Grateful. Relieved. Exhausted. Last week my family was huddled together in a hallway as Hurricane Irma passed through Tampa Bay. Hurricane Irma was a record shattering massive hurricane. It was bigger than the state of Florida with sustained 185 MPH winds for more than 24 hours and rated a Category 5 storm for around 3 days — which is also nearly a record.

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma has been a lesson learned for a lot of Floridians. Usually we don’t take hurricanes too seriously. This one was different – it was humongous and powerful. The water in Tampa Bay disappeared – it was pulled out to sea before Hurricane Irma even arrived further scaring us. That had never happened in the past.

Fortunately when the storm finally did arrive, it had weakened to a Category 1 level storm with only up to 95 MPH winds. It was intense watching large trees sway, doors shake and hearing the wind howl but it ended up being far less catastrophic than the forecasts.

Hurricane Irma Path

We are lucky. We are safe and our home is not damaged. We only lost a few trees and days of sleep. Many residents of Florida evacuated and/or lost power for one week. Several members of the #SQLFamily offered shelter for evacuation. Other members of the community closely tracked peer status. I am incredibly touched by the calls, emails and messages that were received during the storm. It meant so much to me. Thank you.

Mother Nature is an extraordinary force that cannot be easily predicted.

Ironically, I had just looked into hurricane risk analytics for an InformationWeek article after the Hurricane Harvey disaster. In that article, I opened with “Mother Nature is an extraordinary force that cannot be easily predicted.” If only I had known that quote would soon become eerily prophetic.


Hurricane Irma was initially forecast to strike the other side of Florida. My family was unprepared when the storm path changed in the final days. We did not have hurricane shutters and plywood was out of stock everywhere due to excessive demand. We scrambled taking everything off walls, shelves, packing up all valuables, and protecting what we could thinking we were on the direct path of a Category 3 or 4 level storm that had already devastated the U.S. Virgin Islands. We didn’t know if the wind would break our sliding glass door walls or if our alligator pond in the back of our home would flood. We also did not have a generator.

We used our creative minds and boarded up the weakest part of our home with a dismantled tabletop and boards. It worked. In the future, we will be better prepared. In fact, it already looks like Hurricane Maria may be traveling on the same path as Hurricane Irma. Wild times.


I’ve been preparing for numerous events that will be taking place over the next two months, writing articles, white papers, reviewing Informatica Claire, Talend, Datawatch Swarm, Google Data Studio and other solutions all while trying to keep up with Industry Pulse news like the new Looker 5 reveal.

This past month I also received an unusual spike in senior level analytics peer layoff emails prompting unplanned calls for guidance, assistance and networking to help them find new roles. I know the economy is strong right now. Thus, I hope that they all find new opportunities to grow.

That is why I was quiet this past month. When Hurricane Irma and a puppy “furricane” rocked my world, all non-essential projects were paused. I guess you could say September was the quiet before the storm, during the storm, to be ready for the storm.

Quiet before the storm, during the storm, to be ready for the storm

Metaphorically speaking, we all know there will be a hurricane of announcements coming out of Strata NYC next week, Gartner Symposium, Tableau Conference, TIBCO NOW and other events soon. Get ready to be blown away by an exciting season of analytics innovation!