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Old 09-06-2019, 12:19 AM   #1
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Running from a storm

Looking for advice from you experienced South Florida boaters who prefer to run from impending storms when you can. My wife and I are from the Panhandle area of FL. We traveled to the FL Keys this past May on our MotorYacht and are currently still here. We love the Keys and just can't seem to leave!!

We are currently in a Marina in Key West. This past Storm (Dorian), with its very broad "cone of uncertainty" track with a projected hard right turn north, a few times had Key West in the cone. That put us in a predicament of what to do or where to run too if it were in fact heading to or very near Key West. Luckily, it did not come this way so we didn't have to do anything. The initial forecast tracks had it hitting the east coast and then possibly going across the state and into the Gulf, or at the minimum crossing the state and then turn north working its way up the west coast. That forecast put us in a predicament. If we ran up the east coast, we would most certainly be hit per most of the projected forecast tracks. If we ran up the west coast and it did in fact come across the state and then make the predicted turn northward, we would again potentially be going where it could go.

Being from the Panhandle, when a storm enters the Gulf, we know we can either run east, west, or go inland up the Mobile River, based on the projected forecast track of a storm.

We typically run about 9 knots every where we cruise, but can comfortably run 24 - 26 knots when we need to. We hold 800 gallons of fuel. Last summer we were at BayPoint Marina in Panama City Beach, FL when Hurricane Michael was headed our way. We left PCB headed west 2 days before it took a direct hit. The Marina was completely wiped out as was all marinas there. Had we not chose to run, we would have certainly lost our boat in that situation.

So my question is: For those South FL boat owners who prefer to run and not hope for the best tied up in a marina, or be hauled out, what do you do or where do you go to down here?

Do you run up to Stuart and go west in the Ditch towards Lake Okeechobee to ride it out?

We felt very vulnerable in this particular storm with its forecast track. Not being from this area and not knowing of any hurricane holes, we were in a potential predicament. Look forward to hearing some good thoughts and advice.
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Old 09-06-2019, 04:42 AM   #2
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From KW the shortest run would be to Ft Myers and into the Caloosahatchie river.

The bridges close at 35mph so there is no river traffic .Anchoring in the river or one of the marinas in Ortona has wind rated buildings to hide in.

Aint cheap tho.
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Old 09-06-2019, 05:27 AM   #3
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Your instincts have served you will so far. Keep the fuel tanks full and check the NHC site daily. IRMA reminded us all of the lesson that hurricanes can go where they want in spite of model predictions. All models but one said IRMA would hit Miami and tear up the east coast of FL. Then it just kept going long before turning, smashing the Keys and SW FL.
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Old 09-06-2019, 05:35 AM   #4
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In my experience, inland and a true hurricane hole is great.....guessing where a came makes landfall as we all know is harder.


Most of the time, you can guess correctly and head away from any turns. ..as long as you can beat bridge closures.


Seems state of emergencies are being called very early these days.
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Old 09-06-2019, 07:04 AM   #5
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I call Fort Myers home during the winter. If I were to be there for a hurricane with the boat, the Okeechobee waterway would likely be where I would go. There are a number of spots I would consider securing the boat, and leaving it if necessary.

The important thing to consider is that you have to know where and have alternatives in case the spots are full. This means cruising at least once or twice through the area so that you are familiar with it and know what to bring with you. Can't imagine just running with no idea what to expect where you plan to stay. One can look at the terrible flooding at the ends of rivers / bays in North Carolina from a previous hurricane, to realize that you may dodge the winds only to wrecked by storm surge flooding.

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Old 09-06-2019, 10:08 AM   #6
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I always wonder why more people do not run from a hurricane, and kinda figured it out from responses here...other priorities, home family etc... to secure.

Watched a youtube video yesterday where two guys left the Abacos and went to Miami. They were prepared to run to Cuba if necessary, but Miami worked for this storm.

Seems to me (and I know nothing about hurricanes) that if you had the time and no other priorities you could run from one quite easily in a power boat going 24X7.
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Old 09-06-2019, 10:26 AM   #7
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Seems to me (and I know nothing about hurricanes) that if you had the time and no other priorities you could run from one quite easily in a power boat going 24X7.
I have had the same thoughts especially if you were in the live aboard situation. Not much to pack as that was done long before.

This particular storm was a slow mover. (Not that storms are totally predictable) At times parked. So the operator that had a slower vessel or wanted to operate for fewer than 24/7 had that option for this one.

And I am with you, never experienced a hurricane.
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Old 09-06-2019, 11:34 AM   #8
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Regarding running, if you have to run as opposed to cruise, you waited to long. If I were going to do that, I wouldn't want an engine failure to make it life or death. Same thing is true with a land evacuation. Fuel the vehicle up a week in advance and leave 4 days ahead of time. Sure there may be some evacuations that prove to be unnecessary if you waited, but from a cost standpoint it's a very minimal expense as opposed to abandoning your vehicle when it runs out of fuel or being trapped by the heard evacuating.

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Old 09-06-2019, 11:58 AM   #9
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Regarding running, it's not always as easy as it is on Monday morning. I went through this entire scenario.

I captured the 11:00AM predictions from NHC for the main set of "running" days from Florida below. Looking at each day below (without the knowledge of the future ones), ask yourself where would you have gone and when would you have left?

What would have happened subsequently to your decision after running as far as you could? What could have happened if the prediction was wrong and changed differently than it did?

Sure, SE Florida and/or the panhandle would have been good in the end, but that was not evident until the very last minute. Could you have run from that point? With confidence? What if it didn't stay over the Bahamas for 2 days?

Would any of those decisions been better than staying put in a hurricane hole?
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Old 09-06-2019, 12:14 PM   #10
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Irma struck the Keys and SW FL but the storm winds still battered Jacksonville with winds and flooding. Every storm is going to be different. Do the best that you can and seek shelter on land.
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Old 09-06-2019, 12:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boathealer View Post
Regarding running, it's not always as easy as it is on Monday morning. I went through this entire scenario.

I captured the 11:00AM predictions from NHC for the main set of "running" days from Florida below. Looking at each day below (without the knowledge of the future ones), ask yourself where would you have gone and when would you have left?

What would have happened subsequently to your decision after running as far as you could? What could have happened if the prediction was wrong and changed differently than it did?

Sure, SE Florida and/or the panhandle would have been good in the end, but that was not evident until the very last minute. Could you have run from that point? With confidence? What if it didn't stay over the Bahamas for 2 days?

Would any of those decisions been better than staying put in a hurricane hole?
If one was on the east coast of Florida, get to the west coast.

As someone pointed out, head south, not north.

It depends on where you are, some places might leave you little option
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Old 09-06-2019, 12:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boathealer View Post
I captured the 11:00AM predictions from NHC for the main set of "running" days from Florida below. Looking at each day below (without the knowledge of the future ones), ask yourself where would you have gone and when would you have left?

Are you sure those images are correct? I thought the Thursday image looked like this.Click image for larger version

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Old 09-06-2019, 01:23 PM   #13
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In my in-experienced mind, given I was on a live a board. Summering in Florida. (East/West or Keys) With no particular schedule or commitments. Just enjoying retirement...….

When TS or Cat 1 Dorian skirted PR and the path was now predicted to come to Florida, my inclination would be to move! Storms of this nature typically build given no obstruction except open water. This particular storm moved slow. This wasn't a known fact when it was that much further South/East. And would have been a bonus in this case. A day to provision and 3 days to motor, I would have left the area. With 8 to 10 hours of cruise daily. And other storms have moved much faster.

That may be a poor decision if on the East coast of Florida and traveled South and the storm cut across the state. Or on the East coast of Florida traveled North to have a named storm follow. It is a mental exercise that I play with knowing that the general area gets named storms during a certain time of the year. Which may make the decision to stay much further North during this time.

As a working Joe, living in the Sunshine State with a yacht. That is a different set of circumstances. From my limited experience much of the land based infrastructure gets a 36 hours notice and most of the time can batten down as best as they can and be protected. The decision after that is take a leave of my job to move my yacht or have my yacht secured in place. A much more difficult decision.
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Old 09-06-2019, 01:27 PM   #14
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No matter where were in the eastern US during the "season" we had a plan to run to the nearest boat yard that would take us out of the water, to high ground and knew how to secure it. We made these arrangements early, before any storm was even in sight. And yes, the boat was our only residence.
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Old 09-07-2019, 08:20 AM   #15
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"Seems state of emergencies are being called very early these days."

I believe "emergency " creates federal funds becoming avilable..

Used to be most big norther cities had a generous snow removal budget.
Then they discovered "emergency funding " , so reduced their winter budget to a minor amount.

First snow would start the first emergency of that winter.,

In southern states emergency probably allows vast overtime payments.
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Old 09-07-2019, 09:54 AM   #16
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Although I don't live on the east coast or in the SE United states, I often ponder & empathize with those that do live there. My God! It seems that every year those areas are threatened by Mother Nature in one form or another! Blizzards, ice storms, hurricanes, etc., how do you all stand it?

My home and boat are in San Diego where the earth shakes once in awhile, but not every year! My biggest problem with the boat is preparing for a 70 mile run to Catalina or one of the Channel Islands, not finding a hurricane hole or a place to move the boat to dry land. My hat is off to those who live on the east coast or in SE US. More power to you....but it's not for me!
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Old 09-16-2019, 01:08 PM   #17
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Two personal experiences, one by land and one by sea.
First was by land a day before hurricane Frances in 2004. Spent 6 hours traveling 20 miles, ended up turning around and going home.
Second time was by water, two days before an approaching storm that we didn't get, so I don't recall the name, but somewhere around 2014-2016. Left the keys to bring our boat home to Stuart. No urgency, plenty of time, sunny skies, light winds. As we approached the Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart about 2 PM an announcement on Ch 16 by The Coast Guard that all bridges in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties would be locked down at 3pm that day. It didn't affect us, as we were almost home, but it told me not to expect any warning that bridges would close to boat traffic, easily trapping you and your boat in unfamiliar territory.
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Old 09-16-2019, 01:18 PM   #18
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You cannot outguess a hurricane. When IKE was heading up the Texas coast, a cat 1, my two daughters were apoplectic. They live 200 and 400 miles inland from the gulf and were just sure we would die if we stayed. After some negotiations I agreed to take their mother 100 miles inland where the Daughter from Tyler Texas would meet us and take her "out of harms way". I would go back to the coast and hunker down. Hell, it was a Cat 1 and might get to Cat 2.....maybe.

Well it stayed offshore....past Corpus....and went ashore north of Houston 200 miles away and then up the Red River. Sat morning I was sitting on the front porch sipping an iced tea when the phone rang. It was my wife, "What are you doing?" Me, "Well I am thinking about going fishing. What are you doing?" Her, "We are hiding in the garage from the storm. The power is out so we dont have AC." Ike had turned up the Red River and gone 400 miles inland to hit Tyler.
I never heard another word about running from a hurricane and even when Harvey was aiming straight at us, they didnt call in a panic....LOL They knew better.
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Old 09-16-2019, 01:19 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
I always wonder why more people do not run from a hurricane, and kinda figured it out from responses here...other priorities, home family etc... to secure.

Watched a youtube video yesterday where two guys left the Abacos and went to Miami. They were prepared to run to Cuba if necessary, but Miami worked for this storm.

Seems to me (and I know nothing about hurricanes) that if you had the time and no other priorities you could run from one quite easily in a power boat going 24X7.
I too think the same.

I did think about what I would have done had I had Dauntless in NYC when Sandy approached.
I thought it was a no brainer to cruise up the Hudson.
But very few people did that, to their loss.
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Old 09-16-2019, 01:36 PM   #20
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Geauxcruise, we live in south Florida and keep our boat tied to storm piles at our house. This all had to be approved by our insurance provider. Do you not have specific requirements from your insurance company in the event of a named storm?
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