Well we pulled back into Tampa Bay yesterday evening after our quick little jaunt to Geoh-gia and back. As short-lived and tight-quartered as our exile was, I have to say we had a real blast on the return trip. We spent the afternoon in St. Augustine and enjoyed ourselves so much, we're returning again this coming weekend. We want to have the time to take all of the tours and photographs our little hearts desire. Hopefully by the time we return, less businesses will be boarded up and the skies won't be so gloomy. Of course that all hinges on that Jeanne staying far to the east and not crashing the party...
Then again, before our minds can even wrap around the concept of yet another one, there's Ivan to get through first. As relieved as I am that our home here in Tampa Bay has avoided three-in-a-row, I'm also heartbroken at knowing what's to come. I lived in Mobile after I graduated from OU back in '95. My apartment (photo 1, photo 2) was in the downtown area just north of Dauphin Street on Jackson, in an area known as "de Tonti Square historic district". Not to mention, our wedding was in the French Quarter of New Orleans and we honeymooned all along the central Gulf Coast (photo 1, photo 2) so the entire strike-zone is near and dear to my heart. The potential for flooding in Mobile during a Category 4 is almost too much to even think about. The downtown area is low-lying and right on Mobile Bay and the Mobile River. I still remember the terror in my older coworkers eyes as they described going through Hurricane Camille in 1969. Camille led to the eventual development of the Saffir-Simpson Hurrricane Scale, as a matter of fact.
We have friends in the area still and can only hope and pray they'll weather this storm as easily as I did during Erin and Opal. This year the price to pay for living in paradise has been just a little too steep, even when adjusted for inflation.
UPDATED From Wizbang on the destructive potential of Ivan in New Orleans: "...The studies say that if we took a direct hit from a category 4 or 5 storm, a city of one million people could be under as much as 30 feet of water. According to the experts there could be over 50,000 dead. What's more, since we would have to pump the water out the bowl, they say the city could be underwater for as long as 10 months..."
Other Hurricane Ivan entries can be found here, here, and here. The Charley and Frances entries are archived here.