What does Star Wars: the Phantom Menace, Haley's Comet and Y2K all have in common with Tropical Storm Fay? They didn't live up to the hype. For varying reasons to be sure but for the storm that withered as it passed Fort Myers it was disappointing. I blame Jim Cantore. He's the guy on the weather channel standing in front of a pounding surf and telling people not to be complacent about a storm despite the fact that he's standing on the wind scoured beach dodging coconuts and sheet rock. When there's a storm on the way, the Weather Channel crews are out in force, assuring that Armageddon will be televised or at least a kitesurfers disastrous flight through the streets of Fort Lauderdale will be caught on video.
So when Tropical Storm Fay failed to develop into a hurricane, came ashore at Marco Island 35 miles south and passed over Immokalee 20 miles east with 65 mile an hour winds on Tuesday 8/19th, it was disappointing to look out and see drizzle and a few shaking palms. It was as if Fort Myers was in a protective bubble and you would think that would be met with a collective sigh.
Yet many hoped for more excitement from the storm. Why? It's not a New England nor'easter where you simply have to bundle up and shovel yourself out. Hurricanes can be catastrophic and they destroy homes, businesses and lives but the sense here was of great disappointment and in some cases annoyance that we had to stock up, prepare the home, batten down the hatches and all for what? A storm less dramatic than our usual afternoon thunderstorms.
There is a general sense of monotony in our day to day lives that is livened by the possibility of something out of the ordinary. It gives us something to witness, experience and hopefully live to talk about. I hear it all the time down here as the after effects of Hurricanes Charley, Ivan and Jeanne in 2004 and Wilma in 2005 still resonate with those who survived them. They were destructive and in some cases debilitating for some, but it gives us a reference point on our individual timelines that is easy to pick out.
Fay continues to smack Florida and has caused considerable damage after intensifying over land on Tuesday and is about to punch out into the Atlantic. We shouldn't be disappointed that we were spared the excitement. Others to our north will have hoped to have been spared after this storm withers and passes but no doubt they will remember Tropical Storm Fay.