The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

It Begins (Irma #4)

The rains and wind have arrived in earnest. We're already on the receiving end of tropical storm force winds and the rain is coming down in buckets. It's hard to believe this is just a first taste of Irma's power. She is one very large storm, larger than any I've experienced, well over 500 miles in diameter. The forecast for our area is not encouraging. She will strengthen and hammer us throughout the night and into tomorrow.

A few moments ago I stepped out on the lanai and noticed that water is beginning to pool in the area between the houses. There's pretty good drainage back there but I'm not real confident it can keep up with a storm of this intensity. When hurricane Frances hit us back in 2004 we experienced some significant flooding behind our house, but it eventually drained off and did no damage. Water also seeped in under the front door. Fortunately we managed to sop it up with dozens of towels until the rains stopped. But we've had so much rain this summer that I'm afraid the ground is already waterlogged. We'll see.
Maddie viewing the empty lanai
Adding to the excitement are the tornadoes that accompany Irma. A dozen or so have already popped up in central and eastern Florida with several causing serious damage by uprooting trees and destroying mobile homes. One TV meteorologist commented that well over 10% of Floridians live in mobile and manufactured homes, a fact that explains why they are so often the target of severe weather: there's just a lot of them. The only good thing about hurricane-embedded tornadoes is their size and duration: they tend to be small and they don't last long.

Oh, yes, for those of you concerned about our lizards, on my brief visit to the lanai I noticed that Leo, the largest of our three lizards, apparently decided to come out of hiding. The below photo shows him comfortably waiting out the storm. We are pleased that all three seem to be doing well, and trust they will make it through the "dark and stormy night."  
Leo, the largest of our lizards
We still have electricity, telephone, cable and internet; and this is good. At my age the idea of reverting to a more primitive lifestyle is unappealing. Whether all of these modern conveniences will still function tomorrow morning is anyone's guess, but I'm hoping for the best.

Martyrdom of St. Erasmus (Elmo)
Interestingly, when it comes to things electrical or electronic, Diane always asks St. Elmo to intercede. This all began when I once described the phenomenon known as "St. Elmo's Fire," a form of electrical discharge that sometimes appears on the masts and rigging of ships. Because sailors considered them to be signs of St. Elmo's protective concern, they named the phenomenon after him. The patron saint of sailors (and I suppose that includes me), Elmo is more properly known as St. Erasmus of Formia. I suppose Elmo is just a nickname preferred by sailors. And here's an amazing  coincidence: St. Elmo and St. Vitus (remember him from my first Irma post) were both martyred in the same year, 303 A.D. Isn't that remarkable? Our two patrons -- Elmo, Diane's patron of things electrical, and Vitus, the patron of protection from storms -- returned to the Father at about the same time.

And so I ask that you join with us as we turn to these two saintly martyrs in prayer, asking for their combined intercession for all who are in the path of this devastating storm. 

God's peace.

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