Happy Saturday! I’m happy to report that we survived our first major hurricane since moving to Florida. Last year, we were threatened with a pretty large hurricane, but it ended up completely missing us and we only got some tropical storm conditions. This year was a different story.
The first we heard of hurricane Irma was last Monday, but to be honest, we didn’t think much of it because there is always activity in the tropics during this time of year. Native Floridians are used to this kind of weather, so normally they don’t get too flustered when tropical weather is reported. We knew we were in for a doozy of a storm when the Floridians started getting worried. By Wednesday of that week, people were starting to get serious about the storm and by the time I made it to get food/gas, nearly everything was already sold out.
It looked like the apocalypse was coming. Imagine completely cleared store shelves and people literally fighting each other to get the last drops of gas at the gas station. Peyton and I considered evacuating to GA for safety, but we both had to work still, so we weren’t given the opportunity to do so. The storm changed paths every hour it seemed, but the projected paths almost always included central FL in the affected “cone.” I even tried to order supplies online with my Amazon Prime account thinking that since the products are national, things wouldn’t be sold out there yet….I was wrong. I couldn’t even buy a lighter for candles or batteries. Needless to say, we will be putting together a hurricane kit ASAP to get ahead of the next storm.
By Thursday night of hurricane Irma week, we knew we had to do something. Since we are in a rental, we don’t have any of our own storm shutters or protection for our townhouse. With the projected 120 mph winds, my biggest concern was something flying in through the windows located right next to our bed. As you can imagine, sandbags were not an option either since everyone had already raided Lowe’s and Home Depot. We made our own “special” sandbags with trashbags and water….meanwhile our neighbors from Miami were nailing up metal plates to cover their windows. We were feeling SUPER unprepared and panicked at this point. Knowing there was nothing else we could really do, we gave up on the townhouse.
“Kristin and Peyton, there’s a category 5 hurricane about to hit Florida! What are you going to do next?!”
“WE’RE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!!!”
No, but really. We went to Disney World. Ha! Most of you are probably reading this and thinking we are insane, but Disney property is probably one of the safest places you can be during a storm if you can’t evacuate or board up your home. This is evident by the fact that FL residents from all over the state were calling to book hotels on property and the resorts were sold out shortly after we booked our room. Disney was also allowing people to bring their pets so they didn’t have to leave them behind, making that another major plus. Most shelters won’t even allow pets.
Signs around the resort alerted us to stock up on food in the food court because once the storm began, we would likely not be able to leave our rooms for 24-48 hours. Individual counties in FL are allowed to make mandatory curfews to keep residents inside and off the roads. Our county, Orange County, instituted a curfew from 7 PM Sunday night through 6 PM Monday night.
I packed us an assortment of snacks, drinks, and canned goods (don’t know what I was expecting to do with these at a hotel but….) so we could comfortably hunker down for whatever was coming. We monitored the weather all weekend and were relieved to see that the path shifted. We were now projected to be out of the hardest hit area and my parents were also placed in the clear. However, around midnight, Irma had another plan and decided to shift again. After making landfall in the Keys, Irma weakened slightly, but headed straight for central FL as a category 2 hurricane. It was scary for a few hours as we got slammed with high winds and heavy rains. The sun came out the next morning though!
Unfortunately, the after-effects were worse for us than the actual storm. Our neighborhood had lots of downed trees, but our townhouse was spared of any wind or flooding damage. The worst part was the power outages spread across the whole state. We were without power, internet, etc for a few days. Luckily we were able to extend our hotel stay so we could stay in the Disney AC! However, some people CONTINUE to be without power– almost a week later! My work is one of those areas. Energy companies are saying that they expect to finish servicing the remaining areas by tomorrow night, but we will see!
Even though we didn’t have a lot of damage personally, there are obviously a lot of people in south FL especially that were hit hard. My heart goes out to them. We’ve had response teams and national guard all throughout the state this past week helping these people. I hope that they, as well as those affected by hurricane Harvey, will get the aid they desperately need. Continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
We are grateful that we are safe and have a cool place to rest our heads tonight in this FL heat. We will be using this storm as a learning lesson to be better prepared for the next one! Seeing how scary a category 2 storm was, we will hopefully not be sticking around to see what a category 3, 4, or 5 looks like!!
Until next time, keep on the sunny side.