Hurricane Report Four: Sunday morning

Sunday 7:45 am

The winds arrived during the night. Periodic “thumps” could be heard. They sounded like distant thunderclaps, but none were sustained as they would have been in a Midwestern thunderstorm. By now the winds are regularly striking the hotel room window. My room is actually in the lee (the prevailing winds are not aiming for me at all). If they were aiming for me, I might actually have to shut the curtains “just in case.”

The television says that we’re having consistent hurricane force winds throughout Orlando, and they are from the east. According to the Beaufort scale, I ought to see branches breaking off, it ought to be hard to walk against the wind, trees ought to be breaking, and houses should be damaged. Because of the solid construction of the hotels and convention center, I am (gratefully) seeing no structural damage; because the buildings are actually taller than the trees, I do not see any damage to them, either, although they are certainly tossing violently (moderate gale force). And nobody is outside, so I can’t tell if they have to lean over.

The electricity is still functioning. I wonder if the hotel carried out another “threat:” stop elevator service to the upper floors (including mine, they said) if the wind conditions became problematic. You can understand that I’m a little reluctant to go down, for fear I wouldn’t get back up!

The pool has apparently gathered some debris during the night. No flotsam or jetsam is present, but definite patches of silt toward its southern and western sides.

I just checked my e-mail. Immediate reactions:

  • No, I wasn’t thinking that this experience might give me more sermon illustrations.

  • The first floor of the hotel seemed pretty full last night, but I only see one car in the exposed parking lot this morning; perhaps people were here only for some event.

  • Thanks! I do indeed hope to have a “happy hurricane.”

  • An area must indeed have a lot of power outages to create a market for scented hurricane lamps!

  • Since I’m already here and enjoying the wind, I decline the well-meant wish for clear skies. But I would accept the Snickers bar.

  • Who are you, and when did I fill out a mortgage application?!

  • Have I reached the point where younger people routinely refer to me paternally (“hey dad”), or has one of my kids gotten a new e-mail address??

  • I feel like I’m still sane, but of course I may not be totally objective.

  • And for our HQ Finance Officer: This very nice hotel has a “hurricane rate” that matches what I’ve paid at Motel 6 in time past. May I suggest you watch for future hurricanes and make your Florida reservations accordingly.

  • I failed to mention the sideways rain. According to the television, we aren’t in the heaviest rain area, and I’d agree that I’ve seen much harder. At the end of August, Kathy and I couldn’t see ten blocks from our hotel room in KC. (The house was fine; we just decided to stay downtown after our anniversary dinner.) For those familiar with the city, we couldn’t see downtown from the Hyatt.

    I just discovered that the “thunderclaps” were from the unlatched gate around the Convention Center’s garbage cans. It’s probably about eight feet wide, and when the wind slams it back into its post, the noise is audible clear up here.

    I tried taking a picture of how the trees are bending in the wind. It’s not horribly severe, but a couple unsheltered trees are bending about 20 degrees (my conservative estimate, but some of you know that my geometry skills are mostly theoretical, as attested by my billiard skills). It’s still dark enough (sun barely coming up, a whole massel of clouds) that I might only have my reflection in the window.

    Now I can see some debris on the courtyard around the pool: a couple palm fronds and some sort of man-made square (perhaps the backside of one of the “pool rules” signs they had scattered around the pool area).

    The rain and wind are slowly changing their direction. I just had a little more sustained pressure on the window, and maybe closed curtains will be appropriate soon. The rain has also picked up a bit, and now visibility is probably less than a mile.

    Such excitement!

    Next report