June 1 marks the start of the hurricane season, it ends on November 30. A hurricane can form anytime in those months; in reality, most storms that affect Florida appear in September and October.
For many Florida residents, it is a time of heightened anxiety. Just about every TV station in the state produces a hurricane preparation special, complete with scary video of past storms. The TV shows usually tout a free hurricane guide book, available at local banks or grocery stores. While these programs and booklets do serve a bit of a purpose, they also are a good source of advertising income for the TV stations.
There is much talk about what evacuation zone your home is in, what supplies you should stockpile, your nearest shelter and escape routes.
Lots of good advice…maybe.
It does make sense to plan ahead, to a point. Keeping a supply of non-perishable food on hand is a good idea. Items that need no refrigeration to keep and no heat to prepare are best. In the event of a bad storm, the possibility of days without power is very strong. A spare container of propane for the grill is a smart idea.
We all learned in seventh grade science that the body can go longer without food than it can without water; a good amount of bottled water should be stored.
Speaking of water, if a storm is eminent, it is smart to fill some containers, or even the bathtub, with water, It can be used for basic sanitation and to flush toilets. If you have a pool, that water can be used.
Now, for the reality of what happens if a tropical storm or hurricane is headed your way. Every weather forecaster will readily admit that predicting the exact path of a storm is, at best, an educated guess. At worst, it is a complete shot in the dark. They just do not have the technology to tell us exactly where a storm will make landfall.
So, as a storm forms, the forecasters predict a week in advance, that a hurricane is on a path to possibly come on shore close to your home. What do you do?
Do you pack your bags and buy a ticket on a flight out of town? If you can afford to do that several times a year, go for it. Several times a year; what am I talking about? Well, often, there are a few storms that pose a risk to Florida. Some get torn apart by winds, others take a different course than predicted and others just peter out. To evacuate safely, you should do so at least three days before the predicted storm hits. You may fly out of town, only to learn that the storm never made landfall in your area.
So, you decide to wait to see what track the storm takes as it gets closer to Florida. Again, the forecasters cannot say for certain just where the storm will hit. Their illustrations include what they call the “cone of uncertainty”, a 10 to 50 mile wide path the hurricane may take. If it looks like the storm will hit you and you decide to leave at the last minute, get ready for a major traffic jam on the roadways.
Most areas of Florida have only one or two main roads running north and south or east and west. Everyone will be on the same roads at one time. You were smart and kept your gas tank full, the guy in front of you was not so smart and runs out. The gas station employees all evacuated or the station has run out . There is no gas to be had; the result is a giant snarl. And the storm is still coming. My thoughts are if you wait until it is certain the storm is coming, you might as well hunker down in your own home
Hunker down means hide in a closet with a good glass of wine.
Let it blow, let it blow, let it blow.