The last one scrolled off the front page, so time for another Darkflash! This one was originally sent to friends and family September 5, 2004 14:25:22 UTC.
After that last update, we did decide to go ahead and stay in Apalachicola for another night. We had plenty of time until the storm got this far, and it was good to just hang out for a day. We rested, we answered email, we watched the Weather channel. Amy watched some DVDs we got for her. Amy really really wanted to swim in the hotel pool, but we had not brought her swimsuit. But eventually late in the evening we let her go ahead and just swim in her clothes along with several other kids who were there. She had a blast and needed the release.
Anyway, overnight and this morning we are watching the Weather Channel. They don't have any of the news networks on the TV here at the hotel. They have CNN headline news and a couple of local channels, but that is it. So Weather channel had the best coverage. One of their reporters is in Palm Bay, which is the location of the house we put an offer in on and is right near Melbourne. We got to watch him get pummeled and see pictures of the types of damage happening there. They say it is mostly trees down and "minor structural damage" (and of course power outages) rather than massive destruction. Hopefully it will stay that way. Right now as I write, the center of Frances is just a few miles away from Palm Bay. The area reportedly had at least one tornado too.
Meanwhile, the predicted track has it going directly over Apalachicola tomorrow sometime. (Well, somewhere within 50 miles on either side of here one you add the margin of error on the predictions.) They say by that time it will almost certainly just be a tropical storm, not a hurricane, although there is an outside chance it could be a minimal hurricane. The local news here is saying that we should expect flooding and power outages. The flooding could end up isolating some areas by cutting off the access roads. Hmm. Sounds fun. And we are RIGHT off the Gulf Coast.
Now, we have every confidence that we could indeed weather the storm quite safely here. But with the strong potential of flooding close by and of power outages, it doesn't sound like the most pleasant of stays. If this was the prediction back at home, we'd just stay put. They are not evacuating this area at this time. But this isn't home, this is a hotel. And we can easily move. So we are going to leave and head west again within the next hour.
Don't know where exactly we will go of course. We'll point the GPS at New Orleans again and just head in that general direction. We'll probably still do some back roads, but we may consider switching to major highways since we are relatively far away from the main evacuation areas. As long as the highways aren't still bumper to bumper, I'm OK using them. Although back roads are much more fun!
Don't know how far we'll actually go. Until we are tired of driving probably. Maybe see how far we can get before midnight? Dunno. Probably not all the way to New Orleans. We'll see. :-) When we decide to stop, we'll just take the next pet friendly motel along the route. Then we'll stay there until we the storm passes and they say on TV that it is OK for people to return. Then we'll start on the way back...