Thursday, April 29, 2010

Oooh, Oooh, That Smell, Can't You Smell That Smell?

Tuesday evening, just before the sunset, I stepped outside for a post dinner Bear walk. It was the final act of a perfect spring day, just before the night shift kicked in.

A gentle, but steady breeze was blowing in from the Gulf of Florida. You could track it's direction by the scattered puffy clouds that rushed by on their way inland.

In short, it was the kind of low humidity, mild temperature evening you'd kill for during the steamy summer months ...

... with one big exception.


The normally sweet air of PFHQ had a distinct paint thinner/varnishy smell to it.

(Note, this was before any Coast Guard burning of the slick)

I stopped on the stone walkway and sniffed left, right, left, right.
It was everywhere.

Now, where PFHQ sits, deep in the Nature Coast woods, I can't smell anything my neighbors do ... short of burning down their homes ... I could probably smell that if the wind was right.

... AND there is nothing wrong with my sniffer.

The smell was everywhere on our extensive walk and at the time I wondered if it might be coming from the oil spill in the Gulf.

After all, the wind direction was right and the oil slick had been baking in the clear sunny spring weather for days.

My guess was the volatile components of the petroleum were evaporating ... essentially a natural version of what a refinery does in a fractionating tower.

I pondered it, but did not mention it to anyone.

Yesterday, a Gainesville Sun article headline about a "Strange Smell" caught my eye, so I clicked.

Sure enough, the article reported that people in Gatorville were reporting an odd chemical smell and that even folks in Tampa had noticed it.

Last night I mentioned the article to Junior as he sat internetting while I cooked supper.

Before I could get very far, he interrupted me saying that he had smelled it also and he described it as smelling like wood finish, before I had ever mentioned what I thought it smelled like.

So, the question is ...

Did you smell it?

25 comments:

Pablo said...

Nope.

threecollie said...

No, sorry that you did...what will the burning mean for you all?

lisa said...

No, sorry you have to smell it though.

Felicia said...

No, but there have been a lot of controlled burns upwind from me lately; perhaps the smell of wood smoke obscured it.

Cathy S. said...

No, though others in our area complained about it. I have been too busy to be outside much. Our newspaper blamed the oil.

mb. said...

YUP & we are just west of Gainesville. I admit I assumed it was one-crazy-neighbor who has been fines for burning the wrong stuff before. He could not have been responsible for a smell that drifted all that far though & you are right, it was not a burn smell so much as a, well, not a rubber smell, exactly. Maybe wood finish, but not so sharp.

Floridacracker said...

Coinkadinkaly as I drove in to work this morning, the radio had a local EOC official on saying that the state was pretty sure it was from the original rig fires. Not definite, but that's the way the state experts were leaning ...

Sayre said...

We've been having lots of prescribed burns around here, so if it was there in the air, I missed it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we can smell it down here in Naples.

robin andrea said...

That oil slick is going to be quite a mess. Early morning news says it may be five times bigger than first reported. Bummer.

Sandcastle Momma said...

Can't smell it at all up here in the panhandle. There are several environmental groups on standby here in case the slick makes it this far and they are saying we will be seeing tar balls soon but so smell yet.
What a mess.

elpbulls said...

We smelled it! Had our windows open last night because of the cooler temps and closed em up because of the funny smell. Love you!

Freste said...

I don't smell too good lately.
So ummm, no.

LibraryGirl62 said...

Yes, it was NASTY here in Naples-smelled like diesel fuel to me.

Idyllic Youth said...

We smelled it in Gainesville and my mother smelled it in Pinellas County. My chest was sore on Monday and Tuesday (we smelled it early on) and my daughter has a cough now.

kathy a. said...

ugh. i'm out of range, but this can't be good for anyone.

Floridacracker said...

Here's the link to the Gainesville Sun newspaper article about the smell.

Floridacracker said...

http://www.gainesville.com/article/20100429/ARTICLES/4291054

oops. Forgot to click paste.

cinnamonbite said...

I'm in Oviedo and nope. Nothing here.

cinbad122 said...

Nope and you would think I would have. Well, now that I think of it...I smelled something funny in the house. Windows open, so maybe?

amarkonmywall said...

Huh. My comment from this morning didn't post! It said, no I can't smell anything because my allergies are so bad with this pollen, but the oil spill is really quite terrible. I find it interesting that the big concern is how close it is getting to "us" meaning shoreline. If I'm not mistaken it was close to us the minute those 200,000 gallons/day started spewing forth on the gulf floor. Your RAS shrimp might become more valuable...

I also said thank you...

TROLL Y2K said...

I smell something today and it's kinda frustrating trying to find out what it is.

roger said...

i think it's those "volatile compounds" that we are warned about re painting in an enclosed space, or working with pvc or abs without ventilation. that odor can't be a good thing healthwise. the spill is defining a rather large "national sacrifice" area.

Floridacracker said...

Vicki,
This seems much worse than we were told all last week.
You are right about "close"!!

Troll,
Could be it. It's probably more noticeable here in the clean air of the rural FL.

roger,
exactly. i remember painting an enclosed room with an oil based paint and being positively giddy when i walked out.

nfmgirl said...

Yep! We smelled it down here in the greater Fort Myers area. I described it as smelling like plastic, and my boyfriend described it as smelling like burning plastic. Whew!