Charley demolished non-native Australian pine trees on Sanibel and the mess the trees left made returning to the island impossible for many days. Hilo, Hawaii, is also reported to have many non-native pine trees that presently are facing tropical storm Iselle. Billy Kirkland photo
Charley demolished non-native Australian pine trees on Sanibel and the mess the trees left made returning to the island impossible for many days. Hilo, Hawaii, is also reported to have many non-native pine trees that presently are facing tropical storm Iselle. Billy Kirkland photo

I've been watching Jim Cantore on The Weather Channel for many years now and I'm going to say that, without ever meeting him, he's a fine fellow. I hope Jim and I just leave it right there because I don't want to meet him; I don't want Jim Cantore anyplace close to me.

Jim Cantore, The Weather ChannelCantore is no place close to me now. He's standing on the beach on the island of Hilo, Hawaii, and he's not on vacation. He's doing the play-by-play on what at this writing is tropical storm Iselle. This storm, while not a hurricane, is turning out to be a significant rain event—like 12 to 18 inches in some spots and Cantore has no choice but to do his job and tell all of us that the damage is going to be bad.

It will be 10 years ago this coming Wednesday, Aug. 13, that Hurricane Charley came smashing through Sanibel and Captiva. Several themes have recurred in the course of the creation of the Santiva Chronicle's Hurricane Charley Virtual Museum and one of them is that Charley came and went so quickly that our islands didn't get a big storm surge or heavy rain over a long period of time.

Hilo, according to Cantore and other experts at The Weather Channel, is going to get both of these. In fact, Cantore reports, Iselle is going to run into some very high mountains on Hilo—mountains Cantore says are the highest ever hit by a tropical storm—that will create more rain and cause more runoff into the coastal areas.

We have experience; Hawaiians don't

Another theme that pops up in the Charley Museum is that while Charley was a substantial hurricane, it wasn't anything we weren't ready for. People here understand tropical storms and hurricanes and how to act when there is one around. While the Atlantic Basin, which fires up our tropical storms this time of year, is relatively quiet, the weather in the Pacific that Hawaii is seeing now is unprecedented. Hilo and Hawaii in general never get hit by tropical storms. Those folks don't have the hands-on experience with hurricanes that we do, and we wish them good luck.

Non-native pine trees

Finally there is the matter of pine trees. In the course of the Iselle coverage it was mentioned that a lot of non-native pine trees have been planted and that these trees might not stand up to the storm. Here on Sanibel we can provide the answer. Charley blew down all the Australian pine trees on Periwinkle Way and the mess they created meant people who evacuated couldn't come home.

Here's hoping after Iselle and Julio, which is following Iselle toward Hawaii, Cantore goes home and then has nothing to do. For goodness sakes, we don't want him here—ever.

Island weather

Just so Cantore knows for sure, it's boring here. It didn't rain a drop Thursday and while we might see a bit of rain through the next five days, it will be nothing worth counting. Furthermore, the high today of 87 will be followed by highs of 88 and 89 through the weekend with lows of about 80, according to The Weather Channel at santivachronicle.com.

Beaches

The smooth nature of the Gulf of Mexico would bore Cantore to tears. Low tide on the beaches of Sanibel Island is at 4:48 p.m. today. High tide is at 8:20 a.m.

The sun sets on Captiva Island at 8:11 p.m.