Author of OUTBACK LOVE a contemporary romance novel set in Australia, JETTING AWAY a short story prequel to OUTBACK LOVE, MOON OVER MADNESS a paranormal romantic comedy and BAYOU BLUES AND OTHER SORROWS a collection of short stories and poems about life and love. All are available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony, Diesel and Kobo. On Twitter @TeriHeyer

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pensacola Beach and Tropical Storm Debby

Tropical Storm Debby, Pensacola Beach, June 24th
Most of my posts have to do with books, but this one is all about Pensacola Beach and Tropical Storm Debby. For several days now we've been watching Debby forming in the Gulf of Mexico. Would the storm actually reach tropical storm force? Well, yesterday it finally became the named Tropical Storm Debby. Now we're all waiting to see if it becomes Hurricane Debby.

Like many others living along the Gulf Coast, my TV is tuned to The Weather Channel. Those spaghetti lines, or spider lines, depicting the possible path of Debby holds us enthrall.

It's a love/hate thing. Storms are exciting and awesome, but also destructive. So on the one hand we'd love to see the mighty power of a hurricane and yet we want to avoid all the bad, dangerous things that come with a storm of that magnitude.

I woke up this morning to a phone call from my mother, who lives in the Atlanta area of Georgia. She wanted to make sure I knew that The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore was at Pensacola Beach this morning. Well, I'd heard last night that Jim had arrived and was already reporting on the storm. For those in "the know" about bad weather, Jim Cantore gravitates to the bad stuff to report on the worst of the weather. So having Jim arrive on our beach, Pensacola Beach, with a tropical storm and possible hurricane heading our way, well, that's not a good sign.

Let me back up to yesterday. It was a sunny, hot, humid 90 degrees. At midnight it was still 90 degrees. When I went outside with my dogs, Shani and Dude, at close to midnight, the air was fragrant with the smell of salt spray and flowers. The air was beginning to stir and there was the prickly feel of an impending storm.
Watching Tropical Storm Debby from the Dock
Now flash forward to this morning. The sky was painted in various shades of gray depending on whether you gazed north, south, east or west. Clouds raced past at breakneck speed, some clouds heading NW and others SW. These are the feeder bands for Debby which is slowly building out in the Gulf.

After a late breakfast, my husband and I drove to the beach, only a couple miles from our house. Just a hop, skip and a jump over the bridge and we were there facing the building force of this Hurricane Season's first Gulf storm.

I must say the waves were awesome. Now by southern California standards, where I grew up and learned to surf, these waves are nothing. But considering Pensacola Beach rarely has waves more than a couple feet in height, these are awesome waves for this beach.

Now, my surfing days ended decades ago, but I still love watching the waves. There should have been surfers out there, but a Red Flag Warning was posted and no one, not even surfers, were allowed out there. I guess the lifeguards didn't want to be forced to make any rescues today.

There were a fair number of lookiloos out on the beach. Some, like me, ventured to the edge of the surf. Most stood way back and just watched. This being a Sunday and all, it was obvious that many locals left church and drove straight to the beach. Even for people who have lived here all their lives, and seen many a tropical storm and hurricane, seeing the beach under storm conditions is a big draw.

We looked for Jim Cantore, but didn't find him anywhere. I imagine he was taking a break when we were walking the beach. Too bad, because I would have liked to meet him. Maybe tomorrow if he's still here? On the other hand, if Jim stays at our beach then that may not be a good omen.

I took a few dozen photos of the beach. In person, the surf was choppy and awesome. Unfortunately, the pictures I took don't do it justice. My husband took some clips with his movie camera, so I'm hoping he got some good footage to post on youtube.

Tropical Storm Debby, west end of Pensacola Beach.
We'll probably venture back to the beach tomorrow to take some more pictures, assuming Debby increases in force and is still close by. She'll most likely be a hurricane by then. Like I said, I'm awed by the power of a hurricane, but don't really want it to make landfall anywhere. I'm sure we can use the rain all around the Gulf Coast, well, maybe not in Pensacola, but so far no rain for our part of the Florida Panhandle. 
Stormy greetings from Pensacola Beach.

In reality, it's too bad we can't send the tropical rains to Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico to put out their fires. But nature doesn't work that way. One part of our country burns while another part get deluged with rains and another part gets torn apart by winds. Go figure.

As I'm writing this, The Weather Channel just reported that the projected landfall is Apalachicola, Florida, to the east of us. Debby is supposedly only moving at 6 mph, so still a long way out.


  1. Hey Teri,

    Enjoyed your hurricane story.

    Like you, I have feelings of guilt when I find myself getting excited and looking forward to storms. We're 110 miles inland in GA, and they won't do much here but rain, which we desperately need.

    Enjoy the storm and be safe.

    1. Thanks. Glad you enjoyed my post.

      It always amazes me how something so beautiful can be so destructive. Thankfully, TS Debby finally left the Gulf.

      I hope you got some of the much needed rain there in Georgia.


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