Hurricane Matthew Approaches Florida ~ stay safe

hurricane-evac-routeThere’s a light rain outside, but winds have been brisk at times portending what is to come… and that’s Hurricane Matthew. This, they say, is the ‘big one’. I lived through Super Storm Sandy in NYC, so I know what a ‘big one’ can do. Plenty.

 

There is a mandatory evacuation of Jacksonville Beach. Dangerous winds of 55 mph are expected to hit the JAX area tomorrow afternoon. That will be the outer edges of the storm. As the eye comes closer, the winds will increase. They were as much as 110 mph when they hit Haiti, which was devastated. The Bahamas were very hard hit as well. I love the Bahamas, love the people. Have been there twice. Hope to go again. Many of the buildings on these islands are not up to the ‘hurricane code’ we have in Florida.

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Open air street market, very common in the Bahamas. Many homes are small wood framed structures.

There is a steady stream of cars and trucks, some pulling campers, and RVS pulling cars going north on I 95. The entire city of St. Augustine is under mandatory evacuation. ‘They’ are taking this very seriously. Governor Scott has given several press conferences and local mayors have been giving alerts on radio. The weather channels are doing an excellent job.

I spoke to my cousin Lois early yesterday. She lives in Melbourne with her grown daughter. At that time we thought Matthew would land on Daytona Beach, which is about in the middle of where we both live. We bolstered each other’s moods and said we “thought we’d be okay through it.” Now I’ve heard reports Matthew may land in Melbourne and I’m worried for her and her daughter.

I manged to get outside this morning when the rain was light so Sophie could do her business. She’s’ become quite the Florid1an trooper, truckin’ along between the drops. Unfortunately, once inside, I became ‘mean mommy,’ as I’m holding off on breakfast. It’s going to be a long day with winds and rain increasing and she will probably NOT be able to go out this evening, and might not be able to tomorrow morning. I’ve placed plastic covered by towels by the back door in case she has an “accident.”

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I’ve got all necessary gear. Food that doesn’t have to be cooked that will last me more than four days, a good supply of drinking water, plus water for the pets, a hurricane lamp with batteries, a flashlight, candles. I’m as ready as I can be. Now all that’s left for me to do is pray. Has it come to that? [A feeble joke. I’ve been praying right along and will continue to.]

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10, NASB

Preparing For Tropical Storm Hermine ~ don’t get caught

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I’m not a novice when it comes to tropical storms. I survived Tropical Storm Dennis when I lived in Miami in 1981. I’ve also survived several hurricanes that hit New York City, while living in Brooklyn, including Super Storm Sandy. And I’ve learned to take all storms very seriously.

I now live in Jacksonville and we’re hunkering down and waiting for Tropical Storm Hermine to hit tonight. It will be the first large, hurricane-type storm to hit Jacksonville in 11 years. I’ve learned that even if I’m not in an area sure to be flooded (and I’m not), a water main can break and I’ll need to have a supply of water in the house. Everything runs on electricity in JAX. If the power goes out, the stove goes out, the refrigerator. Everything.  I filled my Brita filtered pitcher with water to drink, filled an ordinary pitcher with filtered water, and made a container of fresh brewed iced tea for drinking. These I’m keeping in the refrigerator. I put all my thermal freezer bags in the freezer compartment of my refrigerator.I filled my container for ice cubes to the top with cubes and made two additional trays of ice. I didn’t shop for meat this week and I’m hoping what I have will keep if power fails.

I will fill my large blue plastic salad bowl and keep it filled in the sink for washing dishes. I filled plastic containers with water for washing dishes, and if (God forbid) a water main breaks and I need water to flush a toilet. I’ll also fill all my pots and containers in case they’re need for bathroom use. (Uugh) In addition I have new batteries for my emergency lantern and I have candles, if needed. I have easy access to my cat carriers in my outdoor storage ares should an evacuation be needed, but they’re not predicting anything as bad as that. I will keep my eye on the weather reports and if predictions worsen, I’ll bring my cat carriers into the house. I have cat and dog food and pet dishes I can easily transport, but I don’t think that will be necessary this time. Cans of tuna and a manual can opener are sitting on my kitchen counter, in case. These are easily transportable, if I have to leave, but I don’t expect that. I have a briefcase style purse near the door with my wallet (drivers license, bank cards, medical insurance cards). I know where my Social Security Card, birth certificate, will, and other important papers are if the storm gets bad in the wee hours, and I need to take them. I know where my rain poncho is.

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Last week, during a heavy rain, not a major storm, large tree limbs in the neighborhood were severed and fell. So, when the rain gets heavier (probably around 5 or 6 o’clock this evening) I’ll move my SUV to the center of the church parking lot across the street from my house. It should be safe from branches falling on it there. I always keep a blanket spread out in the cargo area of my vehicle. So, if needed, I’ll have a blanket. Just by happenstance, I have a few beach towels in the back seat of the SUV and I’ll leave them there for the duration.

Super Storm Sandy was grossly underestimated and under prepared for. The results were devastating and some NYC residents have not recovered from their losses yet. Equally, many in New Orleans have not recovered from Katrina and Rita.