HURRICANE DENNIS: PART 2
July 8-10, 2005
After getting some good sleep on the night of the eighth, we headed out in the early afternoon of Saturday 9, to scout out a good location for the HLP wind tower. But Before heading down to Gulf Shores, we had to stop by Lowe's to pick up a few things.
As we were preparing to leave Lowe's, we stopped to shoot some video and photos of Hurricane Dennis in the distance. You can see the leading edge of some of the outer bands as they approached from the southeast.
Shot from the Cici's Pizza parking lot, where we stopped to get a hot meal which we were thinking could be the last for awhile, another look at the approaching rainbands of Dennis.
Mark and I set out along the coastal area looking for good places to leave the wind tower during Dennis. We found a great place in Perdido Key, Florida.
We met another fabulous group of people at the Engine 19 fire Station there in Perdido Key. Just a great bunch of guys who are having to work out of a temporary trailer due to Hurricane Ivan ripping the roof off, and flooding the station where black mold had set in. The renovation to the station was still taking place, but they are coming along with that work. The guys came out to check out the Tahoe and chat with us about our past hurricane experiences and tell us about their Ivan ordeal.
We were still there as the 5pm advisory was issued. Things now were looking bad for the area of Perdidio Key and points west. The forecast was looking like Dennis would cross the coast close to where we were standing. Also, this the advisory that the forecaster Stewart said "what a difference 6 hours makes!" Dennis was gaining strength and was now forecast to be a category 3 hurricane with winds near 130mph at landfall. As you can see, the guys were passing along that information to friends and family that had already evacuated the area.
We arrived back at the Gulf Shores PD to talk to the officers and plan on staying the night there at the station. This is the first time they had a chance to talk to Mark and I about the new tower. They were also looking at the latest satellite image of Dennis and getting a bad felling that it could be worse than Ivan.
As I said, I was getting sicker during the day on Saturday and had turned I early on Saturday night at the PD. There was the concern that Dennis could put a 15-20 foot storm surge into Gulf Shores so they were told to evacuate the station. I went with them to the Gulf Shores Public Works building. Several of the officers were unloading their gear as the rain started to move in.
Here one of the Public Works folks was preparing a ratchet strap for some of the loose piping that was laying out in the lot near the building which could have easily become air born should we see hurricane force winds.
I am assuming that this was a National Guard truck that arrived on the scene just hours before Dennis was expected to make landfall.
Inside the Public Works building, several people were eating lunch getting the latest news on Hurricane Dennis. At this time, Dennis had started to weaken some and make a turn more to the north. Folks here cold now breathe a little easier since it looked like Dennis would spare Gulf Shores.
Before getting the news that Dennis had turned and was making landfall further east, several of the guys were changing the tires on a few of the vehicles that they would use to survey the damage. They were replacing the tires with a bigger all terrain tire. Better for sand, mud and any debris that would littler the streets.
As far as Dennis goes, for us Mark and I, it was a non-event. Very little rain and wind was felt in Gulf Shores. Mark drove the wind tower to the Perdido Key Fire Station and set it up and ran all the data and webcams from there. The highest wind gust on the tower was 52mph. For the folks there and westward into Gulf Shores and Mobile, they were happy that it was a non-event. But for July to have had 4 named storms before the fifteenth and yet another was developing, now Hurricane Emily, it looks like the heart of the 2005 season is going to be an active one to say the least. If you live along the coast from Texas to new England, you better be ready now. We have already broken several records this year, and with the heart of the season still to come, we could be looking at another historical season that could out do 2004. Be ready, things are about to heat up!
All Images Copyright Jesse V. Bass III and VaStormphoto.com
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