Friday, September 8, 2017

Hurricane Irma Approaches

It feels like a very long time ago that I first started to monitor the progress of Hurricane Irma.  I have considered at every possibility, and now it looks like we will get the worst one for the state of Florida, a track right up the middle of the state for a major hurricane.  The only saving grace is that we might only be looking at a category 3 through most of the state, instead of a 4 or 5.

My mood has swung back and forth.  At some times, I am so terrified that I feel the blood race through my body.  I go to an alert like this one, and I wonder why we're even bothering to secure our properties when all of the buildings will collapse and we will all die.

But then I saw some information that made me hopeful--and I saw it on the local news, of all places. One of our weather experts showed a graphic of maximum expected winds in our county--105 mph, which we've survived before. It's much better than the 150 or 180 that I was terrified we might see. I also saw a graphic that I saw divides the storm risk surge into 4 categories, and we're at the lowest risk. Southern Miami Dade county and points south are at the highest risk.  In my home county, Broward, we have deep ocean out there, unlike a lot of other coastal areas, so the water will have some place to drain to. 

My mom and dad listened to our state governor's press conference on Wed--I'm not sure what that man said exactly, but boy, did it make them feel panicked. Yesterday, my mom said that if we'd get to Orlando today, she'd pay any price for our plane ticket to get us out of here.  We both searched for tickets, but there's not an empty plane seat today in any airport in Florida. 

Yesterday was a typical pre-hurricane day:  I woke up at 2, and decided to check the 11 p.m. advisory.  I wrote this Facebook post:  "I am sure that when people talk about the dark night of the soul, they are not talking about the sinking feeling that comes from waking up at 2 a.m. and reading the 11 p.m. National Hurricane Center advisory. Doing some laundry, pondering how far west is far enough to get away, hoping that the hurricane ultimately goes east of the Bahamas, far, far east."

I stayed awake for awhile, and around 3:38 a.m., I decided to go on a quest for gas.  We likely had enough to get through the storm and its aftermath, but we have had such a run on gas stations that it made me anxious.  At a convenience store nearby, I found pumps--no premium gas left, but I don't need that.  So, I filled up one car and then the other.

My car tells me how many miles are left on a tank, so when I saw I could go 430 miles, I had a brief span of time when I thought about loading up the car and driving north.  Later, my spouse and I looked at track maps and decided that everywhere we'd want to go would be in the path of the storm.  And we know that the roads get increasingly crowded as everyone feels jittery and decides to make a run for it.  Tough as it might be to ride out a storm here, it would be even worse--and likely deadly--to be stuck in the car on the Interstate.

I spent the rest of the morning before I went to work doing a bit of storm prep.  It is strange to wander around the house thinking about losing it all--and even stranger to think about how little I would miss most of it.  I don't really like most of our furniture, for example. 

I felt the most despair when I looked at the refrigerator and freezer.  I try not to stock up on perishables during hurricane season, but we still have a lot of food.  I felt this despair well up, and I thought, what is this about?  I'm feeling more despair about replaceable food than I am about other possessions?  But I realized that the largest part of my despair comes from what the food represents:  normal life, when one can buy and cook food.

As we finish our preparations today, I'll try to think about flooding.  I'll move things that are valuable to me, like a box of journals, to a higher spot.  I'll put some things like photo albums in the washer, dryer, or dishwasher.  I'll wrap some things in plastic.  One friend suggested I wrap all my books in plastic, but I don't have that kind of time--or plastic.  And frankly, if all my books were ruined, I'd only feel sad about some of them.

So, Home Depot will open momentarily.  Let me go see if I can buy some wing nuts that we need to attach the shutters to the doors (the windows have the very convenient accordion shutters) and some algaecide for the pool.


Celeste said...

Dear Kristin,

This is Celeste, the Christian Century editor who facilitates the CCBlogs Network and keeps up with all of the posts. I wanted to let you know you and your neighbors are in my prayers as you face whatever Hurricane Irma will bring.


Kristin said...

Thanks so much for your prayers. So many people will be affected by this storm--I am comforted by knowing that people are praying.