Florida Storms

A New Yorker's Viewpoint

The only thing worse than a New York meteorologist warning of forthcoming doom as the result of a bomb cyclone that will wreak havoc on the area is a Florida meteorologist warning of impending doom due to a typical pop-up supercell.

Seriously, severe storms are no joke, but the news communities still need to learn that we have lived through them before and pretty much know what to do. Just tell me when and where.

My thoughts exactly, Vic.

Florida averages 54 inches of rain across the state every year and can experience 65-degree seasonal temperature swings. The New York metropolitan area averages 47 inches of rain, 25 inches of snow, and a 100-degree seasonal temperature swing. Oh, and all those numbers are higher in the northern zones. The big difference is Florida gets most of their rain between June and October, and the near-daily summer afternoon thunderstorms can produce several inches of rain per hour.

One of the things I'm perplexed over is the amount of above-ground transmission lines in Florida. My entire neighborhood, for example, is nearly 100% telephone pole-mounted transformers and overhead service. Have we learned nothing? I sure have. Shortly after installing a ten new LED trim kits in my recessed cans, a lightning strike clobbered the fusible link at the transformer serving my house. Shortly after LCEC replaced it, I realized not only that 7 of the 10 trim kits had fried, but a small UPS/power conditioner I use for my TV was cooked, as was a cable box.

I threw out all the trim kits and installed LED bulbs, installed a whole-house surge protector, and popped a gas-fuse surge protector on the coax entering the house. There.

Within a week, another storm blasted the new replacement UPS/power conditioner. There is some serious transient voltage in this area, and it is not to be messed around with. I sank a second ground rod with an independent wire to my main panel. That seems to have done the trick, but make SURE your pool equipment and enclosures are bonded. If you don't know what that means, hire an inspector or electrician to check it. Money well spent.

That brings me to wind.

It's really pretty simple. Roofs blow off and houses collapse because windborne debris breaks windows and doors, then the wind pressurizes the house. That's why we cover our windows and doors with metal and plywood ahead of storms. But be sure to secure outdoor items as well. Trim coconut trees. Bring in outdoor furniture. Put the garbage cans in the garage. Speaking of which, don't forget garage door glass, and make sure the door itself is at least wind-rated.