09/03/04 to 09/06/04 REPORTS: HURRICANE FRANCES

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So far, all is pretty quiet here in Tallahassee. We had a line of strong thunderstorms move through with the first outer band around 4:30 PM, but since then, everything has been quiet. We even have some clear skies peeking through now. Looks like that will change in the overnight hours as plenty of rain moving in from the east - we've got the house taken care of and are ready to ride this storm out, my first since moving to Florida. Not sure I'm fond of these things. I will post another update when the storm has gone through. Hoping we get by with 40-50 MPH winds at the most.
I think the worst is past us, so I'll file my report while cable still works...

I'm seven blocks from Downtown Orlando, and I had power for the whole storm. My cable went out for about 14 hours, but it's back now, which is a testament to how quickly services are being restored here. At my vantage point, this was nothing like Charley in terms of damage. The top wind gust in my neighborhood was 49mph at around 15:00, and then it dried up for much of the afternoon. We did encounter a bit more squally weather when Frances decided to hang a right just north of Tampa, and head North around 23:00, but winds stayed below 40mph for the most part. The lowest pressure I recorded at my house was 986mb, or about 29.11 inches at 18:27. That's the lowest I've ever gotten out of a tropical system from here.

It was a pretty boring hurricane to look at from my house. :p
Had plans to ride out Frances at my friends house in Palm Bay, FL on Friday Sept 03. Since the Hurricane slowed down, and even becoming nearly stationary at times, I decided to put that off until the next day. During the next morning, it appeared that Frances was headed in a more westerly direction, and the landfall could be south of Palm Bay, so I decided to hold off that morning while waiting for an increase in the Hurricanes movement and direction towards the coast ( I have another friend near Boca in Palm Beach county where I could go in the event the landfall was in that area). At my location, south of Ft. Lauderdale, I was experiencing 30-40+mph winds and heavy rain with some downed trees and scattered power outages. That, along with some filming and monitoring the radar and satellite, kept me occupied as the Hurricane took it's time moving ever so slowly towards the south central FL coast. During the afternoon, Frances seemed to be stalling near Freeport in the Bahamas, so at that time I decided to postpone my trip up to Palm Bay yet again. By late Saturday afternoon, I had to make a choice to go and take my chances with Frances stalling yet another day or just wait it out at home. The problems I was facing is that the gas stations were closed and out of gas, so I would not able to make many trips around the area trying to get in a good position. The slow movement of Frances was starting to cause a flooding event for areas west and northwest of the eye. Also, the eye of Frances was cloud filled and rather large which is not as interesting to me as I been through those types of Hurricanes before. On Sunday Sept 05, I ended up staying at home. I took some short tours of the area, filmed some light damage, winds and rain. It was "ok", nothing really significant though, except the wind and rain lasted for 3 days, and lost power for a short time.

Note: I do know what happened at my friends house in Palm Bay, as I have not been able to contact him since this morning. Will update if something significant happened.
Final chase report from Frances is complete!

[Broken External Image]:http://wvlightning.com/frances/frances1t.jpg [Broken External Image]:http://wvlightning.com/frances/frances6t.jpg [Broken External Image]:http://wvlightning.com/frances/palms2t.jpg [Broken External Image]:http://wvlightning.com/frances/frances8t.jpg

[Broken External Image]:http://wvlightning.com/frances/65mpht.jpg [Broken External Image]:http://wvlightning.com/frances/frances4t.jpg [Broken External Image]:http://wvlightning.com/frances/marina3t.jpg [Broken External Image]:http://wvlightning.com/frances/holopawt.jpg

[Broken External Image]:http://wvlightning.com/frances/nogast.jpg [Broken External Image]:http://wvlightning.com/frances/evac1t.jpg [Broken External Image]:http://wvlightning.com/frances/awnings2t.jpg [Broken External Image]:http://wvlightning.com/frances/frances5t.jpg

I drove to Florida on Thursday and ended up in downtown Fort Pierce for the duration of Frances. Filmed numerous power flashes and got some good video of awnings ripping off of a building as well as some dramatic scenes and sounds at the Ft. Pierce marina. Returned home at 3:30AM Monday after barely squeaking by out of Florida with only gas fumes to spare. An enjoyable chase!

Full report with video and photos is here:

Just thought I'd add something odd. Now that I am home, winding down and relaxing, I'm still 'hearing' the winds in my ears! It's the same type of thing I feel after riding a train all day, and what some people report feeling after being on a boat for a long time - hearing the noises and feeling the senses long afterward. Really eerie stuff!

Jeff Gammons and the Weathervine crew are unable to post a firsthand report and have asked me to do so for them. Jeff along with Chris Collura, Jason Foster, Doug Keisling, and Jim Edds, intercepted Hurricane Frances from Ft. Pierce inslet, the barrier island just off the mainland. Jeff said they experienced some dramatic winds and of course torrential rain as Frances lumbered ashore at an agonizingly slow pace. Jeff promised video and stills are forthcoming not only from the impressive winds but also the remarkable storm surge they filmed from very close range.

Jeff said the slow pace of Frances made the category 2 storm seem much worse and of course created more damage and water danger.

Jeff lives in Okeechobee, just north of the lake, and his home suffered some damage but is still livable, he said. Other neighbors of his were not so lucky and have walls and roofs missing, a bad situation made worse by the lack of power, gasoline, and running water. The National Guard is patrolling the streets and enforcing a curfew in certain neighborhoods.

All are well, but the situation has made communication difficult. Jeff's cell phone only came back online about two hours ago. It could be several days before he posts imagery or video because of the power outage, but when he does it will be on http://www.weathervine.com

They are bracing for the possibility of Hurricane Ivan coming too close for comfort and I don't think any of them wants to see Florida suffer more damage in already beaten areas.

I took this group of pictures this afternoon just north of the Orlando Executive Airport. It was about 17:00, and I was facing East. We were tornado-warned, and this little dude floated by. It fit the definition of the kind of "mini-supercell" convection I'd heard about around hurricanes, so I snapped some shots. I'll put more pictures up on my site when I get some time.

I initially notice the little guy.
[Broken External Image]:http://www.amazingcheese.com/StormTrack/Frances_MiniSup1.jpg
The little guys starts to grow a tail.
[Broken External Image]:http://www.amazingcheese.com/StormTrack/Frances_MiniSup2.jpg
The little guy makes a hasty exit through areas with trees down (D'oh).
[Broken External Image]:http://www.amazingcheese.com/StormTrack/Frances_MiniSup3.jpg
Originally posted by Niki Darnaby
Simon Brewer, Joel Taylor, Reed Timmer, and I captured incredible footage of hurricane Frances from within the eye-wall east of Stuart, FL on Hutchison Island. A house on the beach was being battered by waves from the storm surge and winds gusted over 100 mph. Spent two nights in a small rental car and our BO was horrible. Fortunately for the locals, it wasn't quite a Cat 4. The video will be posted on www.tornadovideos.net in a few days.

(This is a chase report that was moved from Weather & Chasing)
Posted 9/4/04 11:34am in Weather & Chasing:
Originally posted by Douglas Kiesling+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Douglas Kiesling)</div>
Currently we are in Fort Pierce Beach watching the trailer park go bye bye.

But getting to reposition back to the main land before the surge cuts us off.

[Broken External Image]:http://www.lightningboy.com/frances/DSC07742_ft_pierce_beach_roof.jpg


Posted 9/6/04 11:01pm in Weather & Chasing:
<!--QuoteBegin-Doug Kiesling

Just A quick post since this is the first time we have been able to get on line in almost 2 days. Had to pay someone $100 for gas in
Okeechobee, and now the phone and internet are working but life is coming back to normal slowly. But the Weathervine and BNVN crew are still alive after chasing Hurricane Frances on Hutchinson Island, East Of Fort Pierce Fl.

What did we see? Lots, we stayed out on the island in the eye wall well after dark and watch roofs fly off the trailer park, insane storm surge and just all around the worst, or best of hurricane frances. All on video and photos. Best video out there since we were the ONLY ones out there. Everyone else took off way too early and with the slow moving storm, we were in the eye wall for \"HOURS\"!!! We were in the eye wall for so long, we started playing cards and taking bets on which roof would go next. I must say I only broke even on that one but Foster cleaned up... But he will need it to repair his truck... But thats a different story because we have yet to find his truck...

Working on the web page update now but here are some teaser photos. I will post a 20+ minute video as soon as I can get back on high speed internet.

Anyways, here are some teaser photos.

Here is me trying to play super man.
[Broken External Image]:http://www.lightningboy.com/frances/DSC07733.jpg

Here is Chris shooting video and right after a big piece of something flew by him and looking to see what was coming next.
[Broken External Image]:http://www.lightningboy.com/frances/DSC07749.jpg

Here is Jason with his Meso Net... If anyone see's this truck in the water with the sunken boats... or maybe an inpound lot if he is lucky, please let us know... Debris hit the front end of the truck and busted his belt and killed all his power so we had to leave it behind.
[Broken External Image]:http://www.lightningboy.com/frances/DSC07752.jpg

Jim Edds trying to do a hand stand in the hurricane winds...
[Broken External Image]:http://www.lightningboy.com/frances/DSC07716.jpg

And last but not least, Jeff and I with a lot of wind blowing the trees, asphalt, rocks, fish, and what ever else there was out there (Jasons Truck) around...

[Broken External Image]:http://www.lightningboy.com/frances/DSC07755.jpg

All in all it was another great storm chase for the BNVN and Weathervine crews.

Well folks,
After being without power for over a week after Hurricane Frances and still working on the Hurricane Charley DVD, Im happy to post that our Hurricane Frances video and photo gallery is online for all to view. We are coninuting to work on the Charley DVD and web gallery. Also we will be publishing a Hurricane Ivan gallery sometime soon as well with photos and video.

There will be a DVD release for each hurricane...starting with the Charley release next week.

Hurricane Frances Video and Photo Gallery:



Jeff Gammons - KG4PGA
[email protected]
More from Hurricane Frances

I was at home in Brevard County, FL, when Frances hit, so we experienced tropical-storm-force and hurricane-force winds for hours. I've posted some video grabs/digital images from the morning of 9/5, when it was most intense in our area - mostly from the Indian River Lagoon, which is normally pretty calm and was throwing up big waves and smashing boats against docks and rocks. I also have posted pix from my flight on NOAA's G-IV hurricane hunter plane. See http://skydiary.com

Chris K.
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