I live in one of Florida’s Gulf Coast counties, so each year we anticipate and dread June 1st, the beginning of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. It lasts until November and typically means that rainy season and high humidity will be with us throughout the Summer. If you visit Florida during this time, you will recognize Floridians and year-round Florida residents. We are the people who do not lie in the sun to “tan,” and will likely run you over as we run from our air-conditioned vehicles, into air-conditioned buildings, and back again. It will take us a couple of weeks to recall our rainy-day driving skills. But soon, it will be “business as usual,” and we will drive in our “rain shoes,” to keep our “work shoes” dry.
Anyone who has spent an extended amount of time along either of Florida’s coasts, understands why we live here. We love our weather and proximity to bodies of water. It certainly is not the $10,000 to $15,000 salary drop we experienced when we moved here, the lack of quality public schools and transportation or affordable health/medical insurance, of any kind. Nor is it the exorbitant homeowners’ insurance rates, provided by less insurance companies each year.
A major component of living in a subtropical paradise, are storms and our ability to weather them. Hubby and I own a generator, have plywood labeled for each set of windows and only have to buy canned food, if we are threatened by a storm. In fact, those jumbo Rubbermaid tubs come in quite handy for moving and storing hurricane supplies, each year. The key is to remember that we are responsible for ourselves for the first 48 through 72 hours following a storm – which may be extended to two weeks. That means that we should expect to have no emergency services right before landfall, during the time the storm/eye passes over our area, and for several days, to one or two weeks, after the storm passes through. We should further expect to lose electrical power and be under “Boil Water,” orders, until electricity is restored.
Moving to a shelter should be the last resort for a family. I highly recommend “Host Home Programs,” where several families congregate at the home of friends or relatives, who are not in the path of the storm. It is an opportunity to bond, albeit under extremely stressful circumstances, but your family will be more comfortable among friends/relatives, than the microcosm of society that are Hurricane Shelters. Businesses, are also encouraged to create “Home Host Programs” for employees who wish to participate. Here is a way to get started: http://www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/PDF/hosthome_flyer.pdf
We have been blessed, and lucky, to have been spared a major storm since 1985’s Hurricane Elena, which eroded Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico coastline. We are living on borrowed time, and we know it. http://www.tampabay.com/news/weather/hurricanes/tampa-ranked-most-vulnerable-and-overdue-city-for-a-hurricane-in-the-us/2124692
In Florida, more injuries and fatalities occur in smaller, or “no name” storms, because citizens do not follow the directives of emergency managers. Only idiots defy these orders. Idiots, who fancy themselves “armchair meteorologists” and assume to know what Mother Nature plans to do. The only thing I have learned from years of living in Florida, is that storm models are merely predictors. Storms have a way of doing whatever they want to do. So, hubby and I will restock our Hurricane Kit, find our important legal papers and dig out the board games and deck of playing cards. Then, we will tune in to our local weather forecasters, who will invariably show footage storm idiots, as they “surf,” or “bathe” in the polluted waters of the storm. May they win many Darwin Awards for their stupidity!