Thursday, September 16, 2010

Huge Tampa Bay Thunderstorm!

Almost all thunderstorm clouds grow to heights above 20,000 feet. With 35,000 feet being typical. The more intense ones continue upwards until they hit the top of the troposphere, called the tropopause. Since penetrating into the stratosphere takes a lot of energy, many cumulonimbus clouds flatten out on the tropopause into the classic anvil shape with the tip streaming off downwind. If the storm is unusually intense, the updraft may punch into the stratosphere in cauliflower-like turrets. These “trop busters” are usually severe storms, with internal updrafts perhaps exceeding 100 mph. At any given place and time the height of the tallest storms is thus controlled by the height of the troposphere. Over the U.S. the tops of the stronger storms range from 40,000 to 65,000 feet from spring through summer and from north to south, respectively. There are some radar reports of echoes exceeding 70,000 feet, but if these reports are correct, this would be a very rare event. In any case, most thunderstorms are high enough that commercial jet traffic does not fly over most storms but rather circumnavigates since there can be “surprises” inside thunderstorm tops including extreme turbulence, hail, lightning, and wind shears.

Incredible Marco Island FL

This week I visited Marco Island FL. Beth and I were suprised that Marco never mentioned his ownership of an island in FL!
Gateway to the awesome land of Ten Thousand Islands, Marco Island is about 4 miles wide, 6 miles long, and a mere 90 miles west of Miami and 157 miles south of Tampa.
History informs us that probably around 4000 BC the Calusa Indians, who may have been the descendants of the Mayans, inhabited the island. These Native People had built large mounds using millions of shells that offered them protection from hurricanes. The mounds were also used for religious temples and burial sites.
In 1870, W.T. Collier brought his wife and nine children to Marco Island. His son, William D. “Captain Bill” Collier, opened a 20-room hotel in 1896 that is today known as Olde Marco Inn. In 1922 Barron G. Collier (no relation to the other Colliers) purchased most of the island. 
Marco Island today has a permanent population of 15, 000 swelling to 35, 000 during the winter months

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Tampa's Sunshine Skyway Bridge

In June, 1982, construction began on this 4 mile, 6.4 km. bridge across Tampa Bay, Florida. The main span cable-stayed structure, with a precast deck superstructure, was designed by Figg & Muller, the approaches were designed by the Florida Dept. of Transportation. This massive bridge was equipped with a bridge protection system, designed by Parsons Brinkerhoff. This protection system was developed to withstand an impact from an 87,000-ton tanker traveling at 10 knots.
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge has a main span of 1200 ft., 365.7 m. and a vertical clearance of 193 ft., 58.8 m.. Completed in April, 1987, at a construction cost of approximately $245 million, the bridge safely carries four lanes of traffic (20,000 cars a day) back and forth from Pinellas County (St. Petersburg) to Manatee County.

This picture was taken on my drive to Venice, FL and was cropped from the original! 

Stormy Sunset

Beautiful stormy sunset taken while driving to Sarasota, Fl.

Tampa Thunderstorm!

Thunderstorm over Tampa during our approach late Monday afternoon.

The same thunderstorm over Tampa airport just after an interesting landing! Picture was taken from the Enterprise parking garage that overlooks the airport.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Afternoon Nap Time!

Marco and Jackson sharing nap time on the couch!

Always cute when he's asleep, lol! Jackson thinks Marco is a Mexican Terrorist, lol!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Cactus 2010

Since repotting our cactus it has grown almost 12” over the summer. It is almost touching the bottom of the eves and I’m wondering how I’ll get it back in the house!