If you live in the southwest Florida area, then you no doubt heard about the storm and tornado that came through last night. Winter storms like his one around here are rare and tornadoes in the area even rarer. Normally, we are always on alert for hurricanes during hurricane season and can relax in the winter and enjoy some cool dry weather. Our weather lately has been anything from normal — unseasonably warm and humid — and storms like this one are unexpected.
Last night an EF2 tornado (which can produce winds between 111 and 135 mph) touched down in Cape Coral, about 15 miles from Snook Bight Marina. It left a path of destruction and thousands without power. We’d been watching the weather and were expecting some rain to come through with a cold front, but I wasn’t expecting the huge wind gusts. Randy and I were about to watch a movie when both of our phones started alarming a tornado watch. We suddenly heard a downpour of rain and wind. Within seconds, our boat started moving around in it’s slip and we heard a huge gust and with it debris flying around. We grabbed Sophie and headed down into our aft cabin where it was safer. The strong winds only lasted a few minutes and once it passed it left a lot of rain behind. In between showers, Randy went out to assess the damage and went around the docks collecting debris floating in the water. Thankfully, no one was hurt but it left quite a bit of damage to the marina and boats.
Blue Turtle has some damage to her canvas, but otherwise weathered the storm well. Most of the boats in the marina has isinglass and canvas damage that will keep the local canvas repair shops busy for weeks to come. Several boat steps went missing, including our neighbors whose steps were made out of aluminum or steel. Their steps were large and heavy and we thank our lucky stars that they missed Blue Turtle as they were hurled into the water. There is a lot of debris and missing items floating in the water and sitting on the docks waiting for their owners to come claim them. A few of the electrical dock pedestals got knocked over and many dock boxes got moved around. We did have a couple boats in the marina that hit the docks and have fiberglass damage. One small catamaran’s lines broke and it smashed into the dock cracking the fiberglass on the front port side hull. The oddest thing is that there is a piece from a surrounding building that landed on the docks near us and what looks like a rain gutter landed on the bow of a friend’s sailboat.
Randy and I have prepared for hurricanes in the past—both for Isaac and Debby—which thankfully ended up missing us. We are normally on alert during the hurricane season so it’s odd that we would have a storm come through in the winter that would cause so much damage.