Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sun 'n Fun gets the worst of it

It doesn't look like there was too much damage in other areas. Some occasional trees down, a hotel lost its roof in St. Pete, a few structures here and there. Could have been a lot worse overall. But poor old Sun 'n Fun copped the worst of it, being a bunch of temporary structures and kite-like vehicles stuck out in a very exposed region. Not a good combination.

There are still occasional reports that tornadoes touched down. Whether or not they did, it's quite obvious that winds close to hurricane force came along with the storm cell. I've seen measurements as high as 87 mph. Seems about right, based on the videos.

The best coverage I've seen so far is courtesy of Grassroots News. Talk about being on the scene!

These guys had to hang on for the ride, too.

And this video shows just how quickly the winds picked up once the cell advanced through the airport. You wouldn't want to assume that it wasn't a tornado. That's just nit-picking. The guy in the background clearly knows what's up. Smart fellah.

While all this was going on, yours truly was staying dry trying to get some video coverage from the relative safety of his hotel lobby, but since I didn't bring the transfer cable with me you can't see it. It's boring anyway. Lucky you! Instead, you can enjoy what I had seen advancing towards us about 90 minutes previously. Note Winter Haven is smack in the midst of the purple/red region in this CNN video. I was underneath that! Fortunately, there was nobody trapped at KLAL, it was one of many false (or mis-located) reports:

(Some weird crap going on with that video. Blogger seems "unable" to find it, probably because of licensed content or something. I gave it every single term in the damned comments and it still failed. Well, you have the link!)

And finally, here's a bit of video from Warbird Radio of the immediate aftermath. It doesn't look like I remember it looking yesterday. I'm guessing someone had the presence of mind to disassemble all the VIP/Flight Line awnings out near the temporary tower, else they all blew away. Man, it's desolate after the storm's gone through, just debris and a few proud, defiant planes standing out there in the puddles.

Seeing this I'm not sure what good it would have done had my dad and I managed to get in to offer assistance. We just have to pray for sunny, breezy (but not windy!) conditions from first light tomorrow. I can see stars now through my hotel window. That's the first time I've seen anything but cloud, or worse, all day! Sun 'n Fun goes on!!!!

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