June 6, 2016
Cindy, Missy and I are hunkered down safe and dry in JOD’s salon. Outside the wind howls eerily through a hundred rigging lines and the rain comes down in sheets as the leading edge of Tropical Storm Colin lashes our boat. Missy, as usual when the weather turns foul, is very agitated; all of the wind, rain, thunder and heightened level of excitement has her running back and forth, whimpering, barking and straining to get outside (not happenin’). She sounds like Chewbacca. We’ve given her one of her “sleepy bones”, colostrum-based calming treats that we give her when we know bad weather is coming, but it hasn’t kicked in yet.
Outside the marina crew, swaddled in their rainproof suits, rush from one boat to the next, running extra dock lines for absentee boat owners. We’re safely tied up at Morningstar Marina, with double lines tying us in at four different points to the dock. Our “big boy” fenders are deployed and we feel quite safe, though we really don’t know yet how bad it will get.
We’ve known weather was coming; Colin was born as Tropical Depression 3 off of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula several days ago and the odds of it organizing into a significant weather event had been steadily growing. Its path meant it would likely march across the Florida peninsula; the only questions were would it grow into a tropical storm (sustained winds of at least 39 mph but below 72 mph) and where would it cross Florida? Well, TD 3 became Tropical Storm Colin a couple of days ago. And its track? Well, currently the center of the storm is set to pass just 40 miles north of us. This puts us in the northeast quadrant of the storm…the area with the highest winds.
In the northern hemisphere, storms rotate in a counterclockwise direction. The center of the storm is moving as well. With the storm headed in a northeasterly direction, the velocity of the storm’s center adds to the velocity of rotation in the storm’s northeast quadrant, resulting in the highest overall wind velocities.
So far, the storm has been interesting but fairly harmless. We’ve had a couple of significant squalls pass through but nothing really hairy yet. The heart of the storm won’t pass over us until around 2 o’clock in the morning, so we’ll probably be up watching it come in. We’re well set up…our water tanks are full, we have an onboard generator with a full 50-gallon fuel tank, solar panels and food for a couple of weeks…so even if there is damage to the local infrastructure we should be fine.
However, it promises to be an interesting night. Stay tuned…