As I sat down to write for this week’s blog post, I thought of nothing but Hurricane Ian. The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning for the region on Monday evening, indicating hurricane conditions are expected in the next 24 to 36 hours. Officials warned that time is running out to prepare.
Friends and families have been checking in and wishing my husband and me well in the wake of the impending storm. I have lived in South Florida since 1988 and have been through many hurricanes. Each comes with its own story of community togetherness and destruction. It is incredible what a storm can do to a community. I learned firsthand that it is crucial to be prepared as you never know what direction the hurricane will go once it makes landfall. As of today, Hurricane Ian is crossing Cuba and is looking to come up the west coast of Florida. Tampa and other cities in the way are ‘in the cone’.
I learned that even category one could cause power outages, trees, and limbs to come down and damage houses, cars, and people in a very short time.
The worst part of the storm is waiting for it to come. The National Hurricane Center is continuously tracking storms. When they recognize a storm may hit an area, it is 24/7 coverage, alerting people to stock up on water, food, gas, and money for at least 4-5 days. That is because electricity will be out; if bad, roads could be closed until debris is cleared off the streets. Depending on the destruction, and area can be isolated for days, weeks and even months. It is a huge effort to prepare – and think about hospitals and people in their homes who are sick or elderly. People are helping each other and getting based for a tough few days.
Over the past 34 years of living in South Florida, we evacuated once. We decided to leave as the forecast was calling for Hurricane Irma to be a category 5 and a direct hit in our area. At that point, we knew we there was not much we could do so getting out of the area was probably best for our safety. As it turned out, the storm was not as bad as predicted, as it changed paths many times as it moved across Florida. As a result, we had to change directions with each update from the forecasters. It was maddening trying to figure out where to go and stressful as we and hundreds of other people were facing the same dilemma. Here is a link to a blog post I wrote on September 17, 2017, about 10 Lessons I learned as a Hurricane Evacuee. https://nursesadvocates.com/10-lessons-learned-as-a-hurricane-evacuee
Hurricanes have taught me to follow directions and listen to the authorities. My husband and I are ready and will ride this one out at home.
To all in the path of Hurricane Ian, listen, prepare and be safe!