Hurricane Irma is now banging on the door of Allen Kopelman in Miami, Florida. Allen, who is the father of meteorologist Rebecca Kopelman (morning meteorologist on KGAN-TV), lives in Miami and has been giving us first hand accounts of the storm’s progress.
When we last spoke to Allen on Friday, Irma was on track for the Miami area and his neighborhood in Broward County. But since then the hurricane inched more westward, sparing Allen and Miami residents the brunt of the storm.
ABOVE: Irma making landfall at the southern most point in the USA, Key West Florida
“It was definitely a big relief when they said it was going to go up the west coast,” said Allen. “I’ve seen the pictures from Puerto Rico and the islands, and it’s not good. If the eye was coming here, that could have been us,” he added.
While Allen is relieved; he is still anxious for those now impacted in the Florida Keys.
“I feel really badly for those people in the Keys,” he said. “I have heard that more people evacuated out of that area than ever before,” he continued.
Irma began hounding Allen’s area yesterday with strong wind gusts approximately every 30 to 40 minutes. There were also multiple tornado warnings. Hurricanes are notorious for spinning up tornadoes at landfall as the friction increases.
At four this morning, he went outside during a break in the winds to let Rocky the dog out for a bathroom break.
“I could hear branches and leaves popping off the trees,” he said. There were also several large tree limbs laying in his backyard. He estimated at that time, there had been approximately eight to ten inches of rain.
Several hours later, Allen woke up again and made an omelet for breakfast. Just as he finished, the power went off.
“How have you been spending your time waiting for the storm?” I asked.
“We’ve been watching television, watching the hurricane, watching movies (including his favorite Adam Sandler movies),” he replied.
Here's a look at downtown Miami late Sunday morning where Biscayne Bay and the Miami River meet. This is not far from where Allen lives.
At around noon today, the wind gusts had increased to approximately every ten to twelve minute intervals. I could barely hear them over the phone.
“Do you hear that?” asked Allen.
“Barely,” I replied.
“Well it sounds like a freight train coming through,” he said.
Irma is expected to be fully engaged in Allen’s area around four this afternoon and continue raging for several hours.
But so far so good. Allen’s house is holding. There are no leaks and the hurricane windows are doing their job.
There is a new curfew in effect to help cut down on injuries and looting. The curfew is in place until 10 a.m. tomorrow morning.
Allen is a veteran at riding out these storms. He’s seen the big ones for the years including Wilma and Andrew. He’s learned a few things about staying safe.
“It could have been so much worse,” he said. “We should be okay.”
ABOVE: As you can see the storm will continue moving through western Florida and will impact Georgia later tonight and Monday. Tropical Storm warnings are in effect for most of Georgia...which is incredibly rare.