September 21, 2004 at 1:21 am #47310
Many of you are probably aware of the multiple hurricanes we’ve been getting smashed by here in Florida. So far I’ve been lucky, because my home town of Tallahassee, FL (the capitol of Florida) has dodged the bullet a couple of times so far with only minor damage…
Well, the latest hurricane to hit us was Ivan, which came in as a category 3 storm, and made land fall around the Florida / Alabama border causing significant damage.
Last Friday (9-16-04), the day after Ivan made landfall, at about 7:15am, my boss called me and told me to dress appropriately… A group of us were bound for Pensacola, one of the cities hardest hit by Ivan.
I work for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) as a computer tech, and our Pensacola operational center had suffered significant water damage, so we had to get down and clear out all the computer equipment that we could possibly carry back. The building is an old, three story former school house, made of brick. The third floor took the brunt of the damage, but the first and second were not in good condition either. Fortunately, the building was checked out before we got there and deemed structurally sound, so we could proceed. Let me just say that it was no fun! There was no power (anywhere in Pensacola for that matter), so the lights, elevator, and air conditioning were all out. Everything had to be carried down the stairs, in the most hot, humid and stinky building I’ve ever been in… all by flashlight. I found out today that a second group made another run yesterday (Sunday) and got the rest of the stuff.
Though we were the first there to lend a hand, we were not the last. FDLE members from all over the state have been coming in to help out, as there are lots, and lots of files, criminal evidence, lab equipment, etc. that must be cleared out and secured. The National Guard was there to guard the building and help with the move as well.
Pensacola is in bad shape, and it’s going to be weeks before they even get their power back on. We had to plan ahead as far as gas and food was concerned, because there is a point of no return where these resources are no longer available. There are pine trees snapped in half all over the place, and most of the trees that are still standing have had all of their leaves blown off. Interstate 10 (I-10) is out at the bridge outside of the city, and the other entrances are completely clogged with traffic. It took us two hours to get into the city alone. On that note, it was a pretty awesome sight seeing hundreds of National Guard, utilities, tree surgeons, other support vehicles coming into the city in huge convoys…
Well, take a look at the pictures, and be glad you don’t live there. The pics are a combination of both trips, including sights from the road, as well as a few pics from inside the FDLE building. Ever seen a bucket of guns? How about three? (A few pics were taken while FDLE crime lab personnel were emptying the ballistics lab.)September 21, 2004 at 4:53 am #105032
Mattman in law enforcement?!?
thanks for the pics + story, weird to see those boates on land.
And it’s good to hear that you weren’t hurt in the mayhem.
It’s been pretty shitty weather here in norway as well. Wind, rain, lightening. Pure hell. I risked a trip outside yesterday and took this photo:
Seeing the damage mother nature can do in my own neighbourhood put things in perspective, and reminds me not to take things for granted.September 21, 2004 at 5:27 am #105033
Hey Mattman, thanks for the story & the impressive pix, good to hear that your place was out of harms way…..
….and robert, thanks for risking your life in a real Norwegian hurricane….
(although I think that if the storm had been ‘Pensacola strength’ those chairs and table would be hanging in some trees a couple of miles away, and all that woodwork would be gone…. )September 21, 2004 at 7:45 am #105034
Found some photos of our hurricane,Hurricane Juan last year on Sept 28/29th:
Matt-good to hear you`ve dodged all this;thanks for the pics ,I hope Florida gets no more damage.September 21, 2004 at 7:48 am #105035
OMG, Robert, I’m so glad you weren’t under that thing when it fell!!!
I wouldn’t say I’m "in" law enforcement… I mean, they won’t give me a gun, or even a badge… :aliensmile:September 21, 2004 at 8:10 am #105036
Thanks Robert, I am laughing so hard this morning, something so "zen" about that chair, I am both filled with laughter and peace, ahh, what a great way to start the day. ohh, and Mattman I am glad you are safe, that must have been some weather for you
up near the panhandle.
My children went back to school yesterday after having last thursday and friday off because of the expected bad weather.
The school called around 9am and asked that we come get our children because the back of the building had major structural damage, I am so glad the children were with me at home on friday and not in that (what I thought to be very safe) brick building. One of the damaged classrooms at St. Joseph’s in Athens is here. http://onlineathens.com/images/092104/10818_256.jpg”>http://onlineathens.com/images/092104/10818_256.jpg
that is a piece of tree poised to come in right above where Mrs. Pace desk once was!!!!!!!!September 21, 2004 at 8:38 am #105037"Mattman" wrote:I wouldn’t say I’m "in" law enforcement… I mean, they won’t give me a gun, or even a badge… :aliensmile:
That’s a shame. I’m not sure if you’d need a gun or not, but a badge would’ve been neat.
Ok, so if I understand this correctly you’re keeping the FDLE computers up and running? Is that even remotely correct?
How come Florida has so much really really bad weather?
Annastefka, glad to hear your children are ok, and that there weren’t anyone at school when the building sort of collapsed.September 21, 2004 at 8:51 am #105038
Yes, that’s my job exactly.
Looks like there’s another trip planned for tomorrow. The Pensacola people are setting in some space at the local sheriff’s office. They’ve given us a list of about 20 specific PC’s and various other hardware that they need by tomorrow… We currently have all this stuff in a number of disorganized piles and haven’t even had time to see what’s been damaged and what still works…
So far I’m not going to be on the team going back (we’re trying to keep some rotation here, though there are a couple guys who are going to be on all the trips)… I’ll be helping out with testing and setting up the PC’s that are going over there though, along with my normal duties on top of that. We’re crunched right now.September 21, 2004 at 9:09 am #105039
Sounds like you’re in for some days(weeks perhaps) with of A LOT OF WORK
The rotation scheme sounds like a good plan, hopefully it’ll ease the burden a bit.September 21, 2004 at 9:16 am #105040
Bucky RamoneParticipant"Mattman" wrote:They’ve given us a list of about 20 specific PC’s and various other hardware that they need by tomorrow… We currently have all this stuff in a number of disorganized piles and haven’t even had time to see what’s been damaged and what still works…
….now, that sounds like a hell of a job…… good luck with it!September 21, 2004 at 10:27 am #105041
Thanks, we can use some luck!
We’re getting some help from other members of our department. There are 15 in my group, only half of which are really able to travel, but the some of the network guys and help desk folks have thrown in for the trips to Pensacola, and it looks like the server guys might toss one or two people in too. The 5:30am, 6 hour trips (4 hours to get there, plus 2 hours to wait in bumper to bumper traffic) to Pensacola are the worst of it, so having these other guys in the rotation takes a lot of the stress off of us. We’re pretty much on our own with the piles of equipment though…September 21, 2004 at 2:55 pm #105042
first af all it’s good to hear, that damage isn’t big in Tallahassee, and that everyone is ok (also in Georgia …and Norway )
but of course all that very bad damage around Pensacola must have been very moving to see. I suppose it must be a big difference to see it on tv or to be there where everything has been torn upside down
thanks for the report, and I agree, the pics are impressing.September 21, 2004 at 3:42 pm #105043
Yikes, what chaos…
Thanks for the report & pics, definitely sounds like a longterm job getting all those pc’s back up and running
Be careful out there Robert…September 21, 2004 at 7:23 pm #105044
hey we had like ten tornados on the ground in my county here in maryland last weekend.
sorry no pics tho.
i was too busy getting blazed.September 21, 2004 at 10:28 pm #105045
wshew, good thing none of those guns got drownded… way to go!!
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