We've been under a tornado watch here for the last day, as we're on the eastern edge of the storm, but the power is back on this morning and we're all fine. The winds here never got much over 40 mph, and we've only had hard rain in brief patches. The sky is all solid gray cloud. Lots of lightning with this storm, which we think is what actually knocked out the power.
Hurricane Dennis just passed by in the Gulf 300 miles to the west, heading northeast toward Destin in the Florida panhandle. Dennis will probably make landfall some time this afternoon. Winds are currently 145 mph, with the worst of the storm surge expected at 14 to 18 feet. This hurricane has strengthened to a category 4 storm, which means it will pretty much flatten the panhandle and parts of southern Alabama, Mississippi and possibly Louisiana.
This storm is very strong, well-organized and bringing a lot of rain and surge with it. If you live in the predicted landfall area, which is roughly Mobile, Alabama east to Destin, Florida, don't ride this one out at home -- get to an emergency shelter. Bridges will be closed as soon as the winds reach 45 mph, so those folks who are still planning to evacuate, go right now.