Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Six years ago since Wilma came to town

It seems like only yesterday (not really), but it was six years ago today that Hurricane Wilma made landfall in South Florida. It was one of two hurricanes to directly impact Miami that year. I remember the confusion associated with the category of the storm when it hit our area. It was a category 3 storm at landfall in southwest Florida, with 120mph sustained winds, and was a high-end two at 105 mph as it exited the east coast. According to doppler radar and damage reports, it is believed that most areas of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties experienced category 2 conditions. A few spots, including Ft. Lauderdale, the western side of Miami Beach, and in many high-rise buildings, experienced category 3 winds. Some reported wind gusts included 127 mph at Fowey Rocks near Key Biscayne, 123 mph at Cudjoe Key, 120 mph at Pompano Beach, and 111 mph at Miami. It was easily the most powerful storm so late in the season, and the second strongest storm in the Miami area on record for October. Here are a few of my pics, and a video (not sure if it will play right on the blog, though), of that unforgettable time.

The real amazing facts about this storm were records broken before it arrived here. It was the first 'W' storm ever used. Upon naming, it broke the record set in 1933 for the most storms in one season. Later, as the 13th hurricane of the 2005 season, it broke the 1969 record for the most hurricanes in a season. It intensified at an astounding rate, the fastest intensification rate of any hurricane, reaching a record low pressure (882 millibars), beating 1988's Gilbert (888 mb) as the most intense Atlantic storm of all time. It actually went from barely a hurricane to a category 5 within 24 hours! It had the smallest eye on record when it was at maximum intensity- a mere 2-3 miles in diameter. After pummeling the Yucatan, it was declared the most expensive Atlantic hurricane in history for Mexico. It caused 6 million to lose power in Florida, the largest outage in the state's history. As Rina lurks in the same general area as Wilma, one wonders about it's future. Too early to tell, but stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Not too late for Hurricanes, or is it?

Hello, everyone! First of all, I'd like to thank my 15 followers to the blog. It's definitely a start!
On to the weather....It looks like the 'invest' that is located in the southeast Gulf is not expected to develop into a named storm, but will give us more heavy rain, then bring the first cooler weather down here after it passes on Wednesday. Many believe that after September, we are almost out of the woods for hurricanes. For the real big ones, there is truth in that. However, for southern Florida, actually October has a higher chance of a landfalling hurricane than any other month. Typically the storms this late are weaker, often crossing Cuba first, and then weakening. The dreaded Cape Verde storms from the east are much less likely now. Of course, there are exceptions. It happens to be that the 16-18 of October is a very popular time for these storms locally. In 1906 a deadly storm crossed Cuba, and remained a major cat 3 as it slammed into the Florida Keys. It is most notable for the tragedy when over 100 Overseas Highway workers were killed. For more info, look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1906_Florida_hurricane. It hit Miami as a 100 mph cat 2, and did cause some damage. 
On the same date in 1950, a much more destructive storm hit Miami dead-on. Called hurricane 'King' (they used a different styling of naming then) it had sustained winds of 120 mph, with gusts at the Miami WBO of 150 mph. It was, for Downtown Miami, north Dade and South Beach the 2nd strongest storm of the 20th century. It was a 'mini-cane' in that it had a very small eye and a small wind field. Unfortunately the eye crossed the city, with the geographic center crossing SW 22nd Ave, and the destructive right-front quadrant hitting downtown and Miami Beach. The only saving grace was, besides its size, the fast movement of the storm. Attached is an old map showing the effects and path of the storm.
A more typical October storm also struck here almost the same time (Oct 15-16) in 1999. We remember- Hurricane Irene. While barely of hurricane force, it did drop up to 17 inches of rain, cause 700,000 power outages, and end up costing over 600 million in damages.
With Wilma as late as Oct 25th, and a 1935 storm in November, we still have a little more of the Hurricane season to contend with. Luckily, for the next few days, there are no Kings, Irenes or Wilmas to worry about!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Barnacle Documentary Premiere

In case you missed the viewing last night, its going to be on WLRN 17 on Thursday.

"Ralph Munroe's Barnacle - Centerpiece of a Legacy."

About The Film

It’s hard to imagine what South Florida looked like when Ralph Munroe arrived here back in 1877.

No highways, no streets, and certainly no railroad. Yet he was captivated by the people and the natural world he found. He brought with him a talent for yacht building and architecture. He also brought something else that was new to the area – a camera.

This is the story of Ralph Munroe and the legacy that helped shape South Florida forever.


Premiere on WLRN Channel 17:
Thursday, October 13th at 9pm

Additional airing dates:
Wednesday, October 19th at 7:30 pm
Sunday, October 23rd at 8:30 pm
Saturday, October 29th at 7:30 pm


Check it out!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Coming up- The Barnacle Documentary Viewing- October 11th at 8pm

Hey, everyone!
I've been very busy and forgot to tell everyone about the event listed below at the Barnacle State Historic Site next Tuesday evening. I will be in the Documentary, so come on out! Note that today is the last day to RSVP- so try to come out!!!!

The Barnacle Historic State Park
Date: October 11, 8:00 PM (Gates open at 7:00 PM - No entrance after 8:15 PM


Local PBS station W LRN has produced a documentary film "Ralph Munroe's Barnacle - Centerpiece of a Legacy." Join us on the lawn of The Barnacle for the first public showing of this program.

RSVP absolutely required by October 7, by e-mail to wlrn@gmail.com or by phone to (305) 995-1717.

Fees: Free admission for WLRN and The Barnacle Society members.

Contact: (305) 442-6866

Directions: The Barnacle is located in Coconut Grove (Miami) at 3485 Main Highway.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Here's what's coming up!

The premier eco-tour of the season is a very special place for me. On my first visit to Miami 20 years ago with my friend Jerry, we birded Matheson Hammock. The first of many birds we saw was the hill myna, of which I have posted a pic. The tropical hardwood forest (unlike anything in Orlando, or elsewhere in the US) totally facinated me, with so many new plants to try and figure out. I have since visited there countless times- to botanize, see butterflies, reptiles, and the beautiful liguus tree snails. When I started doing eco-history tours in 2003, this was my very first tour. Now, so many different places, here we are! So come one, come all!


Matheson Hammock Eco Walk
Sunday, October 16 from 9am to 11:30am.
Stroll with eco historian Frank Schena through shady Matheson Hammock. Hear stories about its distant past as an Indian hunting ground, and absorb the diversity of flora and fauna that grows there today. Learn how this beautiful former estate became  Miami-Dade County's first  park.

HistoryMiami members: $20 Non-members: $30 

There are more coming up, just go to 
http://www.historymiami.org/tours/eco-history-tours/ to see the full list through January.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Welcome to my blog!

It's time to introduce my new blog! I have been the Family Programs and Eco-Historian at HistoryMiami for several years now. It has been indeed a blast doing the Family Programs (Camps, Second Saturdays, etc) job, and then squeezing time into the eco-history part (or forcing that agenda on the family stuff). As fun -and exhausting- as the first part has been, my real passion is the eco-history part, and it has been growing. Now, I've been offered a chance to take this passion all the way, relinquishing the task of Family Programs. I will now be offering a list of private tours, workshops and presentations as well- all listed in a new brochure. Hence, I figured a blog will be a great way to let the world know what I am doing with this new (expanded actually) endeavor. I also am going to post fun, interesting things about nature, ecology and history regularly. So, I hope you all will follow me on this great new adventure!