Well John and I had plans to visit Daytona Beach this holiday weekend and I am sure like many other travelers, Hurricane Dorian has made us scramble to change our plans. We are lucky though as our hotel reservations could be cancelled without penalty and we were driving so no flight to worry about canceling, other travelers are not so lucky. I was reading today on facebook a few posts from people concerned about their Florida vacation plans to Disney among other places and how they were worried about not being able to change hotel reservations and flights etc… Yes, I am sure that it is very heartbreaking to have planned for and to have looked forward to something all year, to spend that kind of money, only to have this thing called Dorian screw it all up. I do not want to make light of the sense of disappointment those families that have to change their vacation plans must be feeling, as some people have worked hard to save and plan for those vacations. Not to mention the sadness young children will have when their parents have to tell them that their trip has to be canceled. I would hate to be the one to have to tell a child that has been looking forward to a trip to Disney that the trip had to be cancelled.
But now let me tell you what Florida residents are doing and thinking. We are at latest prediction about 4 days out from the eye making land fall somewhere on the east coast of Florida. Again that is latest prediction and it will change again and again before landfall. So up and down the east coast of Florida, people are starting to make preparations to save their homes and not to be too dramatic but possibly their lives. Lines are starting to form at the super markets, home improvement stores and gas stations and 4 days out, shelves and gas tanks are emptying out. John and I live on the west coast of Florida and depending on the angle it hits the state we may see category 1 hurricane winds and a lot of rain, nothing to sneeze at of course, but compared to what the families that live on the east coast are going to get, we will have it easy. John and I just got back from the local supermarket and they are already out of water, again we are on the west coast and are not expecting to get the worst of it. So just imagine it’s Thursday and we are 4 days out from the storm and on the opposite coast of the direct hit and supplies are already running low. Can you imagine what it must be like in Miami right now?
I remember how it feels to be expecting a direct hit and the fear can’t be described in words. I remember being in the supermarket with my children and watching an all out brawl break out between two women fighting over the last can of beef stew. People wait in lines for supplies for hours, nerves get shot, people are scared and the worst can be brought out in some people. But then you also see gestures of kindness and goodwill, people helping people. You see the full spectrum of what people are capable of, the good and the bad.
4 days out the hurricane models change from hour to hour and predictions this far out are usually very inaccurate. Getting your house secured and getting supplies takes time and people need to start as soon as possible but at this point no one knows who is in the bulls eye. So the whole state is getting ready. From Miami to Jacksonville on the east coast and since it is predicted to come across the state, the entire west coast as well and all points in between. And if that is not enough, there are models that send it across the state and into the Gulf Of Mexico where it could intensify again and move up to the panhandle of Florida and hit again. So yes the entire state is under alert. If it slows down it may go one way, if it speeds up another way and maybe even a slim possibility that it completely turns away.
The devastation that hurricane Michael caused in 2018 in the panhandle of Florida is still fresh on everyone’s mind as is the damage from hurricane Irma that went up the spine of the state in 2017. Many people will have to evacuate but who at this point is unclear, they wont know that for a day or two. Can you imagine? You just get ready, prepare for the worst and pray. An entire state on edge, millions of people waiting to hear what they can expect and hoping it goes somewhere else. The military bases and Kennedy Space Center are evacuating equipment and the Governor has declared a state of emergency. Hurry up, prepare and then wait.
Imagine an entire state of people boarding up the windows on their homes, and if their homes are near any body of water be it a lake, river, stream or the ocean, filling up sand bags to protect what they can. An entire state of people scrambling for supplies because they will likely lose power for possibly days or even weeks. No one can tell us who will get the worst or who will be in the clear, so everyone has to prepare. To wait and see could mean going without because there will be nothing left, so you have to act. The weatherman sounding like a broken record repeating over and over, “stay tuned forecast likely to change”.
Some of you right now may be asking, so why do you live there? Well the simple answer for me is.. It’s Florida and when there is not a hurricane threatening, it’s paradise.