Since it's the peak of tropical storm season again, this thread is open for all to share stories and thoughts about weather experiences. Not necessarily concerns about climate change, but the incidents you've had personally, and whatever you've learned about preparation, resilience, and recovery.
I'm no longer a Florida resident, but my contacts are blowing up with concern over Hurricane Dorian.
I've been watching the storm on this nifty site, which has great tools and visualisations to satisfy the most avid weather geeks.
Dorian is likely to be another devastating, small-region, high-intensity buzzsaw, like last year's Hurricane Michael, which practically erased towns in the Florida panhandle, or the 1935 Labor Day hurricane. [I'm not really a good person - I'm having more than a little schadenfreude that Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort is near the center of the storm's predicted path. But I'm not the only person who thought of that.]
According to the Insurance Information Institute, Florida has nearly $600 billion dollars of single family housing at risk from a Category 5 hurricane, leaving aside loss of life and injury.
My stories, compressed for those who've read this before
While I had to deal with these storms' impacts to infrastructure professionally, the hurricanes didn't have enormous personal impact. I was mainly supporting friends or covering for colleagues struggling to help family in Texas, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean Islands. Our house was eight miles from the coast, so we only dealt with a downed tree and other cleanup, a few hours without power, and some blocked roads.
Because I have dumb hobbies, the most extreme weather dangers I ever encountered were while kayaking and canoeing. Five years ago, I was on a guided ocean kayaking trip that ran into an unpredicted storm squall. Perfect blue skies and calm one minute; near darkness, huge waves, practically solid rain, and 40-knot winds the next. The party got scattered all over half a dozen of the 10,000 Islands. I struggled to get off the windward side of a long isle, so the wind banged my kayak into mangroves for an hour, then I was paddling furiously to avoid being swept into the Gulf of Mexico. But we all survived without major harm, the guide managed to reconnect us without calling for rescue, and we arrived at our destination with good stories. I can only imagine what it's like to be exposed to worse conditions in a hurricane.
Up to that time, the most dangerous weather I'd run into was snow and ice storms. When I was a kid, the Blizzard of 1978 left my family stranded, without phones, power or heat, for five days. We had a fireplace, plenty of hardwood, and an ample store of dried and canned provisions, so it felt more like a rustic adventure than the dire situation it could have been. My brother and I thought 10-foot snowdrifts were the greatest fun ever - we spent more time outside than in, "helping" to dig out by making snow forts and tunnels with the neighbors' kids. Of course, it was followed with a spring of chores like putting up half a kilometer of snow fences, learning to drive a 40-hp farm tractor, and setting up a ham radio antenna and generator, as my city-raised parents had come to grasp what rural life really entailed.