I awoke this morning to 40 mph winds from an outer band of Tropical Storm Ophelia, which Jeff Masters of Weather Underground expects to become stronger: TD 16 gathered enough strength last night to be given a name -- Ophelia. Ophelia will be a name we will hear a lot of over the coming week. She is going to cause plenty of trouble, and will be moving slowly enough that we'll still be talking about her a week from now. ... With so much time over warm water, and the shear likely to decrease once the trough bypasses ... read more

The Road Trip blog in St. Augustine reports that several gas stations in the area ran out of fuel this weekend: ... both gas stations in my neighborhood were out of fuel today. One (a Chevron affiliate) was completely out and another (a BP outlet) was out of regular. In fact, half the gas stations between here and Jacksonville on US 1 were dry Saturday night. I haven't seen this myself, paying around $3 per gallon when I fueled up on Thursday. The Florida Times-Union reports current prices in Jacksonville ranging ... read more

A web designer whose personal site has been published for years at katrina.com has turned it into a Hurricane Katrina relief site in response to the huge traffic from victims, their loved ones, and others seeking information on the disaster. Katrina Blankenship told ComputerWorld that the site has received 400,000 hits the past week, a twenty-fold increase on the normal monthly traffic. ... it wasn't until Monday morning -- when she saw her e-mail in-box full of messages -- that Blankenship realized how many ... read more

Reading this Katrina weblog entry reminded me that Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was one of only three category 5 hurricanes to make landfall in the U.S. in the last century. My wife M.C. Moewe covered that monster storm for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She interrupted a Disney World vacation with her parents, driving to South Florida in time to experience the eyewall passing overhead in the company of local police. For most of the three-hour trip, her car was the only one heading south. Covering the story was my ... read more

U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris announced her Florida Senate bid on Hannity & Colmes last week in one of the most bizarre interviews I've ever seen a politician give on television. She's sitting awkwardly in three-quarters profile, sways back and forth, and keeps moving her facial muscles around as if she's forgotten how to keep them still. Harris spokesman Adam Goodman has attempted to explain her conduct as fatigue from a long first day of campaigning. "She was just a little tired," he told a reporter. I think we're ... read more

Floridian blogger Jim Mathies is riding out Hurricane Dennis from a coastal town close to where the eye of the storm is coming ashore. This is the strongest storm to ever hit the Florida panhandle, and you have to worry about the people there when you read his increasingly tense updates. Here's what he wrote an hour ago: Things are starting to get ugly now. The wind has picked up to a constant roar and has shifted North. The water in the air is so thick I can bearly see across the street. I think the worst is ... read more

I toured Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral this past week, an exciting time to visit because of the impending shuttle launch scheduled for Wednesday July 13 at 3:51 p.m. Eastern. The closest we got to the shuttle Discovery was the sight of the top of its external tank and booster rockets -- the rest was obscured behind launch pad 39B, from our vantage point on an observation tower. NASA, which used to syndicate updates in a proprietary XML format, offers an RSS feed for news related to Wednesday's launch. ... read more