Hurricane Irma

13 Sep

As long as I have lived in Florida, I never get used to hurricanes. True, most of them pass us by with little or no impact. Just minor inconveniences for living here. Then came Irma. Thanks to better science, we had days to watch this thing develop. The devastation in the Caribbean. The changing track of the storm. First one direction, then another. Finally, the horrible reality that it was headed to Tampa Bay. It was scary. Getting the house ready. Evacuating. Being separated from my family. They went to safer ground. I went to the TV station for the dreaded “12 on 12 off.” That’s twelve hours on television, twelve hours off for as long as needed. Sunday morning starting at 2am. There we sat. Watching our meteorologists predict the storm. Had Cuba taken some of the punch out of Irma? How badly would it hit the Florida Keys? Then what? Tampa Bay? As what? A category 4? Please no! Then the news that it was headed toward Naples. That it would come east of us. We were getting a hurricane, but a much weaker one. It hit. It hit hard. Not as hard as we feared, but hard enough. At the end of it, Tampa Bay is luckier than most of the rest of Florida. The Keys. Naples. Marco Island. Miami. Jacksonville. It will take years to fix this. We will do it, but it will take a lot of money and patience. I love living here. I won’t leave. Maybe I would have before Irma, but not now. The storm made me proud to be here. We made it through this together. Together, we will make this state better.

One Response to “Hurricane Irma”

  1. Pauline September 13, 2017 at 11:06 am #

    Oh my goodness Russell! I’m right there with you. I’ve been in FL over 60 yrs. Went through Hurricane Donna as a child and numerous other ‘near misses’ that I can’t even remember the names of. I’m a very calm person normally, I’m usually the one that calms everyone else down, but this one had me to the point of a melt down. Up to the last minute we considered fleeing with the other mass exodus attendees, but every time I looked at the tv, and you folks showing the traffic flow out, and challenges with gas, we wavered. We did go so far as to fill the truck and 2 extra tanks of gas so we would be prepared. The logistics, oh the logistics, of trying to move my 86 yr old mother + 2 dogs, my adult son + wife + 2 dogs, daughter + cat, brother + wife, and sister-in-law, were over-whelming. Where do we go? What mess would we encounter trying to get home? So, we stayed. Boarded up every single window to the point I felt like I was in a tomb. We felt fairly confident our home would make it, although, I kept hearing Paul say go to a friends BLOCK home….flee water….hide from wind….in a BLOCK home. Our home is frame…built post Hurricane Andrew to new building standards, but still, because Paul said it, I was concerned. lol We survived, relatively unscathed, and we NEVER lost power. I feel very blessed after watching all the devastation others are enduring. We do what we can to help folks in our community, but somehow, I feel guilty we can’t help more. I, too, am so proud to be here, watching selfless souls help one another brings me faith that humanity and caring is still alive and well, and shows itself when it’s most needed. We’ll never leave Florida either, it will always be home….however, perhaps we’ll call north GA ‘home’ during hurricane season. We ain’t gettin’ any younger! 🙂

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