The difficulty of hurricane season is the endless anticipation that proceeds the storm. I’ve been in South Florida for over 11 years now. Currently, there is a level of concern in the air that I have not experienced. When we went through Katrina, Rita and Wilma in 2005, we were very nervous as it was our first hurricane season in Florida. Katrina and Rita came through South Florida without much fanfare, but Wilma really kicked our butt.
Hurricane Irma will likely be a lot like Wilma in that it will be a predominantly a wind event. Unfortunately, along the our coastline it will be a storm surge and wind event. It is easy to panic when you see the 170 mph winds that this storm is currently packing. The storm is enormous! It is supposed to weaken before a Kat 4 before hitting Florida, but storm strength is hard to forecast.
For our family and friends watching outside of Florida, this is a troubling time. They see this big lumbering beast moving its way towards their loved ones and are afraid. Their hope is that we will evacuate out of South Florida, but that isn’t in our plans.
Why aren’t we evacuating? Well, first it is hard to think about leaving our home with no understanding if and when we can return home. Secondly, we are inland. Our home is not located in one of the flood zones under mandatory evacuation orders. If everyone evacuates, the roads will become clogged. As a result, those that truly need to evacuate are unable to get out as needed. Moreover, their is a finite supply of fuel in South Florida. Even if we were going to go, we wouldn’t be able to get far as fuel is hard to come by.
I shopped flights for several days with no luck, so we couldn’t fly out of here either. The Mayor’s suggestion was that we buy a large box and fill it with food. Once we fill it with food for us and the dogs, we should UPS ourselves to Minnesota. I love his creativity.
We intend to ride the storm out in our house, unless it continues to be a stage 5 monster. Then disregard the entire last paragraph as all of S. Florida needs to get out in that case! Our cars are gassed up for after the storm and our cupboards are full. Unfortunately, hurricane food is not necessarily healthy food. I tried to buy things that were as healthy as possible, but there weren’t many options available. As the storm gets closer, I’ll post updates and pictures of our preparation. We’re planning to go check out the surf tomorrow before the weather really deteriorates.
If you’re looking to track the storm, here are some great websites:
National Hurricane Center – This site shows the forecast and warnings for the storm as well as the forecasted path.
Should You Evacuate? – Great article in the Palm Beach Post about whether or not you should evacuate.
Mike’s Weather Page – This site is a great resource for those tracking the tropics.
WPTV – my local NBC station
The Sun Sentinel – Newspaper covering Broward County
Palm Beach Post – Newspaper covering Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast