Gang, Just talked to my sister in Coral Springs FL.  Not good.  Although her family made it through pretty well, it is pretty bad there.  Her biggest concern is finding a gas station with power before next Friday when she is to leave to meet me at Pop Century!!  Her husband won't be able come as planned because he is a Supervisor with Otis elevator for all of Southern Florida.  When the power comes back on, all hell could break loose.  They have no power, no phone and of course no hot water.  She will actually be bringing dirty laundry to be done.  They lost alot of shingles, a hurrican shutter off the sliding glass door (ended up in the pool), and she can't find her water softener tank(ripped right up out of the ground).  She heard that their power will be restored by 11/22!!!!  At least they were not injured.  Please send prayers their way, and thanks for letting me ramble.  
P.S.  I was only able to talk via cell phone briefly because even the cell towers are down. :(

Posted by: kimmbagley on Oct. 28, 2005, 2:07 pm

Oops! how do I change my ticker to read Pop Century?  (we changed when the code came out and saved $756.00! ) :coolgrin:
Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 28, 2005, 4:32 pm

Quote (kimmbagley @ Oct. 28, 2005 13:07 am/pm)
Oops! how do I change my ticker to read Pop Century?  (we changed when the code came out and saved $756.00! ) :coolgrin:

That's done in Your MouseControl Panel, Kim -- but you don't have to, I already changed it for you.
:bowdown:

:praying: I'm praying for your sister, Kim, and hoping that Tink sends her lots of pixie dust.
:pixiedust: :tinkflying: :pixiedust:

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 28, 2005, 4:50 pm

Here are more details of how Hurricane Wilma affected areas the Disney Cruise Line sails to, from < Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist >

    Wilma's effect on Mexico

    Officials analyzing the damage to Mexico now agree that Hurricane Wilma is the most destructive hurricane ever to hit Mexico, surpassing the $1.2 billion in insured property damage done by Hurricane Gilbert in 1988. Most tourist facilities in Cancun and surrounding areas are expected to be closed through mid-December, and economic losses from this closure alone will approach $1 billion. Officials estimate that 98 percent of the tourist infrastructure and 75 percent of the population of the state of Quintana Roo, which includes the resorts of Cancún, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and Isla Mujeres, have been damaged. Over 90 percent of the 17.4 miles of sand in Cancún has been washed away, and a multi-million dollar beach replenishment project will begin in December. Cruise ships scheduled to dock at Cozumel are finding alternate ports of call, as one of that island's three piers for cruise ships was completely destroyed, and another heavily damaged. Cozumel also suffered "significant damage" to its famous coral reefs, the Environment Department said in a report. Over a million acres of forests were also damaged by Wilma, according to the report.

    On a hopeful note, Mexico has shown a remarkable ability to bounce back quickly from severe hurricanes, as we saw after Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 and Hurricane Emily earlier this year. The bulldozers are already out on the beaches of Cancun, clearing away debris. President Fox's goal of having 80% of Cancun's hotels open for business by December 15 is ambitious, but doable. A full recovery by Easter seems probable. Cozumel may recover faster; officials there have set a November 15 date for resuming tourist traffic, and Carnival Cruise lines has agreed to change their return date for cruise ship visits from December 15 to November 15.

    Wilma's effect on the Bahamas

    The western end of Grand Bahama Island received the full force of Wilma's southeast eyewall when she was a Category 3 storm, and suffered significant damage. Up to 7,000 of the island's population of 47,000 were affected. Grand Bahama was also hard hit by September 2004's Hurricane Frances and Jeanne, and was not recovered from those storms. The communities of Eight Mile Rock, Hepburn Town, Hunters, Martin Town, and Pinder's Point suffered major destruction to homes and utilities from a 15-20 foot storm surge. The island of Bimini, which has a population of 1,717, also suffered significant damages to homes, trees and utility poles from heavy rains and storm surge.

    Wilma's effects elsewhere

    Torrential rains in southwest Haiti triggered flooding that killed 11 people there. Severe flooding in Jamaica caused millions in damages to roads and buildings and killed one person. Wilma's storm surge and 20-foot foot waves pushed flood waters six feet deep up to 700 meters inland in Havana, Cuba, flooding thousands of buildings and destroying portions of the famed Malecon seawall. Including the damage done by a week of heavy rains to both ends of the islands, Wilma damaged or destroyed over 5000 buildings in Cuba. Over 700,000 people were evacuated in Cuba at various times during Wilma's passage. Honduras, Belize, and the Cayman Islands all received flooding and wave damage from Wilma.

    < - Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist >

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 29, 2005, 2:54 pm

Now it is HURRICANE BETA!

:hurricane:

From < Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist >:

    The Hurricane Season of 2005 is determined to own every major record for the Atlantic, and now has another--Beta is the 13th hurricane of the season, beating the record of 12 hurricanes set in 1969. Number thirteen will be an unlucky number for both Nicaragua and Honduras, who figure to bear the worst of this strengthening hurricane. In one respect, though, these countries have been lucky -- the tropical disturbance that formed northeast of Beta yesterday is still there today, generating wind shear over Beta that is keeping it from rapidly intensifying. Had the disturbance not formed, Beta would already be a Category 2 hurricane today, and well on its way to a Category 3. As it is, the disturbance is still generating about ten knots of shear over Beta, which has allowed only a slow rise to Category 1 strength.

    The disturbance has steadily weakened the past 24 hours, and so has the shear over Beta. By the time Beta makes its expected landfall near the Nicaragua-Honduras border Sunday morning, the shear will drop to five knots, which could allow rapid strengthening. There is not much time, though, for Beta to make it to Category 3 status, and the most likely strength at landfall is as a Category 2 hurricane. However, the latest microwave satellite data from NASA's TRMM satellite shows a pinhole eye--a very small 5-mile diameter eye like Wilma developed just before her rapid deepening phase. This may portend a rapid intensification cycle to Category 3 strength or higher may occur this afternoon. The hurricane hunters will be in the storm beginning at about 3 pm EDT today to check on its strength.

    The island of Providencia (Columbia) received a direct hit from Beta last night and experienced sustained hurricane force winds for many hours that caused serious damage. Communications with the island were cut off at the height of the storm and have not been re-established.

    The computer models are sorely missing the presence of the NOAA jet to provide detailed data on Beta's surrounding environment. Only one of the four main models--the UKMET--has correctly forecast the slow north and then northwest drift of Beta. The other three models have incorrectly been assuming the ridge to Beta's north is much stronger than it really is. The resulting forecasts of a westerly or southwesterly track across Nicaragua and into the Pacific Ocean have been incorrect for three days in a row. Is it possible Beta will miss or just brush Honduras and head towards the Yucatan, as the UKMET is suggesting? This is quite possible, as we don't know the true strength of the ridge to Beta's north. All indications are, though, that this ridge is unusually strong for this time of year, and Beta is not likely to turn north and threaten Cuba or Florida, at least for the next three to five days. The official < NHC forecast > seems reasonable.

    < - Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist >


< Click here to see the National Hurricane Center forecast >.

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 31, 2005, 9:54 am

Good news this morning! Hurricane Beta has been downgraded to a tropical depression by the < National Hurricane Center >. It is now dissipating over Nicaragua but had intensified to a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds and had 115 mph winds before making landfall over Nicaragua.

From < Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist >:

    Hurricane Beta smashed ashore on the central coast of Nicaragua at 7 am EST [yesterday] morning as a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds. Beta put on an impressive burst of intensification [Saturday] night and had 115 mph winds for about six hours before weakening substantially just prior to landfall. This brief burst of intensification made Beta the seventh major hurricane of the 2005 season. This is one hurricane shy of the record of eight major hurricanes seen in 1950.

    Beta probably brought a 15-foot storm surge to the coast, plus 100 mph plus winds in a small area up to 15 miles from the center. The east coast of Nicaragua is sparsely populated, and these winds and the storm surge probably only affected a small number of people. However, Beta's rains will cause serious flooding and mudslides over Nicaragua and Honduras the next two days [Sunday and Monday] as the storm moves over the mountains of western Nicaragua and dissipates. Beta may end up being Nicaragua's fourth worst hurricane of all time, behind Hurricane Joan of October 1988, the great 1605 hurricane that killed over 1300, and Hurricane Mitch of 1998. Joan killed 148 people in Nicaragua, with the large death toll blamed in part on the residents' resistance in the coastal town of Bluefield to evacuation.

    Honduras will also suffer Beta's wrath, but is missing the core of Beta's moisture and will very likely avoid the kind of serious flooding that killed thousands during Hurricane Mitch of 1998... Roatan is on the central coast of Honduras--the area Hurricane Mitch hit hardest.

    Beta is probably too small to emerge out over the Pacific and re-intensify into a tropical storm. Hurricane Joan did successfully make the crossing, to be reborn as Hurricane Miriam in eastern Pacific. However, Joan was a large and fast-moving Category 4 hurricane. Beta's remains should bring no more than 3-6 inches of rain to El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Guatemala over the next few days.

    Elsewhere in the tropics

    The large tropical disturbance in the central Caribbean that was interfering with Beta's circulation [Saturday] has weakened and has been partially absorbed by Beta. This disturbance is not expected to develop.

    A large tropical wave located about 200 miles east of the Lesser Antilles has not become better organized... but has some potential for further development over the next few days as it moves west or west-northwest at 15 mph. This area of disturbed weather will bring heavy rain and gusty winds to the northern Leeward Islands [Sunday]. If a tropical storm does develop from this wave, it could threaten Hispanolia, Cuba, Jamaica, and the Bahamas later in the week. Wind shear over the Caribbean is expected to remain low the next week, favoring tropical storm develoment of any tropical waves that traverse the region.



    Update from Monday morning, Oct. 31st:



    The heavy rains have ended in Nicaragua and Honduras. Hurricane Beta is no more, reduced by Nicaragua's high mountains to a remnant swirl of low clouds over El Salvador.

    Beta's passage over Nicaragua dropped rains of up to ten inches in some areas; the highest precipitation amounts reported by official measuring sites were 9.5 inches at Chinandega in western Nicaragua and 6 inches at Rio Sulaco in the mountains of Honduras. Up to 120 houses were reported destroyed in coastal Nicaragua where Beta made landfall, and flooding in the Honduran fishing town of Iriona caused residents climbed to climb onto the roofs of their homes to escape the high waters. No deaths have been reported in either country, and it appears that Beta was too small to trigger the heavy rains required to cause a major disaster. The National Hurricane Center will probably not have to retire Beta's name from the list of Atlantic hurricanes.

    Beta's remains will emerge out over the Pacific today, and may re-intensify into a tropical storm. However, any storm that might form is expected to move quickly away from Central America, and no heavy rains or high winds will affect land areas from this system.

    Elsewhere in the tropics

    A tropical disturbance located about 200 miles south of Puerto Rico is suffering significant wind shear from an upper-level low pressure system near Haiti. This shear will prevent any development from occurring today. On Tuesday, this upper-level low is expected to weaken, and some development of the disturbance is possible as it continues west towards Hispanolia and Cuba.

    Some remnants of Hurricane Beta's moisture remain in the southwest Caribbean just north of Honduras, and this area may have to be watched later in week for possible development.


    < - Jeff Masters, Weather Underground Chief Meterologist >

Posted by: RichKoster on Nov. 18, 2005, 5:04 pm

Another record-breaker... now we have yet another named storm this year: Tropical Storm Gamma...
and it is coming to Florida!!!

From < The National Hurricane Center >:



Bulletin
Tropical Storm Gamma Advisory Number  12
NWS TPC/National Hurricane Center Miami FL
3 pm CST Fri Nov 18 2005

...Tropical depression twenty-seven re-generates...becomes Tropical Storm Gamma...

At 3 pm CST...2100 UTC...the government of Belize has issued a tropical storm warning for the entire coast of Belize. The government of Honduras has also issued a tropical storm warning for the bay islands of Honduras. A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours.

At 3 pm CST...2100 UTC...the government of Mexico has issued a tropical storm watch for the eastern coast of the Yucatan peninsula from the belize-mexico border northward to Punta Allen.  A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area...generally within 36 hours.

Interests elsewhere in the northwestern Caribbean sea should monitor the progress of Gamma.

For storm information specific to your area...including possible
inland watches and warnings...please monitor products issued by your local weather office.

At 3 pm CST...2100z...the broad and poorly defined center of Tropical Storm Gamma was located near latitude 16.4 north... longitude  85.6 west or about   40 miles...  65 km...north of Limon Honduras and about  190 miles... 300 km...east-southeast of Belize City, Belize.

Gamma is moving erratically toward the west-northwest near 5 mph ... 7 km/hr.  This general motion should continue for the next 24 hours...although some erratic motion is possible as the center re-forms.

Reports from an Air Force reserve hurricane hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph... 65 km/hr...with higher gusts. Some slow strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours.

Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 85 miles...140 km to the north of the center. The government of Honduras has reported that tropical storm-force winds have been observed in the western bay islands of Honduras.

Estimated minimum central pressure is 1006 mb...29.71 inches.

Tropical Storm Gamma is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 6 to 10 inches over Belize...western  Cuba...and the eastern Yucatan peninsula of Mexico with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches.  Additional rainfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches are possible over northwestern Honduras.




Long range computer models from the National Hurricane Center's official forecast for this storm show it going over Florida!

Posted by: RichKoster on Nov. 18, 2005, 5:24 pm

Below is the latest projected path map (as of 3 PM EST Friday, 11/18/05) from the National Hurricane Center showing Gamma's predicted area of landfall, with all the computer models averaged into the solid black line, but note that it could go anywhere in the white bubble ...



Click here to see the map larger.


For the latest information and the latest forecast map information, < click here. >

This a graphic showing the latest computer models for Tropical Storm Gamma:


Posted by: CarolKoster on Nov. 18, 2005, 5:39 pm

Please pardon me, all, but....

ANOTHER FREAKIN' ONE!?!?!?!?!?!!?

Those people just had Wilma a few weeks ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's practically Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!!!

They haven't gotten over last year's 2004 hurricane season, or Wilma this year, yet!

Sheesh!

I just "did the math"...  If there's been 27 tropical systems since the start of hurricane season June 1, 2005, and as of November 18, 2005 since June 1 have elapsed 171 days, that means there's been a tropical system every 6.3333 days since June 1!

UNbelievable!

Annual hurricane season normally runs June 1 through November 30.  But Mother Nature doesn't abide by human calendars.  If conditions in the tropics are favorable for formation, tropical systems will form regardless of a date on a calendar or a season of parameters mankind tries to assign to the most frequent and avarage occurences.  I remember working in TV news with Rich in the mid-1980s and one particular year there was a monthly hurricane a la "flavor of the month" and one formed in December!

Pixie dust and prayers for our Florida Echo Ears!  Sending them down via Wal-Mart and Home Depot, since their lines of distribution are much faster and efficient than FEMA!!!!!!

:pixiedust:  :pixiedust:  :pixiedust:  :pixiedust:  :pixiedust:  :pixiedust:  :pixiedust:  :pixiedust:  :pixiedust:  :pixiedust:  :pixiedust:  :pixiedust:  :pixiedust:  :pixiedust:  :pixiedust:  :pixiedust:  :pixiedust:

I'm also observing that the "cone" of probability as Gamma makes landfall also might include Orlando.  Doesn't mean Gamma is heading straight for Orlando.  However, tropical weather systems cover a lot of real estate, and it does mean Orlando may feel some weather effect though from far away, winds and rain.  They bore Wilma well, however, so WDW travellers early next week will maybe have to hunker down a day, bring rain coats and umbrellas, and follow any safety instructions hotels in Orlando or on site at Disney offer their guests.  Disney is built to excellent building code standards, can withstand category 2 and 3 winds.  Guests will be safe.

If you have flights into the area, know ahead of time that if Gamma moves any more northerly on that track it may affect flights into or out of Orlando.  Stay in close touch with your airline.  Know the cancellation policies of anything you booked with (airport transportation, car rentals, show tickets, hotels, etc.) and if they offer refunds or rain checks if they close due to declared weather situations that may affect Orlando/Central Florida.  Know before you go.

Gamma Gamma go away!

Posted by: CarolKoster on Nov. 20, 2005, 9:02 am

As of Sunday morning, 11/20/05, Gamma was downgraded to a tropical depression.  Now Gamma's five-day cone of probability has the storm looping to return to a due easterly, ever so slightly south, and hitting Jamaica by Wednesday, 11/23/05.  NO THREAT TO FLORIDA or WDW!

Continue to monitor if this thing should change, but we can all take a tentative sigh of relief!

I'll have Rich change the headline on this Topic and the banner headline, since it's looking now as if there is no threat to the US or Central Florida.

Posted by: RichKoster on Nov. 20, 2005, 9:52 am

That's great news! Hopefully this will be the end of this year's storms. Well, the National Hurricane Center had been pretty good with their forecast track computer models, but not with this one.

Below is the latest projected path map (as of 3 AM CST Sunday, 11/20/05) from the National Hurricane Center showing Gamma's predicted area of landfall, with all the computer models averaged into the solid black line.



Click here to see the map larger.


For the latest information and the latest forecast map information, < click here. >

This a graphic showing the latest computer models for Tropical Storm Gamma:


Posted by: CarolKoster on Nov. 29, 2005, 5:15 pm

Ever hear of the song, "Here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus lane"?

Well, here comes #26 this season, the day before the end of hurricane season 2005, Epsilon!  "Here comes Epsilon, here comes Epsilon, coming to mess with your minds!"

Doing the math, it's one every 7 days since June 1, a named storm!

In addition to being a record breaking hurricane year, who thought January 1st 2005 you'd learn the letters of the Greek alphabet by the end of November? ;)

Posted by: RichKoster on Dec. 04, 2005, 9:24 pm

I think nobody told Hurricane Epsilon that this year's hurricane season is already over... :hurricane:



< Hurricane Epsilon defies cool Atlantic waters >

Sat Dec 3, 2005 12:46 PM ET

MIAMI (Reuters) - Hurricane Epsilon, the 14th hurricane of a record-breaking Atlantic storm season, defied expectations that it would weaken over cool Atlantic waters on Saturday and continued to churn slowly eastward.

Epsilon's maximum sustained winds at 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT) remained at 75 mph (120 kph), just over the threshold for a tropical storm to be categorized as a hurricane, but the cyclone posed no threat to land, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The storm was about 1,000 miles west of Portugal's Azores islands and moving to the east at 12 mph (19 kph).

"Epsilon is a tenacious tropical cyclone which has maintained hurricane intensity over cool waters and apparent unfavorable atmospheric conditions," the Miami-based hurricane center said. But it reiterated its expectation that the storm would steadily weaken over the next few days.

Hurricanes are normally spawned over warmer Atlantic waters further south. They need warm water to gain power and higher than normal sea surface temperatures this year have helped the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, which formally ended on Wednesday, enter the record books in a multitude of ways.

Epsilon, the sixth hurricane to occur in December since records began in 1851, was named like its four predecessors for a letter in the Greek alphabet after the official list of storm names for 2005 was exhausted.

This season has witnessed the most tropical storms on record -- 26. It has seen the most hurricanes, with 14. The highest number of hurricanes previously on record was 12, in 1969, and the highest number of named storms was 21, in 1933.

The long-term average is 10 storms per season, six of which become hurricanes.

This year also set a record of three Category 5 storms -- the top rank on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity -- including Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and killed more than 1,200 in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Hurricane Wilma in October briefly became the most powerful hurricane ever observed in the Atlantic.

...most climatologists agree that the large number of storms can be blamed on a natural and periodic switch in climatic conditions...

Posted by: CarolKoster on Dec. 30, 2005, 9:00 pm

Hurricane season may have ended November 30th, 2005 but someone forgot to tell tropical weather systems that fact...

We're up to the 6th letter of the Greek alphabet just in time for New Year 2006: Zeta.  No joke!

Sheesh!

Enough already!

It's legit...

Zeta forms in Atlantic, ties record for latest tropical storm
12/30/2005, 4:36 p.m. CT
By ADRIAN SAINZ
The Associated Press

MIAMI (AP) — In a surprising but nonthreatening curtain call to the Atlantic's busiest-ever hurricane season, Tropical Storm Zeta formed in the open ocean Friday, tying a record for the latest-developing named storm.

Although the National Hurricane Center said Zeta wasn't forecast to become a hurricane or threaten land, Zeta's development was significant because it came a month after the official Nov. 30 end to the unprecedented season.

The season brought a record 14 hurricanes, including Hurricane Katrina, which devastated Louisiana and Mississippi in August, killing more than 1,300 people in the most costly disaster in U.S. history. Forecasters exhausted their list of 21 proper names and began using the Greek alphabet to name storms for the first time.

Zeta — the 27th named storm of the season and the sixth letter of the Greek alphabet — was located about 1,065 miles southwest of the Azores, the National Hurricane Center reported at 4 p.m. EST Friday. Zeta had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and was moving northwest near 7 mph.

Since record keeping began in 1851, only one other named storm has formed as late as Zeta, said Greg Romano, a National Weather Service spokesman. Tropical Storm Alice developed Dec. 30, 1954, and later became a hurricane before dissipating Jan. 5. Tropical storms develop when their winds exceed 39 mph, and hurricanes form when their winds exceed 74 mph.

Earlier this month, Hurricane Epsilon became only the fifth hurricane to form in December in 154 years of record keeping — though Romano said some storms could have fallen through the cracks before technology such as satellites was available to help find and track tropical systems.

Forecasters have said that hurricane seasons are going to be more active than usual for at least another decade.

Posted by: RichKoster on May 14, 2006, 4:45 pm

Note that this ABC News article quotes experts who say last year's extra-intense hurricanes simply follow a "cyclical pattern" and that "the hard-hit Gulf Coast most likely will escape the devastation it experienced last season."

So much for arguments from the Global Warming crowd that last year's intense hurricane season was due to global warming...
LOL

I hope none of you reading this have to go through the tragedies we have here in the New Orleans area following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
:praying:



< '06 Hurricanes May Hit New Target: The Northeast >

But Overall, Experts Forecast a Milder Hurricane Season than Last Year's


May 14, 2006 — In two weeks, the 2006 hurricane season will officially begin — and it may well be different from recent years.

The good news, experts say, is that due to a cyclical pattern, the hard-hit Gulf Coast most likey will escape the devastation it experienced last season.

"We're projecting two-thirds of activity of last year, not as much as last year," said Dr. Bill Gray, a hurricane expert at Colorado State University.

The bad news is that the concentration of hurricane activity is predicted to move up the eastern seaboard this season.


"We think that the mid to latter part of the season, the heart of the hurricane season, is going to be an especially busy one along eastern seaboard," said Joe Bastardi, a hurricane forecaster at Accuweather.

One of the worst-case scenarios is a hurricane hitting the Northeast.

"Particularly New York City, if one of these category 3 storms came in with a large storm surge, that'd cause tremendous flooding in New York," Gray said. "Subways flooded away. Underground electronics [saturated]. That would be a major disaster for the Northeast."

The North Carolina coast, southern New England, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware are projected hot zones of hurricane activity for this coming season.

"It could bring a large storm surge, massive damage to New England even if it's category 3 like the famous storm of 1938," said Gray.

Back then, a "50 to 100 foot wall of water came across the Hamptons, devastated everything," Bastardi said. "Providence was under water. [There was] tremendous flooding in Connecticut River valley."

Coming Off a Record Year

The Gulf of Mexico was hit earliest and hardest this past hurricane season, but this year it may well escape a major blow. It is possible that New Orleans, still reeling from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, could be hit again, but experts predict that would be rather unlikely.

A record-breaking number of tropical storms and major hurricanes hit the Atlantic Coast last season, the strongest of which -- Katrina, Dennis, Wilma and Rita -- slammed the western Gulf Coast. They were the some the deadliest and costliest hurricanes in history.

Experts say 17 storms and nine hurricanes -- including five major hurricanes -- could inflict damage this season. That's fewer than the 28 named storms, 13 hurricanes and seven major hurricanes last year.

< Read the article on ABC News.com >

:hurricane:

Posted by: RichKoster on May 14, 2006, 5:06 pm

< Major hurricane season brewing in the Atlantic >

Hurricanes and their aftermath could threaten Canada's East Coast this season


May. 8 2006

FREDERICTON, CANADA -- In what could signal a frightening new fact of life in the age of global warming, Canadian and U.S. forecasters are warning that another major hurricane season is brewing in the Atlantic Ocean.

The 2006 hurricane season officially opens on June 1, and already scientists are telling people living in eastern North America that numerous storms are predicted, with as many as five major hurricanes packing winds of 180 km/h or greater.

"It's kind of comparable to what we were looking at last year at this time," says Bob Robichaud, a meteorologist with the Canadian Hurricane Centre in Dartmouth, N.S.

"Last year we were looking at 12 to 15 storms and this year the forecast is for about 17. No one would go out on a limb and say it is going to be just as bad as last year, but the indications are there that it is still going to be another active season, almost twice as active as normal."

Last year's hurricane season was the most destructive on record.

There were 27 named storms, 15 hurricanes and seven intense hurricanes during the 2005 season. The worst damage was along the U.S. Gulf coast.

Scientists with the Colorado State University hurricane forecast team say the same factors that contributed to last year's violent season are still in play this year.

"The Atlantic Ocean remains anomalously warm, and tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures have continued to cool," says Colorado University forecaster Phil Klotzbach, explaining two of the key triggers for hurricanes.

The Eastern seaboard has been locked in an active storm period for the past decade and while these seasons are normally cyclical, no one knows when, or if, the active period will end.

"Is this global warming? From now on will we see only active hurricane seasons? That's the big question," says Canadian weather guru Dave Phillips of Environment Canada.

While there is no scientific proof that the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is breeding more hurricanes, Phillips says global warming could be contributing to the unusual power of the big storms, like last year's Katrina.

"We are seeing stronger hurricanes - almost a 100 per cent increase in category fours and fives," he says.

"When they do develop, they're a lot bigger, tougher and have more destructive power. They stay together longer. This is the concern. They seem to have more power. That could have a connection to global warming - the fact the atmosphere has changed and ocean temperatures have warmed."

Forecasters stress that there is no way to know, at this point, how many big storms will make landfall or whether any will be able to pick up enough steam to significantly affect Eastern Canada.

That's what happened in 2003, when hurricane Juan stoked up energy from unusually warm waters off northeastern North America and blasted the Maritimes, causing death and destruction in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and parts of New Brunswick.

Phillips says that despite this year's grim forecast, a lot can happen to shut down offshore hurricanes and prevent them from causing onshore harm.

"The temperature of the water has to be right, the winds have to be just perfect, the timing has to be just so and the depth of the water has to be just so," Phillips says.

"It's like baking a souffle. A lot of things have to come together and if someone slams the door, it won't rise."

Phillips adds that, curiously, what happens in the Pacific with the La Nina phenomenon can have major impact on the Atlantic hurricane season.

La Nina refers to a pattern of usually cold surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The east-to-west winds of La Nina tend to be more favourable for producing hurricanes in the Atlantic.

While La Nina has been the dominating factor in the Pacific for the past two years, it appears to be easing.

NASA oceanographers say they believe La Nina will not affect Atlantic hurricanes this year.

Whatever happens, people who have experienced the wrath of a major hurricane are taking precautions.

A 2005 Environment Canada survey of about 500 Halifax-area residents, obtained by The Canadian Press through Access to Information, found that a majority of respondents - 53 per cent - now feel vulnerable to hurricanes.

It also found that 71 per cent of respondents would do things differently if another hurricane like Juan is forecast for the area.

Nova Scotia resident Lynn Brooks, who lives near Halifax, was one of thousands of Maritimers who experienced property damage and power outages during Juan.

Brooks says she now keeps extra water in her home, because if the power goes out, her well goes off.

"I think I'm like a lot of people in this region," she says.

"We will never taken another hurricane warning for granted."

< Read the full article here. >

Posted by: RichKoster on May 14, 2006, 5:13 pm

< Expert: 64 Percent Chance Of Major East Coast Storm Strike >

47% chance of major hurricane striking the Gulf Coast


April 4, 2006

The chance of a major hurricane strike this year along the east coast of the United States is significantly higher than an average season, according to the nation's most prominent hurricane forecaster.

"(Dr. William Gray) is saying that the chance of a major hurricane strike along the East Coast is at 64 percent this year," Local 6 meteorologist Larry Mowry said. "An average season calls for only a 31 percent chance of a strike in this area. So, he has upped the chance of a major hurricane hitting the East Coast."

Gray also put out a prediction for the Gulf Coast for 2006.

"He said there is a chance of a major hurricane striking the Gulf Coast," Mowry said. "That percentage chance is at 47 percent."

Concerning the amount of hurricanes, Gray stuck with projections from his December 2005 forecast.

"He is calling for 17 tropical storms and in an average season we get 10," Mowry said. "He is calling for nine hurricanes and the average is six. And five major hurricanes is what he is calling for and the average is just over two."

Last year, the Atlantic Basin had a record 27 tropical storms -- so many that the National Hurricane Center had to turn to the Greek alphabet for names.

< Read the article here. >

Posted by: RichKoster on May 14, 2006, 6:21 pm

And I've just posted this in the Hong Kong Disneyland forum:



Click here to see it larger


This is Super Typhoon Chanchu, approaching the Hong Kong area -- home of Hong Kong Disneyland. It has maximum sustained winds of over 150 mph.

Here's the < water vapor loop > of it and a < warning about it >

For links to Hong Kong weather and numerous (traffic) cams, check out < independentwx.com >. It is still night in Hong Kong but in a few hours you'll be able to see Monday traffic jams -- perhaps even bigger than normal if people are trying to get away from this approaching super typhoon.

Hopefully people in the Hong Kong area are being warned about this big one. Weather computer forecast models have Super Typhoon Chanchu hitting Hong Kong.
:hurricane:

Posted by: mamaloya on May 14, 2006, 8:38 pm

There they go again: "One of the worst-case scenarios is a hurricane hitting the Northeast."  They need to stop that.

Well, we are in the east now.  What does that mean?  We are in Fort Bragg, which is kinda inland, but we would get a lot of rain from it.  Our new house is at the top of a hill, so we probably wouldn't have to worry about flooding.

Oh, and a question for you Rich.  Which storm and when, hit Myrtle Beach, SC?  When we were there last weekend, we were on a hotel on the beach.  Across the street were 3 hotels in a row with the windows broken out and boards on the lower windows.  The fronts of them bore the familiar markings on the houses in NOLA, ya know the orange X O and numbers.  The hotel we were in was being renovated.  I wonder how our hotel (on the beach) was fine and the ones directly across the street were messed up so bad that they still were not fixed.  Just wondering if you knew something?

Posted by: mamaloya on May 14, 2006, 8:40 pm

Oh, and on the global warming thing, why is winter lasting longer and seem colder?  It is mid May right now and we are so cold.  It is in the 50s at night here and 60s in the day.  How about there in NOLA?
Posted by: RichKoster on May 14, 2006, 9:03 pm

Quote (mamaloya @ May 14, 2006 19:38 am/pm)
Oh, and a question for you Rich.  Which storm and when, hit Myrtle Beach, SC?  When we were there last weekend, we were on a hotel on the beach.  Across the street were 3 hotels in a row with the windows broken out and boards on the lower windows.  The fronts of them bore the familiar markings on the houses in NOLA, ya know the orange X O and numbers.  The hotel we were in was being renovated.  I wonder how our hotel (on the beach) was fine and the ones directly across the street were messed up so bad that they still were not fixed.  Just wondering if you knew something?

That would have been Hurricane Charlie - August 14, 2004.

Not to be an alarmist or anything, but take it from me, it is always best to prepare for the worst -- and be thankful if it doesn't get that bad.
:nod:

I've seen much damage all around the New Orleans area, including the city itself, from Hurricane Katrina's winds (in addition to the flooding, but that's another matter, because most of that was due to the levees constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers having poor design and bad construction).

I could bring you to one location I'm thinking of now right on the edge of the French Quarter where a large part of a brick wall collapsed -- and right next door the houses were fine.

So it seems that sometimes hurricane winds perhaps can act like a tornado, with pockets of more intense, damaging winds.

Hurricanes can also spawn tornadoes, as well. And they can go just about anywhere.

About global warming, I'm also of the opinion (backed up by many scientists) that there simply is long-term swings in the weather and I'm not worried about anything like Al Gore is harping about with global warming. Notice that some reactionary environmentalists have started changing the buzz-phrase from "global warming" to "climate change"?

Yes, there is climate change -- but that has been going on around the world ever since the Earth was formed. Nothing new there -- and nothing to worry about because it does not actually change as quickly or dramatically as the alarmists would have us believe.

Also, as Rush Limbaugh points out, how come nobody ever mentions possible effects from the sun itself as to why sometimes it is warmer than other times on certain dates compared to other decades? Ever hear of sunspots and other unusual sun activity? If there are provable fluctuations in temperature, might very well be that they are occuring naturally and the sun itself has a lot to do with it, well beyond the control of mankind.

I don't worry about it, but trust in God, personally. :nod:

Quote
It is in the 50s at night here and 60s in the day.  How about there in NOLA?

Tonight in New Orleans it is a pleasant 78° after a high of 83°. Humidity 63% -- a bit low for us, probably would feel high for others in other parts of the country. Temperatures are expected to be about normal for us this week, a high of 78° tomorrow, then around 80° the rest of the week.

Posted by: Ilovdisney on May 14, 2006, 11:48 pm

Quote (mamaloya @ May 14, 2006 20:38 am/pm)
There they go again: "One of the worst-case scenarios is a hurricane hitting the Northeast."  They need to stop that.

Well, we are in the east now.  What does that mean?  We are in Fort Bragg, which is kinda inland, but we would get a lot of rain from it.  Our new house is at the top of a hill, so we probably wouldn't have to worry about flooding.

Oh, and a question for you Rich.  Which storm and when, hit Myrtle Beach, SC?  When we were there last weekend, we were on a hotel on the beach.  Across the street were 3 hotels in a row with the windows broken out and boards on the lower windows.  The fronts of them bore the familiar markings on the houses in NOLA, ya know the orange X O and numbers.  The hotel we were in was being renovated.  I wonder how our hotel (on the beach) was fine and the ones directly across the street were messed up so bad that they still were not fixed.  Just wondering if you knew something?

OMG this is to funny Sandra I am in Fayetteville living in the Haymont area! Yes while we are 2 hours from the beach, Wilmington, Fay. still will feel the power of the hurrican if it tracks this way. I so remember Fran when we had no power for a few days and all the rest that have come our way. If this is your first time here, start getting an emergency kit together. I saw that NC was on that list and trust me there is a sign out there in the ocean that says Wilmington this way come on in. :)
Posted by: mamaloya on May 15, 2006, 9:00 am

Cheryl,

Wow, you live like, right here.  I wonder if we have ever crossed paths.  As for hurricane preparedness, I know the drill seeing how I am from NOLA, just didn't know I needed to worry about it here.  Thanks for the info.  We lost all of our camping stuff in Katrina, which is what we rely on if the power goes out.  We bought a camper instead of replacing our tent and everything.  Guess I still should buy some of the basics again.  Our new home has no place to put our camper, so using its facilities are out.  Thanks for the heads up.  If it gets too bad, I will go home to NOLA for a few days.  LOL

Posted by: Dale-not-Chip on May 15, 2006, 12:44 pm

Quote
I don't worry about it, but trust in God, personally.


Don't you think God put some trust in us to help Take care of the Earth we live on.  

Global Warming.  It may be real it may not.  you can find arguments from real scientists both ways.

But here's the big diffrence.

If The people who think it's real is wrong we still benifit from cleaning up the air and water and communitys.

If the disbelivers are wrong and it is global warming then Game over.  It's a lot harder to clean up damage that to not make the mess in the first place.

Now I'm not here wanting to go extreme tree hugger.  And we can't just run businesses out and put people out of work.  But just to sit back and deny pollution has no effect on God's Earth is not wise.

Posted by: Dale-not-Chip on May 15, 2006, 12:54 pm

Sandra

I'm Sorry to say you moved from Hurricane area to another.

We get them on the Cost of NC all the time.  often they skirt the outer banks and then head back out to sea.  but they have been known to shoot right in.

If it hits just right we could get a Cat 1 or tropical storm as far in a Greensboro, NC

But the good news is that we are mainly above sea levels

Posted by: CarolKoster on May 15, 2006, 7:30 pm

Getting back to the subject at hand...

Y'know anyone can watch a little too much of those "Mega Storm!!!" or "Mega Disasters!!!"  or "It Could Hapen Tomorrow!!!" type extreme worst case scenario natural disaster shows that Discovery Channel, Weather Channel and last year there was some theatrical movie that was released in May 2005, starred Dennis Quaid among others, about a huge natural disaster that would have hit New York City.  I'm drawing a blank on the title of that movie, others might recall it since it was a hit movie.  But if you've seen Discovery, Weather or other channels in the last few months, you know the super specials I'm talking about.

OK, we had that terrible tsunami in the Indian Ocean Christmas 2004, then of course Katrina and Rita in 2005, and in August-September 2004 there wwere four hurricanes that hit one state, Florida.

The Orlando Sentinel last week had an article about an asteroid scientists are saying will hit the Earth, or could hit the earth...  30 years from now.

In a lot of cases local people know the types of X-treme weather that happen in their locales.  They know the National Weather Service, National Hurricane Center, those who study tornadoes, or earthquakes, or whatever the natural disaster is, they know the usual warnings, "have these things in your emergency packs", "tune to local news for the latest" "have a plan in mind to evacuate..."  All these things.

A lot of people are hugely complacent.  They think that the chances of very rare weather occurences happening to them are almost nil, and so they get complacent.

The Friday before Katrina came, I remember knowing that this storm, after it passed Miami, would enter very warm Gulf waters and mean trouble for the northern Gulf Coast.  I also remember participating in a thread on Disney Echo that day about the quality of the coffee served at Disney World.

So yeah, the chances of X-treme weather happening to any given spot on the planet has odds to it, most of the time the odds don't favor the ultra X-treme.  But someone, at some time, will have to be in that tiny percentage of those who do in fact "get clobbered".

They've talked for years about "the big one" coming to New Orleans, and in fact Katrina was not the big one.  Structural design flaws in the levee systems could have manifest with any heavy rain storm, but the good Lord inspired evacuations of most people out for Katrina so that when the levee systems failed, most were evacuated.  Katrina itself went across Plaquemines and south St. Tammany Parishes and was mainly a Mississippi event.  

After Hurricane Camille in 1968 you'd think that people could realize "a big one" could happen every 30-38 years or so.  But people get complacent.

So this time of year is the time to realize all that Florida went through in 2004 and Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas went through in 2005.  It could happen, a rare X-treme weather or natural disaster.  Not to everyone, but to someone.  Rare, yes.  But it happens.  And the odds are "rare" has to happen to someone, while most people are in fact OK.

Heed the warnings, get a plan in place, stock a kit for emergency supplies, and learn what to do.

I hope Katrina doesn't happen to anyone.  You don't want to go through this.  Trust me.

Posted by: utilidor27 on May 15, 2006, 9:53 pm

I believe the title you are thinking of is "The Day After Tommorow" Carol. Good movie.
I am going to be finding my center and thinking happy thoughts until Nov. Besides, I have my own personal hurricane to deal with - don't need a real one.

Posted by: JacquiBee on May 16, 2006, 7:09 am

I did some research last year and found out an interesting fact about hurricanes...

The East Coast has rarely (if ever) been hit by anything higher than a Cat 3 (still a powerful and dangerous storm).  I think it has something to do with the temperature of the water, with the Atlantic being a bit cooler than the Gulf.  

I also read somewhere (maybe NOAA's website) that we are in a "La Nina" year, which means wetter and cooler for the Midwest and the East, drier in the South...And that means that I won't see the sun that much this summer :(  We had a La Nina summer when my kids were littler and taking swimming lessons at the YMCA.  I remember it was almost too cold for them to go in the unheated pool every morning...just yucky!  

A La Nina summer usually follows an El Nino, which I believe we had not too long ago...

Posted by: RichKoster on May 22, 2006, 1:08 pm

< National Hurricane Center predicts 4 to 6 major hurricanes in upcoming season >

May 22, 2006

There will be four to six major hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico this season, the National Hurricane Center predicted Monday.

There will be up to 16 named storms, the center predicted, which would be significantly less than last year's record 27.

Last year officials predicted 12 to 15 tropical storms, seven to nine of them becoming hurricanes, and three to five of those hurricanes being major.

But the season was the busiest Atlantic hurricane season since record keeping began in 1851. There were 15 hurricanes, seven of which were Category 3 or higher.

The Atlantic seasons were relatively mild from the 1970s through 1994. Since then, all but two years have been above normal. Experts say the world is in the midst of a 20-year-cycle that will continue to bring strong storms.

For the complete NOAA 2006 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook, read below.
NOAA: 2006 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook
Issued: 22 May 2006

Atlantic Hurricane Outlook & Seasonal Climate Summary Archive

SUMMARY

NOAA’s 2006 Atlantic hurricane season outlook indicates an 80% chance of an above-normal hurricane season, a 15% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 5% chance of a below-normal season. This outlook is produced by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center (CPC), National Hurricane Center (NHC), and Hurricane Research Division (HRD). See NOAA’s definitions of above-, near-, and below-normal seasons.

The outlook calls for a very active 2006 season, with 13-16 named storms, 8-10 hurricanes, and 4-6 major hurricanes. The likely range of the ACE index is 135%-205% of the median. This prediction indicates a continuation of above-normal activity that began in 1995. However, we do not currently expect a repeat of last year’s record season.

The predicted 2006 activity strongly reflects an expected continuation of conditions associated with the multi-decadal signal, which has favored above-normal Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1995. These conditions include considerably warmer than normal sea surface temperatures (SSTs), lower wind shear, reduced sea level pressure, and a more conducive structure of the African easterly jet. An updated Atlantic hurricane outlook will be issued in early August, which begins the peak months (August-October) of the hurricane season.

DISCUSSION

1. Expected Activity - 80% chance above normal, 15% chance near normal, 5% chance below normal

An important measure of the total seasonal activity is NOAA’s Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index, which accounts for the collective intensity and duration of Atlantic named storms and hurricanes during a given hurricane season. The ACE index is also used to define above-, near-, and below-normal hurricane seasons (see Background Information). A value of 117% of the median (Median value is 87.5) corresponds to the lower boundary for an above-normal season.

For the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season, the ACE index is expected to be in the range of 135%-205% of the median. The upper half of this range is above the 175% baseline that Goldenberg et al. (Science, 2001) use to define a hyperactive season. Based on this predicted ACE range and on the 80% probability of an above-normal season, we expect 13-16 named storms, 8-10 hurricanes, and 4-6 major hurricanes [categories 3-4-5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale]. This predicted ACE range can be satisfied even if the numbers of named storms, hurricanes, or major hurricanes fall outside their expected ranges.

The vast majority of named storms and hurricanes are expected to form during August-October over the tropical Atlantic Ocean, which is typical for above-normal seasons. These systems generally track westward toward the Caribbean Sea and/or United States as they strengthen. Historically, very active seasons have averaged 2-4 landfalling hurricanes in the continental United States and 2-3 hurricanes in the region around the Caribbean Sea. However, it is currently not possible to confidently predict at these extended ranges the number or intensity of landfalling hurricanes, and whether or not a given locality will be impacted by a hurricane this season.

2. Expected Climate Conditions – Active multi-decadal signal, above-average Atlantic Ocean temperatures, ENSO-neutral conditions

All of the Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1995 have been above normal, with the exception of two moderate to strong El Niño years (1997 and 2002). This contrasts sharply with the 1971-1994 period of generally below-normal activity (Goldenberg et al., Science, 2001). Time series of key atmospheric wind parameters highlight the dramatic differences between these above-normal and below-normal periods. Conditions were also very conducive for above-normal hurricane seasons during the 1950s and 1960s, as seen by comparing Atlantic SSTs and seasonal ACE values.

The regional atmospheric circulation contributing to these long-period fluctuations in hurricane activity is strongly linked to the tropics-wide multi-decadal signal (Bell and Chelliah, 2006). Since 1995 this signal has been very conducive to above-normal hurricane seasons and warmer Atlantic SSTs, and it is again the main factor guiding the 2006 outlook.

Over the North Atlantic, key aspects of the multi-decadal signal expected during the 2006 hurricane season include 1) warmer SSTs, lower surface air pressure, and increased moisture across the tropical Atlantic, 2) an amplified ridge at upper levels across the central and eastern subtropical North Atlantic, 3) reduced vertical wind shear in the deep tropics over the central North Atlantic, which results from an expanded area of easterly winds in the upper atmosphere (green arrows) and weaker easterly trade winds in the lower atmosphere (dark blue arrows), and 4) weaker easterly winds ddle and lower atmosphere, resulting in a configuration of the African easterly jet (wavy blue arrow) that favors hurricane development from tropical waves moving westward from the African coast. Some early-season indicators of an active hurricane season are already developing. These include warmer SSTs and weaker easterly winds in the middle atmosphere, both of which have strong links to the multi-decadal signal.

Although we expect a very active hurricane season during 2006, we are not forecasting a repeat of last year’s record season at this time. This is partly because the tropical Atlantic SSTs are not presently as warm as we saw last year at this time. Also, a combination of conditions led to the record 2005 season. Some of those, particularly an amplified upper-level ridge over the eastern U.S., long periods of suppressed convection near the date line, and exceptionally low pressures in the Gulf and Caribbean Sea region, are simply not predictable at this time.

Another factor known to significantly impact Atlantic hurricane seasons is ENSO (Gray, 1984. El Niño favors fewer hurricanes and La Niña favors more hurricanes. Based on the most recent ENSO outlook issued by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, ENSO-neutral conditions are expected in the tropical Pacific through much of the Atlantic hurricane season. Therefore, ENSO is not expected to impact this hurricane season.

3. Multi-decadal fluctuations in Atlantic hurricane activity

Atlantic hurricane seasons exhibit prolonged periods lasting decades of generally above-normal or below-normal activity. These fluctuations in hurricane activity result almost entirely from differences in the number of hurricanes and major hurricanes forming from tropical storms first named in the main development region, which spans the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.

Hurricane seasons during 1995-2005 have averaged 15 named storms, 8.5 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes, with an average ACE index of 179% of the median. NOAA classifies nine of the last eleven hurricane seasons as above normal, and seven as hyperactive. In contrast, during the preceding 1971-1994 period, hurricane seasons averaged 8.5 named storms, 5 hurricanes, and 1.5 major hurricanes, with an average ACE index of only 75% of the median. One-half of these seasons were below normal, only three were above normal (1980, 1988, 1989), and none were hyperactive.

4. Uncertainties in the Outlook

The main uncertainty in this outlook is not whether the season will be above normal, but how much above normal it will be. The 2006 season could become the fourth hyperactive season in a row. Another uncertainty is related to forecasting some of the specific circulation features known to produce exceptionally active seasons. High activity during the last three seasons resulted partly from an amplified upper-level ridge and lower wind shear over the western subtropical North Atlantic and eastern United States (Bell et al. 2004, 2005, 2006). In the event these conditions again develop, which cannot be predicted with confidence at this time, the 2006 seasonal ACE value could even exceed the high end of our predicted range. However, we do not currently expect a repeat of last year’s record season.

Despite the forecasted ENSO-neutral conditions, the possibility exists for prolonged periods of suppressed convection over the central equatorial Pacific, consistent with very warm SSTs and enhanced tropical convection remaining over Indonesia and the western equatorial Pacific. Suppressed convection over the central equatorial Pacific produces a La Niña-like response in the atmospheric circulation, and results in a stronger upper-level ridge and lower wind shear over the western tropical Atlantic. The combination of an active Atlantic era and suppressed convection near the date line is known to favor extremely active Atlantic hurricane seasons, as was seen last season.

NOAA scientists will closely monitor the evolving climate conditions. NOAA’s updated Atlantic hurricane outlook will be issued in early August, which begins the peak months (August-October) of the hurricane season.

CAUTIONARY NOTES

1) It is currently not possible to confidently predict at these extended ranges the number or intensity of landfalling hurricanes, or whether a particular locality will be impacted by a hurricane this season. Therefore, residents and government agencies of coastal and near-coastal regions should always maintain hurricane preparedness efforts regardless of the overall seasonal outlook.

2) Far more damage can be done by one major hurricane hitting a heavily populated area than by several hurricanes hitting sparsely populated areas. Therefore, hurricane-spawned disasters can occur even in years with near-normal or below-normal levels of activity. Examples of years with near-normal activity that featured extensive hurricane damage and numerous fatalities include 1960 (Hurricane Donna), 1979 (Hurricanes David and Frederic), and 1985 (Hurricanes Elena, Gloria and Juan). Moreover, the nation's second most damaging hurricane, Andrew in 1992, occurred during a season with otherwise below normal activity.

< Click here for the original article. >

Posted by: CarolKoster on May 22, 2006, 6:22 pm

Hurricanes can and do cross the Florida peninsula, folks, and if this season June1-November 30 is predicted to be a busy one, then you might want to be head's up, if you have travel plans for Central Florida attractions, on what to do.

If you review this thread you'll see links to the hurricanes affecting Central Florida in 2004.  Disney handled their guests exceedingly well.  But you may want to "know before you go" what to expect, and what your options may be to cancel or reschedule, as well as "bug out of town (leave)" if you feel too afraid to stay.

Of the sites in 2004 we checked during hurricane season, people posted that Disney sheltered them well, generally were effective at communicating what to do, entertained in the lobby to calm children and families, and took good care of guests.  Employees for the most part were sent home to protect their belongings and homes and be with their families, while others were on "ride out crews" at the resorts, to do damage reports, care for guests, report conditions needing emergency attention (buildings in need of immediate repair or medical emergencies).  You won't get turn down service, no chocolate covered strawberries, no room service, dinner shows cancelled, parks closed, all for everyone's safety in X-treme weather conditions, and you might have to eat non-perishable foods for a bit and rely on flashlights they loan you for light if the power goes out.  Understand the circumstances, suck it in, deal.  Disney can't control the weather, but they can be good hosts.  Those posting praised Disney for making the best of bad situations and making their guests reasonably comfortable and safe.  There is nothing to fear.

So scroll back and follow links to 2004 hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne, those three affected Central Florida and in fact some WDW damage was reported.  Guests were all A-OK!  Cast Members and WDW College Program workers were all A-OK!  

If you'd rather not be there during hurricane season, the heaviest part is August and September.  But if the weather experts' technology is improving, and their forecasts getting more accurate, it's still an inexact science but I would err on taking predictions of more active hurricane activity the next 10-20 years seriously.  If the idea of being at WDW in hurricane season bothers you, choose a different time of year to go, else be prepared in case you happen to be there if a tropical weather system does approach.  Or buy travel insurance, and thoroughly ask of travel service providers (airlines, car rental agencies, buying park tickets, or show tickets, room accomodations, special services, shuttle services, any aspect of a vacation you book) all the "What if a tropical system came while we're there and we decide we want to cut our plans short and leave...  Refunds?  Reschedule or use unused portions later?  Rain checks?  Can we book a way out of town?  Will you come get us at the hotel if we call and things in town are going crazy?" and any other "What if...?" questions you can think of.  If you don't get straight answers, don't book with them.  Write down names, dates, times, and notes about your call of inquiry.  Get confirmation numbers.  Read fine print about early departures or ask questions in advance.

You're "there" making travel plans, I'm not.  Having closely observed on Disney Echo the 2004 hurricane season, and having been a Hurricane Katrina evacuee, I would rather be a true friend to you as reader of the Disney Echo than "BS" you.  No, you're not in mortal danger if you travel between June 1-November 30 anywhere that hurricanes are likely to go, Disney or anywhere else between Texas and the Northest US coast.  And if you were at Disney, you'd be sheltering in a very safe, hurricane winds building code protected place.  Florida has an outstanding set of building codes about hurricane force winds, and Disney's hotel buildings are in full compliance.  But also, if the idea of travelling in hurricane season makes you nervous, "follow your bliss" and travel at a different time of year.  If you choose to travel, research in these links in this thread what exactly to expect.  Ask questions, and like being a good Scout "Be prepared."  If you stay in low-lying coastal areas, particularly on waterfronts (like at coastal beaches) or in trailers, then you need to be particularly cautious and take care of your safety and evacuate such areas or trailers or campers.  The interior of the state of Florida is considered "inland" and you want to be inland in a sturdy building that meets Florida's strict building codes.  Disney's hotels are those.  You'll want to stay where the hotelier gives written instructions and communicates with guests effectively, and Disney does do that.  You'll want to follow all safety and well-being instructions.  Disney cannot make you do that, that's your duty to do.

I can't make you "be prepared" and I can't make you dig into the archives and know what to expect.  I can only point you, strongly suggest "Good idea to do this, hint, hint, hint..." and tell you as a hurricane Katrina evacuee you do want to take these things seriously.  The rest, as they say, is up to you.

After all, if you do dig into the archives on this site, get some helpful tips, and in fact do find yourself caught up in a tropical storm system while at Disney, knowing the facts will 1) Calm you and your family down, and isn't that what you want? and 2) You'll be that much farther ahead of the curve, in the know, savvy, and you'll know what to expect, that it won't last forever, you'll be OK, and you'll know how to plan or handle yourself around a travel inconvenience, and isn't that what you want?

Bad weather can happen to vacationers anywhere in the world.  It can happen, let's face it.  But to "know before you go"...  Priceless!

So dig around.  Think in advance "what would we do" and ask in advance these "What if..." type questions.  Doing this now, you're not emotional about it, but you are being rational, prudent, "taking good care", just in case.  Once you start, it's no big deal, no big whoop, nor any super time-consuming thing to find out true facts and base "a plan" on what you learn.  

Chances are nothing will happen, great trip, and the worst that happens are sunburns, blisters, sweat and happy memories and rarin' to go again!  And those credit card bills to pay off... Heh!

But the minority of chances have to happen to someone, by nature.  In your heart, you know this is true.  So protect the value and time of your vacation to Central Florida, and check things out now while conditions are relatively calm and mellow.

If Disney Echo EARS can help, just holler!

Posted by: RichKoster on May 25, 2006, 7:21 am

< New Orleans seen top target for '06 hurricanes >

By Barbara Liston

May 24, 2006

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - New Orleans, still down and out from last year's assault by Hurricane Katrina, is the U.S. city most likely to be struck by hurricane force winds during the 2006 storm season, a researcher said on Wednesday.

The forecast gives New Orleans a nearly 30 percent chance of being hit by a hurricane and a one in 10 chance the storm will be a Category 3 or stronger, meaning sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour (178 km per hour), said Chuck Watson of Kinetic Analysis Corp., Savannah, Georgia a risk assessment firm.

"Given the state of the infrastructure down there and the levees, gosh, that's just not good news. But that's what the climate signals look like," Watson said.

Watson, who has partnered with University of Central Florida statistics professor Mark Johnson, also predicted that oil production in the Gulf of Mexico will be disrupted for a minimum of a week at a cost of 7-8 million barrels of oil.

Up to 25 percent of U.S. oil production in the Gulf was shut down last year and 20 percent is still out.

Watson gave a one in 10 chance that oil rigs will sustain enough damage to reduce production by 278 million barrels this year, further escalating prices for gasoline.

The forecasters, who have worked with the oil and gas industry and with state insurance regulators, base their forecast in part on the paths of storms over the past 155 years and expected global climate conditions this year.

Watson and Johnson said a weak La Nina weather condition and warmer-than-normal Gulf of Mexico water temperatures were contributing factors. U.S. government weather experts say the La Nina phenomenon in place earlier this year has dissipated and should not be a factor during the hurricane season.

On Tuesday, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the 2006 hurricane season was expected to produce 13 to 16 named storms, including four to six "major" hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher. No leading forecasters came close to predicting what happened in 2005, when 28 tropical storms spawned a record 15 hurricanes.

The 2006 forecast for News Orleans was worse than Watson's prediction for the city last year, he said. But for now, he considers the 2005 season an aberration rather than a trend or a definitive sign of effects from global warming.

"If it happens again this year or next year, then we're in a different climate world than we were in the last 100 years or so," Watson said.

Of 28 coastal cities evaluated under the forecast model, New Orleans ranked top with a 29.3 percent chance of experiencing hurricane-force winds in the storm season that begins officially on June 1.

Other top candidates include Mobile, Alabama, with a 22 percent chance of being buffeted by hurricane-force winds, and the Florida cities of Key West and Pensacola, which both have a 20 percent chance.

West Palm Beach, Florida, which suffered severe damage during last year's Hurricane Wilma, came in just after Key West and Pensacola with a 19 percent chance of being struck yet again by hurricane-force winds.

Watson and Johnson have published a number of research papers on storm and wind damage modeling.

Posted by: CarolKoster on May 26, 2006, 6:48 am

Google "Florida tourism" in Google News and you come up with emotions all over the spectrum:  Some putting rosy spins, some building up the industry after newsmaking storms the last two years, and some concerns, too.

Nobody has a crystal ball that if you were to travel to Florida or WDW in the busiest part of hurricane season if you'd be affected or not.  The National Hurricane Center and National Weather SErvice both have much more sophisticated equipment to analyze weather data, and every May you hear predictions of X-number of storms, X-number of named storms and how many of those will be major storms.  But they still cannot predict with 100% certainty where or when or how strong or for your individual travel situation the exact answer to "What should I do?"

In general, prepare and ask travel questions in advance.  If you're sinking a lot of money into a lot of details of your travel, ask your travel agent about travel insurance or ask generally of each of your providers all the "What if..." questions pertinent to that time of year.  If you had to cut your plans short and your dreams of a totally great vacation couldn't be fulfilled, ask in advance abot contingencies, refunds, rain checks, etc.  Don't ignore the fine print, and don't plunk down money or deposits 'til all your concerns are laid to rest.  An alternate plan B due to tropical weather is your best assurance of peace of mind.

< http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/129891 >

The Associated Press as published in the Arizona Republic:

Florida tourism grows despite hurricanes
By Travis Reed
The Associated Press
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 05.21.2006

ORLANDO, Fla. — Valerie Stryker, her husband and their three kids watched as Hurricane Frances bore down on Florida and their Walt Disney World vacation in September 2004.

The family spent most of those nervous hours in their hotel with drawn shades and storm reports from Disney staff slipped under their door or by voice mail. When it was finally over, the parks were shuttered for two days, the kids missed the first day of school because of airport closings, and the trip home required a three-flight ramble from Tampa to Miami, then on to Boston and finally New York.

But perhaps the biggest surprise? The Strykers — and apparently millions like them — are not afraid of coming back, with no plans to let further predictions of heavy Atlantic storm seasons slow them.
Despite the state being hit or affected by eight storms over the past two years, a record 85.8 million people visited Florida last year, generating $57 billion in economic activity and $3.4 billion for government coffers.

That's 6 million more visitors than in 2004, a 7.6 percent increase. Visit Florida, a public-private organization that promotes tourism, predicts a 3.2 percent increase this year.

Still, tourism officials are concerned about the spate of storms, which arrived just as some of the state's destinations had finally built themselves into year-round draws and not just sunny spots for snow-weary Northerners to spend a week each winter.

Even the devastation Hurricane Katrina caused Louisiana and Mississippi is affecting how some potential visitors view Florida.

Most of the anxiety involves the summer convention business, as some planners have concerns about scheduling conventions during hurricane season.

The Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau, which covers much of southwest Florida, said meeting traffic has fallen during the busiest hurricane months (August-October) since Hurricane Charley hit north of there in 2004 — even though the area didn't suffer any serious damage.

To soothe convention organizers' fears, Visit Florida last year began offering event insurance up to $200,000 to defray marketing and rescheduling costs if there is a hurricane disruption.

In contrast, leisure travelers have become increasingly more flexible and forecast-savvy. They're still coming, but more likely to book shorter trips even if they're looking for a longer vacation.

End of article.

I just want to point out:  The featured family in this story did have a hard time getting back home, lost some vacation time to the hunkering down/park closure process.

This travel disruption can be planned for.  Just come up with an "alternate plan B", as I mentioned earlier.  Chances are your Florida vacation will occur as intended.  A small chance has to occur, just by nature of percentages, that you could get caught up in a tropical weather system while your vacation is in progress.  Plan for the worst, hope for the best.  That is a way to a worry less vacation.

Posted by: CarolKoster on May 30, 2006, 7:27 am

WDW Recognized for Severe Weather Readiness, 2006

< http://www.orlandosentinel.com/busines....adlines >

Orlando Sentinel, May 30, 2006 online edition:

Disney is prepared for storms

Christopher Boyd | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted May 30, 2006

The National Weather Service today will recognize Walt Disney World for the preparations it has made for severe weather.

Disney World is the first theme park and resort to receive the StormReady community distinction. The attraction joins more than 1,000 communities across the country that are part of the weather service program.

"The public recognition is very important to our cast members and our guests because it demonstrates the hard work that goes on here," Disney spokesman Jacob DiPietre said. "It also reassures our guests that safety and security are always a top priority."

The weather service program, which was launched in 1999, recognizes communities that have worked with the weather service to develop storm-preparedness programs. Disney World operates its own emergency operations center and an amateur radio club, which are capable of broadcasting weather warnings round the clock.

StormReady locations are capable of receiving government severe weather warnings by more than one means.

"StormReady helps communities improve communication and safety skills needed to save lives -- before, during and after the event," said Bill Proenza, director of the weather service's southern region.

Posted by: CarolKoster on June 01, 2006, 8:20 pm

Bumping this up to be more current.

Scroll around, I know it's a big thread, but "know before you go" to Central Florida if the possibility of being caught in a hurricane bothers or concerns you.

Posted by: RichKoster on June 10, 2006, 4:43 pm

Welcome to the first tropical depression of the 2006 season   :uhoh:

This morning a tropical depression formed in the Caribbean, the first one of the 2006 hurricane season.

There are a number of computer models of where it might go and what it might turn into, but the most likely thing is for it to turn into the first Tropical Storm of the season, although it would most likely be a small one.

Bad news for Disney vacation travellers and those who live/work near WDW and Port Canaveral where Disney Cruise Line has its port: The storm is expected to head towards Florida. There is one predicted track which brings it close to New Orleans and others which show it heading to the northern gulf coast.

If the tropical depression intensifies, it would be Tropical Storm Alberto. That could happen later today or tomorrow.

Over the next three days, the system is expected to move through the Yucatan Channel into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico. It's then expected to head toward Florida, where it could make landfall somewhere between South Florida and the western tip of the Panhandle by Tuesday. That means possible bad weather for Orlando, folks.

< Click here for the latest information from the National Hurricane Center. >



That's right, the first Tropical Storm of 2006 could be heading to Walt Disney World.
:hurricane:

Posted by: RichKoster on June 10, 2006, 4:53 pm

Quote (RichKoster @ June 10, 2006 15:43 am/pm)
Welcome to the first tropical depression of the 2006 season   :uhoh:

This morning a tropical depression formed in the Caribbean, the first one of the 2006 hurricane season.

There are a number of computer models of where it might go and what it might turn into, but the most likely thing is for it to turn into the first Tropical Storm of the season, although it would most likely be a small one.

Bad news for Disney vacation travellers and those who live/work near WDW and Port Canaveral where Disney Cruise Line has its port: The storm is expected to head towards Florida. There is one predicted track which brings it close to New Orleans and others which show it heading to the northern gulf coast.

If the tropical depression intensifies, it would be Tropical Storm Alberto. That could happen later today or tomorrow.

Over the next three days, the system is expected to move through the Yucatan Channel into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico. It's then expected to head toward Florida, where it could make landfall somewhere between South Florida and the western tip of the Panhandle by Tuesday. That means possible bad weather for Orlando, folks.

< Click here for the latest information from the National Hurricane Center. >



That's right, the first Tropical Storm of 2006 could be heading to Walt Disney World.
:hurricane:

And the National Hurricane Center notes that it is important to realize that a tropical cyclone, tropical storm, or hurricane is not a point. Their effects can span many hundreds of miles from the center. The area experiencing hurricane force (one-minute average wind speeds of at least 74 mph) and tropical storm force (one-minute average wind speeds of 39-73 mph) winds can extend well beyond the yellow-shaded areas shown enclosing the most likely track area of the center of the storm, as predicted at this point.

Also, this predicted track can shift before it makes landfall in a few days. And even if what might become Tropical Storm Alberto does follow very close to where the green dots are shown on the above map, Orlando would be on the side of the storm which gets the worst weather.

Posted by: RichKoster on June 10, 2006, 5:03 pm



This is the < National Hurricane Center >'s latest prediction for what areas could be getting tropical storm-force winds from what would be Tropical Storm Alberto.

Hold onto your mouse-eared hats, EchoEars, its going to be a bumpy ride!

Posted by: RichKoster on June 10, 2006, 5:29 pm

And here is the latest predicted path of Tropical Storm Alberto...



Click the map or here to see a much larger view of it.

Posted by: RichKoster on June 10, 2006, 5:41 pm

The National Hurricane Center gives this storm < a 20% chance of becoming a hurricane >. Pretty low chance... don't worry.
:uhoh:

Posted by: RichKoster on June 10, 2006, 6:32 pm

Quote (RichKoster @ June 10, 2006 15:43 am/pm)
the most likely thing is for it to turn into the first Tropical Storm of the season, although it would most likely be a small one.

Update: There is a lot of thinking now that it will be a major Tropical Storm, not a weak one.
:uhoh:

Posted by: RichKoster on June 10, 2006, 7:44 pm

Uh-oh... :uhoh: The computer forecast models are starting to split up...



Click the map or here to see a much larger view of it.

Posted by: RichKoster on June 11, 2006, 11:25 am

It is now Tropical Storm Alberto, and still predicted to cross the penisula of Florida, although the computer models are now disagreeing quite a bit. WDW is still predicted to get a lot of bad weather from the tropical storm.





From National Weather Service...

    There is a bit more uncertainty with the eventual track... The consensus is still calling for landfall to cocur along the west coast of Florida in 48 ot 72 hours, however, some computers models track the highly sheared center of circulation further west across the central gulf... a jog in the forecast to the left may occur as a result.




Click the map or here to see a much larger view of it.




Interesting clouds are over Orlando this morning...





< Tropical Storm Alberto Public Advisory Number 6 >

    NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL   AL012006
    1000 AM CDT SUN JUN 11 2006

    ...DEPRESSION BECOMES FIRST NAMED STORM OF THE 2006 SEASON...

    INTERESTS IN THE EASTERN GULF OF MEXICO SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS
    OF THIS SYSTEM.

    FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE
    INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED
    BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

    REPORTS FROM AN AIR FORCE RESERVE UNIT HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT
    INDICATE THAT TROPICAL DEPRESSION ONE HAS STRENGTHENED INTO A
    TROPICAL STORM.

    AT 1000 AM CDT...1500Z...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM ALBERTO WAS
    LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 23.9 NORTH...LONGITUDE 88.1 WEST OR ABOUT 400
    MILES...645 KM...WEST OF KEY WEST FLORIDA AND ABOUT 445 MILES...715
    KM...SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF APALACHICOLA FLORIDA.

    ALBERTO IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 9 MPH...15 KM/HR...AND
    A TURN TOWARD THE NORTH AND NORTHEAST IS EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 24
    HOURS.

    MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 45 MPH...75 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
    GUSTS.  SOME SLIGHT STRENGTHENING IS POSSIBLE DURING THE NEXT 24
    HOURS.

    TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 175 MILES...280 KM
    TO THE EAST OF THE CENTER.

    THE AIR FORCE AIRCRAFT RECENTLY REPORTED A MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE
    OF 1004 MB...29.65 INCHES.

    ALBERTO IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS
    OF 10 TO 20 INCHES OVER THE WESTERN HALF OF CUBA...WITH ISOLATED
    TOTALS OF 30 INCHES OVER THE HIGHER TERRAIN.  THESE RAINS COULD
    PRODUCE LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUD SLIDES.  RAINFALL
    AMOUNTS OF 4 TO 8 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE OVER THE FLORIDA KEYS AND
    THE FLORIDA PENINSULA THROUGH MONDAY.

    REPEATING THE 1000 AM CDT POSITION...23.9 N...88.1 W.  MOVEMENT
    TOWARD...NORTHWEST NEAR 9 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...45 MPH.
    MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1004 MB.

    THE NEXT ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AT
    400 PM CDT.

    FORECASTER PASCH




Click the map or here to see a much larger view of it.


That's a pretty hard turn to the right they are predicting... :uhoh: And as you read above, some are thinking it might go more to the west rather than taking such a sharp turn to the right...
:hurricane:

Posted by: RichKoster on June 11, 2006, 4:31 pm

The next update from the < National Hurricane Center > just came out (a half-hour before they said it would) Here it is, along with the latest composite of what the computer models are predicting to happen with Tropical Storm Alberto:



    TROPICAL STORM ALBERTO ADVISORY NUMBER   7
    NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL   AL012006
    400 PM CDT SUN JUN 11 2006

    ...DISORGANIZED ALBERTO MOVING SLOWLY NORTHWARD OVER THE GULF OF
    MEXICO...

    AT 4 PM CDT...2100 UTC...A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR THE
    WEST COAST OF FLORIDA FROM NORTH OF BONITA BEACH TO STEINHATCHEE.

    A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
    POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 36 HOURS.

    FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE
    INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED
    BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

    AT 400 PM CDT...2100Z...THE BROAD CIRCULATION OF TROPICAL STORM
    ALBERTO WAS ESTIMATED NEAR LATITUDE 24.5 NORTH...LONGITUDE 87.8
    WEST OR ABOUT 375 MILES...605 KM...WEST OF KEY WEST FLORIDA AND
    ABOUT 400 MILES...640 KM...SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF APALACHICOLA FLORIDA.

    ALBERTO IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH NEAR 7 MPH...11 KM/HR...AND A
    GRADUAL TURN TOWARD THE NORTHEAST IS EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 24
    HOURS.

    MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 45 MPH...75 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
    GUSTS.  NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN STRENGTH IS FORECAST DURING THE
    NEXT 24 HOURS.

    THE STRONGEST WINDS IN THIS TROPICAL STORM ARE WELL REMOVED FROM THE
    CENTER...AND EXTEND MAINLY EASTWARD UP TO 230 MILES...370 KM.

    ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 1004 MB...29.65 INCHES.

    ALBERTO IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS
    OF 10 TO 20 INCHES OVER THE WESTERN HALF OF CUBA...WITH ISOLATED
    TOTALS OF 30 INCHES OVER THE HIGHER TERRAIN.  THESE RAINS COULD
    PRODUCE LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUD SLIDES.  RAINFALL
    TOTALS OF 5 TO 10 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE OVER THE FLORIDA PENINSULA AND
    THE FLORIDA KEYS THROUGH TUESDAY.

    REPEATING THE 400 PM CDT POSITION...24.5 N...87.8 W.  MOVEMENT
    TOWARD...NORTH NEAR 7 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...45 MPH.
    MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1004 MB.

    AN INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE
    CENTER AT 700 PM CDT FOLLOWED BY THE NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY AT 1000
    PM CDT.

    FORECASTER PASCH




Above map from the Weather Channel's < Weather.com > website.

< Click here to see a infra-red satellite loop of the storm in the gulf from the National Hurricane Center. >

Posted by: RichKoster on June 11, 2006, 5:42 pm

Quote (RichKoster @ June 11, 2006 15:31 am/pm)
AT 4 PM CDT...2100 UTC...A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR THE WEST COAST OF FLORIDA FROM NORTH OF BONITA BEACH TO STEINHATCHEE.

This means the area of Florida due west of Walt Disney World is now under a Tropical Storm Watch.





Click the map or here to see a much larger view of it.

Posted by: RichKoster on June 11, 2006, 6:49 pm

What's next after Alberto?

Here's the 2006 list of hurricane/tropical storm names:

2006 Atlantic Names
Alberto
Beryl
Chris
Debby
Ernesto
Florence
Gordon
Helene
Isaac
Joyce
Kirk
Leslie
Michael
Nadine
Oscar
Patty
Rafael
Sandy
Tony
Valerie
William  

Gee, my son's name is on the list. Hi, Michael! :waver:

And hi, Sandy! :waver:

Heavy rain and wind from Tropical Storm Alberto are approaching Tampa/St. Petersburg now, on their way to Walt Disney World.


Posted by: skipmunky on June 11, 2006, 7:24 pm

i guess its here we go again.  and i'm the third storm of the season.  not sure what to make of that.  just hope it puts the fires out.
Posted by: RichKoster on June 11, 2006, 7:29 pm

What part of Florida are you in, Chris? The latest computer models look like they're shifting the projected path more to the north, although the official National Hurricane Center's projected path and cone of error hasn't changed lately.


Click the map or here to see a larger view of it.

Posted by: skipmunky on June 11, 2006, 7:41 pm

just off disney property by rt. 536.  right now their just talking about us getting lots and lots of rain, some thunderstorms with a chance of tornados.
Posted by: sadizney on June 11, 2006, 8:00 pm

I've never been named after a hurricane before but I'm sure my DH could think of a few comments to be made about that one. I don't think I'll let him know. Shhhhh.

Here's the 2006 list of hurricane/tropical storm names:

2006 Atlantic Names
Alberto


Sandy


And hi, Sandy! :waver:

Posted by: RichKoster on June 11, 2006, 9:12 pm

Well, let's hope and pray we don't get anywhere near the "S" part of the list this year! :praying:
Posted by: RichKoster on June 11, 2006, 10:30 pm

Great news! Tropical Storm Alberto is now expected to be a minimal tropical storm or even to have downgraded to a tropical depression by the time it makes landfall somewhere in Florida.
Posted by: CarolKoster on June 12, 2006, 3:31 pm

Bad news, Rich, no it won't.

Remember Jack Nicholson in "The Shining"?  Here comes Alberto!

Likely very soon to strengthen from Tropical Storm to Hurricane Category One.

Alberto will make landfall at the Florida coast just south of the Panhandle from the Gulf of Mexico side.  This likely landfall site (who knows, it could change) is north of Orlando.  However Orlando will be on the harder, eastern side of the storm which produces the heavier winds and rains.  Means Orlando, and WDW, could feel some punch Monday, Tuesday and into Wednesday of this week.

Follow news:

National Hurricane Center, click on 3 and 5 day "cones" graphics to see the likely course of Alberto, East Coast residents on up to New Jersey and New York could see tides and winds:

< http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ >

The Orlando Sentinel online, Monday, June 12, 2006:

Gov: 'Good god...Who would have thunk it?'

By Mark Hollis | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted June 12, 2006, 1:42 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE -- Hurricane warnings went up along Florida's west coast and Panhandle today as the first named storm of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season strengthened, prompting Gov. Jeb Bush to sign an order declaring a state of emergency.

With the hurricane season just 12 days old, Tropical Storm Alberto intensified in the Gulf of Mexico near Florida and was posing a major threat to a vast low-lying coastal region of North Florida.

"Good god. You know. Who would have thunk it?'' Bush said. "This potentially could be a hurricane. It has a wide impact for a lot of people in our state.''

( At 2 p.m., Alberto's top sustained winds were 70 mph, just 4 mph shy of hurricane strength and up from 50 mph in the morning. The storm was centered about 180 miles southwest of Cedar Key and was moving northeast at about 10 mph, National Hurricane Center forecasters said, according to an Associated Press report.)

Residents throughout the state, including South Florida and Central Florida, were advised to expect heavy rains and winds, with possible tornadoes throughout today and Tuesday. Alberto is expected to make landfall Tuesday afternoon, possibly as a low-grade hurricane.

National Weather Service officials posted a hurricane warning from Longboat Key near Sarasota to the Ochlockonee River, near Tallahassee. The warnings mean Alberto is expected to produce hurricane conditions in that area within the next 24 hours.


The storm's intensification early today surprised some officials.

"The situation has grown worse,'' said State Meteorologist Ben Nelson. "The storm is strengthening.''

Nelson predicted that there could be coastal flooding of eight to 10 feet in parts of some Panhandle counties, such as Franklin, Wakulla and Taylor counties, and potentially more than five feet of flooding in the Tampa Bay area.

"Tuesday is a washout, especially for the northern part of our state,'' Nelson told emergency planners.

By mid-day Monday, state officials said they were focusing their concerns on the needs of about 714,000 residents in a low-lying North Florida section of the state known as the "Big Bend.'' That area has proven vulnerable to severe flooding from tropical storms.

One bit of relief, officials said, is that Lake Okeechobee in South Florida, is about 12 feet below flood stage and, thus, the Herbert Hoover Dike around the lake is not expected to be breached as a result of Alberto.

Bush received an extensive briefing on Alberto this morning, which, ironically, is when he had previously been scheduled to state and federal emergency managers about Florida's preparedness for the hurricane season.

Minutes after the briefing got underway, Bush signed an emergency order that allows him to call out the National Guard, put into effect the state's price gouging laws, and it allows certain state funds to be spent more flexibly during the emergency.

Because of Alberto, Bush revised his schedule to spend most of today at the state's Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee monitoring weather reports and requests for assistance from counties.

Scientists are predicting a busier than normal 2006 hurricane season. William Gray, a noted hurricane forecaster, has predicted 17 named storms, nine of them becoming hurricanes and at least five of them reaching Category 3 status or worse. Federal weather forecasters, meanwhile, have predicted between 13 and 16 named storms, with 8 to 10 becoming hurricanes, and four to six of those becoming major hurricanes.

Bush said the busy hurricane seasons brings more worries about the financial status of Florida's property insurance market.

"I'm concerned about our property insurance market,'' Bush said. "The biggest problem we face is the cost of reinsurance�€�Anything that's done to create more uncertainty at a time when we are trying to provide incentives for the reinsurance capital is a concern.''

End of qouted article.


Orlando Sentinel "Hurricane Survival Guide", good for anyone to know about, especially tourists bound for Central Florida attractions.  Each letter of the alphabet (scroll down) is information you can use in a hot link, click and read.  If you think it may apply to you as a tourist to Central Florida, take heed.  Click any where on this page below for information if you are travelling to Florida in Hurricane Season.

< http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/weather/hurricaneguide/ >

Posted by: CarolKoster on June 12, 2006, 3:50 pm

Keep this list handy!

News media links, so you can follow Orlando news.  Handy if you care a lot about WDW or are planning a trip there very soon when a storm is approaching.  

Local news trumps national news because local news is much more familiar with conditions, areas, tourism specifics, how the governments urge preparation, etc.  

When weather emergencies happen Orlando news media resort to live streaming.  

You can view it from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.  

Again, if you have a trip planned for Orlando very soon, it's helpful to know the local views and news about the airports, hotels, transportation in and out of town by any means, cruise ships at Port Canaveral, closures, etc.  So consider Bookmarking or Add to Favorites any or all of these links:

Orlando Sentinel:

< http://www.orlandosentinel.com/ >

NBC-TV affiliate Channel 2, WESH-TV:

< http://www.wesh.com/index.html >

ABC-TV affiliate Channel 9, WFTV-TV:

< http://www.wftv.com/index.html >

CBS-TV Affiliate Channel 6 WKMG-TV:

< http://www.local6.com/index.html >

FOX-TV affiliate Channel 35, WOFL-TV:

< http://www.wofl.com/ >

Port Canaveral official website, to check on status of the port (if you are sailing on a cruise but severe weather is approaching) and to see their webcams:

< http://www.portcanaveral.org/ >

National Hurricane Center:

< http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ >

National Weather Service, type in "Orlando, Fl" or "Lake Buena Vista, Fl" to know the weather forecast in left hand margin menu where it says "Local forecast by 'City, St'":

< http://www.nws.noaa.gov/ >

The Weather Channel, enter in Orlando for "Local Weather":

< http://www.weather.com/ >

AccuWeather:

< http://home.accuweather.com/index.asp?partner=accuweather >

Weather Underground:

< http://www.wunderground.com/ >

< http://www.weatherunderground.com/ >

Google News, use "Advanced Search" if the name of the hurricane or tropical storm of the day isn't appearing as a headline on the home page or to narrow it so you get news of that storm+Central Florida or Orlando only:

< http://news.google.com/nwshp?hl=en&tab=wn&q= >

Posted by: RichKoster on June 12, 2006, 5:31 pm

Quote (CarolKoster @ June 12, 2006 14:31 am/pm)
Bad news, Rich, no it won't.

What a difference a day makes! Yes, today they are thinking it will be a hurricane and that when it makes landfall in Florida it will still be a hurricane, then quickly degrade back to a tropical storm.

The areas which yesterday were under a tropical storm warning in Florida are now under a hurricane warning... and the hurricane warning area goes further north and west than yesterdays warning area.

Thanks for posting the update for me, Carol -- the internet was acting slow on my computer this morning and I didn't have time to complete posting about it before I had to leave the house.

By the way, I deleted the names of this years hurricanes/tropical storms you posted today because that already is posted in this topic on the previous page.

This is the projected track of the storm from this morning...



Click the map or here to see it much larger.


Here's the latest advisory:

    TROPICAL STORM ALBERTO ADVISORY NUMBER  11
    NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL   AL012006
    400 PM CDT MON JUN 12 2006

    ...ALBERTO CONTINUES HEADED FOR THE NORTHEAST GULF COAST...

    A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE GULF COAST OF FLORIDA
    FROM LONGBOAT KEY TO THE OCHLOCKONEE RIVER.

    A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED
    WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.  PREPARATIONS TO
    PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.

    A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT SOUTH OF LONGBOAT KEY TO
    ENGLEWOOD...AND WEST OF THE OCHLOCKONEE RIVER TO INDIAN PASS.
    A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
    EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

    AT 4 PM CDT...2100 UTC...A TROPICAL STORM WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED
    FOR THE ATLANTIC COAST FROM FLAGLER BEACH FLORIDA NORTHWARD TO THE
    SAVANNAH RIVER...AT THE GEORGIA/SOUTH CAROLINA BORDER.

    AT 4 PM CDT...2100 UTC...THE TROPICAL STORM WATCH FROM SOUTH OF
    ENGLEWOOD TO BONITA BEACH HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED.

    FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE
    INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED
    BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

    AT 400 PM CDT...2100Z...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM ALBERTO WAS
    LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 27.9 NORTH...LONGITUDE 85.1 WEST OR ABOUT 125
    MILES...200 KM...SOUTH OF APALACHICOLA FLORIDA AND ABOUT 145 MILES
    ...235 KM...SOUTHWEST OF CEDAR KEY FLORIDA.

    ALBERTO IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHEAST NEAR 10 MPH...17 KM/HR...AND
    THIS GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
    THE CENTER COULD REACH THE COAST IN THE WARNING AREA EARLY
    TUESDAY...HOWEVER CONDITIONS ARE ALREADY DETERIORATING IN THE
    WARNED AREA.

    MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 70 MPH...110 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
    GUSTS.  ALBERTO COULD BECOME A HURRICANE PRIOR TO LANDFALL.

    TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 230 MILES...370
    KM...TO THE NORTHEAST AND SOUTHEAST OF THE CENTER.

    COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 8 TO 10 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE
    LEVELS CAN BE EXPECTED OVER A LARGE PORTION OF THE WARNING AREA.

    STORM TOTAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 4 TO 8 INCHES...WITH ISOLATED
    MAXIMUM AMOUNTS TO 10 INCHES...ARE POSSIBLE THROUGH TUESDAY ACROSS
    PORTIONS OF CENTRAL AND NORTHERN FLORIDA AND SOUTHEASTERN
    GEORGIA...MAINLY ALONG AND TO THE RIGHT OF THE TRACK OF ALBERTO.

    ISOLATED TORNADOES ARE POSSIBLE OVER PORTIONS OF CENTRAL AND
    NORTHERN FLORIDA TODAY AND TONIGHT.

    ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 997 MB...29.44 INCHES.

    REPEATING THE 400 PM CDT POSITION...27.9 N...85.1 W.  MOVEMENT
    TOWARD...NORTHEAST NEAR 10 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...70 MPH.
    MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...997 MB.

    AN INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE
    CENTER AT 700 PM CDT FOLLOWED BY THE NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY AT 1000
    PM CDT.

    FORECASTER PASCH


And here is the latest predicted storm track:


Click the map or here to see it much larger.

:hurricane:

Hopefully, WDW won't get much more than more of the heavy rain it has been having the last few days.

Posted by: utilidor27 on June 12, 2006, 7:10 pm

Frame of reference for those who may not know my location -
approxamately 35 miles due S. of Tallahassee, Fl. Little town called Medart, S. of Crawfordville.

As of now we are, as previously posted, under a hurricane warning. Local weather forcasters are putting the storm surge arriving at high tide, which is of course the worst news a coastal area can recieve. The end result is that we are looking at coastal flooding very similar to what we experienced with hurricane Dennis last year - approxamately 5+ feet of water being pushed inland. Right now we are experiencing rain, rain, rain, and rain. Alberto is not scheduled to be a wind factor over here. (knock on wood).

Just what we needed for insurance! Flip side, maybe this helped put out that brush fire they had near WDW.

It's going to be a wild evening and morning tommorrow. Say a prayer for those on the coast who are still recovering.
Eric

Posted by: RichKoster on June 12, 2006, 7:15 pm

Quote (utilidor27 @ June 12, 2006 18:10 am/pm)
Frame of reference for those who may not know my location -
approxamately 35 miles due S. of Tallahassee, Fl. Little town called Medart, S. of Crawfordville.

As of now we are, as previously posted, under a hurricane warning. Local weather forcasters are putting the storm surge arriving at high tide, which is of course the worst news a coastal area can recieve. The end result is that we are looking at coastal flooding very similar to what we experienced with hurricane Dennis last year - approxamately 5+ feet of water being pushed inland. Right now we are experiencing rain, rain, rain, and rain. Alberto is not scheduled to be a wind factor over here. (knock on wood).

Just what we needed for insurance! Flip side, maybe this helped put out that brush fire they had near WDW.

It's going to be a wild evening and morning tommorrow. Say a prayer for those on the coast who are still recovering.
Eric

We're praying for you, Eric, and all in Alberto's path. :praying:

Chase the storm away, Tink!
:pixiedust: :tinkflying: :pixiedust:

From < this page on the National Hurricane Center's website: >

    Hurricane Local Statement for Alberto
    Tallahassee, FL area information

    514 PM EDT MON JUN 12 2006

    ...TROPICAL STORM ALBERTO CONTINUES TO MOVE TOWARD THE NORTHEAST GULF
    OF MEXICO COAST...

    ....NEW INFORMATION...
    EXTENDED THE FLOOD WATCH TO INCLUDE A PORTION OF SOUTHWEST AND
    SOUTH CENTRAL GEORGIA. UPDATED INFORMATION ON WINDS...TIDES...STORM
    SURGE AND STORM COORDINATES.

    ...AREAS AFFECTED...
    THIS STATEMENT RECOMMENDS ACTION TO BE TAKEN FOR RESIDENTS OF
    OF THE FLORIDA BIG BEND AND EASTERN SECTION OF THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE.

    ...WATCHES/WARNINGS...
    A HURRICANE WARNING CONTINUES IN EFFECT FOR THE GULF COAST OF
    FLORIDA FROM LONGBOAT KEY TO THE OCHLOCKONEE RIVER. THIS INCLUDES
    DIXIE...TAYLOR...JEFFERSON...WAKULLA COUNTIES. A TROPICAL STORM
    WARNING IS N EFFECT FROM WEST OF THE OCHLOCKONEE RIVER TO INDIAN
    PASS...WHICH INCLUDES FRANKLIN COUNTY. AN INLAND TROPICAL STORM
    WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR THE COASTAL COUNTIES OF THE FLORIDA BIG
    BEND. A FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FOR THE FLORIDA BIG BEND AND A PORTION
    OF SOUTHWEST AND SOUTH CENTRAL GEORGIA. A HIGH SURF ADVISORY IS IN
    EFFECT FOR BAY AND COASTAL WALTON COUNTIES.

    ...STORM INFORMATION...
    AT 5 PM EDT TROPICAL STORM ALBERTO WAS CENTERED NEAR LATITUDE
    27.9 NORTH...LONGITUDE 85.1 WEST OR ABOUT 125 MILES SOUTH OF
    APALACHICOLA FLORIDA AND ABOUT 145 MILES SOUTHWEST OF CEDAR KEY
    FLORIDA. ALBERTO WAS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHEAST NEAR 10 MPH...AND
    THIS MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS. MAXIMUM
    SUSTAINED WINDS REMAIN NEAR 70 MPH...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. ALBERTO
    HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BECOME A MINIMAL HURRICANE BEFORE LANDFALL.
    TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 230 MILES TO THE
    NORTHEAST AND SOUTHEAST OF THE CENTER. THE LARGE EXTENT OF
    TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS MEANS THAT THESE WINDS WILL BE FELT
    ALONG THE COAST WELL IN ADVANCE OF THE ARRIVAL OF THE CENTER. THE
    CENTER OF ALBERTO IS FORECAST TO MAKE LANDFALL SOMEWHERE ACROSS
    NORTHWEST FLORIDA EARLY TUESDAY...HOWEVER...CONDITIONS ARE
    ALREADY DETERIORATING IN THE WARNED AREA.

    ...PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...
    RESIDENTS ALONG THE BIG BEND COAST SHOULD CLOSELY MONITOR THE
    LATEST ADVISORIES FROM THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER. THE CURRENT
    FORECAST TRACK WOULD PLACE MOST OF THE BIG BEND ON THE WEAKER SIDE OF
    THE STORM...BUT THERE IS STILL SOME UNCERTAINTY ABOUT THE PATH OF
    ALBERTO. PLEASE FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS OF LOCAL EMERGENCY
    MANAGEMENT AND LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS.

    ...STORM SURGE AND STORM TIDE...
    AS OF 5 PM EDT MONDAY...TIDES WERE RUNNING ABOUT TWO TO THREE
    FEET ABOVE NORMAL ALONG THE APALACHEE BAY COAST. THE LATEST STORM
    SURGE MODELS FROM THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER FORECAST A STORM
    SURGE OF 6 TO 8 FEET ACROSS DIXIE COUNTY. STORM SURGE ALONG THE
    COAST OF TAYLOR COUNTY...WAKULLA COUNTY...OCHLOCKONEE BAY AND
    ACROSS APALACHICOLA BAY ARE FORECAST TO BE 4 TO 6 FEET. THESE
    PEAK STORM SURGE HEIGHTS WILL OCCUR IN THE PRE-DAWN HOURS TUESDAY
    AND WILL CAUSE SIGNIFICANT FLOODING OF LOW LYING AREAS. RESIDENTS
    IN THE NORMALLY FLOOD PRONE AREAS SHOULD TAKE ACTION TO PREVENT
    PROPERTY DAMAGE...AND KNOW WHERE TO GO SHOULD AN EVACUATION BE
    NEEDED. THE FORECAST HIGH TIDES AT THE STEINHATCHEE RIVER WILL
    OCCUR AT 543 PM TODAY...AND 737 AM TUESDAY. A HIGH TIDE AT ST
    MARKS OCCURRED AT 237 PM TODAY. THE NEXT TWO HIGH TIDES WILL BE
    AT 447 AM TUESDAY AND AT 318 PM EDT TUESDAY. A HIGH TIDE AT
    APALACHICOLA OCCURRED AT 313 PM TODAY AND THE NEXT HIGH TIDE WILL
    OCCUR AT 846 AM TUESDAY.

    ...WINDS...
    AS OF 5 PM EDT...WINDS ALONG THE IMMEDIATE COAST WERE EAST TO
    SOUTHEAST 10 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS AS HIGH AS 25 MPH. WINDS OVER
    THE COASTAL WATERS WERE 30 TO 35 KNOTS WITH GUSTS TO 41 KNOTS
    WITH SEAS AT THE PANAMA CITY AND APALACHICOLA BUOYS AT 10 TO 14
    FEET. WINDS ARE FORECAST TO INCREASE TO 45 TO 55 KNOTS OVER
    APALACHEE BAY LATER TONIGHT WITH SEAS INCREASING TO 13 TO 18 FEET.
    ALONG THE COAST...WINDS AND SEAS WILL GRADUALLY INCREASE THIS
    EVENING...REACHING SUSTAINED SPEEDS OF 30 TO 40 MPH LATER TONIGHT
    AND DURING THE EARLY MORNING HOURS ON TUESDAY...MAINLY ACROSS THE
    SOUTHEAST BIG BEND. WIND GUSTS TO 50 MPH WILL BE POSSIBLE...WHICH
    CAN CAUSE LARGE TREE BRANCHES TO FALL...AS WELL AS A FEW TREES.
    UNSECURED ITEMS LIKE PATIO FURNITURE AND TRASH CANS MAY BE BLOWN
    OVER OR DISPLACED. SPORADIC...BRIEF POWER OUTAGES WILL BE POSSIBLE
    TONIGHT AND TUESDAY. DRIVING LARGE PROFILE VEHICLES CAN BE
    DIFFICULT IN THESE CONDITIONS.

    ...INLAND FLOODING...
    RAINFALL AMOUNTS FROM TONIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY WILL AVERAGE 1 TO 3
    INCHES ACROSS THE BIG BEND...WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS TO 5
    INCHES POSSIBLE. A FLOOD WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR ALL FLORIDA
    COUNTIES INCLUDING A PORTION OF SOUTHWEST AND SOUTH CENTRAL
    GEORGIA DUE TO THE POSSIBILITY OF FLOODING WITHIN THE NEXT 24
    HOURS. FLOODING CAN BE ESPECIALLY DANGEROUS AT NIGHT...AND MANY
    TROPICAL STORM RELATED DEATHS HAVE OCCURRED WHEN MOTORISTS TRIED
    TO CROSS STANDING WATER.

    ...PROBABILITY OF HURRICANE/TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS...
    TROPICAL STORM ALBERTO MAY BECOME A MINIMAL HURRICANE BEFORE
    LANDFALL TUESDAY MORNING. CONTINUE TO MONITOR LATER FORECASTS.

    ...TORNADO...
    THERE IS A SLIGHT RISK OF TORNADOES ACROSS MUCH OF NORTH FLORIDA AND
    PORTIONS OF THE BIG BEND LATER TODAY AND TONIGHT BEFORE THE CENTER
    MAKES LANDFALL.

    ...NEXT UPDATE...
    THE NEXT LOCAL STATEMENT ON TROPICAL STORM ALBERTO WILL BE ISSUED BY
    THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TALLAHASSEE BY 9 PM EDT OR SOONER
    IF CONDITIONS WARRANT.




Check out < this page > for updates as well as for local information about other areas.

Posted by: RichKoster on June 12, 2006, 7:24 pm

And the National Hurricane Center has this advice for all in the WDW area (WDW is located in both Orange and Osceola counties)...
    PERSONS IN ORANGE...SEMINOLE...OSCEOLA...BREVARD
    AND COASTAL VOLUSIA COUNTIES SHOULD LISTEN CLOSELY FOR POSSIBLE
    CHANGES TO THE FORECAST AS NOT TO GET CAUGHT OFF GUARD.


Remember, a tornado can pop up because of Alberto, even if Alberto isn't near where you are.

Check out the feeder bands from Alberto on < this live Orlando & Tampa radar link >.

And < here's a live radar link for Eric / utilidor27's area >.

Using those two links, we ought to be able to keep an eye on Alberto as it makes landfall.

:hurricane: It is not a good time to be on the road, heading to or from WDW or your Disney cruise vacation.

Posted by: utilidor27 on June 12, 2006, 7:34 pm

I forgot to mention I live in Wakulla county, for reference to above post, about 15 min. west of St. Marks. Thanks for the prayers, we don't have much of a problem with flooding where I am at, thank God.
Posted by: RichKoster on June 12, 2006, 7:57 pm

Hey Eric, I can see your house from here!!!  :coolgrin:



Click the picture or here to see it larger.

Posted by: RichKoster on June 12, 2006, 8:01 pm

Quote (RichKoster @ June 10, 2006 16:41 am/pm)
The National Hurricane Center gives this storm < a 20% chance of becoming a hurricane >. Pretty low chance... don't worry.
:uhoh:

They now think Tropical Storm Alberto has < a 70% chance of becoming a hurricane > within the next 12 hours. Time to worry and pray.
:hurricane:

Here's the latest advisory:
    TROPICAL STORM ALBERTO INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER  11A
    NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL   AL012006
    700 PM CDT MON JUN 12 2006

    ...ALBERTO MOVING CLOSER TO THE NORTHWESTERN GULF COAST OF
    FLORIDA...
    ...TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS NEARING THE WARNING AREAS...

    A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR THE GULF COAST OF FLORIDA
    FROM LONGBOAT KEY TO THE OCHLOCKONEE RIVER.

    A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED
    WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.  PREPARATIONS TO
    PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.

    A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT SOUTH OF LONGBOAT KEY TO
    ENGLEWOOD... AND WEST OF THE OCHLOCKONEE RIVER TO INDIAN PASS.

    A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS ALSO IN EFFECT FOR THE ATLANTIC COAST
    FROM FLAGLER BEACH FLORIDA NORTHWARD TO THE SAVANNAH RIVER... AT THE
    GEORGIA/SOUTH CAROLINA BORDER.

    A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
    EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

    FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE
    INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED
    BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

    AT 700 PM CDT...0000Z...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM ALBERTO WAS
    LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 28.0 NORTH...LONGITUDE 84.9 WEST OR ABOUT 120
    MILES...195 KM...SOUTH OF APALACHICOLA FLORIDA AND ABOUT 130 MILES
    ...215 KM...SOUTHWEST OF CEDAR KEY FLORIDA.

    ALBERTO IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHEAST NEAR 8 MPH...13 KM/HR...AND
    THIS GENERAL MOTION...ACCOMPANIED BY A GRADUAL INCREASE IN FORARD...
    IS EXPECTED FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS. THE CENTER COULD REACH THE COAST
    IN THE WARNING AREA EARLY TUESDAY. HOWEVER... CONDITIONS ARE
    ALREADY DETERIORATING IN THE WARNED AREA.

    MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 70 MPH...110 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
    GUSTS.  WHILE SOME FLUCTUATIONS IN STRENGTH ARE POSSIBLE PRIOR TO
    LANDFALL... ALBERTO STILL HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BECOME A HURRICANE
    BEFORE REACHING THE FLORIDA GULF COAST.

    TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 230 MILES...370
    KM...TO THE NORTHEAST AND SOUTHEAST OF THE CENTER. SURFACE
    OBSERVATIONS AND DOPPLER RADAR DATA INDICATE TROPICAL STORM FORCE
    WINDS ARE LOCATED JUST OFFSHORE THE GULF COAST OF FLORIDA FROM
    VENICE NORTHWARD TO APALACHEEE BAY.

    COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 8 TO 10 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE
    LEVELS CAN BE EXPECTED OVER A LARGE PORTION OF THE WARNING AREA.

    STORM TOTAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 4 TO 8 INCHES...WITH ISOLATED
    MAXIMUM AMOUNTS TO 10 INCHES...ARE POSSIBLE THROUGH TUESDAY ACROSS
    PORTIONS OF CENTRAL AND NORTHERN FLORIDA AND SOUTHEASTERN
    GEORGIA... MAINLY ALONG AND TO THE RIGHT OF THE TRACK OF ALBERTO.

    ISOLATED TORNADOES ARE POSSIBLE OVER PORTIONS OF CENTRAL AND
    NORTHERN FLORIDA TODAY AND TONIGHT.

    THE ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 997 MB...29.44 INCHES.

    REPEATING THE 700 PM CDT POSITION...28.0 N...84.9 W.  MOVEMENT
    TOWARD...NORTHEAST NEAR 8 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...70 MPH.
    MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...997 MB.

    THE NEXT ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER
    AT 1000 PM CDT.


For those of you in the Walt Disney World area, note that this advisory said: ISOLATED TORNADOES ARE POSSIBLE OVER PORTIONS OF CENTRAL AND NORTHERN FLORIDA TODAY AND TONIGHT. That's the area around WDW and north of it...
:hurricane:

Posted by: RichKoster on June 12, 2006, 9:24 pm

Earlier today there were reports of 60 mph gusts in the East Orlando area this morning. This afternoon, 80 mph winds 20-30 miles south of Cedar Key, Florida. Then, in Tampa, there was a small plane which crashed today, perhaps due to wind shear.

Take a look at this from Tampa radar: < A line of storms from Alberto > is coming to the western coast of Florida near Tampa and then moving north.



And now for some comic relief, courtesy of a headline from < the Drudge Report >...
< Clinton Links Republican Policies to More Hurricanes! >

...At least he's not picking on Pres. Bush specifically any more... LOL

    "It is now generally recognized that while Al Gore and I were ridiculed, we were right about global warming," Clinton said at a fundraiser for the Florida Democratic Party. "It's a serious problem. It's going to lead to more hurricanes."

I guess former Pres. Clinton didn't read the paper last week...

< Global warming? It's a hoax, scientist says >

It's all part of Earth's natural cycle, contends atmosphere expert


By Joel Achenbach, The Washington Post

Sunday, June 4, 2006

WASHINGTON – It should be glorious to be William Gray, professor emeritus. He's the guy who predicts the number of hurricanes for the coming tropical storm season. He works on a country road leading into the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, in the atmospheric science department of Colorado State University. He's mentored dozens of scientists.

He's a towering figure in his profession and in person. He's loud. His laugh is gale force. He can be very charming.

He's also angry. He's outraged.
[...]
Much of his government funding has dried up. He has had to use his money, more than $100,000, to keep his research going. He feels intellectually abandoned. If none of his colleagues comes to his funeral, he said, that'll be evidence that he had the courage to say what they were afraid to admit.

Which is this: Global warming is a hoax.

"I am of the opinion that this is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the American people," he said.

He has testified about this to the U.S. Senate. He has written magazine articles, given speeches, done everything he could to get the message out.

"I've been in meteorology over 50 years. I've worked [darn] hard, and I've been around," he said. "My feeling is some of us older guys who've been around have not been asked about this. It's sort of a baby boomer, yuppie thing."

Dr. Gray believes in observations and direct measurements. Numerical models can't be trusted. Equation pushers with fancy computers aren't the equals of scientists who fly into hurricanes.

"Few people know what I know. I've been in the tropics, I've flown in airplanes into storms. I've done studies of convection, cloud clusters and how the moist process works," he said. "I don't think anybody in the world understands how the atmosphere functions better than me."

In just three, five, maybe eight years, he said, the world will begin to cool again.

He is almost desperate to be heard. His time is short. He is 76 years old. He is howling in a maelstrom.
[...]
Dr. Gray said the recent rash of strong hurricanes is just part of a cycle. This is part of the broader skeptical message: Climate change is normal and natural. The divisive nature of global warming isn't helped by the fact that the most powerful global-warming skeptic is President Bush, and the loudest warnings come from Al Gore.
[...]
Dr. Gray has the honor of delivering the closing remarks at the National Hurricane Conference in Orlando, Fla. "I think there's a lot of foolishness going on," Dr. Gray said as he stood before a bank of 10 TV cameras and a couple of dozen journalists.

Hurricanes aren't getting worse – we're just in an uptick of a regular cycle, he said. But the alarmists won't let anyone believe that.

"The world is boiling! It's getting worse and worse!" Dr. Gray shouts. "Hell is approaching."

The core of Dr. Gray's argument is that the warming of the past decades is a natural cycle, driven by a global ocean circulation that manifests itself in the North Atlantic as the Gulf Stream. Warm water and cool water essentially rise and fall in a rhythm lasting decades.

"I don't think this warming period of the last 30 years can keep on going," he said. "It may warm another three, five, eight years, and then it will start to cool."

Dr. Gray's crusade against global warming "hysteria" began in the early 1990s, when he saw enormous sums of federal research money going toward computer modeling rather than his kind of science, the old-fashioned stuff based on direct observation.



< Found the article here. >

Posted by: RichKoster on June 12, 2006, 9:31 pm

Computer hurricane models predicting the track of Alberto have shifted again...



Look out, Eric! :uhoh: :hurricane:

Posted by: CarolKoster on June 12, 2006, 10:17 pm

I just checked WESH-TV's website, and tropical storm warnings inland are posted for the eastern part of Central Florida, but not for Orange or Osceola Counties, the two counties where WDW is.  It doesn't mean sunny blue skies and perfect weather, it simply means you don't have to hunker down from X-miles per hour winds.  Travelling on the Interstates and highways in Florida will be windy, rainy and hazardous, however, and at Orlando or WDW it will be perhaps cloudy and rainy and windy for a bit.  No word on park closures or any other local-to-Orlando/WDW impacts in the local press down there.  Subject to change, however, since weather is unpredictable 100% of the time.

It's been dry down there, so they really need this rain.

For those needing specific prayers or encouragement to get through hurricane season where they live or work, I set up a thread in the Faith, Trust & Pixie Dust Forum for Hurricane Season 2006.  Just look for it in the Forum Index, it's clearly titled.  If it's starting to make you very concerned for yourself, loved ones, etc., do feel free to post a "reply" to that thread and the prayers and good wishes will flow to you. :praying: :pixiedust: :hearts:

Posted by: RichKoster on June 12, 2006, 10:53 pm

    TROPICAL STORM ALBERTO ADVISORY NUMBER  12
    NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL   AL012006
    1000 PM CDT MON JUN 12 2006

    ...Alberto continues to churn toward the Florida Big Bend area...

    a Hurricane Warning remains in effect for the Gulf Coast of Florida
    from Longboat Key to the Ochlockonee River.

    A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected
    within the warning area within the next 24 hours.  Preparations to
    protect life and property should be rushed to completion.

    A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect south of Longboat Key to
    Englewood... and west of the Ochlockonee River to Indian Pass.

    A Tropical Storm Warning is also in effect for the Atlantic coast
    from Flagler Beach Florida northward to the Savannah River...at the
    Georgia/South Carolina border.

    A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are
    expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours.

    For storm information specific to your area...including possible
    inland watches and warnings...please monitor products issued
    by your local weather office.

    At 1000 PM CDT...0300z...the center of Tropical Storm Alberto was
    located near latitude 28.4 north...longitude 84.6 west or about 95
    miles...150 km...south-southeast of Apalachicola Florida and about
    105 miles...165 km...west-southwest of Cedar Key Florida.

    Alberto is moving toward the northeast near 10 mph...17 km/hr...and
    this general motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours.

    Maximum sustained winds are near 70 mph...110 km/hr...with higher
    gusts.  While some fluctuations in strength are possible prior to
    landfall... Alberto still has the potential to become a hurricane
    before reaching the Florida Gulf Coast Tuesday morning.

    Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 160 miles...260 km
    ...To the northeast and southeast of the center. Surface
    observations... Doppler radar data... and reports from an Air Force
    Reserve reconnaissance aircraft indicate tropical storm force winds
    are beginning to spread onshore the Gulf Coast of Florida from
    Venice northward to apalacheee Bay.

    The estimated minimum central pressure is 995 mb...29.38 inches.

    Coastal storm surge flooding of 8 to 10 feet above normal tide
    levels can be expected over a large portion of the warning area.
    Tide levels in the warning areas are already running more than 2
    feet above normal.

    Storm total rainfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches...with isolated
    maximum amounts to 10 inches... are possible through Tuesday across
    portions of central and northern Florida and southern and
    southeastern Georgia.

    Isolated tornadoes are possible over portions of central and
    northern Florida... and southern Georgia tonight and Tuesday.

    Repeating the 1000 PM CDT position...28.4 N...84.6 W.  Movement
    toward...northeast near 10 mph.  Maximum sustained winds...70 mph.
    Minimum central pressure...995 mb.

    An intermediate advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane
    Center at 100 am CDT followed by the next complete advisory at 400
    am CDT.

    Forecaster Stewart


Here's the latest updated forecast track:



Click the map or here to see it much larger.

Posted by: skipmunky on June 12, 2006, 11:21 pm

well yeah i think the brush fire by animal kingdom is out.  today was the first day in almost a week, the fiancee and i couldnt see, or smell the smoke from it.  this one was close, it was about 5 miles away, not to close in distance, but to close for comfort thats for sure.  oh well, i'm to busy counting down till the wedding, and then the honeymoon to disneyland two days later.  three weeks off work, it's gonna be great.
Posted by: RichKoster on June 13, 2006, 11:25 am

Quote (skipmunky @ June 12, 2006 22:21 am/pm)
well yeah i think the brush fire by animal kingdom is out.  today was the first day in almost a week, the fiancee and i couldnt see, or smell the smoke from it.  this one was close, it was about 5 miles away, not to close in distance, but to close for comfort thats for sure.  oh well, i'm to busy counting down till the wedding, and then the honeymoon to disneyland two days later.  three weeks off work, it's gonna be great.

That's great to hear, Chris -- and congratulations on your upcoming wedding and honeymoon in Disneyland!

If that fire isn't totally out yet, it sure looks like it is about to be, as the central Florida area (and perhaps the WDW area) is about to be drenched with a "training effect" of a huge band of severe weather and heavy rain from one of Tropical Storm Alberto's feeder bands as it makes landfall now -- without having ever been upgraded into a hurricane, although it came very close. With the latest update from the < National Hurricane Center >, they have now dropped all hurricane warnings put in place because of the threat of Alberto.

Here is the current radar image of what's happening this morning:



< Click here to see that radar image moving, and current to when you're viewing it. >

This will be my last update about Alberto posted in this topic:



    Tropical Storm Public Advisory

    11:00 am EDT, June 13, 2006

    ...Alberto about to make landfall...

    At 11 am EDT...1500 UTC...the Hurricane Warning is changed to a
    Tropical Storm Warning for the Gulf Coast of Florida from Bayport
    northward and westward to the Ochlockonee River.  All warnings
    south of Bayport are discontinued.

    A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for the Gulf Coast of
    Florida from Bayport to Indian Pass.

    A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect along the Atlantic coast
    from Flagler Beach Florida to South Santee River South Carolina.

    For storm information specific to your area...including possible
    inland watches and warnings...please monitor products issued
    by your local weather office.

    At 1100 am EDT...1500z...the center of Tropical Storm Alberto was
    located near latitude 29.8 north...longitude 83.8 west or about 50
    miles... 80 km...southeast of Tallahassee Florida.  This position is
    just offshore of Keaton Beach Florida.

    Alberto is moving toward the northeast near 9 mph...15 km/hr...and
    this general motion is expected to continue today.  On this track
    the center will be moving over northern Florida and into southern
    Georgia later today and this evening.

    Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph...85 km/hr...with higher
    gusts.  Weakening will occur as the center moves over land today.

    Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 115 miles...185 km
    from the center...mainly over water.

    An Air Force Reserve unit hurricane hunter aircraft recently
    reported a minimum central pressure of 996 mb...29.41 inches.
    Coastal storm surge flooding of 5 to 7 feet above normal tide
    levels can be expected mainly to the east and south of where the
    center makes landfall.  

    Storm total rainfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches...with isolated
    maximum amounts to 10 inches...are possible through Wednesday
    morning over all of Georgia except for the northwest part of the
    state...over much of South Carolina except for the extreme western
    portion of the state....and into portions of southern North
    Carolina.  Additional rainfall amounts of 3 to 5 inches are
    possible over central and northern portions of the Florida
    Peninsula and the eastern Florida Panhandle.
    Isolated tornadoes are possible over portions of northeastern
    Florida...southeastern Georgia...and coastal South Carolina
    today.

    Repeating the 1100 am EDT position...29.8 N...83.8 W.  Movement
    toward...northeast near 9 mph.  Maximum sustained winds...50 mph.
    Minimum central pressure...996 mb.

    An intermediate advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane
    Center at 200 PM EDT followed by the next complete advisory at 500
    PM EDT.

    Forecaster Pasch


Here's the latest updated forecast track:



Click the map or here to see it much larger.


On WeatherUnderground.com, < Dr. Jeff Masters wraps up what's happening this morning with Tropical Storm Alberto >:
    Alberto is coming ashore in the sparsely populated Big Bend region of the Florida coast this morning. After a surprising burst of intensification that brought Alberto to the verge of hurricane status yesterday, dry air, cooler waters, and the continued 20-30 knots of wind shear have kept Alberto from reaching hurricane strength. Alberto is making landfall as a tropical storm with top winds between 45 mph and 50 mph. At 8 am EDT at Cedar Key the sustained winds were south at 33 mph gusting to 43 mph. At the Apalachicola buoy, about 45 miles south of the center of Alberto, winds were west at 36 mph gusting to 45 mph. The C tower in Apalachee Bay, just west of the storm center, winds were out of the northwest at 49 mph with gusts to 59 mph--but the wind instrument is 100 feet above the surface where wind speeds can be quite a bit higher than the surface. The 8am Hurricane Hunter flight found top winds of only 65 mph at 5000 foot altitude. A strong burst of deep convection has formed over the northern portion of the storm in the past few hours, but this is too late to bring Alberto up to hurricane strength.

    The biggest threat from Alberto remains storm surge. At 8 am EDT the tide at Cedar Key was about 3 to 4 feet above normal, and areas between Cedar Key and near where the center makes landfall to the north can expect storm surge heights of up to seven feet. Since this is a relatively unpopulated stretch of coast, damage should be relatively low. Another concern is tornadoes, but none have been reported yet in northern Florida today. At least two tornadoes were reported yesterday, one of which did < minor damage at Jacksonville Beach >.

    Alberto will bring heavy rain and the threat of tornadoes to southern Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina over the next 36 hours, but the storm is not expected to re-intensify once it reaches the open Atlantic. At best, Alberto will bring top winds of 45 mph to these states.

Posted by: jac1992 on June 13, 2006, 11:35 am

Uh oh, thankfully only tropical storm but yes, if it is still alight that fire, it is about to be put out!
Posted by: RichKoster on June 13, 2006, 11:42 am

And it looks like eventually Canada will be getting a tropical storm coming ashore, if the prediction holds true. But yes, thank God it never turned into a hurricane. Let's hear it for wind shear!
:clapping:

Posted by: jac1992 on June 13, 2006, 12:18 pm

Yes, anytime estimated for WDW hit?
Posted by: RichKoster on June 13, 2006, 12:58 pm

It is not hitting WDW, Jack. And wind and rain from the feeder bands of the storm started affecting WDW yesterday.

The Weather Channel announced about a minute ago that it has been confirmed Tropical Storm Alberto has just made landfall near Adam's Beach, Florida, which is southeast of Tallahassee in eastern Taylor county. It continues to move inland to the northeast (and not coming to WDW).

So, it made landfall a few miles to the east of where Eric / utilidor27 lives. How's it going, Eric?

Posted by: jac1992 on June 13, 2006, 1:35 pm

Oh, ok.
Sorry, hard for me to understand with states and places etc.
I hope Eric is ok. He may not be able to post with the weather, internet may be down

Posted by: CarolKoster on June 13, 2006, 8:40 pm

Quote (jac1992 @ June 13, 2006 12:35 am/pm)
Oh, ok.
Sorry, hard for me to understand with states and places etc.

The US maps Rich is bringing over to this Topic: from the National Hurricane Center have state abbreviations and the cone of probability and where it's going.  If you can generally pick out the US on a world map you can follow where the storms go.  

Rich is transposing a lot of bulletins, so where individual counties are in Florida can be confusing.  

All you need to know are Osceola County and Orange County are where WDW property is.  I'll look up the county where the Disney Cruise Line port is in Port Canaveral, and the county where Disney resort Vero Beach is.  In Florida if what you or anyone else mainly cares about is "Disney" then those counties are the ones you look for in storm bulletins.

Since many people drive to WDW in the US individual counties are important along certain Interstate highways.  They want to know the weather conditions if they are driving to or from WDW.  Those can be discovered from the Florida Department of Transportation.  Each US state has such a department, and one of their many functions is to notify of road closures or hazardous driving conditions.

I'll look that up, too.

Editted later to add:

WDW is in two Florida counties, Osceola and Orange.

Disney Cruise Line's port in Port Canaversal is on the Eastern coast of Florida along the Atlantic Ocean, in Brevard County, Florida.

Disney's Vero Beach Resort is in Indian River County, Florida, also on the Atlantic Coast.

Disney owns a resort in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina called Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort, and it's in Beaufort County, South Carolina.  It too is on the Atlantic Coast.


Now people know what to look for in all those bulletins if they are looking for Disney properties.

Florida Department of Transportation:

< http://www.dot.state.fl.us/ >

Traveler's information, just scroll down and find out where the rest stops are, and where major highway construction is, and other helpful links for motorists:

< http://www.dot.state.fl.us/ >


There are many map programs available for free on the Internet where you can find precisely these counties.  Just the next time you get a few spare minutes, you can look up on a map.  Orange is the main county of the city of Orlando, and Osceola is right next to it, major city there is "Kissimmee" which yoy may have heard of as a place many WDW vacationers stay off-site.  From Orange County you keep moving east, there is Osceola, and on the East Coast on the Atlantic you'll find Brevard somewhere, same county or thereabouts where the Kennedy Space Center is where the space shuttles take off from in the US.


Eric/Utilidor might not be able to post simply if the electricity is out where he is as well as if the phone lines or Internet lines are down.  There was minor flooding in low lying areas, but mostly this was just an appetizer for what could come later in the season.  I've heard the state and local officials in Florida over-prepared and over-reacted, and a lot of people did get out.  I guess Katrina and the unprecedented 4 hurricanes in 1 state in two months phenomenon in Aug-Sept 2004 taught hard lessons and more people's brains are fried by Katrina and Charley, Ivan, Frances and Jeanne and Wilma (2005) than previously thought.  That is why they erred on the side of preparing too much rather than not enough.  The past two years have been very hard lessons learned about hurricane preparedness in Florida and other Gulf Coast states.  There are still people in Florida not in their homes and still haggling with insurance over the 2004 hurricane season's damages to their homes.

Posted by: utilidor27 on June 13, 2006, 10:21 pm

Quote (RichKoster @ June 13, 2006 12:58 am/pm)
It is not hitting WDW, Jack. And wind and rain from the feeder bands of the storm started affecting WDW yesterday.

The Weather Channel announced about a minute ago that it has been confirmed Tropical Storm Alberto has just made landfall near Adam's Beach, Florida, which is southeast of Tallahassee in eastern Taylor county. It continues to move inland to the northeast (and not coming to WDW).

So, it made landfall a few miles to the east of where Eric / utilidor27 lives. How's it going, Eric?

Thanks for the prayers everyone. Not much wind, just a few gusts. The storm surge was downgraded also, I think we only wound up with around 4 feet which is not bad at all.The key word around here was rain, rain, rain, and rain. My uncle's rain gauge next door read 5 inches as of Noon today, and I am pretty sure we got another inch after that. It was still dreary and grey when the light dissapeared (no sunset today). Power went off and on about three times last night, but all in all this was not that bad of an experience. Actually more of an inconvience.

Just glad it didn't interfere with our Wal-Mart grand opening tomorrow! And Rich, you got the photo down pat - that's me just north of where U.S. 319 meets U.S. 98.

Posted by: CarolKoster on June 13, 2006, 10:29 pm

People have mixed feelings about Wal-Marts, but local to us after Katrina they were superb at efficiently moving needed goods to stricken areas where they could still open their stores.  Like 'em or not, WM was more efficient than FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency, should be "Mis-Management" but that is the official name ) , Small Business Administration and the Red Cross.

So happy day that you're getting a Wal-Mart, I don't know how you're feeling about that, exactly, but expect the place to get packed the next time a storm rolls through.

On a personal level, though, it's great to hear you're OK, Eric.  After all you've been through the past year, good news is always it's own blessing.  Savor those good news times, such as today.  Welcome back, bro' !

Posted by: utilidor27 on June 13, 2006, 10:44 pm

Thanks Carol. Personally, I love the fact that we are getting a Wal-Mart, however it is not going over too well with some of the small businesses around here. Wakulla county has always been a small county (over 3/4 of it is National Forest) and the fact we are getting one has brought about all sorts of hoopla. But it will be nice to get supplies quick and easy at somewhere other than the Winn-Dixie - variety and all.
Please don't mention insurance - some of the people on the coastline have had to go to Lloyds of London to get it! :o

Posted by: CarolKoster on July 03, 2006, 10:47 am

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/orl-cover0306jul03,0,1233666.story?coll=orl-business-headlines

Orlando Sentinel online

Hotels, attractions ready for worst
After 2 busy hurricane seasons, travel-industry businesses no longer trifle with disaster plans


Christopher Boyd | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted July 3, 2006

Hurricane Charley pummeled the Crowne Plaza Orlando Airport hotel two summers ago, hurling tree limbs into its massive atrium and tearing holes in its roof. Rainwater gushed into rooms, leaving much of the building uninhabitable.

This summer, as the storm season builds toward its annual peak in August and September, the Crowne Plaza is preparing for the worst Mother Nature might throw its way.

"We are all hoping that we don't have to put our plans into effect, but we are preparing nevertheless," said Shawn Maxwell, the hotel's sales director.

"We are ready to give out flashlights, glow sticks and a gallon of water to our occupants. We are letting our guests know where the safe zones are, both in their rooms and throughout the hotel."

Hotels and tourist attractions that once thought that hurricanes were a coastal problem learned that storms crossing the Florida peninsula can inflict massive damage many miles inland.

Though some of the old cockiness returned after a relatively calm 2005 here, travel-industry businesses no longer trifle with their disaster plans.

Worrisome trend

Worries about an active hurricane season form an undercurrent in Florida's tourist industry this summer. The Maitland travel research and advertising firm Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell this spring issued a startling annual survey that reported vacationers were most interested in California this summer -- displacing Florida for the first time.

"It was obvious to us that there is a concern in the marketplace tied to the unpredictable nature of summertime weather in Florida," said Peter Yesawich, the agency's chief executive officer.

"In the past 10 years, Florida was consistently ranked No. 1. This was the first time California eclipsed Florida, and it did it with a sizable point spread."

And it's not just leisure travelers who are thinking about other destinations.

"There seems to be a lot of anecdotal information that convention planners are steering clear of Florida in the summer," Yesawich said.

"Very clearly, meeting planners are concerned, and the impact of that has to be long term."

Though the first month of the hurricane season has already passed, the remainder of the half-year season is shot full of unknowns. Bill Peeper, president of the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said formation of a hurricane in the next few weeks could damage summer travel results.

"We haven't seen a problem yet, but if Florida gets hit anywhere in the state, there may well be some changes to travel patterns in the leisure market," Peeper said.

Leisure travel is the most vulnerable, because summer-vacation travelers can change plans almost overnight. Generally, there is no penalty for canceling a hotel reservation within a day of arrival, and airline reservations are also fairly easy to alter.

Conventions and conferences, the region's other big source of travel-related income, follow different patterns. While summer is a big season for family vacation travel, July and August are a trough for conventions. But Peeper said business returns in September, and October is part of the peak season for conventions.

"We haven't seen any patterns yet that worry us with regard to cancellations or diverting to different months," Peeper said.

"Central Florida is generally considered a safe haven, and that helps. We hadn't been hit with a hurricane for 40 years before 2004, and we hope that it will be another 40 before we see one again."

Free insurance

Visit Florida, the state government's tourism agency, is also hopeful, but it has a contingency program aimed at easing convention planners' anxieties. It offers a foul-weather insurance package for events scheduled in August, September and October, which compensates for losses from a named storm.

"It's free to sign up for the insurance," Visit Florida spokeswoman Betsy Couch said. "It pays for room differentials and other expenses for an event that was displaced due to a named storm."

Couch said last year 102 organizations signed up for the program, called Cover Your Event Insurance, and two collected. Among other things, the plan covers higher room rates if the canceled event is held anywhere in Florida within a year.

Visit Florida also has a strategy for coping with the worries long-distance leisure travelers might have about vacationing in a hurricane-prone region during summertime.

This year, a sizable portion of the state's $5.1 million summer tourism advertising budget is being spent promoting Florida to Floridians.

"Floridians have a receptiveness to a Florida-vacation message," Couch said. "Floridians don't need as much explanation about hurricanes and seasonal disturbances as others might."

Like the Crowne Plaza Orlando Airport, most Central Florida hotels have storm plans. Hotels are likely to fill to capacity as locals leave their homes and evacuees from coastal areas move inland for shelter.

Michelle Valle, marketing manager for Grande Lakes Orlando, said that since the 2004 storms, hurricane planning has been paramount.

"We always had a hurricane plan, but our staff is way more familiar with it now," Valle said. She said the plan starts with the staff at its twin hotels -- the Ritz Carlton and the JW Marriott.

"We have identified the staff that has to be on property during a hurricane," she said. "We know that the staff that stays will have to go home to prepare their own property before the storm."

The hotels have plans for guests, who may be indoors for many hours as a hurricane passes through. They were tested during the 2004 hurricanes.

"We set up movie theaters in our ballrooms," Valle said. "We also had our staff give complimentary yoga classes and complimentary neck massages to ease the stress."

Hotels aren't alone in making preparations. Tourist attractions, from small draws on International Drive to Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World, all have strategies.

"We have a very detailed set of plans for severe weather including hurricanes," Universal spokesman Tom Schroeder said. "Our plans put safety of our guests and employees at the top of the list, but include how to keep our property safe and how to reopen after the storm blows through."

Walt Disney World spokesman Jacob DiPietre said summer attendance projections are strong. Nevertheless, he said his giant theme park has detailed plans for storm preparation. Last month, the National Weather Service named Disney the nation's first theme park to have a severe-weather alert system in place.

Central Florida's coastal areas are most vulnerable to hurricanes. Rob Varley, executive director of the Space Coast Office of Tourism in Brevard County, said a number of hotels were seriously damaged in 2004, and several were completely rebuilt.

"Everybody keeps a closer eye on weather than they once did," Varley said.

"Everything here has either been rebuilt or strengthened. A lot of restaurants beachside have added storm shutters that they never had before."

Fear-based marketing

Brevard took a triple hit from hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne in 2004.

Rather than rebuild, several owners have retired or sold their land to developers, which put about a quarter of the county's hotel rooms out of commission and forced three major hotels to rebuild completely.

But Varley said the coast is actually better prepared for another storm as a result.

"The hurricanes actually did me a favor because I now have stronger properties that are built to withstand the weather," Varley said.

As prepared as Central Florida might be, it is still vulnerable. Scott D. Berman, a hospitality industry analyst with PricewaterhouseCoopers, said other tourist destinations won't let travelers forget that.

"The competitors are absolutely trying to win business by trying to scare travelers," Berman said.

"They put the fear of God into consumers. And it isn't without merit. Remember, we are coming off a couple of very difficult years."

Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 01, 2006, 1:15 pm

Tropical Storm Chris is east of Puerto Rico and heading west northwest. We'll be watching this one, but it is far from the U.S. at this point. More about Chris can be found here: < National Hurricane Center >.

Currently, the < projected path of Tropical Storm Chris > shows it heading through the Caribbean to southern-to-central Florida, with the most likely path probably taking it over the Florida Keys. The endpoint on the map's dotten line has it north of Cuba in the Bahamas on Sunday morning, although there is a chance it might head north or south of that line. If it goes north, it could affect Castaway Cay and even Walt Disney World -- if it goes south, Cuba would get it. But at this point it is too early to know where it might be early next week or how powerful.
:hurricane:

Posted by: Ave2006 on Aug. 02, 2006, 12:11 pm

Lets just hope that there will only be a rainy day to deal with next week, and nothing more.  From the looks of it, I think that'll be the case.

Question - Does Disney or has Disney ever evacuated the parks because of a hurricane?  Or at worst, do they close the parks and let guests who are staying on property, remain at their resort and wait it out?  

Ave

Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 02, 2006, 3:05 pm

Quote (Ave2006 @ Aug. 02, 2006 11:11 am/pm)
Question - Does Disney or has Disney ever evacuated the parks because of a hurricane?  Or at worst, do they close the parks and let guests who are staying on property, remain at their resort and wait it out?  

Ave

Yes, Ave, Disney has closed the parks before -- you can look earlier in this topic to find more details. Also, when necessary, they do make arrangements for Disney Resort Guests staying at one of the resort hotels and/or Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground to be as safe as possible.

They have sometimes moved Guests from low-lying parts of the All-Star Resort just in case there would be flooding. At Ft. Wilderness they have everyone leave -- campers have the option of just taking their RVs/tents and heading to a safer part of the country, or if they or Wilderness Cabin Guests decide to stay at WDW there are rooms provided for them at other WDW Resorts.

At the resorts, the restaurants are closed -- after alerting Guests to get food from them first, boxed items to take to their rooms -- and then the Guests are encouraged to stay in their rooms during the hurricane. Extra programming is provided on the TV channels in each Guest room, to help them pass the time. When conditions are safer but still not safe enough for going to the parks, the Disney Characters have made appearances in the lobby areas of the Disney Resorts.

Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 02, 2006, 3:14 pm

The latest < National Hurricane Center advisory for Tropical Storm Chris > says the movement is still west-northwest near 10 mph. According to Jeff Masters at < WeatherUnderground.com >...
Quote
Chris is a small storm that is very vulnerable to wind shear. Any movement of Chris towards either of the upper level lows surrounding it will bring hostile wind shear that will weaken the storm. However, the current model forecasts call for Chris to maintain its position exactly between these lows, and for the shear to drop to 5-10 knots. The most likely ranges for Chris' intensity on Sunday when it is expected to be near Florida range from weak tropical storm (45 mph) to strong Category 2 hurricane (110 mph).


The projected path map predicts it might become Hurricane Chris as early as this afternoon and that it might keep heading north of Cuba and very close to the Florida Keys as a hurricane Sunday night/Monday morning.

Hopefully, after that the projected track will continue to have it keep going north-northwest, because that would not have it putting the New Orleans area in danger (where the levees have not been rebuilt by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers yet).
:hurricane:

I hope it doesn't turn to the north! But as Jeff Masters points out...
Quote
Path of Chris
The recent record heat wave over the Eastern U.S. means that the Bermuda High is extending further west than usual, creating a blocking ridge of high pressure that will prevent Chris from recurving to the north in the next five days. The GFS, NOGAPS, UKMET, Canadian, and European models all agree on a west-northwest track taking Chris north of the Dominican Republic and Cuba, into the Bahama Islands, then into Florida or just south of Florida by Sunday. The lone outlier model is the usually reliable GFDL, which takes Chris into the Dominican Republic. For now, NHC is discounting the GFDL. I would not cancel any travel plans for Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic this week, but those of you planning on visiting the Bahamas may want to rethink those plans.

It now appears likely that Chris will enter the Gulf of Mexico early next week and be a threat to the Gulf Coast. There is a trough of low pressure that will be moving across the Eastern U.S. on Monday that may turn Chris more to the north; high pressure is then forecast to build in on Tuesday and force Chris back to the west-northwest. Given this forecast, there is no region of the Gulf Coast that can assume Chris will miss them.

Posted by: Ave2006 on Aug. 02, 2006, 8:12 pm

Good stuff to know....thanks Rich.  I appreciate this special thread.  

Ave

Posted by: TINY on Aug. 02, 2006, 10:48 pm

Hi Ave.  We were there for Charlie in 2004.  The parks did close around 1 on Friday and didn't reopen till around noon I think on Sat.  The AK and TL were closed longer.  We had to stay in our room for a few hours during the storm, but Disney has mostly underground utilities, so we didn't lose power or even cable TV.  FW was evacuated to other resorts.  We never felt like we were in danger, and since we are going back the same week this year, it didn't scare us off.
Posted by: Minnie1 on Aug. 03, 2006, 8:01 am

Quote (TINY @ Aug. 02, 2006 22:48 am/pm)
Hi Ave.  We were there for Charlie in 2004.  The parks did close around 1 on Friday and didn't reopen till around noon I think on Sat.  The AK and TL were closed longer.  We had to stay in our room for a few hours during the storm, but Disney has mostly underground utilities, so we didn't lose power or even cable TV.  FW was evacuated to other resorts.  We never felt like we were in danger, and since we are going back the same week this year, it didn't scare us off.

I've thought about you, Eileen, as I've watched the movement of Chris.  According to the reports I've seen early this am, it looks to be weakening!  Hopefully, for you all (Ave's family too), it'll go away!!
Posted by: TINY on Aug. 03, 2006, 8:19 am

Thanks Kathy.  We are leaving Sat around 4 am.  I booked 2 nights in Cocoa Beach before WDW.  We love CB so I hope it's not pouring.  I'm so excited.  I just wish someone would come over and pack for me.  I hate that part.
Posted by: Minnie1 on Aug. 03, 2006, 8:32 am

Quote (TINY @ Aug. 03, 2006 08:19 am/pm)
Thanks Kathy.  We are leaving Sat around 4 am.  I booked 2 nights in Cocoa Beach before WDW.  We love CB so I hope it's not pouring.  I'm so excited.  I just wish someone would come over and pack for me.  I hate that part.

Really?  Not me, but my hubby does too...he doesn't mind laying out his clothes and then having me do it tho!  For me, packing is a part of the buildup of excitement...

Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 03, 2006, 12:24 pm

The latest < forecasted track of Chris > is good news for EchoEars like me in the New Orleans area, bad news for EchoEars living in Texas. The projected path continues to show Chris coming into the Gulf of Mexico but not as a hurricane -- they've changed their mind about it strengthening. I'm glad to see that it isn't strengthening, Wind Shear Rules!
:clapping:

And the < computer models projected path > looks even better!

The official prediction from the < National Hurricane Center > is that Tuesday morning Tropical Storm Chris will be due south of New Orleans but far away from Louisiana, and still keeping its west-northwest direction without turning. If it never turns, that would take it into the coast of south Texas next week.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 03, 2006, 12:40 pm

May be good news for us and bad news for other Echo Ears in the path of Chris, Rich, but it's also bad news for those on the production of "Pirates of the Caribbean 3" movie.  Movie hype interviews for POTC 2 this summer had the crew and cast heading back to the Caribbean to finish filming the final sequel, starting in August 2006.  Well, it's started being August 2006 and now they have "Chris" bothering them!  In their interviews, they complained a lot about the inconveniences of having to film during 2005's unprecedented heavy tropical storm season.  Now, here they go again!

Is Disney's Castaway Cay in the Bahamas OK, Rich?

Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 03, 2006, 3:41 pm

Great news!

Dr. William Gray, a hurricane forecaster at Colorado State University, is revising his 2006 hurricane forecast, to fewer storms than he thought!

If this holds true, this will offer folks in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas hard hit by storms in the 2004 and 2005 seasons a chance to catch their breaths, further repair and rebuild and move on in their lives from destruction.

Those four storms going across Florida in 2004 in two months time (Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne) , and in 2005 Wilma, Rita and Katrina...  

Still an increase from "average" activity for 206, he predicts.  But just not as busy as he originally thought.  Still a time to stay head's up!

But we take that downward revision as good news vs. the last two years!

Here's the news:



< UPDATE 2-Atlantic storm forecast lowered to 7 hurricanes >

By Jim Loney

Thu Aug 3, 2006 12:12pm ET

MIAMI, Aug 3 (Reuters) - A noted U.S. hurricane research team reduced its Atlantic storm forecast on Thursday from nine to seven hurricanes, citing a cooler tropical Atlantic Ocean and a warming eastern Pacific.

The new forecast could provide some relief to storm-weary residents of the Caribbean basin and the U.S. East and Gulf coasts who suffered through a record-shattering 28 tropical storms and hurricanes last year. That number beat the old mark of 21 set in 1933.

In its August forecast update, the Colorado State University team formed by researcher William Gray said the June to November season would produce seven, not nine, hurricanes and that three of those would be "intense," down from five in the earlier forecast.

It predicted 15 tropical storms, down from a May forecast of 17.

Intense hurricanes, like last year's Katrina, Rita, Wilma and Dennis, have maximum sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour (179 km per hour) and are capable of causing serious damage.

The Atlantic season has produced only three tropical storms so far. The latest, Chris, was fading as it moved north of Puerto Rico on Thursday.

The forecast was lowered in part because tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are not quite as warm as expected and eastern Pacific waters are warming, the researchers said in a statement.

Hurricanes draw their energy from warm Atlantic waters, while warming temperatures in the equatorial Pacific tend to dampen Atlantic hurricane activity.

In addition, Atlantic surface pressures are not quite as low and trade winds are slightly stronger, said Gray, whose extensive hurricane forecasts are closely watched by financial markets.

"We're not reducing the number of hurricanes because we had only two named storms through late July," Gray said. "It's a general erosion of a number of factors."

Private weather forecaster WSI Corp. lowered its forecast this week from 15 to 14 storms, citing in part an increased chance of an "El Nino," the warm-water phenomenon in the eastern Pacific.

Both forecasts were still well above the long-term Atlantic average of about 10 tropical storms, six hurricanes and two intense hurricanes.

The Colorado State University team said activity was likely to ramp up in August, with four storms. It said three would likely be hurricanes and one of those would be intense.

The forecast also contained a hint of good news for the beleaguered U.S. oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico, where last year's storms shut down a quarter of U.S. crude production.

"This year it looks like the East Coast is more likely to be targeted by Atlantic basin hurricanes than the Gulf Coast," said Gray's forecasting partner, Philip Klotzbach.

The 2005 season will be remembered for producing, for the first time since hurricane record-keeping began, four Category 5 storms, the highest rank on the Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity.  

Katrina, which burst the levees protecting New Orleans, killed more than 1,300 people and caused more than $80 billion in damage, becoming the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

Climate researchers believe the Atlantic basin has moved into an extended period of heightened hurricane activity that began around 1995 and could last 25 to 40 years.

< This article was found here... >



< Researchers revise down hurricane report >

By Robert Weller, The Associated Press

8/3/2006, 10:54 a.m. CT

DENVER (AP) — Hurricane researchers at Colorado State University said Thursday that this year's hurricane season won't be as bad earlier predicted and said a monster storm like Katrina is unlikely.

"The probability of another Katrina-like event is very small," said Phillip Klotzbach, lead forecaster for the hurricane research team.

The researchers reduced the number of likely hurricanes from nine to seven and intense hurricanes from five to three.

There is, however, a considerably higher-than-average probability of at least one intense hurricane making landfall in the United States this year, 73 percent. The average is 52 percent.

Researcher William Gray said Atlantic Ocean surface temperatures are not quite as warm and surface pressure is not quite as low, both factors in the decision to revise the forecast.

"Overall, we think the 2006 Atlantic basin tropical storm season will be somewhat active ... ," Klotzbach said. "This year it looks like the East Coast is more likely to be targeted by Atlantic basin hurricanes than the Gulf Coast, although the possibility exists that any point along the U.S. coast could be affected."

Gray and his team says hurricane activity will continue to be above average for another 15 to 20 years.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami in May predicted 16 named storms in the Atlantic, six of them major hurricanes. As of Thursday, there have been three named storms.

Thirteen major hurricanes have formed in the Atlantic Basin the past two years, seven of them striking the U.S. coast with devastating damage resulting from four of them in 2005: Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

Klotzbach and Gray call for a total of 15 named storms to form in the Atlantic basin this year, down by two from their prediction May 31. On average, there are 9.6 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes and 2.3 intense hurricanes per year.

For Florida and the East Coast, the probability of a storm landfall is 64 percent, compared with a long-term average of 31 percent.

From the Florida Panhandle eastward to Brownsville, Texas, the probability is 26 percent, compared with a long-term average of 30 percent.

On the Net:

CSU forecast: < http://hurricane.atmos.colostate.edu >

National Hurricane Center: < http://www.nhc.noaa.gov >

< This article was found here... >

Posted by: swiddes on Aug. 03, 2006, 4:17 pm

I'm driving down from Canada on Aug 5 and hope to arrive late on the 6th.  It's a first trip for my daughter and niece.  I'm hoping this weather doesn't really dampen our trip.  Has anyone else been at WDW during a hurricane or tropical storm? :bowdown:
Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 03, 2006, 4:18 pm

Quote (CarolKoster @ Aug. 03, 2006 11:40 am/pm)
Is Disney's Castaway Cay in the Bahamas OK, Rich?

Castaway Cay is far north in the Caribbean and shouldn't be affected by this storm. Even the PotC filming in the Bahamas is far from where Chris currently is and might not cause them any difficulty.

I'm glad to hear the news that Dr. Gray and his hurricane research team now think this year's hurricane season won't be as bad as previously predicted! Thank God for the cooler tropical Atlantic Ocean and other reasons they've decided to reduce from nine to seven hurricanes they think will happen this year.

It is nice to know any "warming" isn't currently happening globally as other experts claim, since the Atlantic Ocean's temperature in the tropics is reportedly cooler now. Dr. Gray's team has said all along that last year's more intense hurricane season was not due to speculation such as that. All part of the "circle of life" in normal changes to the Earth's climate, just as it has ebbed and flowed in past history -- < according to many experts like meteorologist Dr. Gray. >
:nod:

Maybe we can send some of our high temperatures down to South Africa...

Today < snow fell on South Africa's biggest city > (Johannesburg) for the first time in 25 years as icy temperatures freeze a huge part of that country.

:chat:

Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 03, 2006, 4:19 pm

Quote (swiddes @ Aug. 03, 2006 15:17 am/pm)
I'm driving down from Canada on Aug 5 and hope to arrive late on the 6th.  It's a first trip for my daughter and niece.  I'm hoping this weather doesn't really dampen our trip.  Has anyone else been at WDW during a hurricane or tropical storm? :bowdown:

Yes, Sam -- and you should be fine. Just be sure to check local weather conditions and forecasts. You can look through the previous pages of this topic and you'll find replies from EchoEars who were actually at WDW during hurricanes which hit that area and how things went.
:hurricane:

Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 04, 2006, 7:26 pm

Chris has been downgraded to a tropical depression! But the latest predicted path of the storm shows the < National Hurricane Center > expects it to build back into a tropical storm sometime Monday.

The good news is that the center of the predicted path shows it missing the United States entirely, making landfall Wednesday in Mexico. This is just a prediction, however, and the Gulf coast states aren't necessarily out of potential danger yet, especially Texas.

And these storms can surprise the forecasters... but the great news for me is that the projected path cone does not include any part of Louisiana at all!
:bowdown: :praying:

Posted by: JEHI7278 on Aug. 05, 2006, 12:19 am

This is precisely why we go in the winter, no Hurricanes!!!
Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 05, 2006, 12:35 am

Great news! At FOX 8 in New Orleans, our meteorologist Bob Breck said there are some computer models and some people who think Tropical Depression Chris will further weaken over Cuba and might never reform after that!

Hmmm, sounds like Fidel Castro: Never reformed himself, now his health has further weakened and he doesn't rule over Cuba. ;) LOL

Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 05, 2006, 8:54 am

The Catholics in Louisiana ask for Our Lady of Prompt Succor's ("quick help")  intercession each hurricane season.  Last year although many died, most did in fact get out of the way as Hurricane Katrina strained the levee system in New Orleans which caused breaches and catatrophic flooding.  "Knowing the drill" about past evacuations and the prospect of Katrina making a direct hit is what got most people out in 2005.  It's since been discovered the levees were not in good shape anyway at the time of Katrina, and any severe rain could have caused breaches... So the miracle is that most people got out rather than were in town when the levees breached.  Had the levees broken in a heavy rain not hurricane related there would have been horrible loss of life, since August 29 fell on a Monday last year with schools in session and it was a regular work day.

So thank you, Our Lady of Prompt Succor, for prayers heard and answered regarding "Chris", and hasten to further help all in the hurricane prone region against further loss of life and property, and may they have peace to rebuild, and peace of mind.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 05, 2006, 10:17 am

Take any reassurances you can if you are WDW-bound in any hurricane season, I'm adding boldface to Disney-specific points you may want to be aware of as you plan travel, however the entire article is pertinent:

< Storms to be less threatening to vacation plans >
Disney, Universal unveil new policies about hurricanes


By Scott Powers, Orlando Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted August 4, 2006

Aug 4, 2006

Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World want to ease tourists' fears about hurricanes by promising that if a storm gets in the way, people can get their money back.

Both parks announced new policies Thursday that allow vacationers to reschedule or cancel their theme park vacations, without any penalties, in the event of a hurricane.


SeaWorld also has a general policy allowing people to cancel or reschedule because of hurricanes, but it's informal. Still, SeaWorld officials insisted that they consider tropical storms and hurricanes "exceptional circumstances" that call for special consideration.

In Disney's case, vacationers can cancel or reschedule if the National Weather Service posts a hurricane warning for Orlando, or for their hometowns, within seven days of their planned arrivals.

Universal is offering people a chance to cancel or reschedule anytime a named storm threatens, whether or not a specific hurricane warning is issued for Orlando or their hometowns. Universal calls it a "no questions asked" policy.

Both companies said the new policies reflect their old practices, but now are formalized so that people booking vacations can be assured in advance that they can opt out if a hurricane bears down. Both companies posted their policies on their Web sites this week. ******

"The goal here is to eliminate stress and worry in the way people plan their vacations," Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said. "We've been doing the right thing for a long time. This just formalizes it."

Disney's policy covers people who booked their vacations through Disney, and includes most Disney World resort hotels.

"This is really about our guests being able to make reservations without reservation," Disney spokesman Rick Sylvain said.

Those Disney tourists who booked through travel agents or others might still be able to get their vacations rescheduled or canceled without penalties, but there may be some third-party rules to deal with, Sylvain said.


Universal's also covers hotels; Schroder said the time needed to make those arrangements is one reason the policy was announced now instead of in May, just before hurricane season began.

Schroder said Universal has not seen any dip in bookings associated with hurricane fears. Disney officials declined to discuss their bookings. But others watching the industry have noticed alarming trends.

A new Harris Interactive study finds that up to 23 percent of the 1,400 travelers surveyed would have concerns about visiting Orlando during the height of hurricane season, August and September.

The Central Florida travel research and advertising firm Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell this spring released a survey that reported that California had surpassed Florida for the first time as the vacation destination of choice -- and hurricane fears appeared to be an undercurrent.

"It was obvious to us that there is a concern in the marketplace tied to the unpredictable nature of summertime weather in Florida," Peter Yesawich, the agency's chief executive officer, said this spring.

The Harris study, released Thursday, also finds that people are most reassured if they know they can book with some sort of storm guarantee.

Walt Disney World President Al Weiss pointed out in a news release Thursday that since 1971 Disney parks failed to open only on two days due to weather.

Unfortunately, in the past two years Central Florida, like the entire Gulf Coast, has had its fill of hurricanes. Disney parks lost a full day to Hurricane Frances in 2004, along with one to Hurricane Floyd in 1999, and also had to close for partial days for Charley and Jeanne in '04 and Wilma last year.




Edited later to add:

****** < WDW's Official Tropical Storm Policy Link >

To find that link on your own:  Head to Disney.go.com, Disney's official website.  Go to "Destinations", choose WDW.  Scroll down a bit ont eh WDW homepage, on the lower left is a pull down menu with many options, one of those is "Tropical Storm Policy".  Click that.  Takes you to a Questions and Answers format Frequently Asked Questions where Disney tells you in writing online what their policy is.

Here is the text as it existed August 5, 2006.  Don't rely on this as I've posted it, since revisions can always be made by Disney!!!!  Instead DO check the link out to make sure you always will have the most updated information!  This is posted for informational purposes, but can be changed without Disney Echo being aware of it.  So to protect your travel investment, double check at the link to have the up-to-date official information.

Quoting dated material August 5, 2006, subject to change at any time:

Hurricane Policy FAQ

From June 1 to November 30, 2006, in the event a hurricane warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center for the Orlando area or for the guest's place of residence within 7 days before the scheduled arrival date, the guest may call in advance to reschedule or cancel their Walt Disney Travel Co. Magic Your Way vacation package without any cancellation or change fees imposed by Disney. This temporary policy also applies to most Walt Disney World Resort room-only reservations booked directly with Disney, as well as reservations at Disney's Vero Beach Resort or Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort in the event a hurricane warning is issued for those destinations.

Q. When does this temporary policy become effective?

Q. What can I do if a hurricane warning is issued?

Q. Will I be responsible for any cancellation or change fees or other amounts?

Q. What if I prefer to reschedule my vacation to a different date because of a hurricane warning? Will I be able to get my same accommodations?

Q. I received a special offer when I booked my vacation. If I reschedule will I get the same special offer?

Q. If I want to cancel or reschedule my vacation, what should I do with my airline tickets?

Q. I did not book my package through the Walt Disney Travel Co. Does this policy apply to my package too?

Q. I have a sports or group package. Does this policy apply to my package?

Q. When does this temporary policy become effective?
A. The temporary policy is effective in the event a hurricane warning is issued no more than seven (7) days before your scheduled arrival date by the National Hurricane Center for the Orlando area or for your place of residence. It is also effective in the event a hurricane warning is issued for the Vero Beach area or Hilton Head Island area for guests traveling to those destinations.


Q. What can I do if a hurricane warning is issued?
A. If a hurricane warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center for the Orlando area or for your place of residence no more than seven (7) days before your scheduled arrival date, you may call in advance to reschedule or cancel your Walt Disney Travel Co. Magic Your Way vacation package and most room only reservations (booked directly with Disney) without any cancellation or change fees imposed by Disney. This policy also applies to Disney's Vero Beach Resort or Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort in the event a hurricane warning is issued for those destinations.


Q. Will I be responsible for any cancellation or change fees or other amounts?
A. If you have products and services provided by third party suppliers included in your vacation, such as airlines, hotels, car rental agencies or vacation insurance companies, you will continue to be responsible for any non-refundable payments, as well as cancellation or change fees assessed by those suppliers. The policy does not apply to certain special events or dining experiences.


Q. What if I prefer to reschedule my vacation to a different date because of a hurricane warning? Will I be able to get my same accommodations?
A. If you are scheduled to arrive within seven (7) days of the hurricane warning, you may call us in advance to reschedule without Disney imposed change fee. All amounts you paid to Disney for rooms, park tickets, Disney dining plans and other Disney products and services will be applied toward your new reservation. Any discounts or free offers applicable to your original vacation will not apply to the rescheduled vacation. We cannot guarantee availability of similar accommodations for the new travel dates. The policy does not apply to certain special events and dining experiences.



Q. I received a special offer when I booked my vacation. If I reschedule will I get the same special offer?
A. All amounts you paid to Disney for rooms, park tickets, Disney dining plans and other Disney products and services will be applied toward your new reservation. Any discounts or free offers applicable to your original vacation will not apply to the rescheduled vacation. The policy does not apply to certain special events and dining experiences.



Q. If I want to cancel or reschedule my vacation, what should I do with my airline tickets?
A. If you booked your air travel through the Walt Disney Travel Co. and you want to reschedule, we will attempt to re-book your air travel. But remember, you will be responsible for any cancellation or change fees imposed by the airline. If you did not book your air travel through the Walt Disney Travel Co., you should contact the airline.



Q. I did not book my package through the Walt Disney Travel Co. Does this policy apply to my package too?
A. No, you should contact your travel agent or tour operator directly for information relating to the cancellation and change policies that apply to your package.


Q. I have a sports or group package. Does this policy apply to my package?
A. No, the policy only applies to Walt Disney Travel Co. Magic Your Way packages. It does not apply to sports, youth, or other group or special event rooms or packages and does not apply to meetings and conventions.

End of dated quoted material.



Edited later to add:

Other things to consider: Ask these providers for their hurricane policy information, too:

Car Rental Agencies

Airlines for Flight Cancellations or Changes (Orlando airport will close at some point, will reopen when weather conditions are deemed safe, but flights will discontinue or resume as per individual airlines, so don't call the airport, contact your airline, and the Orlando airport is NOT a hurricane shelter)

Taxi Companies

Towncar Companies

Shuttle Services (such as Mears busses or other services airport-resort-airport)

Off-Site Hotels, Condominiums, Short-Term Rental Housing

Give Kids The World (Resort for terminally ill or chronically ill travellers to Central Florida attractions)

Competing theme parks and attractions (Universal Orlando, Sea World, Wet n Wild, others)

Dining Reservations On-Site, Off-Site

Tour companies

Show and Dinner Shows On-Site, Off-Site

Rentals and Services You Contract For (Renting wheelchairs or medical assistance equipment, veternarians, pet boarding, spas, child care in your resort room, ill person nursing or care giving companies you use when you travel)

Disney Cruise Line

Any Other Cruise Company

Your Travel Agent(s)

Your Online Travel Agency (Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, etc.)

Any other travel entity you work with and pay advance deposits with

Travel insurance and what it does and doesn't cover

Your employer, if you're having trouble coming back timely due to weather emergencies

Your children's school, if you're having trouble coming back timely due to weather emergencies

Your credit card issuer, if you charged travel expenses and deposits but your plans change due to emergency weather conditions




"Know before you go" what their policies are, get names and specifics in writing, and develop a contingency plan.

With sure facts come confidence.  "Know before you go" means you'll have the sure facts and hence the confidence to proceed with travel plans even in the peak months of hurricane season.

Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 05, 2006, 12:30 pm

Disney's new hurricane policy is so important, I think it deserves its own topic. You will find discussion about it < here > on the Disney Echo in the "Traveling to Disney & Travel Discounts" forum: < WDW's Hurricane Money-Back Guarantee: No Penalties / Reschedule or cancel due to hurricane >. Please add your comments in that topic about this new policy -- and we'll keep this larger topic (the one you're reading now) for replies about how specific hurricanes and tropical storms affect Disney and your Disney vacations.

I think it is great news that Walt Disney World has just put into place a new policy that vacationers can cancel or reschedule their WDW vacation without any penalty fees if the National Weather Service posts a hurricane warning for Orlando -- or for their hometowns -- within seven days of their planned arrivals for vacations June 1 to November 30, 2006 at WDW -- and  Disney's Vero Beach Resort or Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort as well. Hopefully this policy will also be in place next year and the years to come.

Click < here > to add your comments about Disney's new hurricane policy!

But you'll still find news of specific hurricanes/tropical storms and their affect on Disney and your Disney vacations in this topic you're reading now, and your thoughts and comments about that should still be put here, so simply use the reply button on this page to comment about specific storms.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 08, 2006, 11:59 am

Notice the recent news merely downgrades predictions about the number of hurricanes this year, but not forever, not future years, and it still means there might be tropical storm or hurricane activity.  Still, it's good news.



From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Feds slightly lower forecast for 2006 hurricane season

By JESSICA GRESKO | Associated Press
Posted August 8, 2006, 11:35 AM EDT

MIAMI -- The 2006 Atlantic hurricane season should be slightly less active than originally predicted, but still above long-term averages, federal forecasters said Tuesday as they warned coastal residents not to let their guard down.

Forecasters now expect there to be 12-15 named storms and seven to nine hurricanes, three to four of which could be major hurricanes with sustained winds of at least 111 mph, the National Hurricane Center and other National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration agencies said.

Government scientists made their first prediction in May, saying the season could produce 13-16 named storms, and eight to 10 hurricanes, four to six of which could become major.

There have been only three tropical storms and no hurricanes so far, but August through October are typically the most active months of the season.

``As we approach the peak of the hurricane season, our message remains the same, be informed and be prepared,'' said Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center. ``Preventing the loss of life and minimizing property damage from hurricanes are responsibilities shared by all. Remember, one hurricane hitting your neighborhood is enough to make it a bad season.''

The revision follows that of forecasters at Colorado State University, who updated their forecast Thursday. They reduced their storm estimate from nine hurricanes, five of them major, to seven, with three to five major ones. The forecasters had initially called for 17 named storms, but now predict 15.

The two forecasts still would make this season busier than long-term averages, but in line with an increase in the Atlantic that started in 1995. Federal forecasters say warmer waters, more moisture and other conditions have been responsible for that increase, which they say could last for another decade or more.

Between 1995 and 2005, the Atlantic has averaged 15 named storms, just over eight named hurricanes and four major hurricanes, according to the hurricane center. Long-term averages are 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major ones.

In 2005, National Hurricane Center forecasters initially predicted 12 to 15 tropical storms, with seven to nine of them becoming hurricanes, and three to five of those hurricanes being major.

The season turned out to be much worse, breaking records with 28 named storms, 15 hurricanes and seven major ones. Hurricane Katrina was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, killing more than 1,500 and wiping out parts of the Gulf Coast.

Hurricane season began June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

On the Net: National Hurricane Center: < http://www.nhc.noaa.gov >

Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 24, 2006, 10:52 am

Tropical Storm Debby is out in the Atlantic, well away from any land areas, and might become a hurricane. But the forecast track shows that it will eventually change its west northwest direction more to the north, staying in the Atlantic ocean and away from any land masses.

There are other tropical disturbances closer to the U.S. which meteorologists are keeping an eye on, though.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 24, 2006, 2:16 pm

Peak of the peak months starts mid-August, so we're at that point.  The very peak is September 10.  Then it tapers down to october 1, and from that point it's a steep downhill of probability to the end of hurricane season November 30.  

The last few years kept people hopping.  Poor Florida, two years ago about now they were reeling from Charley.  Bet they are glad it's quiet...  Gulf Coast if hugely glad it's quiet!  Huge numbers of news media are in New Orleans for the 1-year anniversary of Katrina next week, so happy there's no storm for them to over-report on even as our region continues to recover.  As it is the reportage will be over the top this week and next.

If we can get through the rest of August and all of September with storms that turn away from land masses like Debby might, that would be super!

Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 25, 2006, 2:06 pm

Tropical depression five is looking like it will be strengthening and heading into the Gulf of Mexico. :uhoh:
Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 25, 2006, 5:11 pm



Updated August 27, 2006:

It is now Hurricane Ernesto. Further updates are below in other replies.



What had been Tropical Depression 5 is now Tropical Storm Ernesto, currently in the Caribbean and projected to head into the Gulf of Mexico.

It is expected to become Hurricane Ernesto by Monday afternoon.

< Tracking map from the National Hurricane Center >

< Computer-forecasted future track >

:hurricane:

Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 25, 2006, 5:34 pm

If Ernesto enters the Gulf of Mexico and starts heading towards New Orleans:

RichKoster, the Site Admin, and his family live in the N.O. area.  However, the physical location of the computer that operates Disney Echo is in a town in New Hampshire just north of the Massachusetts state line.

Disney Echo will continue to operate with no interruption.

However, matters of Disney Echo business and helping members and posting updated Disney news may have to pass to the skilled and kindly Moderators we have on Disney Echo if weather and news coverage conditions in the New Orleans area warrant.  Rich works full time at one of the TV stations in New Orleans.  If we need to evacuate, and he needs to work extended hours, we'll make sure the Moderators are aware of the situation, kept informed.

We evacuated for Katrina, will do so again if need be, so don't worry for us (meaning our family).  Prayers are always appreciated, however, and are powerful.  Everyone down here is so brain fried after Katrina, we really do not need what progress the region has been able to make set back by another storm.  In terms of property progress, but also in terms of the human toll on the mind and spirit, we could use respite from storms.  I'm sure the same is true of the state of Florida where in 2004 Charley, Jeanne, Frances and Ivan went ashore.

The time to be concerned about Disney Echo itself is if terrible weather occurs in the Northeast U.S.

As long as Internet connections stay up, and hard drives stay operating, and the site owner Larry Gensch keeps the computer in top working order, you should feel confident Disney Echo will stay operating, even if Rich and his family have to work a lot or evacuate or do what we have to do.

We encourage everyone, and new members, to familiarize yourselves with Disney Echo's features and Terms and Conditions of Use, via "Help" and the "How Do You Do It Forum".  Read all Sticky messages in Forum Indexes, those do contain Terms of Use.  Means "the rules for how we operate and where and how to post and the behaviour that is expected of members".  Longer term members, please help newcomers get familiar with the "culture" here, and point them to already existing files and information such as in "Help" and "How Do You Do It Forum" and the Stickys in each  Forum Index.  Save yourself typing, point to existing info.  "Search" for existing Topics if people have Disney questions.  If a Moderator suggests this or that in your general direction, please understand the circumstances.

Let's prepare for the worst, but hope for the best!

Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 26, 2006, 5:38 pm

One of our meteorologists at FOX 8 in New Orleans where I work just told me his latest indicators have him thinking what will be Hurricane Ernesto will make landfall this Thursday or Friday -- possibly as strong as a category 3 hurricane -- not threatening New Orleans but instead hitting the Florida panhandle or further east -- perhaps anywhere along that part of the gulf coast from Mobile, Alabama through the Tallahassee, Florida area.

It still is very early to have a better idea of what might happen with the storm, but I wanted to warn all EchoEars to be very watchful the next few days in case Ernesto affects you where you live or any upcoming Disney travel plans. Even if it does make landfall in the Florida panhandle, areas in central Florida could very well be impacted by such a strong hurricane, experiencing intense rain and strong winds -- and this could happen even at Walt Disney World -- because in that scenario that part of Florida would be on the "worst" side of the storm.
:hurricane:

Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 26, 2006, 10:40 pm

A special second collection might be taken up either this weekend or on Labor Day weekend for Gulf Coast hurricane relief in CAtholic parishes around the US.  The US Conference of CAtholic Bishops website about teh fundraising said August 26-27, our church this evening announced it would be next weekend.  So go to the USCCB website and take a look, if you miss the collection there is an address there to send a donation to.

We have Disney Echo members in the area where Ernesto is projected to go.  EVen though they may be taking a break for a long time from posting here, RichKoster the Site Administrator does not delete them as members of this site.  So they are still considered members of this site.  At least one lives just east of Mobile, Alabama, and another lives south of Tallahassee, Florida.

If you want to send Pixie Dust (secular, means "well wishing thoughts, support, encouragement a la Disney "pixie dust" ) and prayers (faith-based) then the thread for that is here for the 2006 hurricane season:

< http://new.disneyecho.emuck.com/cgi-bin....t=11078 >

The folks in that part of Florida went through a battering in the 2004 hurricane season not just from Ivan (in September) but a series of tropical storms also went through that part.  The significant storms that hit Florida in August through September of 2004 were Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne, and of those Charley, Frances and Jeanne did go across Central Florida in some way shape or form.  And in 2005 it was Wilma that visited Florida.

Those folks really could use a break!

Heck, we Katrina and Rita people could use a break too!

Compared to last year, it seems like the 2006 season is no big deal.  'Til now.  Those accustomed to this season each year know the peak months are August and September.  That there was no activity is actually normal.  Last year, with so many storms, that was a highly ABnormal year!

Statistically, the peak months start just a week or two into August, the peak of the peak is September 10, then it decreases significantly after that.  In so far as statistics of past events can be helpful to predict future activity, there it is.  Mother nature does what Mother Nature wants to do year after year, however.  As Barbossa the pirate says in "Pirates of the Carribbean" the hurricane past statistics are more like "guidelines, than actual rules" and believe me it can vary year to year.

As travellers to Disney:

Be aware their hurricane policy for handling ticket and other refunds is now posted on their website at Disney.go.com.  Choose WDW. and in left hand menu bars, in teeny print, if you search enough and squint enough you will see it.

If you have "soon" travel plans to Central Florida, familiarize yourself with Disney's hurricane policy.  I'm betting other Central Florida travel industry members (off-site hotels, the airport, airlines, airport shuttle services such as limo services and Mears and bus services, shows, dinner shows, condo rentals, competing theme parks and water parks, etc.) all have soemthign similar somewhere, or at least if you ask they will work with you on understanding what to do if a storm comes and you decide not to ride it out, but you decide to "bug out" and leave early.

Hurricane season is June 1 - November 30, but the peaks months, again, are the latter half of August through around October 1, with the peak of the peak at around September 10.  Mother Nature disregards calendars, so anything can happen.

Get an alternate Plan B in mind, if you travel to Disney this time of year, of what you would do, what arrangements you may have to cancel, do they offer rain checks or will they credit yoru account back or otherwise refund?  Will they shelter you?  How would you notify work, or your children's schools?  If you have special needs, require prescriptions, bring your health insurance and preferred provider info, and pharmacy info, and your doctor's contact information, just in case you may be in Orlando longer than expected due to weather conditions, the airport shut down, etc.  Reconfirm with transportation providers, that if you want to leave they will be able to come get you, or come get you earlier.

I mean really and truly:  Think these issues out.  In 2004 it happened with Charley, Frances and Jeanne!  Ask your travel agent and any travel industry providers (hotels, cruises, transportation, show tickets, park tickets, show and dining reservations, special event tickets, any special arrangements you had going like a destination wedding or a Grand Gathering) what their policies are.  Know before you go.  Just in case tropical weather systems do interfere with continuing with your vacation plans, know before you go.

Posted by: raysoflight on Aug. 27, 2006, 9:26 am

How do you think the newest projected path will effect my trip?  My reservations are for Sept. 8th thru the 15th.  We will be getting into Florida on the 6th though, we're driving.  Also, during our reservations we will be staying at Fort Wilderness.

Should we cancel our plans?

Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 27, 2006, 10:44 am

Quote (raysoflight @ Aug. 27, 2006 08:26 am/pm)
How do you think the newest projected path will effect my trip?  My reservations are for Sept. 8th thru the 15th.  We will be getting into Florida on the 6th though, we're driving.  Also, during our reservations we will be staying at Fort Wilderness.

Should we cancel our plans?

It is hard to best advise you, but when you'll be getting to Florida on Sept. 6th, Ernesto should be long gone.

Keep up with the National Hurricane Center as well as what we're posting on the Disney Echo about Hurricane Ernesto, but I wouldn't change anything yet, Karen.

Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 27, 2006, 10:49 am



Will Hurricane Ernesto affect your Walt Disney World vacation?

It is still too early to tell exactly where Hurricane Ernesto will go, but all the latest computer models do agree that Walt Disney World as well as the entire peninsula of Florida will have very bad weather from the hurricane -- high winds, intense thunderstorms, heavy rain, etc.

Be sure to check the latest information from the < National Hurricane Center > about Hurricane Ernesto. They are the best source for the latest information about the storm, how intense it is, and where it is going.

Their latest advisory indicates that a tropical storm or hurricane watch may be required for portions of the Florida Keys later today.

At 11 am EDT, the center of Hurricane Ernesto was located near latitude 17.6 north, longitude 73.7 west -- about 115 miles southwest of Port au Prince, Haiti and about 205 miles south-southeast of Guantanamo, Cuba. Movement is northwest near 9 mph and maximum sustained winds are 75 mph.

The graphic on the right shows all the National Hurricane Center's computer guidance forecast maps overlayed onto one image.

Hurricane Ernesto is moving toward the northwest near 9 mph and that general motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours. On this track, the center of Ernesto is expected to pass very near the southwestern tip of Haiti this afternoon or early evening ...and be near the southeastern coast of Cuba Monday morning.

Maximum sustained winds are near 75 mph with higher gusts. Ernesto is a category one hurricane now but strengthening is expected today and tonight -- it could become a category 2 hurricane before it reaches the coast of Cuba.

Rainfall amounts of 6 to 12 inches -- with possible isolated amounts of up to 20 inches -- are expected over Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and parts of Cuba. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides. Rainfall amounts of 3 to 5 inches, possibly up to 8 inches in isolated areas, are expected across portions of Jamaica.

The next advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 2 pm EDT followed by the next complete advisory at 5 pm EDT.




Click the above maps to see the forecast path much larger.

:hurricane:

Posted by: MKBaughan on Aug. 27, 2006, 11:17 am

Quote
It still is very early to have a better idea of what might happen with the storm, but I wanted to warn all EchoEars to be very watchful the next few days in case Ernesto affects you where you live or any upcoming Disney travel plans. Even if it does make landfall in the Florida panhandle, areas in central Florida could very well be impacted by such a strong hurricane, experiencing intense rain and strong winds -- and this could happen even at Walt Disney World -- because in that scenario that part of Florida would be on the "worst" side of the storm.


Not only that, Rich, but the General Orlando Area is the main place to evacuate residents from other areas to when the hurricanes hit other areas...

Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 27, 2006, 11:58 am

If anyone is worried at this point, remember that there are still many days until Ernesto will reach the U.S., especially the WDW area, if it ever does -- and things can change in the forecasted path over time.

In the meantime, if you'd like a stress-relieving laugh, check out this topic on the Disney Echo's "Disney Jokes, Satire & Spoofs" forum from 2004: < EHCOT: Every Hurricane Comes Out Tired >.

It includes the infamous Geraldo Rivera "bendy" bit! :hurricane:

Posted by: raysoflight on Aug. 27, 2006, 12:11 pm

Quote (MKBaughan @ Aug. 27, 2006 11:17 am/pm)
Quote
Not only that, Rich, but the General Orlando Area is the main place to evacuate residents from other areas to when the hurricanes hit other areas...

Really?  Oh dear.  See this is the kinda of thing I fear.  My trip is planned for 9/6-9/18.  Will Orlando and WDW be flooded with evacuees or will they be home by that time?  What about the roads going into FL?  We will be coming into FL on the 6th.  Will the roads be congested with people returning home?
Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 27, 2006, 12:13 pm

Karen, I think it is too early to tell at this point, so if I were you I'd pay attention to the news and weather reports, and wait a few days before making a decision. Remember, WDW has a hurricane policy in place in regards to cancelling vacations if the area is under a hurricane warning, but that isn't the case yet.

By the way, Karen, welcome to the Disney Echo! :welcome: Send me a PM or email if you'd like any help with doing things like adding a countdown clock or your favorite pair of Disney EchoEars into your signature.
:waver:

Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 27, 2006, 12:13 pm

I know this is long, but it's packed with useful info based on the 2004 Hurricane Season which did affect WDW and travellers, please bear with it, pick through it all carefully.  Thanks for your understanding.  Something for everyone within it, so read, don't skim, or print and highlight what pertains to your Disney trip to Orlando during hurricane season.

In the 2004 hurricane Season Rich and I took Disney Echo on in-depth coverage of Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne as all four went across Florida.  Not only did we follow those storms, we followed published reports of how Orlando and WDW in particular fared, prepared, treated guests, and so forth, including at Fort Wilderness Campground.  Since that storm season was so significant, Disney learned a lot of things and since then actively implements what they learned.  

RichKoster, the Site Administrator here on Disney Echo, currently works in the TV newsroom of WVUE-TV, the Fox affiliate in New Orleans.  I used to work as a radio news and public affairs announcer/producer as well as an associate producer and producer of newscasts for the CBS affiliate in Mobile AL.  I was born in Mobile AL and except for 7 years in California have lived either in Mobile or New Orleans all my life, have grown up with hurricanes, I'm used to them (but don't like 'em either) and went through Hurricane Frederic in Mobile in 1979, so did Rich, and we were affected by Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005 (Rich's TV station got flooded, our house fared well with minimal damage).  So bear with me....

Here is a link to an existing Disney Echo Topic, WDW's Hurricane Policy.  Follow links in the postings, it will take you to Disney's official website where you can read exactly how Disney will work with their guests.

< http://new.disneyecho.emuck.com/cgi-bin....rricane >

Hurricane tracks can and do change.  But we can work with the information and forecasts available now and simply monitor news developments ongoing.  So you do that too. :)  Monitor the news, sit tight.

Here is the National Hurricane Center's official website:

< http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ >

Where is says "Hurricane Ernesto" on the home page, scroll down and find the graphic of "5-Day Cone" and click that.  It will show you where they estimate (means they think, rather than they know, best guess based on data, etc.) Ernesto will go, ongoing, for the next five days.  

So if today is August 27, five days from now is September 1.  The chart indicates Ernesto's landfall will be between Thursday August 31 and Friday September 1.  You say your trip is starting September 8.  The storm will be over by then.  Anyone else, at tother times:  Know the date of travel you will be starting, use the five-day cone, "do the math", a hurricane can cross the state from one body of water to the next in a few hours if forward motion is fast, or less than a day if it is slow-moving.  So duration is a few hours to less than a day.  

If your travel date is after such a storm makes landfall, your will want to know "aftermath"-type news.  If you're about to arrive the same date as landfall, you have some decisions to make about cancelling or postponing.  If you're there, your options are to shelter in place or leave in advance of the storm, and cut your travel plans shorter.

The bad news:  Orlando will be on the "bad side" of the storm, the eastern half is always the roughest, the western half always the easiest.  Think of a hurricane's shape as a round clock face, and it heads in the forward direction of "12" on the face of the clock.  The hours 12->6 will be the rougher half, more severe.  The hours 6->12 are the easier, less severe.  Why did God/Mother Nature make hurricanes that way?  Ask them, ask scientists!  But the matter at hand, this is the way they are, handy to know a bit of what to expect if you are travelling.

The good news:  In the 2004 Hurricane season Charley, Frances and Jeanne either went very close to Orlando or went over it on their ways to someplace else.  What's good about that is that WDW and the hoteliers developed procedures for guests, and there is now a pattern of aftermath to know what to expect.

Caveat:  No two storms are alike, and with increased intensities, even over land as a storm habitually weakens over land, there can still be damage.  Storms love warm water, it's like this is their food and energy source.  Over land, they weaken.  Over lots of land, they weaken a lot.  It takes time, days, over land for a storm to fully weaken.  There can be wind damage, tornadoes, flooding due to heavy rains, roads can wash out or be blocked by fallen debris.  Some storms are minor, others major.  So no two situations alike.

Re: Fort Wilderness:  You should monitor news developments.  You can go online to the Orlando Sentinel website, WESH-TV's website, Local 9 Orlando's website, WFTV-TV's website.  If there is news on Disney's status, trust me, it will be promoted in the local media down there.  And we will monitor it on Disney Echo too and report about it in appropriate Forums.  Also, Fort Wilderness Campground Moderator Jeff Spencer is very in tune with the Campground, any news/information he specifically finds he will report in his Forum.  You can also scroll through the Fort Wilderness Campground Forum from August 2004-October 2004 for Topics matching those dates to see for yourself how FTW handled situations with guests.

Here is what to expect if a storm is coming and you are already there at FW (FW means Fort Wilderness, in case readers who are new are unfamiliar with acronyms) :

You WILL be notified by Disney, timely, of what is going on as affects you being a guest at the campground.  Of course, you follow the news too.  You will be asked to leave Fort Wilderness, the reasons being winds being dangerous for those in trailers, campers and RVs, and the danger of falling trees and tree limbs.  Your options (as offered by Disney) will be to move to existing resorts to shelter there at Disney aka move to a on-site hotel of Disney's, or simply to leave.  They handle check out with courtesy and a friendly smile.  In 2004 the campground suffered significant tree damage.  Those who left and reported back later said Disney handled matters calmly and with friendly courtesy.  And those moved to resorts say the same things.  When the storm passes and wind speeds in the aftermath are safe enough to venture out, damage assessments will be carried out.  The miracle after the 2004 storm season storms is how quickly Disney was able to clear out debris from their resorts!  They were back in business within 1-2 days of each of these storms.

If you are already at WDW in a regular resort:

You WILL be notified by Disney, in writing in a flyer in your room or on or under your door, of what is going on as affects you being a guest at that resort.  Of course, you follow the news too.  You will be asked to:  Bring in any patio furniture there may be outside your room on a patio or balcony, and store that in your room.  Shut the drapes.  Don't go outside.  Buy non-perishable food and drinks for you and your travel party or family, some of which you can buy from Disney, or you can go off-site for this (if a storm is coming, residents are doing the same things, so there will be heavy traffic, long lines, perhaps shortages).  Make sure for cans you have a manual can opener, perhaps also plastic utensils and paper plates.  If you have a car, top your gas tank off to full, also possibly long lines, maybe shortages developing.  You will be told to stay in your room for your own safety.  Things fly around in high winds so quickly you really don't want to be hit by flying stuff, which could include roof shingles with the nails still attached, boards flying around, etc.  Disney has been known to furnish flashlights for their guests in case the power goes out.  As long as electric power stays up, you stay in your room, can watch the cable TV system, can watch Weather Channel or CNN (no Fox News Channel offered) or better is local TV because they are familiar with Orlando and can be among the first to tell you Disney World status news, status of the airport, status of highways in/out of town, etc.  If you're stressed out, or the kids are, there are ample Disney cartoons and movies to watch in your room.  If you are at some of the resorts, they provide "ride out crews":  These are employees stationed to see to guest needs and safety, and report how the buildings are faring so they can quickly get damage assessments or emergency situations taken care of.  Sometimes they even provide some Disney characters to interact with, to help relieve the situation and find some fun in all the hubbub.  Do not expect room service or maid service.  Disney at a certain point allows all their staffers, except ride out crews, to go home to prepare their homes and be with their families.  Do not expect any kind of room service, no meals, special treatments (unless a genuine emergency) or turn down services, do not expect old room service dishes and trays to be removed right away, do not expect fresh towels or bed linens.  You are in "shelter in an emergency" mode.  The building codes in Florida are tough, and got tougher after Hurricane Andrew in 1992.  Disney buildings can withstand a Category 2 or so (I forget which) storm!  Be confident about that, Disney's hotel buildings meet Florida's building codes!  You may be asked to stay out of corridors that face outside.  Or you may be asked to shelter in interior ballrooms or parts of lobbies away from windows where you can be with other people, be comforted by the Disney characters if they are there, etc.  You may not go outside 'til winds are deemed safe, and that is probably below 20-30 MPH or lower.  For your own safety, don't go outside 'til it's deemed safe, even if you see news media reporters doing it.  Damage assessments will be done.  The miracle after the 2004 storm season storms is how quickly Disney was able to clear out debris from their resorts!  They were back in business within 1-2 days of each of these storms.  If there should be damage to a hotel residential building the residents will be moved to undamaged areas, or you can elect to leave and return home early, etc.  Disney will work case-by-base about this.  Normal resort operations will resume when staff can be called back in to work and clean up to the point that guest services can resume normally or as normally as possible, which is a case by case thing depending on the severity of the weather system moving through.  The key is "when the staff can come back".  If significant numbers of staff have home damage, car damage (no transportation) or if roads are not clear, public transportation not up and running yet, then guest services and operations returning to normal will take correspondingly longer.  It's not Disney's fault, it's not the staff's fault, it's a disaster that's just happened, so keep your perspective about you.  It is frustrating, scary, a pain in the keister, yes we know.  It is for Disney, too.  So keep patience and perspective.  They are in it with you, and doing their best under extreme circumstances.  Flow with it, let go of the aggravation, if Disney could wave a magic wand and keep weather conditions in this part of the world even keel and safe 100% of the time, they would.  The argument could be made that preparation and asking the right questions and making Alternate Plan B plans beforehand (which is exactly what you're doing ) could save time, frustration, and uncertainty in the long run.  Those who rode out the storms in WDW in 2004 rave about how the experience went.  They posted Disney was courteous, hospitality oriented, helpful.  At first for Charley the communication was not good, but Disney fixed that.  There was one woman staying at the Polynesian who complained about the lack of room service or housekeeping, however it had to be explained to this guest by us on the Echo that hurricanes are extreme situations, that Disney takes care of their employees by relieving them of duties so they can protect their homes and be with their loved ones, and that when hotels are turned into shelters reasonable care is given to guests but in emergencies like that it's "survival mode" and you have to suck it in and understand the situation at hand.  People on Florida's coasts consider Orlando "inland" so you will see an influx of state residents taking shelter from low-lying areas inland and that includes staying at Disney resorts.

The parks:  Disney will keep the parks open as long as they can, 'til local conditions warrant closing down, having the staff batten everything down.  They will reopen the parks only after damage assessments have been done.  Attractions with significant damage will not reopen.  The parks can be closed as long as 1-3 or 4 days, depending on the aftermath and damage assessments.  They work absolute miracles in cleaning up debris and reopening what they can as soon as they can, depending on the availability of staffing.  Employees not on "ride out crews" are sent home to be with their families and also prepare their own property to withstand the storm.  Some homes can be damaged, sometimes trees fall on cars, local roads need to be cleared of debris and fallen trees and poles in order to be able to drive out, public transportation needs to be restored.  All these represent challenges in the immediate aftermath about returning to work to reopen parks and normal operations such as restaurants, shows, park attractions, shops, characters greeting guests, etc.  Pack your patience and understanding about this if you travel to Disney in hurricane season.  Argument can be made that preparation and asking the right questions and making Alternate Plan B plans beforehand (which is exactly what you're doing ) could save time, frustration, and uncertainty in the long run.  The park most affected by storms in 2004 was Animal Kingdom.  Loss of trees, heavy wind damage.  That park took longer to reopen and restore than others.  Animals all survived, were sheltered very humanely and cared for.  Mostly it's tree damage and wind damage that had to be repaired or cleared to the point guests could be let back in and enjoy the experience.  Due to weather some shows and dinner shows may be cancelled on short notice.  Contact Disney regarding reimbursements or losses if this happens to you.  Their rules are their rules, unfortunately, so read the fine print when you book your plans, ask questions about their policies before booking plans.  Contact the Dsiney Hurricane Policy Website, above, for more information, or phone Disney if you need fine-point clarifications.  If not happy, stay calm and polite, ask to speak to successive supervisors in a polite way, until your matter is resolved to mutual "common grounds".

Cruises, Disney Cruise Line:  Cruises will sail as long as weather conditions are safe.  Many times they might skip port of call if storms are happening in the area, and sail elsewhere.  The Port of Canaveral, where DCL is based as are other cruise lines, will close to maritime interests for safety, reopen when weather is passed and damage assessments and repairs allow it to.  Contact your cruise line, or DCL, work with them on a case by case basis about postponing a trip if you have concerns, getting refunds, etc.  Castaway Cay is vulnerable to hurricane and tropical storm damage.  Some of the 2004 hurricanes went over this island in the Bahamas.  If the level of damage is severe, you might not be able to have that day's shore excursion as planned.  Again, contact DCL or your cruise line, and monitor Orlando news, they do cover the Port of Canaveral and will issue press releases about when normal operations will shut down and then resume.

If you want to leave early, cut short your trip:

Read any confirmation paperwork Disney sent you in advance of your trip.

Go to Disney's Hurricane Policy part of their website and read it, don't skim it.

If flying:  Contact your airline and ask all the "What if..." questions before you book during the peak months of hurricane season of August and September, even spilling into October.  The airport in Orlando will close at some point, for flight safety.  The airport is NOT a shelter, and you will not be permitted to go or stay there if a storm is approaching and the airport has announced closure.  Airline seats outbound fill up fast by other visitors wishing to leave.  You will need to contact your airline, not the airport, and make changes in outbound arrangements.  Since there have been security changes this year, make sure you pack in carry-on what is supposed to be there, and in regular baggage what is supposed to be there, and get rid of banned items, to further speed your way through check-in and security checkpoints and searches.  Pack a big load of patience and understanding, too.

Ground transportation:  For residents leaving coastal areas or low-lying areas some Interstates and roads will have all lanes head inland or outbound, this is called "contraflow".  Lanes inbound, or coastal bound, will be reversed, all lanes going in the same direction.  Some roads may be blocked by law enforcement in order to facilitate contraflow.  Otherwise there will be very heavy traffic, people stocking up on non-perishable groceries, survival supplies, batteries, filling their cars and gas canisters to "full", flash lights, building supplies for temporary repairs (Home Depot, Lowe's type places) and so forth.  If you arrived to WDW via your own car/vehicle and decide to leave early consider  travelling at off-peak times, perhaps leaving middle of the night or early early morning might mean less road headaches than if you waited 'til later.  Expect a lot of traffic even for miles outside Central Florida as folks head farther north to inland safety.  Keep your gas tank topped off!  In Hurricane Rita, Houstonians in Texas were running out of gas quickly even while they were still in the city, since they were stuck in heavy outbound traffic.  If you arrived via taxi, limosine-town car service or bus service such as Mears, phone them early as possible and ask their policies on early departures or their hurricane policy, check their websites, check any paperwork you were issued after you booked with them.  If they can get you to the airport with a confirmed outbound flight, leave hours and hours ahead of your flight time, to accomodate traffic, crowds at check in, security checkpoints, etc.  If you haven't booked yet, before you book ask these services their hurricane policy, in case you may decide to cancel the remainder of your vacation or in case you decide not to do your vacation at all (refund policies, etc.)  Roads and bridges can be closed to utility poles fallen over, trees in the road, washed out roads or bridges, sinkholes, traffic control due to contraflow and many other reasons.  High water can disguise that roads are more underwater than they are or that under the water there is a sinkhole or that the road may be washed out, so do not attempt to drive in unfamiliar areas or you may inadvertantly drown your car.  Car rentals you should call the agency to determine their hurricane plan and determine how they want you to proceed if you are returning the car early or want to cancel having the car if you are cancelling or postponing your trip.  Return the car in as undamaged a condition as possible, you will also need to fill it's tank before you return it.

If you have condominium reservations, medical equipment rentals or special care providers such as sitters for children or those who are ill needing special care, pet care providers such as kennels, car rentals, show or dinner show tickets, tours, excursions, any kind of special pre-booked or pre-paid arrangements, tickets to any parks other than Disney, a travel agent who booked "everything" for you, a cruise from the coast, your airline, taxi-towncar-bus airport-to-resort transportation:  Contact anyone you made booking or travel or accomodations arrangements with to find out their cancellation policy, or their hurricane policy.  Best to know all this before you make the arrangements in the first place.  But if it's a "done deal" and you want to leave earlier than planned and you're already there in Central Florida, call all these entities as soon as possible, find out about their cancellation policy, refunds, rain checks, availability at another date and season, etc.  If you're about to go at the same time a storm will make landfall near Orlando, you will also want to contact all these entities as soon as possible and see what can be done.  Again:  It's best and ideal to ask all these things at the time you want to book, so you can formulate Alternate Plan B and have contact information and procedures already in hand, so that you can have the confidence of knowing how to procede under changing conditions, not be stressed in the moment, etc.  If I can predict there will be at least tropical storms every hurricane season June 1-November 30, with peak months of August and September, travellers can too, and if travellers can predict it, travellers can pre-plan for it by asking all these things in advance.  But if a traveller is "in the moment" pick the phone up and call, call, call.  Lines are going to be busy...  Be patient, keep trying.

Cell phones and land line telephone service, Internet:  Service before, during and after a tropical storm or hurricane emergency can be very spotty.  A few rationales for this:  Other people are on too, and the lines are getting overloaded with use, lots of busy signals or dropped calls or poor quality of signal.  There can be service shut downs in order to protect the system when the winds are blowing.  Post-storm damage to towers, downed lines, can interrupt the "normalcy" of taking for granted you can pick up the phone and make a call.  This can go on for days, depending on severity of regional damage and how quickly repair crews from around the US can arrive to help restore lines.  In the mean time:  Designate a family member or friend back home to be The Person you'll call to let The Person know you and travel party are OK and your status, status of the trip or when coming home post-storm.  Leave The Person with important telephone numbers to call in order to be a Grapevine to pass along accurate information about how you are faring, you're OK and not to worry, etc.  Phone numbers to leave with The Person:  Your employer, children's school (if you think you'll be delayed getting home) close family members on both sides of the family.  Minimize calling, minimize the length of the call.  Service may be spotty, and emergency crews, emergency personnel need all the working phones and cell time they can get to further recovery and helping those in great need, so be considerate and keep it brief, get to the point, save long conversations for when you get home or at least to an area where services are more normal.  Regarding Internet, services can also go down, be restored based on level of damage to regional networks.  Designate The Person here, too, to E-mail how you are doing and to pass that along to anyone who needs to know.  Or pre-trip get a E-List of all E-mail addresses for family, friends, schools, employers, neighbors, etc.  And write a single message, put all the E-mail addresses in the Blind Carbon Copy BCC: part of the header (to protect others' privacy) and send it out.  Explain if Internet service is spotty you might not be able to reply right away, but assure them of status, how to contact you if services of telephone or Internet get restored, and what your plans are about staying or coming home.  Keep it to the point.  Pre-writing this and uploading it to a pre-set list of recipients means you are online less, and can relinguish connection if services are spotty, much more likelihood your message will get out.  If it's too long and unwieldy or if the address string is too long, that will delay the server from processing it.  You may notice very slow connections before and after the storm.  That's because the whole area is online notifying people too and the system is overloaded.  Be patient.  Save long travelogues for when you get home.  Get to the immediate point of your message, say "More later, when we're back we'll tell you all about what it was like."  Bookmark certain websites if you bring a computer with you:  WESH-TV, WFTV-TV, Local 9 TV, Orlando Sentinel, Orlando International Airport, your favorite national news source, Weather Channel, National Hurricane Center, service providers such as your travel agent, transportation company, your airline, etc., and the Florida Department of Transportation (for road conditions on Interstates, etc.).  Monitor online LOCAL news media:  They will inform you Disney's status, the status of the airport closing or reopening, the status of local roads, Interstate highways, and bridges.  They will inform you of shelters, where meals are being served and medical facilities open and available to treat injuries and emergencies.  National news doesn't do that, and it's information you will need.  The local media in Orlando are 'Net savvy, and will post and do live streaming video on the Internet.  Tell family and loved ones at home you are monitoring such and such local news media, and they can know as much as you do if they will also log onto those sites and monitor them.

When you pack for vacation during hurricane season:  Manual can opener, small stash of plastic eating utensils that you keep washed in your room if you have to eat canned/non-perishable things riding out the storm, pre-soaped dishwashing wipes or liquid dish soap for cleaning glasses and plates and utensils after you've consumed food or beverages from them, prescriptions and know a local way to refill, local doctors on your health care plan.  Plenty of clothes so you won't have to do laundry (in case electricity is out), your own laundry detergent and plenty of quarters for the machines at $2/each.  Patience and understanding and a pioneering spirit.  Contingency plans if a storm brews while you are there and you decide to leave early or ride it out, contact information to tell others you are OK in a brief way.  How to contact travel agent, transportation, airline, car rental, shows, services, etc.  How to contact The Person back home via E-mail and/or phone to let others know you're OK and what your status and future plans are.  How to find out status of local roads (local news media tells you, City of Orlando might, Orange County and Osceola County might, State Dept. of Transportation).  Batteries for your cell phone or any device you use for communications, so you can replace what's in there with fresh ones if the power is out or what you ahve get to running low due to unexpected heavier than usual use.  A flashlight.  Ways to comfort or entertain young children under the circumstances.  Over the counter medicines if you need them.  Patience.  Tolerance.  Understanding this is an emergency, you are not the only one it affects, others are affected too, so work with what you can, be patient and calm, and keep trying to get through, and that Disney is doing it's level best under extreme circumstances to deal with their own property and employee status concerns, to get back up and running normally as soon as conditions allow, and to provide hospitality and shelter to all seeking Disney's brand of safety. Certain things are out of your control here, let it go, understand that, be prepared to work with it and "go with the flow" rather than be frustrated by thinking everything can go back to normal in the snap of fingers, 'cause it can't, so your choice is simply to suck it in and deal with it.  If you have an Alternate Plan B in mind, implement it as early as possible.  If there are closures, heavy traffic, etc., you are more apt to "get out" or "ride out safely" or "avoid altogether and cancel or postpone" towards the earlier than towards the later.

It's up to you to pre-plan, do the legwork.  Make your own decisions.  Have patience to wait 'til storms blow over and you hear status reports about Disney operations, parks, resorts, services before deciding too early to cancel or postpone.

We happened to have had plans to visit WDW for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in early October 2004 a week after Jeanne blew through.  We were concerned about piling on our presence so soon, since we live in hurricane alley, too, and we know it can be devastating.  But we heard all was well, reopened, they wanted the business to keep going, so we figured "Why not?" so we went anyway.  Yes, you can determine a LOT of tree damage, in fact you can still see some felled trees in the undeveloped parts of WDW from the roads.  Fort Wilderness on commercial TV looks more "bare" now than when we stayed in 2003, because of tree damage in 2004 and loss of limbs.  But the trees are growing back, and that resort today is still beautiful and pleasant.  We did tour around in a rental car to check things out for ourselves.  When I say Disney pulled off a miracle in clearing roads and public areas of debris and breakage, it really did!  How Disney handles future storms will depend on those storms' individual and unique severities, labor coming back to work after storms, etc.  But based on 2004, you do not want to cancel or postpone a trip to Disney in Orlando too soon.  Wait to hear damage assessments from Orlando news media, then make your decision.

Those in the 2004 hurricane season who rode it out with Disney came through unscathed, praising Disney for the experience and their caring protection of them in trying circumstances, the quickness with which Disney could reopen and allow guests to resume their vacations and normal interactions with Disney.  

The rest is decision making and legwork and pre-planning and pre "planning Alternate Plan B" that is up to you.

If you want to investigate travel insurance, look up policies from companies rated as AAA as possible by A. M. Best, an insurance rating company.  

More information about travelling under possible hurricane conditions can be found at radio talk show host Clark Howard's website

< http://www.clarkhoward.com >

He specializes in saving money, spending less, getting bang for the buck, avoiding scams and ripoffs, finding the best deals, and travel and how to do it smartly.  He writes books, too, which are published by Hyperion (Disney).  Play around with the home page menu about travel, in the left hand side menu choose Show Notes or Clarchives for past show notes, or "Search", or visit your favorite book store and browse one of his books in the financial advice section.  I wouldn't refer you if it weren't info you can use.  Amazon.com ad at the bottom of this page, use the link, head to "Books" and "Search" for Clark Howard, or just go to your favorite bookseller online nor brick and mortar, or visit his site and explore, play with key words.

Hurricane season is June 1-November 30, the peak months are August and September, and peak of those statistically is from mid-August through the peak statistically September 10, then decreasing to October 1, bu can be active any time and even outside those dates.  2004 and 2005 were unusual, historic seasons at one end of extremes.  Some seasons are more quiet than others.  No two alike.  Just because quiet or mayhem occured "last year" or "two years ago" doesn't mean it's over now, and doesn't mean it will be quieter or just as severe this year.  Scientists and weather professionals keep track of statistics which can be fairly reliable but not 100%.  Mother Nature doesn't always follow statistics and probability.  Technology to forecast and predict storms is better than ever before, but isn't 100%.  If you vacation where hurricanes can possibly go, at times of year they can possibly be active, "Know before you go" the risks and what to do to minimize risks and still ahve good reliable fun, but also to be sheltered or to leave if you feel you must.  In most cases you can vacation with no problem!  But in a few cases you might be "caught".  Go with the odds:  Most cases nothing will happen and you'll be fine, but by statistical nature someone will be in the minority percentage who "get caught" and will have to shelter in place, decide to leave early, or decide to cancel/postpone a trip.  Plan as if you're in the minority percentage, just in case, but live with hope that you'll be in the majority percentage.

Google any terms or businesses or media entities in Orlando you read about in this article, and maintain a Favorites or Bookmark for the contact URL.  Include travel agents, car rental, airlines, ground transportation, entities you book rooms or condominiums, entertainment, admission tickets, tours, rentals, services, etc. from.

I hope this helps!

Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 27, 2006, 12:14 pm

Quote (RichKoster @ Aug. 27, 2006 09:44 am/pm)
Quote (raysoflight @ Aug. 27, 2006 08:26 am/pm)
How do you think the newest projected path will effect my trip?  My reservations are for Sept. 8th thru the 15th.  We will be getting into Florida on the 6th though, we're driving.  Also, during our reservations we will be staying at Fort Wilderness.

Should we cancel our plans?

It is hard to best advise you, but when you'll be getting to Florida on Sept. 6th, Ernesto should be long gone.

Keep up with the National Hurricane Center as well as what we're posting on the Disney Echo about Hurricane Ernesto, but I wouldn't change anything yet, Karen.

See what I just posted.  It will help you, anyone, planning a trip to Orlando in the two active months of hurricane season.

Rich:  Please make what I just wrote some sort of Sticky, so I don't have to write it every storm season and it's easily found by all who need quick access to it. ;)  Thanks!



Update from Rich:
I've done that, and the new "pinned/sticky" topic is here:
< WDW Hurricane Policy & Travel Planning Advice >.

Posted by: minnimama on Aug. 27, 2006, 1:45 pm

FYI- we have been at WDW for both Charley and Wilma- if you are on property you are safe and in good hands. The building are rated for 250 mile hour winds. They provide information all along and try to offer characters in the hotels if the weather permits- they will shut the parks for the major part of the storm but reopen quickly after. The only concern you will have on property is food- if you are at a hotel like comtemp you'll be fine as they open the restraunts but if you are at a hotel like POR you could be stuck in your room away from food for a while so plan ahead for that. We actually go to WDW as an evacuation plan because the buildings are so safe as does much of sw florida- any questions?
Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 27, 2006, 6:43 pm

< A State of Emergency has been declared in the entire state of Florida >, even though Hurricane Ernesto has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm -- but indications are it will eventually become a hurricane again, threatening much of southern and central Florida. Ernesto will be moving over the waters southwest of the Windward Passage and meteorologists think it could strengthen again.

Ernesto might become a hurricane again before crossing Cuba tomorrow morning. It is thought that it will weaken once again as it goes over the mountains of Cuba, but then restrenghthening yet again when it enters the Gulf of Mexico.

Even with these changes to Ernesto, the National Hurricane Center's official forecast track remains about the same as before, on the previous page of this topic.

A Hurricane Watch has been put into effect for the Florida Keys and additional Hurricane Watches may be issued for the Florida peninsula tonight.

By the time Ernesto reaches the Florida Keys it is expected to have gained strength and become Hurricane Ernesto again as it crosses the Keys, and to remain a hurricane as it skirts northward along the western coastline of Florida and finally makes landfall in Central Florida, as early as Wednesday.

Walt Disney World is well within the "cone of probability" although if Hurricane Ernesto remains on the center-most track of that cone, WDW will still be on the "worst side" of the storm as it comes onshore and moves inland.

One of the computer forecast maps shows Hurricane Ernesto actually coming right across Walt Disney World, but most of them have the storm going northward to the west of Orlando.


:hurricane:

Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 27, 2006, 8:06 pm

Quote (minnimama @ Aug. 27, 2006 12:45 am/pm)
The only concern you will have on property is food- if you are at a hotel like comtemp you'll be fine as they open the restraunts but if you are at a hotel like POR you could be stuck in your room away from food for a while so plan ahead for that.

The trouble with the Contemporary is that many of the rooms are not in the A-frame tower, so you do have to go outside to get to the main building. I wish they'd create an enclosed walkway/hallway from the garden wings to the Contemporary Tower.
Posted by: JacquiBee on Aug. 28, 2006, 6:51 am

Karen,

We were in FL 3 weeks after Jeanne in 2004 and everything was fine.  There was still evidence of damage everywhere, including FW, (trees down, signs mangled, etc) but the roads were in good condition and all Disney services were operating normally, except for a few closed loops at the campground.  

I think you'll be fine.  Ernesto will be long gone by the time you leave for WDW.  And the rest of those pesky storms better stay away until after our trip (we will be in FL 9/16-9/23).

I will be praying for all who are in the path of the storm.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 28, 2006, 7:31 am

I know what I posted is dense with info, all that was from memory!  Disney really does take excellent care of their guests.  And if Ernesto stays tropical storm (it weakened) the clean up at Fort Wilderness will go easier and quicker (limbs to be picked up, roads swept).  So 1) Pick through what I wrote, 2) Simply "monitor the news" especially local news in Orlando online (Orlando Sentinel is an awesome source--Go to their Business or Tourism sections) .  Don't go cancelling or postponing anything 'til after Ernesto has passed and left Florida.  Look at the news, see what is mentioned.  Make your decision then.  Disney DOES announce these things, the place is in local news media in Orlando.  So check out Orlando Sentinel online, WFTV-TV, WESH-TV and Local 9 online.  If you don't see anything=Nothing announced, or no word yet.  So keep checking.
Posted by: JacquiBee on Aug. 28, 2006, 8:35 am

Thanks for all the info Carol.  I've travelled to FL and SC during hurricane season many times and never thought to bring some of the things you suggested.  I just made a list of extra supplies to pack when we go...Good thing we have a huge SUV and there are only 3 of us travelling this time!  

We've gotten lucky every time we've travelled and I am hoping and praying our luck continues!

Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 28, 2006, 10:50 am

Good news, the 11 am EDT advisory of the track of Tropical Storm Ernesto is now out, 30-minutes early.

It's track now is more Easterly, means LESS across Florida, more towards Atlantic Ocean.  Click here for 5-day cone at National Hurricane Center:

< http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at5+shtml/115600.shtml?5day >

Think of a hurricane as the face of an analog clock, and 12 Noon is the forward motion of the storm.  The half of the hurricane that corresponds to 12 Noon - 6 o'clock is the harder, more severe side, the east side.  6 o'clock to 12 Noon is the easier, less severe half, the west side.  Or cut a hurricane in half from top to bottom in your imagination, right half=harder side and more severe, left half=easier time of it.

So if Ernesto follows the track they think it will, Orlando/WDW will be on the easier, less severe, west half of the storm.

They will still get winds and rains, still a chance of tornadoes, not totally be off Scot-free.  But less severe a chance than if Orlando/WDW were on the east half of the storm.  You have to take your good news where you can find it.

Florida coastal residents will evacuate inland from the Atlantic coast, and they consider Orlando inland.  Hotels all over the place will book up with these regional folks seeking shelter.  So if you are vacationing, and riding it out onsite you'll notice an influx at WDW resorts of Floridians to ride it out with you.  Say hi!  This is regionally normal and typical, no big whoop.  Everyone sheltering at Disney in good hands.

When Katrina made landfall...  Let's pretend New Orleans had -0- levees, but the storm still happened as it did.  New Orleans would only have gotten wind damage and no or little flooding because it happened to be on the easier western half of the storm, while the Mississippi Gulf Coast would have been clobbered with winds and tidal surges, just as in fact happened because they were on the harder, eastern half of the storm.

So think this way as you click on the 5-day cone at the link.  If Ernesto's track can just keep on going easterly, that is good news for everyone in Florida!  More of the state would become in the easier western half than in the full brunt or the harder eastern half.

If any hurricane or tropical weather system's track is like this, going as far east of Florida as possible, that is good news.

However, it's crummy news for Castaway Cay bound Disney Cruise Line voyagers, since these storms go near or over the Bahamas, and Castaway Cay is a Bahamian island Disney owns.  

Hurricanes and tropical weather systems are also crummy news for the filmmakers of "Pirates of the Caribbean 3".  They said after POTC 2's opening in August 2006 they'd return to the Caribbean for more filming.  The islands they film on or near include Dominica.  They mentioned all the evacuating they had to do in 2005.  To stop filming and get everyone, and movie equipment, to safety and wait it out, then return to set up again... All that is lost time, and lost time is lost money and getting behind on schedule for opening a movie in May 2007.

Keep monitoring news, if you are concerned.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 28, 2006, 11:02 am

Quote (JacquiBee @ Aug. 28, 2006 07:35 am/pm)
Thanks for all the info Carol.  I've travelled to FL and SC during hurricane season many times and never thought to bring some of the things you suggested.  I just made a list of extra supplies to pack when we go...Good thing we have a huge SUV and there are only 3 of us travelling this time!  

We've gotten lucky every time we've travelled and I am hoping and praying our luck continues!

Thanks for the nice words.  In the 2004 hurricane season you could purchase some non-perishable things from Disney if it was a situation where you didn't have a car to be able to go off site and attempt to grocery shop.  Or maybe you do have a way to grocery shop.  Having something like a manual can opener is handy, not every food product comes with a ring and a pull-top lid mechanism.  Peanut butter and crackers, you'll need a way to spread it.  Disney has been known to provide a flashlight, but you can pack your own, bring batteries, bring a little radio to listen to sometimes even if the power goes out TV and radio stations go to generator power and can keep broadcasting as long as their antenna towers stay up, etc.  Just trying to stimulate thought and planning for those on this site.  At the time of the 2004 hurricane season a lot of folks were understandably caught off-guard and having to shelter in place at Disney.  They came home later and posted.  Seems odd to also pack a can opener and plastic utensils and a flashlight, and most times you will not need them in hurricane season.  But by statistical nature someone will have to be in the minority of chance that "it" will in fact happen to them, to shelter in place, so best to think about it a little beforehand, make plans and contingency plans, and hope you can just vacation carefree, but be prepared in case you have to be.
Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 28, 2006, 11:05 am

Very good news, indeed, looking at < the latest forecast track map >! As a matter of fact, if the National Hurricane Center revises the forecast track yet again and has it move just a bit more to the east, the chief meteorologist at our station, Bob Breck, will have been proven correct all along (to New Orleanians, a modern-day Nash Roberts, perhaps... folks who've lived in New Orleans for quite a while will know who I'm referring to). It was Bob Breck's prediction last week that the hurricane would never make it into the Gulf of Mexico and would instead go north east of Florida, in the Atlantic Ocean. So far, there's a very high probability of that!

But, I need to point out, the cone of where Hurricane Ernesto could go, even on the latest forecast map showing the dotted black line missing most of Florida and having Ernesto going northerly in the Atlantic, well, that cone still does include the entire southern, central, and northeast part of Florida -- the entire peninsula of Florida still is under the threat of having Hurricane Ernesto go that way -- but it sure is looking like they'll be spared (except there is a greater chance the very southernmost part of Florida around the Miami area might have Ernesto going over that area).

Then, there's Hurricane Ernesto's impact on Disney's Vero Beach Resort, Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort in South Carolina, Disney Cruise Line's Port Canaveral, Florida home base, and Castaway Cay in the Bahamas... The more the National Hurricane Center shifts the forecast track to the "right" (to the east), the more Disney's private island is put in danger of yet again being under Hurricane force winds. And there's also the chance that Disney might decide to alter the course of Disney Cruise Line cruises to avoid the storm and rough waters.

Currently, Castaway Cay is not even in the forecast bubble cone on the latest forecast map, but the route that the Disney cruise ships take is threatened, in between Florida and the Bahamas. Hurricane precautions might very well take place at DCL's home port of Port Canaveral for this reason.



Update from Disney Cruise Line's webpage:

This morning, this announcement appeared on < this part of the official Disney Cruise Line website >, dated about an hour ago:

    Important Information

    Tropical Weather Update

    As of 10 a.m. Monday, August 28, 2006:


    We are currently monitoring Tropical Storm Ernesto very closely as it moves through the Western Caribbean and are prepared to make itinerary changes if needed.

    However, at this time, there have been no changes in the August 31, 2006 sailing of the Disney Wonder. Guests on this voyage < should check back here for regular updates throughout the week >..

    The safety of our guests and crew is always our top priority. If necessary, our Captains are always prepared to alter the ships' itineraries to navigate away from inclement weather for the safety and well being of our guests.


:hurricane: :thumbsup:

I'll also post this information in the Disney Echo's Disney Cruise Line forum.
:shipcaptain:

Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 28, 2006, 11:19 am

Disney Echo members live in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia and on up the Atlantic Coast.  So keep them in your thoughts and prayers as this track keeps easterly.  They are going to have to prepare, some of them, even though if Ernesto stays on this track and in the ocean and not on land the coastlines are on the easier side of it.  It's Labor Day weekend, the last hurrah of summer, and plans might be to head to beaches that weekend, the hotels, restaurants, shops and services may suffer some cancellations and loss of businesses.  And we don't want our members to have damage or hardships, either, or difficulty with travel if they choose routes to/from WDW near coastal areas.

If you are travelling, Google "State Department of Transportation (name of state)" along your route to/from WDW as weather conditions continue to evolve.  A lot of states have evacuation routes away from coastlines, and Interstates and state roads may be clogged with evacuees or the "contraflow" idea I described a few messages back, where all lanes of highways and Interstates are reversed so all lanes flow out and away from evacuation areas.  If you Google then explore various states' highway departments they have road closure info, and they do update their websites when emergencies happen.

If you are merely vacationing in your own state along the Atlantic coast, or you are WDW bound or home bound from WDW, you'll want to find the road closure info either online or each state's Welcome Center, particularly in hurricane season if something is brewing.  At Welcome Centers they can inform you and advise you on possible alternate routes.  In terms of miles, perhaps out of the way, in terms of time saved not sitting in traffic a more efficient use of your car's gasoline and moving forward in your travel.

Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 28, 2006, 11:28 am

Quote (CarolKoster @ Aug. 28, 2006 09:50 am/pm)
When Katrina made landfall...  Let's pretend New Orleans had -0- levees, but the storm still happened as it did.  New Orleans would only have gotten wind damage and no or little flooding because it happened to be on the easier western half of the storm...

Well, you've exaggerated quite a bit, Carol... Perhaps if you had written "Let's pretend New Orleans had -0- levee failures..." then your point would be more valid.

The storm surge in St. Bernard Parish and New Orleans East would have still pushed water over the tops of some of the levees and into the low-lying areas there not protected by the levee system -- and even along the northern boundary of Orleans parish there would have been overtopping of the levees due to all the water which had been pushed into Lake Pontchartrain. New Orleans East, the Lakefront Airport, and parts of the Lakeview part of Orleans Parish would still have had some flooding -- not to mention very bad devastation in eastern St. Tammany Parish including Slidell, as well as the parts of the metro area south and east of Orleans Parish still taking the first damage from Hurricane Katrina.

But overall, your point about which side of the hurricane it is better to be on, from a wind perspective, is a good one.
:hurricane:

Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 28, 2006, 2:35 pm

As of the 2 pm EDT storm advisory from the National Hurricane Center Ernesto's track moves farther to the east all the time!  It's more to the east than this morning when Rich and I posted to this thread!

Good news for highly populated sections of Florida, bad news for beach resorts, Cape Canaveral (shuttle launch) and Bahamian islands and cruise ship interests, and maritime interests.  Bad news also for the East Coast of the US.

This year a lot of weather experts theorized the tropical storms and hurricanes would go more along the East Coast than in other years.  And as Ernesto's track moves easterly with every update (every three hours there is a new advisory issued, next one is 5 pm Eastern) that prediction so far is bearing out.

Go to:

< http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ >

Find "Tropical Storm Ernesto" (or the name of the storm or hurricane of the day, you get the idea) and click on "5-Day Cone and Warnings" graphic.  For a larger view, click on the graphic again.

Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 28, 2006, 5:37 pm

Even better news! The < latest tracking map > from the National Hurricane Center at 5 pm EDT (released early) has moved the projected path of Ernesto even further to the east (right side of the map), having it hug the eastern Florida coast as it goes northerly, barely coming onshore in southern Florida at all -- but even better, it is shown at that point to only be a Tropical Storm, not a hurricane!
 :coolgrin:

Castaway Cay is not in the cone of probability for the projected path on the latest map, but the most likely path has it coming onshore in the Miami area and heading north, going over Port Canaveral, then heading out into the Atlantic Ocean.
:shipcaptain:

They do have Ernesto projected to be a hurricane when it makes landfall along the South Carolina coast, however.
:hurricane:

Posted by: dawginfla on Aug. 28, 2006, 6:34 pm

No crazy lines for gas in the Orlando area, yet. I'm thinking Wednesday might be a "snow" day for us. No work or school. We'll just have to wait and see. I know I've been in Florida too long when I say to myself, "Oh, it's just a Tropical Storm. 40 mph winds, no problem".

P.S.- They've already started putting up the Osborne Christmas lights at Disney-MGM studios. :santa:

Posted by: JacquiBee on Aug. 28, 2006, 11:23 pm

I've been watching the Weather Channel's coverage in S. Florida and it looks like people are filling up their cars and the stations are running out of gas...wow.

I thought of a few other emergency supplies...powdered milk and cereal.  It seems silly, in a way, but since I'm bringing water anyway, if there is a massive storm, I can at least eat Count Chocula (see other thread)...LOL.  I also am going to bring my big dual halogen flashlight.  It has rechargeable batteries and a car charger, so I'll be good as long as the truck's battery doesn't fail.  Plus, it's really bright and cool...so I probably would have brought it for our evening strolls on the beach.

I'm so glad that Ernesto seems to be passing most of FL by...but I will keep the Eastern Seaboard in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by: jac1992 on Aug. 29, 2006, 10:25 am

06:19 AM EDT Tue-Aug-29
The National Weather Service has issued a HURRICANE STATEMENT
Florida counties
Brevard, Indian River, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Volusia

These bulletins are currently in effect for your area:

Brevard
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH

Highlands
HURRICANE STATEMENT

Indian River
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH

Lake
HURRICANE STATEMENT

Orange
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH

Osceola
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH

Polk
HURRICANE STATEMENT

Seminole
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH

Volusia
HURRICANE STATEMENT
FLOOD WATCH

Looks like Disneys Vero Beach Resort will be hit again by a hurricane and looks like Orlando could be hit hard according to this.

Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 30, 2006, 11:11 am

I haven't been keeping this topic up to date in the last day because (1) conditions haven't warranted it due to Ernesto becoming less of a threat all the time, (2) links were posted to the National Hurricane Center as well as advice for those affected to check out the latest updates there, and (3) I've been very busy with coverage in New Orleans yesterday of the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

But after all that, plus needed rest, this morning what at one point was Hurricane Ernesto, then downgraded to Tropical Storm Ernesto, with its forecast track first being to have it hit the Florida panhandle, then hug the west coast of Florida, then changed to be forecasted to go along the east coast of Florida, was changed once again to take a more westerly track over the peninsula of Florida, heading north along southern Florida, central Florida where WDW is, and then out into the Atlantic Ocean.

This morning, Ernesto was just now downgraded to just a Tropical Depression!
:clapping:

That is very good news! Basically, southern and central Florida -- and Walt Disney World -- will have a blustery day, as Winnie the Pooh would put it, along with rain and thunderstorms -- however what is left of Ernesto is a very weak, and relatively dry, storm system. But the blustery-ness of it isn't going to be too bad at all: The maximum sustained winds of it are about 35 mph with some higher gusts, but not much higher and nothing to worry about, really. There will be a lot of rainfall and gusty winds, but this isn't even a Tropical Storm any longer. the latest National Hurricane Center advisory which just came out this hour has the center of Tropical Depression Ernesto near latitude 26.4 north, longitude 80.9 west -- about 55 miles west-southwest of West Palm Beach, Florida and about 115 miles east-southeast of Sarasota, Florida. It is moving north at about 10 mph and the < latest projected path map > shows the storm heading back out into the Atlantic Ocean late today/tonight, probably in the Port Canaveral area -- and becoming a weak Tropical Storm sometime around then, probably after leaving the land areas and over the warm ocean water again.

Walt Disney World will be on the west side of the storm's path, and really doesn't have anything to worry about. It will most likely be like a typical summertime day there today, similar to when there are normal thunderstorms and rain. There is the possibility of 3 to 6 inches of rain in areas close to the track of Ernesto as it moves across the Florida peninsula.

Hakuna Matata, y'all!
:bowdown:

Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 31, 2006, 1:48 pm

There were no problems in the Orlando area at WDW or the other parks as the tropical depression went through the area. Ernesto is back out in the Atlantic now, and has strengthened back to Tropical Storm status as was expected.

    < Tropical Storm Ernesto Local Statement >

    August 31, 2006 11:48 am EDT

    National Weather Service Wilmington NC

    Tropical Storm Ernesto will impact the Carolinas through tonight
    [...]
    A hurricane watch has been added. At this time, Ernesto is not forecast to become a hurricane. However, further strengthening would require the issuance of a hurricane warning. A tropical storm warning is in effect along the coast from the South Santee River in South Carollina to Surf City, North Carolina. Tropical storm conditions are forecast today into tonight. A flood watch is in effect through midnight for heavy rain across the area. A wind advisory is in effect for inland counties.

    At 11 am EDT, the center of Tropical Storm Ernesto was located near latitude 31.3 north - longitude 79.6 west - or about 150 miles south of Georgetown, South Carolina and about 200 miles south-southwest of Southport, North Carolina. Areas of rain associated with Ernesto are circulating on the coast and moving inland across the area.

    Ernesto was turning slightly and was moving toward the north-northeast near 17 mph. On this forecast track the center of Ernesto is expected to brush Georgetown this evening and move inland near the North Carolina state line before midnight. Ernesto is then forecast to move into coastal plains of eastern North Carolina early Friday morning.

    Ernesto has become more organized - and maxium sustained winds are near 60 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours.
    [...]
    Take advantage of the daylight hours to rush preparations to completion before the weather deteriorates later today. Secure loose objects and prepare for heavy rain.


EchoEars, if the projected path of Ernesto affects you -- either where you live or during your travels this week on a Disney vacation, please monitor the National Hurricane Center online for the latest information, as well as your local weather advisories on TV and the radio because after this reply I probably won't be posting updates about Ernesto's future movement after this one. Note that what I've quoted above isn't the entire advisory, so if it affects you I recommend < clicking here > to read the entire thing.

EchoEars, I have found an article about how WDW and Orlando in general dealt with Ernesto, and I'll be posting that here in my next reply.

Posted by: RichKoster on Aug. 31, 2006, 2:07 pm

< Ernesto a breeze except at OIA >

Tourists found the usual attractions open, but canceled flights stranded hundreds at the airport.


By Beth Kassab, Orlando Sentinel Staff Writer

August 31, 2006

To find Central Florida's victims of downgraded storm Ernesto, look no further than the Southwest Airlines ticket counter at Orlando International Airport.

Southwest, Orlando's largest carrier, canceled nearly all of its flights in and out of the city Wednesday, leaving hundreds scurrying to find a Plan B and likely leading to confusion and congestion at the airport this morning.

"Our husbands have gone to find us a hotel room," said Shelley White as she waited with her friend and their children on the floor at the Southwest ticket counter.

The group of eight spent the past 10 days at Walt Disney World's Pop Century resort and wanted to make it back home to Albany, N.Y., on Wednesday in time to shop and get organized before the start of school next week. Instead, they were told, the earliest they can get on a flight out will be Saturday.

"We've been on cruises during hurricanes before so we weren't worried about it," White said of the storm, but her family bought travel insurance before they left just in case.

That turned out to be a smart move. They now get $150 per person to help pay for each extra day they spend in town stranded by the weather.

Orlando-based AirTran Airways also canceled 70 flights in Florida and delayed more, leaving a smaller but equally irked wake of passengers.

"If our flight is delayed, we'll miss our connection," said Lisa Krebs, who was waiting at the AirTran counter to fly home with her children to Virginia Beach, Va.

They arrived at the airport nearly four hours early after the rain started to pick up late in the afternoon at SeaWorld.

"We figured it wasn't going to get any better so we just left and came here," Krebs said.

Southwest expected two flights to leave Orlando on Wednesday night to Fort Myers and Fort Lauderdale. Both the Dallas-based carrier and AirTran anticipate beginning normal operations today.

Returning to normal is also the order of the day for Port Canaveral, which shut down Wednesday. Thousands of cruise passengers are expected at the port today and will leave as scheduled, though likely a few hours late.

The port expects to get the official OK to reopen from the U.S. Coast Guard this morning after the agency checks to make sure the wind and rain did not disturb its navigational markers and other equipment.

"Due to the lack of severity of this storm, I don't anticipate any problem" with the Disney and Carnival cruise line ships setting sail today, said port Chief Executive Officer Stanley Payne.

Ernesto's weak wallop gave Orlando's main tourism operators reason to be optimistic as well.

"You couldn't tell by the crowd that anything was going on," said Disney spokesman Jacob DiPietre of the scene at the Magic Kingdom.

With weather that barely rivaled a typical afternoon thunderstorm, Ernesto is unlikely to have scared away the crowds for this weekend's Labor Day holiday -- typically the last big money weekend for the local tourist-driven economy until Thanksgiving.

At Universal CityWalk on Wednesday, Marcelo Mello said he arrived in town with his family last week from Brazil and is staying through the weekend.

"We weren't going to change our plans," said Mello, 29. "I'm not worried; I don't think Orlando is a bad city for hurricanes. Miami, I am a little more afraid of."

< Read the entire article here. >



< The perfect snore -- what storm? >

By Erika Hobbs, Orlando Sentinel Staff Writer

August 31, 2006

When Tropical Storm Ernesto seemed to get lost Wednesday in the Everglades, many Central Floridians shifted their attention to fighting boredom.

Premiere Cinemas, a 14-screen theater at Orlando Fashion Square mall, sold out some of its matinees.

"We were at least four times as busy for a late summer weekday," assistant manager Ryan Leyhue said.

Some families whiled away the gray day at a kiddie concert featuring The Wiggles at Disney-MGM Studios.

"People went thinking that there weren't going to be a lot of people there," said Amy Hudgins, a mother of two who lives in the Dr. Phillips area of Orlando. "But there were tons of kids."

Hudgins said she and her children, ages 3 and 5, originally wanted to go "puddle jumping" after the rain early Wednesday. "But we walked down the street and only found one puddle."

Downgraded early Wednesday to a depression, Ernesto regained tropical-storm status on entering the Atlantic late Wednesday night.

Earlier, in Cocoa Beach, more than 100 surfers partied.

"Thank you, Ernesto!" shouted Ross Muscolino, 19, one of five University of Central Florida students who drove to the coast in search of waves churned up by the storm.

Given a choice between the beach and his human-species class, "I would much rather be here," said buddy Justin Appel, 19.

Across Central Florida, people fought hurricane hangover. Many said they weren't sure what to make of the constant, vivid media reports about Ernesto and the mostly rainless landscape they saw outside.

< Read the entire article here. >



< Central Florida keeps its cool >

Parks, malls to open today despite storm


By Mark Chediak, Christopher Boyd and Beth Kassab, Orlando Sentinel Staff Writers

August 30, 2006 (Yesterday as I repost this... -Rich)

Central Florida residents reacted with a shrug Tuesday as Tropical Storm Ernesto sloshed its way toward the peninsula.

The greatest demand seemed to be for gasoline, with some stations reporting brief fuel outages as cautious drivers topped off their tanks or filled gas cans -- just in case.

At grocery stores and hardware chains, shoppers streamed in looking for last-minute supplies, but nobody appeared to be hitting the panic button.

Chris Ho, who picked up an extra case of water at an Orlando-area Costco, summed up the general sentiment when asked if she was worried about Ernesto: "No, not really."

Orlando International Airport said nearly all flights from South Florida had been delayed or canceled, and Port Canaveral said it would shut down late Tuesday night.

But with forecasters predicting nothing more than a big, rainy mess, businesses ranging from the area's three main theme parks to hotels to shopping malls said they expected to be open today. Here's a look at how various parts of the area's economy are dealing with the storm.

Theme parks, airport

Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando said they're continuing to monitor the storm, but they plan to welcome visitors today. SeaWorld expects to close a few hours early.

Those traveling through Orlando International should anticipate some cancellations and delays, but the airport plans to stay open today, said spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell.

A number of airlines have announced flexible cancellation policies for passengers whose flights are scrubbed because of the storm.

Port Canaveral is scheduled to remain closed today and reopen Thursday morning. Officials expect Disney and Carnival cruise ships to dock there by midday Thursday, later than usual.

"I've got my fingers crossed that this will be a minimal impact event," port Chief Executive Officer Stanley Payne said.

Hotels

Central Florida hotels said the storm has had little effect on business.

"I think most people are calling for information and hedging their bets," said Kim Stephenson, reservation director for Rosen Hotels & Resorts in Orlando. "Some have asked about our generators and whether we accept pets, but there are really no takers to speak of yet."

Pat Engfer, general manager of Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport, said several Florida-based groups that had meetings scheduled in Orlando had canceled, but business hadn't suffered.

Retailers

Taking their cue from the theme parks, major regional malls said they planned to swing open their doors today while keeping a close eye on the storm.

"We are going to be open in full force, as it stands right now," said Rudy Alberts, general manager of Orlando Fashion Square mall. Other malls expected to operate under normal business hours include the Volusia Mall, the Florida Mall, Altamonte Mall and the Mall at Millenia.

Grocery stores and big-box hardware retailers also said they plan to remain open. While shoppers on Tuesday continued to stock up on bottled water, canned goods, batteries, gas cans and other goods, retailers said there were plenty of supplies left in the pipeline.

Gas was a different story. Some stations across Central Florida reported sporadic outages on Tuesday as motorists topped off their tanks and filled up cans for power generators.

At the Costco in east Orange County, large lines of drivers patiently waited for a turn at the pump.

The station had temporarily run out of regular by midafternoon and was offering customers premium fuel at the price of its regular gas until a refueling truck arrived.

"We're seeing more gas cans today," said station supervisor Trish Colbert, who added lines started forming at 6 a.m. on Tuesday. "We're hoping to get another shipment soon."

< Read the entire article here. >

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 01, 2006, 9:38 pm

Good news for those thinking about heading to WDW or another southeast U.S. Disney destination this hurricane season -- weather experts downgrade Hurricane season AGAIN!

Of course, that is bad news for Al Gore who said all the experts agreed that Global Warming would have this year's hurricane season be far, far worse than ever before.
:eyebrow:

This is the second time this year that the experts have downgraded their forecasts for the 2006 hurricane season!
:clapping:
:hurricane:

< Hurricane forecast team downgrades season's expectations to 5 Atlantic hurricanes, from 7 >

By Robert Weller, Associated Press

September 1, 2006

DENVER -- Hurricane forecaster William Gray's team downgraded its expectations for the 2006 Atlantic storm season Friday, calling for a slightly below-average year, with only five hurricanes instead of the seven previously forecast.

Two of the hurricanes will be intense, according the team, based at Colorado State University.

Last spring, Gray's team called for 17 named storms to form in the Atlantic basin during the June through November hurricane season. As of Friday, five had formed, including Tropical Storm Ernesto, which briefly became the season's first hurricane last week and was moving through North Carolina on Friday.

The average for the Atlantic basin is 9.6 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes and 2.3 intense hurricanes per year.

The National Hurricane Center has also lowered its Atlantic storms forecast since the 2006 season began. In May, it predicted 13 to 16 named storms and eight to 10 hurricanes, with as many as six major ones. In early August, the hurricane center revised that to between 12 and 15 storms and seven to nine hurricanes.

The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season set a record with 28 named storms and 15 hurricanes, including Katrina, which hit one year ago this week and devastated the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 02, 2006, 6:46 pm

Just keep downgrading the season!    That's right!  C'mon!  A little more... Now a little more from that... Keep going... 'til there's no expectation of any storms!

We can all rest easy with THAT kind of news!  

So keep on decreasing...  You can do it... Little hurricane engine that can't....  decrease now, go ahead, keep decreasing....

'Til we're out of the month of September, however, it is one of the two peak months of hurricane season, 'til we're out of this month...  Don't "assume" anything is over 'til it's over, and when November 30 the official end of hurricane season comes, THEN the collective sigh of relief can take place.

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 03, 2006, 7:16 pm

Will this be Hurricane Florence heading to the Walt Disney World / Castaway Cay area next week?

We have another tropical depression in the Atlantic, with its own "cone of doom" already...



Click here or the map to see it much larger.


For the latest information about this, go to the National Hurricane Center, but as I write this what they're currently predicting what could be Hurricane Florence to intensify from its current tropical storm status, possiblity become a hurricane by this Thursday afternoon. That forecast track doesn't look good for the Bahamas, where the Disney Cruise Line's private island of Castaway Cay is located, or to DCL's homeport of Port Canaveral -- nor for the entire peninsula of Florida, including the Walt Disney World area.

Of course, it is still many days away and the forecast map might move the projected path of the storm one way or another by the time it makes landfall.

This is what the computer forecast models look like for where the hurricane might go:



According to meteorologist < Jeff Masters >:
Quote
Three of the major models--the GFS, UKMET, and GFDL--do develop this system into a strong tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane by six days from now. The system is moving west-northwest at 10-15 mph, and these models all indicate that the long-range path of the storm will be north of the Lesser Antilles Islands.


But there is good news -- although anything could happen at this point...
Quote
The GFS predicts the storm will become a powerful hurricane that will recurve a few hundred miles off the U.S. East Coast without hitting land.

-Jeff Masters


What that means is, the hurricane's path might take a curve away from mainland U.S. land areas, and stay out in the Atlantic. Maybe.

Let's hope so. Pray, too! :praying:

:hurricane:

As I say, though, anything can happen this far out.

For example, take a look at what Hurricane Betsy did in 1965...


It started off with folks thinking it would stay out in the Atlantic, then took a change of direction and looked like it was coming to make landfall along the North Carolina coast, then it turned south and went by southern Florida and finally to where it made landfall in southeast Louisiana.
:uhoh:

But that was then, this is now -- right? :praying:

Anyway, it is far too early to know what the ultimate path of the hurricane will be -- even though at this point all the computer models show that it will eventually take a turn for the north at some point, which would mean that if it did hit the U.S. it would be the Atlantic coast areas dealing with this storm and not anyplace in the gulf of Mexico like Betsy did. Then again, this many days away nobody can really put great confidence in the computer models...
:uhoh:

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 05, 2006, 12:20 pm

The disturbance is now Tropical Storm Florence, as of this morning. I've updated the graphics in my above reply.
Posted by: jac1992 on Sep. 07, 2006, 11:41 am

I have some good news for ya'll!

Look at the latest 5 day forecast!



Looks like it will take a turn away from the atlantic!

Fingers crossed it will

Lets hope it stays that way

Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 07, 2006, 12:47 pm

Uh, well, it's IN the Atlantic! ;)  Heh!

Maybe you mean "away from populated land masses"...  In which case, yay!

However...

Statistically the peak of hurricane season is within August and September, the peak day is September 10, and September isn't over yet.  

The anniversary of Hurricane Rita which devastated the coastline of west Louisiana and east Texas was September 23 a year ago.

My hometown of Mobile, Alabama got Hurricane Frederic September 12, 1979.

Hurricane Jeanne happened around the start of October 2004, went near Orlando.

Near term:  Looking great!

But keep that prayer/pixie dust action flowing and towards the tropics.  Anything can happen.  But it's sure encouraging the worst so far this year is Ernesto (as bad as that soggy mess was) .  Hoping it stays that way!

Posted by: jac1992 on Sep. 07, 2006, 2:39 pm

Carol, hard day at work today. Thats what I meant  :p
Posted by: jac1992 on Sep. 08, 2006, 12:09 pm

Looks like there was an updated image on that link so it now shows the latest image.
It looks like it will hit some land but not sure what part  :p
Can someone help me out?

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 08, 2006, 12:12 pm

Jack, Canada is shown in the cone of probability -- and very close to the dotted line which is the average of the projected paths. I'm not up on Canadian geography enough to say for sure what part of Canada -- I'll hazard a guess "Nova Scotia?" Other EchoEars will know, that's for sure.

That is quite a huge right turn they show the storm taking -- this far out there still is a possiblity it will go someplace else, so this still needs to be watched even for those in the U.S.

Update: I've just checked, and Nova Scotia is the part of Canada on that map which the cone is skirting, going very close to there as well as a tiny tip (as of this writing). But the biggest part of the section of Canada the current projected map shows it over Newfoundland/Labrador, according to the help I just got from < world66.com >.

Posted by: jac1992 on Sep. 09, 2006, 11:28 am

I just saw on Fox that Tropical Storm Florence has strengthned as it approaches Bermuda
Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 09, 2006, 12:35 pm

Tourists in Bermuda, hang onto those little paper umbrellas in your tropical drinks!
Posted by: jac1992 on Sep. 10, 2006, 5:52 am

Uh oh!
Tropical Storm Florence has gathered more strength and now a Hurricane.
Watch Out Bermunda!

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 10, 2006, 10:16 pm

Yes, Hurricane Florence is going to be passing by Bermuda with the strongest winds hitting the island, bad for them. Then it is forecasted to go off in the Atlantic and next make landfall at Newfoundland.
:hurricane:

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 11, 2006, 9:23 pm

The bad news is that we now have Tropical Storm Gordon which has formed in the Atlantic today.

The good news is that forecasters predict it will follow Hurricane Florence -- and maybe even have a northerly track more to the east of Florence (which would be good for Bermuda).

The bad news is that the < National Hurricane Center > expects Gordon to intensify into Hurricane Gordon.

The good news is that it would not be a powerful hurricane, so once again we're seeing that this hurricane season looks to be less intense and less active than forecasters first predicted -- and more good news that they think it will mainly be travelling over the Atlantic waters, only of passing interest to fish and ships which aren't paying attention.
:hurricane:

Here is what the National Hurricane Center wrote about Hurricane Florence's impact on Bermuda:
Quote
Even though Florence passed about 48 nautical miles west and northwest of Bermuda, they were very close to the radius of maximum winds... Observations indicate that the island experienced hurricane force winds.

This is a good reminder that a hurricane is not just a point on the map...and that damaging winds can be experienced well away from the center.

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 13, 2006, 1:00 am

Tropical Storm Gordon is now a hurricane, following roughly the same path as Hurricane Florence, but far to the east of it so it will not be a threat to Bermuda or any land masses.

And another tropical depression has now formed way off in the eastern Atlantic Ocean near Africa. This one is expected to follow a similar path as Gordon, not affecting anyone. It is expected to strengthen into Tropical Storm Helene, then Hurricane Helene by sometime Saturday.
:hurricane:

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 14, 2006, 7:51 am

More good news! :clapping: :praying:

Hurricane Gordon, which has become a powerful Category 3 storm, is still out in the Atlantic with no threat to any land areas -- and the tropical depression has been upgraded to Tropical Storm Helene, but it is still far off in the Atlantic near Africa, also not expected to affect land areas.

:hurricane:

And then there's even more good news here about what might happen during the rest of this year's hurricane season:



Quote
< El Nino weather pattern forms in Pacific >

By Rene Pastor, Reuters

September 13, 2006

El Nino, an extreme warming of equatorial waters in the Pacific Ocean that wreaks havoc with world weather conditions, has formed and will last into 2007, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Wednesday.

The El Nino has already helped make the Atlantic hurricane season milder than expected, said a forecaster for the NOAA.

"The weak El Nino is helping to explain why the hurricane season is less than we expected. El Ninos tend to suppress hurricane activity in the Atlantic," said Gerry Bell, a hurricane forecaster for NOAA.

The NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said the El Nino probably will spur warmer-than-average temperatures this winter over western and central Canada and the western and northern United States.

It said El Nino also will cause wetter-than-average conditions in the U.S. Gulf Coast and Florida, and spark dry conditions in the Ohio valley, the Pacific Northwest and most U.S. islands in the tropical Pacific.

In Asia and South America, the last severe El Nino killed hundreds of people and caused billions of dollars in damage as crops shriveled across the Asia-Pacific basin. This El Nino has caused drier-than-average conditions across Indonesia, Malaysia and most of the Philippines.

Indonesia is the most populous Moslem country with over 200 million people, while the Philippines have nearly 90 million. Both are major importers of U.S. grains.

The CPC Web site said surface temperatures were substantially warmer than normal by early September in the Pacific. Scientists detect formation of El Ninos by monitoring sea surface temperatures with a system of buoys.

"Currently, weak El Nino conditions exist, but there is a potential for this event to strengthen into a moderate event by winter," Vernon Kousky, the chief El Nino expert at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said in a statement.

"The latest...predictions indicate El Nino conditions for the remainder of 2006 and into the northern hemisphere spring (of) 2007," the CPC Web site explained.

El Nino, which means 'little boy' in Spanish, hits once every three years or so. Anchovy fishermen in South America noticed the phenomenon in the 19th century and named it for the Christ child since it appeared around Christmas, and it normally peaks late in the year.

EL NINO HINDERS HURRICANES


One immediate impact of the El Nino is during the current Atlantic hurricane season, which follows on the heels of the record 28 storms and 15 hurricanes which struck in 2005.

Last year's howlers included monsters like Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. But this El Nino apparently has helped hinder storm formation in 2006. So far, there has only been seven tropical storms and two hurricanes halfway through the hurricane season, which begins June 1 and ends November 30.

Scientists said El Ninos disrupt storm formation because it allows wind shear to rip apart thunderstorms in the center of the hurricanes, reducing power and intensity as a result.

U.S. NORTHEAST IN FOR MILDER WINTER

An El Nino also usually leads to milder winter weather in the U.S. northeast, the top heating oil market in the world.

Bell said scientists will have a better idea in the fall how long this El Nino will last. "There's no way to say at this time how strong it is going to be. It's too early," he said.

The last severe El Nino struck in 1997/98. The weather phenomenon caused searing drought in Indonesia, Australia and the Philippines while causing rampant flooding in Ecuador and Chile, the world's top producer of copper.

The NOAA's climate prediction Web site is: < http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/product....ex.html >

(Additional reporting by Jim Loney in Miami)  





< I found the article here. >

Posted by: mtsbperry2000 on Sep. 14, 2006, 9:12 am

:thumbsup: This is really good news!
Posted by: CarolKoster on June 01, 2007, 5:55 pm

Hooooo boy.....

Today is the first day of annual hurricane season, June 1 - November 30.  And already we have a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico.  

"Barry" will head northeast, bringing much needed rain to alleviate drought conditions in Central Florida and points south to the tip of the peninsula.

A Fox News Channel reporter stood earlier this week in the lake bed of Lake Okeechobee (pardon errors in spelling), a lake relied on for helping supply fresh drinking water to South Florida.  Where he stood was tall grasses.  But it was supposed to be a boat launch.  The lake had dried up after years of drought, the real actual current shoreline was a mile behind the reporter.  Where he was standing, in better times, should have had five feet of water over his head.

Beneficial tropical weather patterns can in fact be good for the Gulf Coast and Florida areas, replenishing swamps and helping wildlife, replenishing drinking water supplies and helping farmers.  The same Fox New reporter stated the citrus crop in Florida was vulnerable to be lost due to the extended drought.

However, having tropical weather systems this early is troublesome.  In 2005 there were tropical storms the first week or so in June.  Of course it averaged, for the season, almost a storm a week, and that was the year of Katrina and Rita.

So it begins.  They say it might be a very very busy year with active storms.  Let's hope they all go "somewhere else" as in the 2006 hurricane season, and leave homeowners, businesses and navigation interests completely alone.




Links of interest to assist our site's members with trip planning, and hurricane contingencys:

< WDW's Hurricane Policy >

< Text summary of how WDW handled guests in the busy 2004 hurricane season, "know before you go."  This text is long, but filled with information you can use. >

Posted by: CarolKoster on July 29, 2007, 6:45 pm

Bumping to make more current.  The two peak months of activity of each hurricane season are August and September.  "Know before you go", read past postings to get a feel for what to expect.
Posted by: CarolKoster on June 30, 2010, 8:38 am

Ah yes, it's that time of year....

Please peruse within this Topic.  I know, a lot of pages, so tedious and painful.....unless you can glean essential travel back-up plan info out of it.  

How WDW handled the busy hurricane season of 2004 (four hurricanes went over the state of Florida in about two months time, three over Central Florida, and affected opening-closures of the Orlando attractions including WDW ) coalesced over time to be firm reliable policy for working with Guests when tropical weather approaches or arrives.

"Know before you go" and know what the lay of the land is during the months of June 1-November 30 (annual hurricane season ) and specifically August-September and a little spilling over into early October (the peak time of hurricane season with the most likelihood of tropical activity ) about what the policies are at WDW, hotels or condo or house rental, dining reservations, dinner show reservations, Cirque du Soleil, airline, ground transportation, tickets, refunds, being able to cancel or reschedule or cut your vacation short or staying in your hotel to ride things out....  What are their tropical weather policies?  How would you react or respond in case tropical weather came during your proposed dates of travel?  

If you "know before you go" and build the possibility of this into your planning, you'll have serenity and confidence to deal with it should tropical weather happen to you during your proposed dates of travel.

The relevant storms in 2004 were Charley, Frances and Jeanne between August-October of that year.

Most years, Central Florida escapes whatever tropical weather is going on, vacations go on as planned, happy memories result.

But just in case another storm blows through, get a handle on what to expect.  A majority of the time nothing happens, however statistics show that a 'minority of the time' is bound to happen to someone sooner or later, just by law of probability.  "Know before you go".  The weather folks are all excited this will be a particularly active hurricane season, and with Alex in the Gulf of Mexico while it's still June, this early, that is not usual and customary for a hurricane to form this early in the six-month season.

We here at Disney Echo simply want you to have a fun, carefree, well-planned vacation.  Not trying to alarm or scare anyone.  But if you can "know before you go" with your travel plans, and have a back-up Plan B in case of tropical weather this time of year falls in your dates of travel by knowing how your travel providers handle this kind of contingency, then in fact you will have a fun, carefree, well-planned vacation.   It's simply being a good, savvy, consumer.  :thumbsup:

Posted by: dawginfla on Sep. 28, 2010, 11:12 am

Tropical Depression 16 (formerly TS Matthew) is forecast to move toward Florida. Impacts in the Orlando area could be felt Wednesday night into Thursday morning.
Check out www.nhc.noaa.gov for updates on how this could impact your visit to WDW and central Florida.


Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 28, 2010, 12:09 pm

In 2004 four hurricanes went over Central Florida, three of them over Central Florida.  Disney and other hospitality industry providers in Central Florida came up with procedures for the safeguarding of their own properties as well as for refunding and rescheduling travellers who prefer not to be exposed to any tropical weather, or to shelter in place anyone in their hotels.  Among on-site evacuees would be campers and RV and trailer owners at Fort Wilderness Campground.

We do have existing topics about tropical weather and WDW.  I'll have Rich move this New Topic to one of the Existing Ones.  Within the Existing Topics is prior information to aid travellers or planners in knowing what to expect while at Disney World.

With that said....

When this Tropical Depression Formerly Known as Matthew comes over land, land staves a tropical weather system of what it needs to grown, strengthen and thrive:  Warm open waters.  Over land these weather things can diminish a lot.  If it's at #% MPH now, trust me, over land it'll just be very raining and windy but no big deal.

Since Hurricane Andrew in 1992 or so in south Florida the state of Florida has adopted new building construction codes known as Miami-Dade.  For tropical weather these are extremely strong, strict, codes.  If you find yourself at Disney sheltering in one of their hotels, rest assured you'll be fine.  Follow Disney's instructions to guests.  

Tropical weather season starts June 1, ends November 30, the peak day is around September 10, the two peak months of August-September.

While Disney offers a lot of enticing promotions and deals in September, know it's to offset the annual chance that a tropical weather system may form.  Most times everything is safe and sunny, and you're good to go.  A few times, like now in a particularly active season, one of these things are bound to come on shore somewhere out of your control and out of Disney's control.  Mother Nature is as part of routine life as breathing air.  

In the next day or so it'll be a little like a rainy windy day or two at WDW.  Trust me, you can deal, Disney is dealing, it'll be OK.  Disney appears to be on the western, "easier" side of this system.  If you're on the western side of the eye or center, it's not as hard, windy or as rainy as the eastern side is.  Trust me.  My husband and I have professional broadcasting and news coverage backgrounds, going back decades, including covering weather news.

It will be OK, windy, rainy for a couple of days at WDW.  This too shall pass.

Once you hit the first week of October, and that is next week BTW, the chances of tropical weather diminish as Gulf and Caribbean waters start to cool.  This is indeed an active season, though, and this year most storms head out to sea via the Atlantic seaboard.  It will be November 30 soon enough, then all thoughts of tropical weather can be put to bed, more or less, 'til next year's June 1 start of season.  

:thumbsup:  :pixiedust:

Posted by: dawginfla on Sep. 28, 2010, 12:50 pm

We don't expect high winds from this one but we could get some serious rain which would close some attractions and make visiting the parks a little more challenging.
Although the current track keeps us on the eastern side, tracks can change. If you're in Central Florida or coming today or tomorrow, just keep an eye on the weather.

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 28, 2010, 7:54 pm

Brian/dawginfla's new topic has been merged with this existing one: < HURRICANE CENTRAL: Storms and your Disney trip >
Posted by: dawginfla on Sep. 29, 2010, 11:10 am

TD 16, now TS Nicole's, track has moved farther east. This means less of a chance of rain and wind for WDW and the Orlando area. Good, I'm working at SSE for Extra Magic Hours tonight. Maybe guests can come out and enjoy EMH without bad rain and wind.
Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 29, 2010, 4:44 pm

Dawg, I think you have your  "east" and "west" mixed up re: the storm's track and where WDW might fall in relation to that.  

The western side of tropical weather systems are the easier side, less wind and rain, and the eastern side has more wind and rain.  If you think of a hurricane or tropical system as an analog clock and the storm's direction is pointing in the direction of 12 Noon, then the western side of the storm is 6 o'Clock through 12 o'clock (that's the easier less wind and rain side) and in this case that is the side of this new storm that WDW is on.  The storm's harder side with more wind and rain is the eastern side, and that is mostly out in the Atlantic or directly along the Florida Atlantic Coast.  Orlando is west of the Atlantic. :)  

As it moves more easterly along it's track it moves more towards out to sea, like previous storms this season, than not.  Consequently the western side which is the easier side moves east as well, thus putting Orlando and WDW less and less into a blustery day.

The bottom line:  As this storm tracks more easterly, it becomes a lot less of a big deal for Central Florida residents, visitors, tourists, etc.

The Epcot Food and Wine Experience is starting soon.  The next couple of days might be a bummer (no more a big deal than the word "bummer") but then it clears on out, the weather clears up, and all is well.

We're experiencing fall-like temperatures and dryer air now in Louisiana after a big front went through earlier this week.  Once this thing moves on out away from the Orlando area it should be glorious Epcot weather for those wanting to indulge in great food and beverages as well as the attractions.   Not so hot and sticky, more towards warm and pleasant, ideal weather vs, say, blazing sweaty July or August! :thumbsup:

The south east US routinely can have afternoon and evening little showers or thunder showers this time of year.  WDW sells cheap, cute, adult and child-size rain ponchos for when the sky might open up, they have logos on them or Mickey Mouse on them.  Just have one with you in case the weather forecast during your stay indicates a higher percentage of precipitation, wear shoes and clothes you don't care if they get wet.  And even with a bit of a tropical rainy breezy day going on, you'll be good to go.   :thumbsup:

In the event this was a more serious storm, of course the advice would be different.

Want to plan ahead for a future year's Disney World travel between June 1-November 30 (especially in peak hurricane months of August and September)?  Simply scroll back in this topic.  It's all been posted before, make the resource of practical helpful information work for you and your travel party's needs.  :thumbsup:

Posted by: dawginfla on Sep. 30, 2010, 11:31 am

Yesterday was one of the nicest days. No rain, no wind, but lots of guests at Epcot. Very busy for a Wednesday. Things will get even busier after the Food and Wine Festival opens on Friday.

Carol, I realized I goofed that up after it was too late to edit it. I-4 always messes me up, too. It is marked East/West but some of it runs almost due North/South in Orlando. Hard to remember which way you're headed.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Oct. 05, 2010, 7:06 pm

We are now 'way past the statistical peak of annual hurricane season (annually September 10 ) and we're on the downhill slide of less and less danger of tropical activity of any kind and tropical activity affecting Central Florida.

At the link scroll down the page and see the chart.  You can match what today's date is on the chart for yourself and see that odds are in favor of things calming down and the tropics making less and less weather news.  This chart merely shows what, statistically, are the high times and low times of annual hurricane season June 1-November 30, and is NOT a reflection of 2010 or any individual year.

< http://seekingalpha.com/article....is-here >

Now, the National Hurricane Center is keeping an eye on two areas of the Caribbean, but say there is not much chance of them forming into anything significant.

Due diligence means, though, you keep the pot that's being watched on the back of the stove and not on the front of the stove, don't remove it from the stove quite yet.  Anything weather-related can happen, weather can be quirky.

But most storms this year went out to open Atlantic waters, gave the East Coast some concerns, and some flooding, but no major direct hits.  In fact this is still a very active 2010 season, but not as active and traumatic as 2005, the year of Katrina and Rita and when there were so many named storms they ran out of A-Z names and resorted to letters of the Greek alphabet to name them all, or 2004, when Charley, Ivan, Frances and Jeanne hit Florida within about two months time and WDW had to close for Charley, Frances and Jeanne (four hurricanes, one state, about two months time....I remember it and they were suffering back then.)

Sprinkle some Pixie Dust and send out the prayers that weather-wise our favorite place in Florida and all Florida residents and businesses are kept safe for the remainder of 2010 hurricane season ending November 30.

:praying:   :pixiedust:  :pixiedust:

Posted by: CarolKoster on July 28, 2011, 9:31 am

Quote (CarolKoster @ Aug. 05, 2006, 9:17 am)
Take any reassurances you can if you are WDW-bound in any hurricane season, I'm adding boldface to Disney-specific points you may want to be aware of as you plan travel, however the entire article is pertinent:

< Storms to be less threatening to vacation plans >
Disney, Universal unveil new policies about hurricanes


By Scott Powers, Orlando Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted August 4, 2006

Aug 4, 2006

Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World want to ease tourists' fears about hurricanes by promising that if a storm gets in the way, people can get their money back.

Both parks announced new policies Thursday that allow vacationers to reschedule or cancel their theme park vacations, without any penalties, in the event of a hurricane.


SeaWorld also has a general policy allowing people to cancel or reschedule because of hurricanes, but it's informal. Still, SeaWorld officials insisted that they consider tropical storms and hurricanes "exceptional circumstances" that call for special consideration.

In Disney's case, vacationers can cancel or reschedule if the National Weather Service posts a hurricane warning for Orlando, or for their hometowns, within seven days of their planned arrivals.

Universal is offering people a chance to cancel or reschedule anytime a named storm threatens, whether or not a specific hurricane warning is issued for Orlando or their hometowns. Universal calls it a "no questions asked" policy.

Both companies said the new policies reflect their old practices, but now are formalized so that people booking vacations can be assured in advance that they can opt out if a hurricane bears down. Both companies posted their policies on their Web sites this week. ******

"The goal here is to eliminate stress and worry in the way people plan their vacations," Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said. "We've been doing the right thing for a long time. This just formalizes it."

Disney's policy covers people who booked their vacations through Disney, and includes most Disney World resort hotels.

"This is really about our guests being able to make reservations without reservation," Disney spokesman Rick Sylvain said.

Those Disney tourists who booked through travel agents or others might still be able to get their vacations rescheduled or canceled without penalties, but there may be some third-party rules to deal with, Sylvain said.


Universal's also covers hotels; Schroder said the time needed to make those arrangements is one reason the policy was announced now instead of in May, just before hurricane season began.

Schroder said Universal has not seen any dip in bookings associated with hurricane fears. Disney officials declined to discuss their bookings. But others watching the industry have noticed alarming trends.

A new Harris Interactive study finds that up to 23 percent of the 1,400 travelers surveyed would have concerns about visiting Orlando during the height of hurricane season, August and September.

The Central Florida travel research and advertising firm Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell this spring released a survey that reported that California had surpassed Florida for the first time as the vacation destination of choice -- and hurricane fears appeared to be an undercurrent.

"It was obvious to us that there is a concern in the marketplace tied to the unpredictable nature of summertime weather in Florida," Peter Yesawich, the agency's chief executive officer, said this spring.

The Harris study, released Thursday, also finds that people are most reassured if they know they can book with some sort of storm guarantee.

Walt Disney World President Al Weiss pointed out in a news release Thursday that since 1971 Disney parks failed to open only on two days due to weather.

Unfortunately, in the past two years Central Florida, like the entire Gulf Coast, has had its fill of hurricanes. Disney parks lost a full day to Hurricane Frances in 2004, along with one to Hurricane Floyd in 1999, and also had to close for partial days for Charley and Jeanne in '04 and Wilma last year.




Edited later to add:

****** < WDW's Official Tropical Storm Policy Link >

To find that link on your own:  Head to Disney.go.com, Disney's official website.  Go to "Destinations", choose WDW.  Scroll down a bit ont eh WDW homepage, on the lower left is a pull down menu with many options, one of those is "Tropical Storm Policy".  Click that.  Takes you to a Questions and Answers format Frequently Asked Questions where Disney tells you in writing online what their policy is.

Here is the text as it existed August 5, 2006.  Don't rely on this as I've posted it, since revisions can always be made by Disney!!!!  Instead DO check the link out to make sure you always will have the most updated information!  This is posted for informational purposes, but can be changed without Disney Echo being aware of it.  So to protect your travel investment, double check at the link to have the up-to-date official information.

Quoting dated material August 5, 2006, subject to change at any time:

Hurricane Policy FAQ

From June 1 to November 30, 2006, in the event a hurricane warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center for the Orlando area or for the guest's place of residence within 7 days before the scheduled arrival date, the guest may call in advance to reschedule or cancel their Walt Disney Travel Co. Magic Your Way vacation package without any cancellation or change fees imposed by Disney. This temporary policy also applies to most Walt Disney World Resort room-only reservations booked directly with Disney, as well as reservations at Disney's Vero Beach Resort or Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort in the event a hurricane warning is issued for those destinations.

Q. When does this temporary policy become effective?

Q. What can I do if a hurricane warning is issued?

Q. Will I be responsible for any cancellation or change fees or other amounts?

Q. What if I prefer to reschedule my vacation to a different date because of a hurricane warning? Will I be able to get my same accommodations?

Q. I received a special offer when I booked my vacation. If I reschedule will I get the same special offer?

Q. If I want to cancel or reschedule my vacation, what should I do with my airline tickets?

Q. I did not book my package through the Walt Disney Travel Co. Does this policy apply to my package too?

Q. I have a sports or group package. Does this policy apply to my package?

Q. When does this temporary policy become effective?
A. The temporary policy is effective in the event a hurricane warning is issued no more than seven (7) days before your scheduled arrival date by the National Hurricane Center for the Orlando area or for your place of residence. It is also effective in the event a hurricane warning is issued for the Vero Beach area or Hilton Head Island area for guests traveling to those destinations.


Q. What can I do if a hurricane warning is issued?
A. If a hurricane warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center for the Orlando area or for your place of residence no more than seven (7) days before your scheduled arrival date, you may call in advance to reschedule or cancel your Walt Disney Travel Co. Magic Your Way vacation package and most room only reservations (booked directly with Disney) without any cancellation or change fees imposed by Disney. This policy also applies to Disney's Vero Beach Resort or Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort in the event a hurricane warning is issued for those destinations.


Q. Will I be responsible for any cancellation or change fees or other amounts?
A. If you have products and services provided by third party suppliers included in your vacation, such as airlines, hotels, car rental agencies or vacation insurance companies, you will continue to be responsible for any non-refundable payments, as well as cancellation or change fees assessed by those suppliers. The policy does not apply to certain special events or dining experiences.


Q. What if I prefer to reschedule my vacation to a different date because of a hurricane warning? Will I be able to get my same accommodations?
A. If you are scheduled to arrive within seven (7) days of the hurricane warning, you may call us in advance to reschedule without Disney imposed change fee. All amounts you paid to Disney for rooms, park tickets, Disney dining plans and other Disney products and services will be applied toward your new reservation. Any discounts or free offers applicable to your original vacation will not apply to the rescheduled vacation. We cannot guarantee availability of similar accommodations for the new travel dates. The policy does not apply to certain special events and dining experiences.



Q. I received a special offer when I booked my vacation. If I reschedule will I get the same special offer?
A. All amounts you paid to Disney for rooms, park tickets, Disney dining plans and other Disney products and services will be applied toward your new reservation. Any discounts or free offers applicable to your original vacation will not apply to the rescheduled vacation. The policy does not apply to certain special events and dining experiences.



Q. If I want to cancel or reschedule my vacation, what should I do with my airline tickets?
A. If you booked your air travel through the Walt Disney Travel Co. and you want to reschedule, we will attempt to re-book your air travel. But remember, you will be responsible for any cancellation or change fees imposed by the airline. If you did not book your air travel through the Walt Disney Travel Co., you should contact the airline.



Q. I did not book my package through the Walt Disney Travel Co. Does this policy apply to my package too?
A. No, you should contact your travel agent or tour operator directly for information relating to the cancellation and change policies that apply to your package.


Q. I have a sports or group package. Does this policy apply to my package?
A. No, the policy only applies to Walt Disney Travel Co. Magic Your Way packages. It does not apply to sports, youth, or other group or special event rooms or packages and does not apply to meetings and conventions.

End of dated quoted material.



Edited later to add:

Other things to consider: Ask these providers for their hurricane policy information, too:

Car Rental Agencies

Airlines for Flight Cancellations or Changes (Orlando airport will close at some point, will reopen when weather conditions are deemed safe, but flights will discontinue or resume as per individual airlines, so don't call the airport, contact your airline, and the Orlando airport is NOT a hurricane shelter)

Taxi Companies

Towncar Companies

Shuttle Services (such as Mears busses or other services airport-resort-airport)

Off-Site Hotels, Condominiums, Short-Term Rental Housing

Give Kids The World (Resort for terminally ill or chronically ill travellers to Central Florida attractions)

Competing theme parks and attractions (Universal Orlando, Sea World, Wet n Wild, others)

Dining Reservations On-Site, Off-Site

Tour companies

Show and Dinner Shows On-Site, Off-Site

Rentals and Services You Contract For (Renting wheelchairs or medical assistance equipment, veternarians, pet boarding, spas, child care in your resort room, ill person nursing or care giving companies you use when you travel)

Disney Cruise Line

Any Other Cruise Company

Your Travel Agent(s)

Your Online Travel Agency (Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, etc.)

Any other travel entity you work with and pay advance deposits with

Travel insurance and what it does and doesn't cover

Your employer, if you're having trouble coming back timely due to weather emergencies

Your children's school, if you're having trouble coming back timely due to weather emergencies

Your credit card issuer, if you charged travel expenses and deposits but your plans change due to emergency weather conditions




"Know before you go" what their policies are, get names and specifics in writing, and develop a contingency plan.

With sure facts come confidence.  "Know before you go" means you'll have the sure facts and hence the confidence to proceed with travel plans even in the peak months of hurricane season.

Read this Posting in the Quote Box and research any 2011 changes with any and all travel providers.  It's now the time of year of August-September-first week or two of October, the annual peak months of hurricane season.  Disney, airlines, ground transportation, hotels, restaurants, shows, parks for which you have admission tickets, car rental agencies, any rental agency for equipment or mobility equipment for others you contract with, etc. will be happen to reassure you in case of severe tropical weather approaching or already having happened what your options are for canceling, postponing, getting refunds or rain checks or early canceling if you're already there and want to leave before tropical weather that is announced arrives.  "Know before you go".
Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 23, 2011, 11:16 am

We've got Irene brushing the East coast of Florida soon, maybe a Category 2, or possibly 3 or 4 hurricane.  Just a reminder to scroll back in this Topic if you are WDW or Disney Cruise Line-bound soon, and remind yourself to get familiar with Disney's various hurricane and tropical weather policies dealing with cancellations, postponements, rain checks and reimbursements and refunds in case tropical weather bothers you.  Hurricane season ends annually November 30.  The heaviest activity months for tropical storm activity are August and September.  "Know before you go", and you'll be prepared for any contingency with confidence and solid information, just in case....   :pixiedust:  :thumbsup:  :hurricane:
Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 27, 2011, 9:02 pm

My husband Rich Koster, Site Administrator for Disney Echo, has found out WDW is giving room discounts to WDW vacationers "stuck" at WDW hotels due to cancellations of flights to airports within the path of hurricane Irene.  What a way to be "stuck", and if you have to be "stuck" unable to fly due to cancellations of flights to where you live because of hurricane Irene going up the East Coast, at least being "stuck" at WDW for Disney fans is not a bad thing, not a bad thing at all!  Discounted rooms to those affected....  very classy of Disney! :bowdown:
Posted by: CarolKoster on May 19, 2012, 11:09 am

It's that time of year again.... Recent news reports indicate the start of annual tropical weather season with some weather disturbances that the nervous-Nellie weather folks breathlessly can't wait to report.  Annual calendar dates of Hurricane Season are June 1-November 30, but Mother Nature sometimes pays no attention to calendars or weather forecasters and does whatever Mother Nature wants, including creating tropical activity weeks before the calendar says she's supposed to.

Here at Disney Echo we're into promoting what the Boy Scouts advocate "be prepared".  Preparation means a calm and educated, planned response to anything that can come up.  "Response".  Not "reaction" like "Arrrrrgh!  What do I do, what do I do....!?!?!?!? "

So "be prepared."

Each part of the US has their annual season of severe weather.  It's simply a part of life, day in, day out, year in, year out.  For the Gulf Coast and East Coast including Florida hurricane season is just plain ol' June 1-November 30 with the peak months being August-September into early October.  Some years have heavy activity, some years light.  Some years the steering currents and other factors steer what hurricanes there are to always certain places and not others, then in another year the storms head primarily somewhere else.  Law of averages means someday a storm or storms could cover Central Florida as they did in August-October 2004 when four hurricanes hit Florida with two of them going right over WDW.  Since hen Central FL relatively lucky....  But someday a storm or storms could cause travel difficulties, having to shelter in place at WDW while on vacation, or postponing a trip there in the nick of time.

So annually I bump this and another couple or related topics up to refresh them and create the awareness "know before you go" and have a Plan B contingency plan in case tropical weather might affect your WDW or Disney Cruise Line travel plans.

Ideally, look around via Google, Disney.go.com and Disney World or Disney Cruise Line official sites, or phone WD Travel Co., or travel agents, and find their tropical weather cancellation and postponement policies.  Dittoes for other travel providers (airlines, shuttle services, stage show or dinner show productions, rental car agencies, time shares, house rentals, etc.).  If "search" doesn't work but you have a phone number, then pick up the phone, call, and ask a live human being what these policies are.  If you're in a binding contract with these people or entities and a tropical storm approaches and that bothers you, can you cancel or postpone without penalty?  If you're at Disney and want out before your trip is finished will there be flights and transportation to the airport, and will the hotel or dinner or stage shows refund your money if you feel you want to leave before bad weather happens?

Travel insurance in case of annual tropical weather season problems can possibly help you recoup at least part of your overall vacation expenses....ask around and investigate.

And you can do nothing.  The odds are that even in August and September and October any storms that form go somewhere else and WDW is going to be OK, hakuna matata, no worries.  

But.... 2004 can and did happen, with two storms going right over WDW between August and early October, one going near there, the fourth hitting the Panhandle.  While majority odds might indicate you're safe, minority odds and history repeating itself is a real factor.  And the year of spectacular hurricane Katrina, 2005, actually had so many tropical storms and named hurricanes that the first ones happened in early June, kept on 'til December, and they had to resort to naming storms the letters of the Greek alphabet because they used up A-Z.  Just sayin'....

Having a contingency plan in case you need it is just practical and prudent, considering how expensive it can be to visit WDW or cruise on Disney Cruise Line.  Most people think August-September are the months before back to school, and never consider they are also the two peak months of hurricane season activity.  Disney generally offers some perks and incentives to distract from declining attendance as back to school and active hurricane season months happen... they see the discounts, want a final summer fling with the children and spouse, and get caught by surprise when a tropical storm warning might pop up during their vacation.

Plan ahead now.  Call all your travel providers including Disney, airlines, shuttle transportation, car rental and house rental agencies and timeshares.... ask them their tropical weather policies, ask if while there or just before you go if tropical weather makes you uneasy about going or staying what their "out clauses" are and how they work with clients and customers for refunds or rescheduling.  "Know before you go" means just in case something comes up, like the Boy Scouts you're "being prepared" and in confidence and security you can proceed with original plans.  This is a reasoned response, not being nervous-Nellie".  Hurricane season is June 1-November 30, but the peak months are August, September and the early part of October.  Plan ahead.

:hurricane:

Posted by: CarolKoster on June 01, 2012, 11:20 am

:hurricane:  It's officially hurricane season starting June 1 every year.  We've already had two officially named storms in the month of May 2012 before the official start of hurricane season.  The most recent, Beryl, had feeder bands affecting Ocala FL just to the north of Central FL.  Am I being Nervous Nellie about any tropical storm or hurricane, heck no!  But my reference is 2004 when two major named storms crossed Central FL (and WDW) causing park closures and a third came close.  Charley, Frances and Jeanne 2004 hurricane season, so it's researchable and researchable on our website.  Just saying:  In case something forms and escalates into being severe, you'll want to know what to do.  Our site was active in 2004, trust me, people hugely wanted to know what to do!  So research in advance, especially if your trip is in the two peak months of August-September and early October, and you need to cancel or postpone a trip or you want to find out how Disney handles sheltering in place, then search our site, and ask your travel vendors (airlines, hotels, ground transportation or limos or shuttles, dinner shows, restaurants, car rentals, house or timeshare or durable medical equipment rentals, ticket sellers, shows, etc.) what their cancellation-postponement policies are in case of hurricane and tropical weather.  "Know before you go!" :thumbsup:  The two peak months: August, September and a little into October.  And it annually ends November 30.  But Mother Nature pays no mind to calendars!
Posted by: CarolKoster on June 24, 2012, 5:59 pm

Tropical storm Debby at the end of June 2012 is an early tropical weather system happening about 6 weeks earlier than the usual peak months of August-September.  So far Debby keeps changing track radically, as of the date-time I'm posting it's heading to the northern Gulf Coast Florida Panhandle.  HOWEVER: Feeder bands of higher gusts of wind and rains (likelihood of some tornadoes) are whipping Central Florida, and that is where WDW is.  People there right now are having a less than optimum weather day...  But then again rains and lousy weather mean shorter lines at rides and cooler temperatures this time of year.

Just a bumping it up reminder :bump2:......


Hurricane season starts June 1, ends November 30, but Mother Nature does whatever Mother Nature wants, no two seasons alike or cookie-cutter alike.

"Know before you go" to Disney Florida parks, Cruise Line, or FL or South Carolina Disney resorts....  Policies about tropical weather, rescheduling or canceling reservations, policies about this with ground transportation, airlines, hotels, shows and dinner shows, car rental, vacation rental properties, in case tropical weather happens just before or during your trip, what "sheltering in place" is all about, what travel and vacation insurance will and will not cover to protect your vacation investment this time of year, and develop an Alternate Plan B in case you may have to deal with a storm this time of year.

This is not to be "nervous Nellie" about anything, but tropical weather can and does happen, so just like the Boy Scouts simply "be prepared".  Scroll back in this Topic for additional information.

Posted by: CarolKoster on June 26, 2012, 3:28 pm

Tropical Storm Debby is a depressing pain-in-the-neck kind of a storm.  It's so slow-moving it's still in the Gulf of Mexico and hasn't come on land yet.  It's a super-soaker rainmaker of a storm, too.  Debby's rain totals are now measured in feet (nearly 2-feet of rain, 24", and it's not over yet ! ) !

Of concern if you are driving to WDW via I-10 coming from west of the intersection of I-10 and I-75 (so you'd be coming from Jacksonville to that major interstate highway intersection ).....

From fifty miles EAST of the intersection of I-10 and I-75 to that intersection I-10 is CLOSED due to WASH OUT from Tropical Storm Debby.....  and reports are that parts of I-75 south of that intersection are not yet washed out BUT bears watching.  

Motorist vacationers WDW-bound will want to find out Florida Highway Patrol advisories about the status of I-10 and I-75.

Orlando itself is wet, rainy, windy.  WDW is still open, so's everything else touristy, but it's not exactly "sunny Florida".  Rain ponchos are in order.  Wear footwear and clothes you don't mind if they get wet.  Keep your cameras and electronic devices dry.  Be happy about the shorter lines and it's not as hot.  Darn slow moving storm won't be out of the area 'til this weekend and I am posting on a Tuesday afternoon.  So it's better to light a candle than curse the darkness, just be grateful the storm isn't worse and isn't closer, Orlando is still open for business, you get to go after all, it's not as hot under cloudy skies, shorter lines, a lot of WDW is indoors where it's dry (such as many attractions, stores, restaurants, etc.) so go enjoy!

Orlando Sentinel online had a photo gallery of rainy day things to do and places to go.  One was the indoor water slide (I think there's a disco in there as an effect) at Wet N Wild water park.  One was DisneyQuest at Downtown Disney.  One was generally head to Magic Kingdom 'cause when it rains the lines to rides are a lot shorter.  Everything else was local or on International Drive.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 06, 2012, 7:02 am

With Tropical Storm Ernesto this week we're reminded of annual peak months of hurricane season, August, September and through about mid-October.  We're all reminded if WDW-bound or Disney Cruise Line-bound or Disney's Vero Beach of South Carolina resorts-bound:  Hurricane season's most active months are now here.  

In 2004 four hurricanes went over Florida and three of those over Central Florida and two of those over WDW in two months' time.  "Know before you go", just in the back of your mind and not to be Nervous Nellie about it but merely good consumerism and due precaution, what all your travel industry providers' policies are about tropical weather and postponements and cancellations.  Hotels, airlines, car rentals, airport-hotel ground transportation, vacation rentals, dinner shows, dining, services you contracted for, other rentals you contracted for (such as renting strollers or wheelchairs or boarding for pets), theme park opening and closing conditions, theme park or water park tickets refunds or cancellations or postponements, deadlines, refunds, penalties, WDW's or your off-site resorts policies about sheltering in place and having non-perishable food to eat and lack of staff services for you if you do shelter in place, having to move out of Fort Wilderness Campground if a storm is approaching, etc.  

Go to beginning of this topic and go forward and review.  "Know Before You Go", and you'll be calm and prepared just in case something does happen.  I refresh this Topic during hurricane season annually since what happened back in 2004 had vacationers there caught by surprise and so much storm activity at the time was so unusual.  The travel industry in Central FL learned from 2004 and came up with cancellation and tropical storm policies about contingencies regarding their customers being unsure or unwilling to go there in case of severe weather.  So these policies protect you and your travel providers.  Pick up the phone and call them to be sure of what they will and will not do for you if tropical weather coincides with your Disney vacation in Central FL or South Carolina's coast or the Bahamas.  Your vacation should be relaxing and rejuvenating for you and your family/travel party, so if you take up this suggestion, and of course you don't have to if you prefer not, then at least you'll be prepared in the contingency tropical weather happens in your vacation brackets.

Hopefully by this October nothing will have happened, any storms end up being minor, no or minimal damage or inconvenience, all's mostly well, and we can breathe a sigh of relief and go back to living normal lives and routine vacation planning without worries.  :pixiedust:  :praying:  :hotmickey:  :hotminnie:  :hurricane:

Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 06, 2012, 7:02 am

With Tropical Storm Ernesto this week we're reminded of annual peak months of hurricane season, August, September and through about mid-October.  We're all reminded if WDW-bound or Disney Cruise Line-bound or Disney's Vero Beach of South Carolina resorts-bound:  Hurricane season's most active months are now here.  

In 2004 four hurricanes went over Florida and three of those over Central Florida and two of those over WDW in two months' time.  "Know before you go", just in the back of your mind and not to be Nervous Nellie about it but merely good consumerism and due precaution, what all your travel industry providers' policies are about tropical weather and postponements and cancellations.  Hotels, airlines, car rentals, airport-hotel ground transportation, vacation rentals, dinner shows, dining, services you contracted for, other rentals you contracted for (such as renting strollers or wheelchairs or boarding for pets), theme park opening and closing conditions, theme park or water park tickets refunds or cancellations or postponements, deadlines, refunds, penalties, WDW's or your off-site resorts policies about sheltering in place and having non-perishable food to eat and lack of staff services for you if you do shelter in place, having to move out of Fort Wilderness Campground if a storm is approaching, etc.  

Go to beginning of this topic and go forward and review.  "Know Before You Go", and you'll be calm and prepared just in case something does happen.  I refresh this Topic during hurricane season annually since what happened back in 2004 had vacationers there caught by surprise and so much storm activity at the time was so unusual.  The travel industry in Central FL learned from 2004 and came up with cancellation and tropical storm policies about contingencies regarding their customers being unsure or unwilling to go there in case of severe weather.  So these policies protect you and your travel providers.  Pick up the phone and call them to be sure of what they will and will not do for you if tropical weather coincides with your Disney vacation in Central FL or South Carolina's coast or the Bahamas.  Your vacation should be relaxing and rejuvenating for you and your family/travel party, so if you take up this suggestion, and of course you don't have to if you prefer not, then at least you'll be prepared in the contingency tropical weather happens in your vacation brackets.

Hopefully by this October nothing will have happened, any storms end up being minor, no or minimal damage or inconvenience, all's mostly well, and we can breathe a sigh of relief and go back to living normal lives and routine vacation planning without worries.  :pixiedust:  :praying:  :hotmickey:  :hotminnie:  :hurricane:

Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 23, 2012, 9:15 am

Just a head's up about Hurricane Isaac potentially affecting Central FL the week of Sunday August 26, 2012 and a few days forward of that.  "Know before you go" if that happens to be your Walt Disney World or Disney Cruise Line or Disney Vacation Club vacation:  The tropical weather policies of airlines, hotels, airport-to-resort ground transportation, dining, dinner shows, vacation accomodations rentals, car rentals, special equipment or other rentals (pet care, renting durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs etc., babysitters, etc.).  Airports do close if the weather is too dangerous.  In case you want to cancel, postpone, cut a vacation short "know before you go" what all your service providers, including Disney, can and cannot do for you in case of tropical severe weather during your travel dates.  Call your providers, or check the fine print links or "search" on their websites, or consult with your travel agent or with Disney, and "know before you go".....just in case you do in fact need the info when traveling to FL August, September and into October a little bit, the most active months of annual hurricane season.

:hurricane:

Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 25, 2012, 1:15 pm

Isaac's track models are still spread out, but seem to have it heading to northwest Florida panhandle near Pensacola or east (sometimes west of there such as to Alabama's or Mississippi's Gulf Coasts).  

One thing to understand about "cones of probability" when you look at TV weather or online sites like Weather Underground, National Hurricane Center, AccuWeather :  That "cone" is simply a collection of where the eye of the storm could go, and it's a wide range, and the center line is the average of all tracks.  But the storm can have winds and rains miles and miles all around the eye and miles to either side of that "cone".  

Meaning that even though Isaac's path will be over Gulf of Mexico waters for now, and it's "cone" is mostly over water for awhile and doesn't touch land much 'til later, Isaac's weather effects will be felt over Central Florida as it moves to the northern part of the panhandle.

So in Central Florida Orange and Osceola Counties, among others, are in a Tropical Storm Watch, meaning from Saturday August 25-Monday August 27 (48 hours) they can expect tropical storm conditions.  Lots of rain since if you are on the eastern side of a tropical system there is lots of rain, and tropical storm force winds of 39-73 MPH.  These two counties are where Walt Disney World is (it overlaps two counties).

At least for this weekend and early next week, travelers simply wanting to visit Mickey Mouse, Shamu the whale, Harry Potter Land, the Holy Land Experience, and Wet 'n' Wild and other Central FL attractions and parks will be blown and rained on.

If Isaac stays as projected, it will be a Category Two hurricane, so that also will affect how windy-squally-rainy it gets in Central FL as it passes by.  And if the storm track moves east towards FL then Central FL will get more weather, if the storm moves more west then that means less wind-rain for Central FL.  

It's going to be determined by the parks if they stay open or not or what attractions that are more outdoorsy vs. indoorsy stay open.  I suspect it'll be business as usual, since the parks are more on the interior western half of Central FL and farther away from the eye.  At worst, rainy and very breezy into low-level windy conditions in the parks, it'll be less than ideal.....  But remember if it keeps crowds away and the rides are open.... SHORT LINES!  And not as hot and sweaty!  Silver linings can be found among hurricane clouds and tropical weather warnings!

The Orlando Sentinel and the Orlando TV affiliates all have websites, check those for up-to-date local conditions if this week was a Central FL/WDW vacation week for you.

We still have all of September and spilling into October as peak months of annual hurricane season, folks, so don't let down guard or be cavalier about awareness.  Still "know before you go" what to expect of any and all travel industry providers, including airlines and Disney, about if you had to cancel, postpone, or end your trip in the middle of it due to ever-changing tropical weather conditions, storm tracks, warnings.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Aug. 26, 2012, 3:40 pm

As Isaac (now a tropical storm, soon to be a hurricane) passes by Central FL on the Gulf Coast side, even though it's far away Orlando and it's many theme parks and attractions and tourist accomodations and the airport ARE affected.  Orlando Airport is asking travelers to check their airlines now!  Monitor Orlando Sentinel.com for Orlando news.  And again, if this was your week to head to Central FL, "know before you go" whether your airline, the roads, hotels, parks, dining, dinner shows, ground transportation, rentals of cars or condos etc., are operational or not.   Know their policies about cancellation, postponements and leaving in the middle of a trip if the prospect of tropical weather bothers you.
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