Sep 11, 2017


Saturday 7:47pm IRMA on it's way 

Going through my first major hurricane, I’m sure it’s different for everyone. 

The past few days have passed in hyper slow motion.  The waiting, the anticipation, it’s
interesting, it wore me down. Cindy was here until Friday, she helped with all the preparations, the plans, contingency discussions, evacuation considerations.  Then after Friday, it was me and the girls, Maddie and Morgan.  And it’s not like I could play cards with them or Monopoly. I reassured them as much as I could that everything was going to be OK.  

I’m a patient person, at the same time in the holding pattern of wait wait, wait, I do not want surprises.  So we planned, we prepared, I had 3 flashlights, a battery powered radio, towels, the ready bag packed with Maddie and Morgan items if we had to leave suddenly, there was even a big bag of ice in the freezer.   And yes hurricane candy in the refrigerator. 

Sunday 10:23AM, Irma all over Florida 

Riding out the storm in the middle of the night, that was certainly not what I had planned for. I wanted to be able to watch all the trees out front, the palms, the oaks, the magnolias, the skinny ones with the red berries.   The storm presented itself in my area around 10pm last night and by then I was tired of being anxious and I wanted to sleep. So my observation of the wind and all its manifestations of personality, temperament, volume, it did not go as planned. 

Many times throughout the night, I was a nervous, at 3am when the winds were literally making their voices heard outside, I was scared.  Almost imagination scared. Maddie and I got up and patrolled the tiny space in the condo, we checked the front door, all the windowsills, the sliding glass door, the garage, all dry, no water intrusion at all.  And the fan in the bedroom was running, so we had power. When I confirmed that we had no water intrusion, I was relieved.

I knew the winds were gaining strength when I got all the bridge closure notices on my phone from about 12am to 2am, all six bridges in Jacksonville closed by 2am: Buckman, Acosta, Hart, Dames, Fuller Warren & Main Street.  And all the over passes crossing the intercoastal waters, those also all closed.

This morning at 5:30am the winds gusts still calling each other names outside, like kids playing, running amuck in the streets. The rain never stopped, from 10am on Sunday to about 10 or 11am today, rain, rain, rain, sheets, curtains, waves, it was every shape of rain you can imagine. Mostly the color was silver. 

Sunday 4:07AM - It's over JAX 

I was always checking in with family, friends & the Holy Spirit.  

Texting is so wonderful during times like this, so so wonderful.  I compared notes with my sister, Ana, who is 4 miles away and also with neighbors in the community where I live.  Also checked in with friends along the west coast of Florida in Venice, Sarasota, Tampa.

I wanted normalcy this morning, I had oatmeal with bananas and peanut butter. I figured if the power went out during the day, I would at least have one good healthy meal to get through the departure of Irma.  The fans were still on, I run them on low, mostly as white noise to help Maddie.   I know she was listening to the wind and I wanted to help her with the extra sensitive acuity she has for sound.   She has and always will be a “guard dog” and she is always listening and reacting to sounds she is not familiar with . Certainly 60 to 70 MPH wind gusts were a first for all of us last night. She walked many times to the front door and stood right next to it, listening.  Morgan, she slept through all of Irma. 

The cable service to the area has been out all day, so the battery powered radio made it’s debut this morning and the local station that had all the news, updates, experts, it’s a CoxMedia radio station, it’s been wonderful to have all the updates, detailed, timely.  

I listened to the Governor’s update twice, the local mayor, twice, and had to rely on imagining the devastation described in the Key West area, the floods as they surged in downtown Jacksonville during 2pm high tide today, hours after the storm had passed. And the calls into the radio show from local residents describing their experiences, so far I’ve not seen any of the news programs.   Not sure when the cable will be back on. (note it came back on as I was tying this update, hence the post) 

Monday 6:10pm - Florida Recovering 

I appreciate most all new experiences and I love to learn. 

I love being a student of new ideas, concepts, experiences, certainly I was a student of hurricane preparation, anticipation and participation.  As I told my sister early this afternoon, I consider myself a graduate of this life lesson. I checked the hurricane box, got the certificate and certainly don’t want to do this again anytime soon. 

Probably the most important lesson I’ve learned, you cannot prepare for a future hurricane based on your experience of a hurricane past. 

Hurricanes are never ever the same !  I heard that over and over today ! 

And certainly the storms are impacted by many things that I don’t even begin to appreciate or understand.  So in the future, and I hope it is not anytime soon, I will continue to heed the warnings, pay attention, plan, prepare and be safe and not sorry.

Thanks again to everyone who called, texted, emailed. I appreciate all of you so very much. Thanks ! Tomorrow we are supposed to have clear skies and temperatures back in the 90*s. 

Around 5pm today, photo taken when I was walking Maddie
Irma parting gift .... 

  Consider these stats from CNN's meteorology team: 

  • Irma is the strongest Atlantic basin hurricane ever recorded outside the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea
  • It spent three days as a Category 5 hurricane, the longest Category 5 hurricane since satellite storm-tracking began
  • No storm on record has maintained winds 185 mph or above for as long as Irma (total of 37 hours)