We are finally up and mostly recovered from Irma. It’s been a really rough week here and we have had a slow go of bouncing back. Many of our friends are still without power and basic needs. Stores aren’t stocked yet and there is no promise of when supplies will be fully returned. I have spent today thinking a lot about the storm and I think there are 10 things Floridians wish you knew about hurricanes. I am going to share them with you in hopes of equipping you to better encourage a Floridian in your life.
10 Things Floridians wish you knew about Hurricanes
This is not a complete list by any means. Instead, this is simply my list based on the week I have had. Please feel free to comment and let me know what you would add if you could.
We see the coming storms.
Whenever there is a new storm anywhere in the tropics I am sure to hear from at least one friend about it. Furthermore, major media is going to spend the next week or two telling me how that storm is going to be the worst one yet and kill us all. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tropical depression or a level 5 hurricane with sustained winds. Either way, we will hear on a constant loop that that storm is coming for us.
Thing is, not every storm really does. In fact, many don’t. It’s not that we ignore the storms. We simply wait for a better view of where it is really going and what it really plans to do.
We aren’t being lazy.
I have had a few of my readers tell me they were being accused of being lazy because they didn’t start prepping for the storm the second it was announced. We aren’t lazy. We are cautious. We know the storm could come and disrupt our lives. It could also lose strength over the islands or go play in the ocean. We will prep as soon as we see the coming storm.
That said, there are neighbors who won’t prep. They will leave every piece of projectile sitting in their lawn. We will drive down our block looking at their death gnomes (my friend’s awesome name for lawn gnomes) and every single item that can go airborne and cringe…
Not everyone can afford to prep.
There are a lot of people living paycheck to paycheck. When plywood is $10-$30 a sheet depending on supply, bottled water is $2-$5 a case, canned goods run from 50 cents to $2 depending on dietary needs, and gas costs a few dollars a gallon to fill a tank this can be impossible. There are those who just can’t afford these expenses. Take a second and look at the supply list. Now imagine you are living paycheck to paycheck and unable to do anything extra. How much of that do you have in the house or can you afford to buy?
I know some will say to buy a bit all year but if you are on a fixed income you may not have the extra to do this. There are many people going hungry right now and standing in FEMA lines because they couldn’t afford to prepare before the storm.
Not everyone should evacuate.
After Hurricane Harvey, the heartbeat of the country seems to be, evacuate at all costs. While this may sound great it isn’t realistic or possible for everyone to evacuate. Even the best newscasters will tell you to hide from wind and run from water. If you are not in a flood zone and don’t live in a mobile home there’s a good chance you are probably staying put. While you may mean well, pushing your loved one who is staying to go can do more harm than good.
There are times when it is good to evacuate and most people will honor that. However, if a mandatory evacuation hasn’t been called for your friend, let them be. They probably have a plan in place.
Stores run out.
Even with the best of our plans, stores still run out of supplies. The above picture was taken 4 days before hurricane Irma was supposed to hit. The stores had looked like that for days beforehand. There were no supplies to buy. All stores were running out quickly as people panicked and bought everything they could get their hands on. If you have a job or can’t get to the store right away because of a sick child, you may miss out on supplies you really need because someone else grabbed them first.
We need your calm.
It can get overwhelming as people say a storm is coming for you. It’s even worse if you have ever been thru a serious storm and have those stresses fresh in your memory. Leading up to a storm it can be easy to share the 20,000,000 news stories about why we are going to die, how we need to prepare, how we don’t care enough to prepare, what that one idiot did that he shouldn’t have, and everything that could possibly go wrong in the storm. Please don’t.
Instead, share your calm. Laugh with your friends. Talk about something other than the storm. Find ways to encourage people instead of further overwhelming them. Find out who shares factual reports and stick with them. Don’t be this guy:
During the storm, we may lose contact.
This isn’t personal. Instead, we may lose cell towers or we may lose power. Because we won’t know how long power will be out, we are more likely to leave our phones off unless we really need to use them. This will mean that we may not be able to respond to Facebook messages or phone calls until we find a reliable signal or a place to charge our phones. This could be days. Find out where we are on the map and watch the news for updates about our area.
Power doesn’t come back fast.
Some may get their electricity back within hours. Others may wait days, weeks, or more. It is extremely hot in Florida and being without power is like camping when you didn’t sign up to. If you see 27 FB statuses about the lack of power or have to hear us rant, grant us grace. We are probably overheated. It can be very overwhelming to live in a hot house on lukewarm water eating canned food.
When the power does come back we may have losses. I know that after Irma I dumped an entire month’s supply of meat because of the loss of power. I know other people lost appliances and some lost their air conditioning. An extra dose of compassion will go a long way as we clean up the mess.
We may lose things we can’t replace.
With flooding and property damages there are things that get damaged that can never be replaced. Show grace. Show kindness. Remember that while we are thankful for our home, safety, and lives we are still able to grieve what we lost. Let us grieve. Let us be upset about losing things that may seem trivial to you. They mattered to us.
Life goes on.
I know. That’s more than ten but I had to point this one out. Theme parks will reopen. Stores will open too. This isn’t discrediting the value of what happened. However, life goes on. Bills still have to be paid and people still have to work. These places will open and the people who work there may appreciate the a.c. or the break from a powerless house.
**Bonus Item** If we haven’t finished cleaning up from the current storm, we don’t want to hear about the next one!
We see it. We know there is another storm that will start this cycle all over again for us. We just can’t even right now. Let us pretend it doesn’t exist until we are ready to deal with it. While you’re at it, pray it goes and plays in the ocean and leaves us alone, please!