A year ago exactly, Hurricane Irma strafed the west coast of Florida. At first, we were given promises via the “European model” that the West Coast would be spared. Any moment it would veer east and sail off to landfalls other than Fort Myers. For a week prior to landfall, we had watched it move west, inch by inch. Those pretty little lines didn’t seem to want to hold fast with a determined path. Anyway it was a Cat one. Florida has had those. Lots… we can manage. Heck, there already had been two false alarms with the hurricanes meandering benignly out to sea
Then to our horror, not only did Irma move west, it was now a cat two, then three, then 4 – catastrophic. And the bull’s eye? Fort Myers.
Let me cut to the chase…Don’t let this happen to you! Clearly it was time to move out. It seemed that there was time. But there wasn’t. Not even close. Mandatory evacuations were implemented.
No motels in the Florida were available. I headed North. Filled the car with all the stuff I could with a certainty that I would never see my home again. Gas lines were everywhere by this time. Less than half a tank by now. It was time to call it quits. Florida on its main highways have overhead billboards giving updates on traffic usually. Now it was telling you to call Red Cross and find the nearest shelter. I had reached a good distance almost to the Georgia border. I would live and survive.
First don’t do what I did. Don’t wait. Don’t end up in a shelter if you have the finances and transportation. It’s not fun. I spent three days in a shelter on the florida border with other kind souls who were worried about us and took wonderful care. I was one of the lucky ones. This shelter had just opened up in a school for the overflow. The Lord took care of me big time. There were about 60 of us.
Why move out? Because there are not even close to enough shelters to care for the millions who are on the move.
Second. Gas. It’s a big problem. Going North everyone is filling up with cans and their cars. After the storm it’s even worse. Fuel trucks are allocated to the National Guard and first responders. Diesel will be trucked in first. The government wants the tractor trailers to haul in food and water and supplies. Most of the supermarkets had been emptied out. What was left probably had spoiled. Even after I got back home after the storm, it was close to at least ten days before gas was half plentiful. The 1970’s gas lines were back.
Download Gas Buddy app. Gas Buddy
It works best on the phone.
It will be a godsend. Good Samaritans will be kind enough to let you know as soon a station re-opens, which is an on and off proposition, and what the prices are and if all grades are available. It’s good to have anyway. Easy shopping. You don’t need the premium app.
Finally, let us not forget that the National Guard, and all those who take care of us have families and homes and they are just as worried as we were. Yet they willingly sacrifice for us. Don’t burden them if you don’t have to.
If I have not done enough to scare the you know what out of you, let me give you a couple of clips of the Fort Myers shelter. For those who had neither the money or transportation to escape. Be safe. Get out-of-the-way. Train, bus, car. You won’t regret it.
Here is an update on the worried folks who were trying to get in. 500 shelters for hundreds of thousands evacuees.
The epilogue. My House was spared. A month later I decided to return North and am living happily ever after.