Even with the program season winding down at the Florida Sea Base, weather is still on our minds daily.  We are obviously concerned from a basic survival standpoint;  you don’t want a major hurricane sneaking up on you.  We are also concerned because MAJOR construction projects are scheduled for this fall and any significant weather delays will be catastrophic.  The contractors are on very tight schedules for completing the new pool complex, relocating the Ships Store to the Quarterdeck building and making seawall renovations.  Delays with any of these projects will impact spring and maybe even summer programming.

Stu Ostro, Senior Meteorologist, The Weather Channel
Aug 26,  2013 5:54 pm ET


With each passing day, we get deeper into the peak of the hurricane season, and the lack of activity becomes more notable. Last week the “ACE” (Accumulated Cyclone Energy, a representation of the strength and longevity of tropical cyclones, not just the number of them) was 1/2 of average-to-date. Now, even with Fernand, it’s down to approximately 1/3 so far this season.

For some perspective, by this date in the past five hurricane seasons …

2012: Isaac was a few days from hitting the Gulf Coast; 2011: Irene had reached Category 3 intensity and was on its way to the East Coast, less intense wind-wise but with severe flash flooding and significant surge/erosion; 2010: Earl, which went on to brush the East Coast, had formed and was on its way to become the second Category 4 hurricane of the season already; 2009: although overall a relatively quiet season, there had already been a Category 4 hurricane, Bill, at sea; 2008: Hurricane Dolly had made landfall in Texas, and Gustav had formed, on its way to become a Category 4 in a few days and then make landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2.

Looking ahead from this vantage point on August 26, 2013, there are some things that could soon come together to form the next tropical storm in the Atlantic and maybe even a hurricane by next week … but that’s what typically happens during the very peak of the season, like Minnesota or Maine getting a snowstorm in January … and the fact that we’re having to go through the level of meteorological gyrations we are to figure out when/if a hurricane might develop — analyzing that this acronym might work together with that atmospheric wave and another and the atmosphere might not be too dry and upper-level winds might not be too strong and so on — exemplifies how exceptionally unconducive to development that tropical atmosphere has been, at least so far this season.

And if a tropical storm or hurricane does develop over the tropical Atlantic by this weekend or next week, the question would become where it’ll go. At least initially models are indicating the chance of it reaching North America is low.

Could all of this undergo an equally remarkable reversal? Yes, just like there have been winters whose pattern “flipped” during the season. We’ll continue to look for signs of a significant change; for now there are not yet any.

Regardless, remember that all it takes is one bad storm to make a season disastrous, and people should never become complacent.

It rained at the Florida Sea Base yesterday.  Looking at the radar I thought we were in for a day long, soaking rain.  The mass of rain over the Florida Straits was headed our way.  But we lucked out; it rained just a little and then broke apart…

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Until midnight or so.  Then we had heavy rain and lightning all night.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

The good news is we did not get a lot of wind from this storm.


I know a young lady who works at the Florida Sea Base on occasion (and who will remain nameless) who claims to enjoy doing laundry.  I know a guy who works at the Florida Sea Base on a full time basis (who too shall remain nameless) who tells me he enjoys ironing.  I don’t enjoy either of those activities and am skeptical that anyone else really does.  But I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who claimed to enjoy budgeting.  And  budgeting was the order of the day for Captain Luke Knuttel, Tim Stanfill and me.  I don’t think either of the others finished and I certainly didn’t.  I have to go to the mainland this morning but I expect to be on base by mid afternoon and I hope to finish my first draft by this evening.  Since we split the sailing and scuba program budgets last year I only have a tiny sliver of the pie, about $1.9 million, to deal with.  The percentage increase in my program supplies for 2014 over 2013 may be too high and require that I cut some things.  I hope to get that worked out later today.  I spent an hour or so with that one issue yesterday.  The individual numbers are realistic.  Some of the increase is due to better budgeting this year over last (I left a few things out as we split the sailing and scuba budgets), increase in costs, and adding some improvements to program like better flashlights (at twice the cost) for night dives.


The dive boats are required to be inspected by the United States Coast Guard annually to maintain their Certificate of Inspection, documentation that says the vessels are seaworthy and properly equipped, maintained and operated to carry passengers for hire.  Our new US Coast Guard Marine Safety Officer, David Jackson, will be inspecting the BSA Burglar and BSA Centennial Eagle today.  Captain Christy Clemenson, Captain Bert Hubby and several of the Florida Sea Base staff have checked everything and feel confident that the vessels are ready.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape

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