The Atlantic hurricane season officially lasts from June 1st through November 30th each year. Despite this, most people in Florida usually relax once we get to late October. Tropical Storm Nicole made landfall in Florida today just to remind us all that Mother Nature sets her own schedule. We spent the night last night “battening down the hatches” here at our home in Tallahassee.
Historically, this nineteenth century nautical phrase referred to the practice of using wooden rods called battens to secure canvas or wooden covers in a closed position on the hatchways. Contemporary use usually means “to prepare for trouble.” Here in Florida, tropical storm preparations are pretty close to the original meaning of the phase. Our homes in the Keys and Miami had metal storm shutters that would be closed and locked to cover and protect the windows, doors, and garage. Homes in Tallahassee usually don’t have storm shutters, but we do put yard furniture, plants, and anything else that can be impacted by high winds and heavy rains in protected locations. We got most of this done last night and finished up the rest this morning.
Fortunately, the storm moved north as it crossed Grand Bahama last night. This moved the landfall in Florida north to the Vero Beach area and shifted the track to the east. Because of that, it is expected to stay over land and track father east. This will take us out of the more intense parts of the storm. The wind and rain are expected to pick up early this afternoon here in the Panhandle. They expect sustained winds in the 15-20 mph range which shouldn’t be too bad at all. I do expect to be picking up leaves and Spanish moss most of the weekend.
Hope everyone stays safe and has minimal impact from the storm.