Welcome to Florida!

   We moved to Florda December 2016. We now watch as the first hurricane to really affect us heads our way. Irma started as a tropical storm on Aug. 30. She left as a tropical storm Sept 11. She did reach Category 5 in the Barbudos and the Keys as a category 4. We decided not to :bug out” right away. We could have gone to North Carolina, Tennessee or Wisconsin to be with family if we wanted to. We listened to the sherriffs announcements and when the manditory evacuation order came, we chose to comply. By then most stations were out of gas and the traffic out of our area of Florida was really really long! We went to the local high school designated a safe place for those in the area. What an adventure! The sherriff’s instructions said to bring only a pillow and blanket. We got to the check in spot and the deputies asked if we needed help carrying in furniture (wait what?) That is one hard floor! We ended up going back to get a blow up mattress and chair. We took turns sleeping because we had a single mattress. 

   The high school has several nice courtyards where people could go for fresh air while waiting for Irma to hit. When Irma was close to hitting our area, they did not allow us to use the outside courtyards. 

   We did get 3 meals a day based on high school food. I really feel bad for the students! That and everyone was on a kind of forced diet because they ended up with far more people than expected and had to make the food go around. 

   They designated the elementary school for those with pets, the high school for those without pets and there was another building for those with special needs. People with pets filled the elementary school, middle school and over took the high school. They were putting pets in the gym locker rooms and through out the halls because there were so many. 

    We checked into the shelter before lunch on September 9. Irma hit our area late evening September 10. She was classified as a category 5 hurricane and devestated many areas on her path. By the time she got to us, she had been downgraded to a category 1. I was highly dissapointed. There was a small window in a couple of the gym doors and I looked out as often as I could. As I came back from the bathroom, I over heard a few people complaining that others looked out the doors while we were in the middle of a hurricane. Based on my personal observation, I had been through more devestating thunderstorms in Wisconsin than what Irma was doing outside those windows. We went home the next day to flooded roads in the Stonebrook Park and no electricity for a week! Of course that week was hot. Hot hot hot hot hot! I know for many other areas Irma was very devestating  along her path and she gained steam as she went inland again. I am not trying to minimize the devestation she left in her wake. Should I ever experience a stronger hurricane, I am sure my opinion will be different. However, my curreng opinion is that category 1 hurricanes are no big deal!

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