The weather service is reporting tropical storm force sustained wind gusts of up to 70 mph, category 1 hurricane speeds all around the SW Florida and northern Florida too. These conditions are expected to remain in the area for most of today and even into the early hours of tomorrow. Considering the hurricane season ended three weeks ago, this unexpected event recorded the highest wind speeds so far this year.
There are reports of power pole transformers shorting out in various areas around Pine Island. These can often cause the pole itself to catch fire.
As of 10 am, 12/21/21 the major SW FL bridges have been closed to all traffic. The Matlacha bridge remains open to normal vehicular traffic, however, tall truck traffic is urged caution.
The power has been blinking on and off since early in the morning. All compressor type equipment (Refridgerators, freezers, air conditioners) will be vulnerable to compressor failure under these conditions. Most modern A/C units have built-in timers which keeps the compressor coming on for a few minutes as a precaution.
If these appliances are not on some kind of surge protection or better still power backup, in order to be proactive, it would be useful to turn the temp up (which keeps the compressor from turning on) or turn off or even unplug these appliances (ONLY if they are already at the required inside temperature) until the storm passes through. Most of these appliances, with good seals, will hold temperature for a few hours before they need to be turned back on. But don't forget!
As far as we could tell, there was no wide spread emergency warning of this impending serious wind event. Most modern home construction is built to withstand 90 to 100mph winds with little or no damage. In other words, it took many professional weather forecasters by surprise.
If the bridge advisories are not lifted before the end of the day, some people may be stranded wherever they are.
We at PIN "believe" weather is weather, e.g., if nobody lived in the path of weather, weather wouldn't matter. Monetary values aren't determinant (to weather) of how much damage it produces. Weather doesn't care how much a building is worth in inflated currency. There is ample historical evidence that there has been, what has been characterized as "extreme" weather for millions of years when there were no homo-sapiens around. There is nothing we can do to change it at all. Just prepare as best you can.