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Hurricane Irma – 1 Year Later: Hurricane Tracking Tips

One year ago this morning, we were sitting in our bus parked in Alabama watching Hurricane Irma make landfall in the Florida Keys.

We had just tied up our boat in Marathon, picked up our bus in Melbourne (also in the potential storm track) and evacuated. (Recap: Marathon & Hurricane Irma)

It was a crazy time of our lives, and one of the hardest things we’ve had to do.

But we were incredibly blessed to have sustained little damage to our boat despite a direct Cat-4 strike. A day doesn’t go by that we don’t forget that.

Here’s a quick video we just recorded:


While we intended to cruise as far north as we could reasonably get this season to ‘escape’ the prime hurricane areas, our own energy levels just couldn’t sustain that pace. We slowed things down this cruising season to re-charge and enjoy our stays.

We’re currently snugged into a ‘hurricane hole’ in North Florida about 16 miles inland and this past week tracking Hurricane Florence has stirred up a lot of emotions for us.

So much so, we decided to just extend our stay in our current spot for the remainder of at least peak season.

Florence is looking to be just as bad as Irma was (or even worse!), and we hope that if you’re in her path – you’re not reading this post, but instead activating your hurricane plan.

A couple times in the past few days our current location of Jacksonville has been in the risk zone – but at present time she seems to be staying north of us.

That could change at any time – we’re just one wobble away. And we could have some impacts even on her current path.

We’re tracking things very closely and at the ready to activate our own plans if needed.

Here’s some of the tools we use for tracking storms during the season season to hopefully stay one step ahead:

  • National Hurricane Center – The official projected path, assembled from several modeling systems. We check here regularly throughout the season, and instinctively wake up at 5 am (we’re NOT morning people) for first morning forecast.
  • Tropical Tidbits – Levi Cowan is a PhD candidate meteorologist, and puts out his analysis of storms in YouTube videos. We pretty much tune in for every one to get his take. He educates and explains how different weather systems can impact storms, and he’s non-sensationalist. Even when the official forecast may say one thing, he explains how things might play out differently – and he’s often spot on.
  • Windy – This app and website beautifully displays weather data and projections. So beautifully, you may forget the impending doom. We use this tool all year round for wind, wave and storm forecasts – but particularly so for comparing different tropical system models.
  • WeatherNerds – A great collection of weather tracking tools and ensemble modeling.
  • Mikes Weather Page – Another great collection of weather tracking tools.

Please stay safe, wherever you are. It’s been a crazy year already weather disaster wise, and looks like some more ahead.


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15 Comments - Still Plenty of Room for Yours!

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  1. We did well this, our first hurricane in S.C.. We moved here, back home in JAN. 18TH OF ’18. GLAD YOU Three ARE STILL PUSHING AND FLOTING ALONE! Keep up the good work ! Marvin and Collette

  2. My thoughts are with all who maybe effected.
    We went down the keys early last November and witnessed the devastation. We were not able to help with the clean up but I hope our tourist dollars helped.
    We had lunch at Burdine’s, the staff got a kick out of watching the Utube video you posted just after they had reopened.
    Stay safe!

    • If you can believe it.. by the time we left in mid-October the devastation had been significantly improved. The Burdines staff became like family to us during that time, such amazing people (and food!). And glad to hear folks are giving them a visit.. thanks for supporting the Keys economy.

  3. Great resources, thanks. I was wondering how Florence might affect you two and how you must be feeling about it — so glad to see that you’re in a (relatively) safe place. I think you’re smart to hunker down and wait out the coming seasonal storms.

  4. Hard to believe it has been a year since Irma! We had just gone full time in March of last year and both of us then retired from our corporate jobs in August. So when Irma came knocking we were footloose and fancy free to pull up stakes in Jacksonville and flee the storm. We chose to travel the back roads to Valdosta, GA where we planned to ride it out. Then the track changed and the park we were in decided to evacuate SO there we were with no plan B and flying by the seat of our proverbial pants! I75 north was not an option so we headed west on a secondary four laner and at every little town along the way there were droves of people on the side of the road holding signs offering free water and food. It moved me to tears. Like you folks, we ended up in Alabama in a rustic little campground in Evergreen where we were fortunate to secure a campsite. For the next few days the campground was packed. The owners were amazing and the comraderie with our fellow campers unparalleled. It was all good! Thanks for stirring the embers.

  5. Yup, it was one year ago today that Kokomo, our 40 foot Trawler was destroyed in Boot Key Harbor. We’ve since replaced her with a 42 foot Jefferson and watch with a jaundiced eye as storms spin off the ITCZ like popcorn.

  6. Just watched the video guys and glad you’re decision as to where to shelter seems good so far. Obviously watching the storms here too on the Jersey Shore, not looking for a Sandy repeat! Thanks also for your weather app tips, have added a couple to my stable. We have a young forecaster local to us, that we put great stock in. If you’re interested, you can check him out on Facebook at NorEasterNick. No hype, great info, and willing to admit he’s wrong!

    Clear sailing for all of us, thinking about our family in NC (son, wife, grandkids and extended family in Raleigh) and hoping for storms to ALL head put to sea!


    • Some local forecasters can be awesome for sure, and a great resource. Some can get a bit on the sensationalist side. As travelers, we focus on the big picture and then when things look like they’re heading our way we’ll start tapping into local knowledge too (usually around the marina and folks who have been around a while.)

  7. We left our sailboat at Ortega Landing over hurricane season for six years. We always felt it was a safe, secure and well constructed marina with a great staff.

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