Keith Locke Hurricane Jeanne Page

Keith Locke
Hurricane Jeanne
Saint Petersburg, Florida

Introduction and Update
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Introduction and Update

Hurricane Jeanne has come and gone. Yes, the eye came close to Saint Petersburg--but not that close. Yes, we had tropical-storm-force winds with gusts up in the hurricane-force region. I waited the storm out in the office while waiting for my bride to get off work. The windows were not boarded, which made it more important for me to be able to keep an eye on the contents.

The electricity went out at 10:41 and came back on about 1:20. Talking to other people, I have found similar times. I suspect that the power company may have deliberately shut down power for a few hours, although I haven't seen mention of that in the news. It certainly makes sense because the winds were not sufficiently diminished by 1:20 for the linemen to work safely outside.

During the storm, I noticed two items of interest. First, haven't you wondered how the animals cope? Looking out of my northward-facing, second-story windows (which was the direction of the wind for several hours) there are some trees that reach up past the roofline. A squirrel decided that one particular tree branch was the place to be. He was there for about an hour, and he had quite a ride. His little claws had to have been really tired. Second, when wet trees blow up against high voltage power lines and transformers, you can often see a blue spark. This was happening for about a half-hour period southwest of the office. It sounded like fireworks.

Really, we didn't fare too badly in Saint Petersburg. Most of the damage appears to be to those wonderful trees that give St. Pete part of its enchantment... and the things those trees fell upon.

Speaking of which, two trees bit the big one and landed on our home service drop. Both were in our neighbor's yard. Bye bye fence. Bye bye electricity. Amazingly, at least to me, the telephne drop was stretched all the way to the ground and did not break. The phone still works! The trees have been cleared enough that Progress Energy will be able to replace the service drop... someday. We are being told to plan to be without electricity for several weeks. It's not a happy thought, but that is a part of life in Florida.

Yesterday afternoon, armed with axe and bow saw, I began attacking the trees. Within a few minutes Dusty began barking. I looked up, and there was a VERY NICE neighbor from down the street standing at the gate with his chainsaw. Not too long after this we had another neighbor helping, and the three of us worked almost 2 hours turning large branches into small branches. Thank you, Tom and Bobby!! I'll still be chopping small branches into small bits that fit neatly into the trash bin for a while. As you'll see in one of the photos, Jeanne spread around some limb debris that was piled up from Frances. Rather than keep waiting for the "sweep" that will some sometime, I'll just keep filling up the trash bin until it's all gone. My accountant-sized arms are tired, and my hands ache. No worries, life's an adventure, right?

One really interesting thing about St. Pete / Pinellas County is that we have one of only 22 or so energy-generating trash incinerators in the country. It always makes me feel better about throwing away plant material in the garbage when I know it's going to be recycled into energy. This way we don't have to feel guilty about not having a giant compost heap. :)

Also, I had heard on the news that after Jeanne had passed through, the northwesterly and westerly winds were wreaking havoc on the beaches. One guy was on the beach in, if I remember correctly, Madeira Beach, watching waves hitting the top of a 2-story house. This morning I hopped on the trusty old BMW motorcycle and took a ride out to see for myself. I'm not sure where the news reporter was standing, but I'll let you judge for yourself from my pictures.

Further updates will be forthcoming, and by the time I get the page up with the Madeira Beach pictures, we'll move on to other topics (assuming the hurricanes will stay away). I have links to add, IRS forms pages to add, and some other good information. Between now and the end of the year, this website should grow quite a bit... so keep checking back.

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Pictures Begin Here

Descriptions will be below each photo.

Most dramatic first, we encountered this tree on the way home.

We made a left turn and looked at it from the other direction. That's a big tree!

If you look closely at the roots you can see how much of the root system was pulled up out of the ground.

Here, we see the trunk and lower branches of the tree. This was an old, massive tree that just had too much sail in the wind for the root system. Are you remembering that Jeanne was only a tropical storm by the time she reached St. Pete? We're way overdue, they say, a Category 2 or 3 here. Hope that Indian charm keeps working!

Less dramatic stuff: this tree was in the road about 2 blocks from my office.

The first of two pics of downtown St. Pete. Not bad, really, just a few small branches and lots of leaves.

Another of downtown.

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