Hurricane Timewarp

One of the odd dynamics of a hurricane, is that we enter a Timewarp: we loose all track of time, for several weeks. This happens for several reasons.

First, our normal schedules get interrupted with the effort of monitoring a storm. The storm predictions are posted at 2am, 5am, 8am, 11 am, 2 pm, 5pm, 8pm, 11pm. Once a storm is close to making land-fall, the advisories are posted hourly. You would think the rhythmic nature of this service would help you keep track of time, but it does not.

That’s because suddenly, you have so much else to do, preparing your home, and deciding whether to stay or to leave.

Then you are either in your home, eating all your hurricane snacks, too early. Or, you are traveling away frim your home, evacuating. Time is moving at a different speed. You might even go to a different time zine when you evacuate

Then, you are inside some shelter for 24-48 hours, and all the windows are boarded up. It is dark and quiet. You don’t know what day it is. Or the tine.

Then, the lights go out. You sit in your room with a few tgings poeered by a distsnt humming generator, or a flashlight, or candles. Waiting. The longer you sit there, the longer it seems to take. Eventually, you know the storm is over, and you go outside.

The sky is grey-yellow, dark, and ragged. The clouds are beat up, it’s windy, and exhilarating. But you have no clue whst time it is. You return indoors.

Then the clean up begins, while you wait for things to happen: when will the streets be cleared of tree limbs, when will the utility trucks arrive, when will the debris piles be collected, when will insurance agents arrive, when will the gas stations open, when will flood waters receed, when will school reopen, where the heck is FEMA, and when will my lights come back on?

When the lights do return, we all pause to do the Happy Dance.

And then you begin to return to your normal life, while all around your town are the very real signs of a hurticane having passed just a short while ago. Was that just yesterday? Or last week?

It will take awhile before you know.

(c) 2017 to present, Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path. All rights reserved.

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What Have We Learned, After Hurricane Irma

Now that Hurrican Irma has passed through all of the Florida Peninsula at somewhere between 9 mph and 15 mph, we can all sit somewhere, and reflect upon what we have learned.

1. Florida is a long state, and it takes a really long time for a storm that is 800 miles across, to get all the way out of Florida. Paper maps would have been handy. A tv at the storm shelter, would have been reaally helpful. Or a marine radio.

2. If you bugged out, did you over pack? Do you know what you used, and what you didn’t use, what you could have left behind (strappy sandals) and what you wished you had with you? I wish I had brought more warm shirts. And a rain poncho. This is an opoortunity to reflect upon one’s ability to travel light

3. If you bugged put, did you leave soon enough? Did you get delayed by employers (Dang Them!), or by well meaning friends who were not tracking Irma since September 1st, when it was already a Cat. 3 Hurricane. Most employers were inflexible until the Governor issueed the state-wide disaster declaration (I think THAT happened September 5th), and the schools close. This is an individualized problem.

4. Many people reached out to me before the storm hit, to ask, what should I do, where should I go. I tried to provide suggestions, based upon your property’s elevation, and the age of the building and how it was constructed. The main thing I told people who were deciding whether to evacuate, was to get as far north as possible, as soon as possible, and then pick a diagonal based upon the storm’s updated information.

This is still good advice, but the difficulty is, it takes most people in Southwest Florida a long day to get that far north, and it creates a really long evacuation trip, if you leave soon enough.

I tried to guide some people to local shelters, too, depending upon their circumstances.

5. People who have not gone through a hurrucane before, have absolutely no frame of reference for how big a problem this storm was for Florida. Our state population is 20 million people, plus tourists and animals. At one point before Irma hit, 18 million people, were under evacuation orders. That is 90% of the state’s population. And none of us knew with any comfortable certainty, where the Eye would hit, or when. So, the opportunity to second-guess any decision you make, is very high. And, comments from well-meaning friends/family can derail peiple even further.

6. Making so many major decisions, is a brain-drain. As I edit this on September 20th, many people are still memtally exhausted and suffering from what we now call Post Irma Depression. Be nice to us.

Relaxing Into Irma

There comes a certain point in Hurricane Planning, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans everywhere, where you have to just “relax into,” whatever the Impending Hurricane Irma is going to do. That is the moment where you finally stop second- or third- or even fourth-guessing yourself, and say firmly, “I have done all I could, based on everything I know, up until now.” There is an ever-expanding quantify of information about Hurricane Irma out in the internet at this time. You can’t possibly read all of it, and make a decision about things like, whether to stay in your home, or to leave. And then once you make one decision, then the decision tree opens up, and you are making multiple decisions for days and days. “Ok, so, we’ll leave.” “Fine. Where shall we go?” Here, here, here, … it depends on the storm track! “When shall we go?” Who knows. Go early. Go late. It depends. You can read numerous articles with helpful checklists of what to take with you, if you evacuate. (We like to call it, Bugging Out in my neck of the woods. Then you can put your vital essential objects into your Bug Out Bag.) Sometimes it seems like it should be obvious to take warm clothes with you, if you bug out to the north, in fall, for example. But September in Southwest Florida has no resemblance to Fall, and tge week before a Hurrucane it’s been 90 degrees out and himid, so it is totally out of our minds. Or, to take a rain poncho with you, because this is a Hurricane. No matter what else happens in a Hurricane, you can count on it raining. Just about every person I know in Southwest Florida carries an umbrella in their car. But since Hurricanes also bring WIND, you want the poncho. Sooner or later, the Wind and the Rain will find you. Ypur power will go out. You will light candles and wonder if you have enough, or what was it that article said about oxygen? When your flashlight doesn’t work, you may want to resist the urge to think, “gee, i should have bought just one more battery. I should have gone to the store an hour earlier when they had some…” Stop. Breathe. Be right here. If you are by yourself riding the storm out, know that it will be over soon. You did the best you could. If you are with pets and otger friends and family members, take care of each other, comfort each otger, and enjoy the timevyou spend together. If you are in an evacuation shelter, or a Bug Out Chateaux, smile at your fellow weary travelers. Say Please and Thank you. Hold doors open for people. Share limited resources. See if the Volunteers have a spare poncho. And remember, Hurricanes and other big weather events are just Mother Earth’s way of restoring balance, moving the hot and cold masses around. None of us can change this or control it. So we may as well Relax. Share your peace with Mother Earth and Father Sky and the Big Waters all around us. (c) 2017 to present by Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path. All rights reserved.

Hurricane season is coming*… time to check your plans

HURRICANE SEASON IS COMING* , and it is time to check your plans.

(*) The Atlantic Hurricane Season, according to NOAA, runs from June 1 to November 30.  In the Earthways Shamanic Path, we observe Hurricane Season which  starts around August 15 and runs to October 15.  It’s a micro-season.

Each day in July, the Gulf of Mexico water temperature increases, the average daily temperature increases, and the whole Southwest Florida region ripens for a Hurricane.

It is us well past time, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, for you to make your plans so that you can keep you and your family (however you define that word,) safe.

Quickly:

1. Learn every thing you can about how hurricanes (“tropical disturbsnces”) form, and how they move around.  You must know the difference between a parallel storm, an exiting storm, and, an onshore storm.   (On shore storms are also “entering” storms, they make landfall. )  The way these storms interact on the Southwest coast, are different from the Southeast coast.  You should know why.

2.  You should know what the Saffer-Simpson Scale is.  Google-thusly.

3. Elevation determines evacuation times.  You should know how many feet you live above sea level.  The smaller the number, the more likely you will be asked to evacuate your home during a big storm.  

4.  You need to decide, depending on where you live,  and for each type of storm (parallel, exiting, onshore), what you and your family plan to do, for the different strengths of storms. 

5.  Every family is different, and family needs sometimes change.  Perhaps your family now includes a woman who is now 8 1/2 months pregnant.  Or, perhaps you now have a new born.  Or maybe you are now caring for a frail eldey person.  Or puppies.  This is the time to find shelters which can accommodate your needs.

 6.  Every family’s resources are different, and changable.  For example, if you normally have  a reliable car, what would you do if you needed to evacuate from an onshore storm, but your only car is in the shop, and you have been commuting by bicycle. 

      A typical stormy afternoon in Florida.

7.  Plan, don’t panic.  There is a lot to consider, but if you think about it now, today, and by that I mean over the weekend, you should be able to have an idea, before the middle of August.  Make a gaming session out of it.  (If this, tgen that…)  Then, you can relax and go about your regular day-to-day adventures.

8.  The Spiritual aspect of Hurricane Season is this:  how do you balance the need to plan, the tendency to panic, and the goal of relaxing into your life on a day-to-day basis.  You just do it.

Honor the Seasons where you live.  Delve deeper and Share your Peace with Mother Earth and Father Sky and the Big Waters all around us.

(c) 2017 to present, Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path.  All rights reserved.

The End of Hurricane Season – for now

Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans…  Oh, Dry Season is coming to Southwest Florida!  We’re excited to leave the Heat and Humidity and Daily Torrential Rainstorms of Hurricane Season behind us.  Particularly the Heat.  And the Humidity.

But first, here is a ritual to close out Hurricane Season.

Ground yourself as described in the Earthways Shamanic Path Stepping Stone #2 – https://whalemaidensuburbanshaman.wordpress.com/2015/10/07/earthways-shamanic-path-stepping-stone-2-get-grounded/

You may complete this Ritual, over the course of several days.  You may do some of it with family members, and some of it by yourself.

First, put your Hurricane Supplies away.  Inspect and clean all your equipment that you got, and put it away.  If you have a generator, follow the instructions to prepare it for long-term storage.  Maybe you can put a tarp over your Storm Shutters.  Make sure your wingnuts are all packed up in the wingnut bucket.  Visit your “To Go” box, and make sure you haven’t left any trash in it.  Make sure to leave a road map of your State or Region in there, and maybe this year’s Storm Guide.  The Storm Guides are usually good for all kinds of disasters, and it is good to have a plan.

Second, bring a sturdy box to your supply of canned food and inspect those cans. (Inspect the expiration dates.)  Are there some that you want to donate to a local food pantry?  This is an excellent time to do this, because after Hurricane Season ends, and the Dry Season starts, our Snowbirds will arrive and the food pantries need more canned foods.  You can also empty the water bottles you created – use them to water plants or your lawn, or your favorite tree.  Release what is no longer needed.

Third, review everything you learned this Hurricane Season about how storms are predicted and tracked, and how intense and unpredictable they really can be. Make some notes about what you and your family need to do in the coming months, to better prepare yourselves for next year’s Hurricane Season.  Visit my previous posts to get an idea.

Forth, review what happened to the people who were in harm’s way in the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic and Haiti and the Bahamas and Bermuda and South Carolina, and consider donating funds to a reputable disaster relief organization.

Finally, think about what you learned about yourself spiritually, this hot and humid Hurricane Season.  As we pointed out previously, the spiritual aspect of Hurricane Season has to do with planning ahead, and being ready to take correct action, but not letting that constant state of readiness exhaust you, or make you anxious.   And, it also involves asking for help when you need it, and how to offer help to others, when they need it.  Were you able to experience the middle line of having a plan, but being flexible as changing circumstances warranted?  Do you feel that you were adequately prepared for this Hurricane Season?  What did you learn about asking for help and providing help?  Take a few moments to reflect on this, and write about it in your Journal.  Remember, Hurricane Season is an annual event in the Wheel of the Year

Close out this Ritual as directed in the Stepping Stones.

Now's the time to release the canned food items you don't need
Now’s the time to release the canned food items you don’t need

And Remember to Share Peace With Our Earth

© 2015, Whale Maiden.  All Rights Reserved.

Join Whale Maiden in the discussion at the Earthways Shamanic Path – Facebook Group

The Exhilaration of a Hurricane

Honorable Shamans, Hurricane Season can be somewhat … Exhilarating.   Just as soon as we finish getting ready for Hurricane Danny, which dropped down to a Tropical Storm, and then a Tropical Depression, now we are all watching Tropical Storm Erika, — you can look at the  Track of Tropical Storm Erika, 8/25/2015 

It is ok if you didn’t complete everything in my Handy Hurricane Checklist, last week.  Remember, the first step is, “Do Not Panic, Do Not Panic, Do Not Panic.” 

Hurricane Shutter Wing Nut Bucket
Hurricane Shutter Wing Nut Bucket

One of the hardest parts of monitoring a Hurricane, is deciding when to pay attention to it.  That is why the Tropical Prediction Center’s system of “watches” and “warnings” is useful.  The Tropical Prediction Center will post Watches when  tropical cyclone activity  is possible within a given area within 48 hours.   And, it will post Warnings when Tropical Cyclones are expected within a given area within 36 hours.  (For more details, please see the Glossary at the NHC website.)

In my opinion, you want to have all your preparations completed, within 72 hours of a cyclone hitting your area.  That means, 3 days before it hits, you should be all done with your plans, and ready to bug-out, if that was your decision.  The reason for that is, if you are going to bug-out, you want to do it, before everybody else gets on the road.  And, if you are bugging-out, you’ll  want to put at least 150 miles between you and the Storm bulls-eye on your house.  You’ll want to be well north (generally it is better to go North in Florida…but it depends on the projected track… )  of the storm’s projected path, and in a safe place, before the end of that day.

For now though, those of us in Florida have time to continue preparing.  That’s a good thing, because the Handy Hurricane Checklist, was quite long.  And, it is also a good thing, because I bet your Hurricane Shutters are in the back of your garage, and you have to move a whole pile of stuff out of the way to get to them.  And of course, you don’t want to move all that stuff, if you don’t have to.  That’s ok.  Focus on getting your kids back to school, and  making sure you know where your important papers are.

Hurricane Shutters at Rest
Hurricane Shutters at Rest

Another thing to think about is, if a storm hits your town,  how many days should you prepare for?  How many days might you be without power?   In 2004, after Hurricane Charley came through my house, and Southwest Florida, my power came back on within a few days.  However, my neighbors’ power didn’t come back on, for another week.  (I mean, one side of my street had power, the other side didn’t, for 7 days.)  So, as you make your plans, and decide whether you might shelter-in-place, or bug-out,  take that into consideration.  Do you have a generator?  Do you need one?

But meanwhile, and again, do not panic.  Be mindful that  you have time to prepare and make good decisions for you and your family.  And remember that storms change, and you’ll just need to stay flexible.  It is exhilarating, really, because you are experiencing a Force of Nature.  And as Forces of Nature go, Hurricanes are pretty good, because you have time to get prepared!

Next, we will talk about how you can tell if a tropical cyclone is headed your way.

And Honorable Shamans, We Share Peace With Our Earth.

And now for the Handy Hurricane Planning Check List

Honorable Shamans, welcome back.  While Tropical Storm Danny is wandering around the Atlantic Ocean, let’s review the Hurricane Planing Checklist.    Let’s assume your town is in the 5 day cone of probability and you now  have 5 days to take appropriate action.  You will have a lot to do.  There are many Spiritual Lessons to work through in Hurricane Season.  One set of lessons, is to ask for help, to accept help gracefully, and to offer help, as needed.

Do Not Panic.  Do Not Panic.  Do Not Panic.  One of the benefits of modern technology is that we have the ability to hear about Hurricanes for days — sometimes  weeks — ahead of time, and take steps to plan accordingly.  Your task is to be mindful of the approaching Hurricane without freaking out about it.

Pick up the annual Hurricane Guide at your local hardware or grocery store,  City Hall or County Admin building, library, etc.  (You might find them on-line too.)  These booklets contain  Maps, locations of Shelters, Checklists of supplies, and other useful information.    Read it.  Read it again, then put it in your “To – Go” box.

Five Days Before the Storm, take inventory.  If you are located in the boundaries of the 5 day forecast cone,  go outside and round up stuff that might become airborne.  Things like garden hoses, sprinkler heads, toys, and coconuts, and your trash cans, should be brought into the laini or the garage.  Then, walk around your house and take pictures.  Get each side of your house and the roof, lamps and mail box.  Take pictures from each of the four directions.  While you do this, you may want to sing a song to protect yourself and your property.  Ask that you and your family are  guided to make safe decisions for this storm.  Wave to your neighbors and chat about the upcoming storm.  During the Hurricane Season of 2004, my neighbors and I would gather in the middle of the street before each storm and talk about who was staying to “shelter in place,” and who was evacuating, which is also known as “bugging out.”

Check your “To Go Box.”   After you take all your photographs and bless your house and chat with your neighbors, go inside and check your “To Go Box.”  Normally, you probably keep copies of all your important files in a file cabinet or something, but if a storm is headed your way, you’ll want to transfer the insurance  policies and copies of birth certificates and other important papers, into a plastic box.  Put your maps in there, and your list of important phone numbers in there too.  I use two-gallon zip lock type bags, which are perfect to store file folders.  In 2004, I learned that Insurance Agent’s business can get hit by hurricanes, too, so it is best if you have your copies.  This should go without saying, but, make sure your policies are paid up BEFORE the storm hits your house.  Also, you’ll want to back up your computer files and transfer important files to a flash drive.  When we evacuated before Hurricane Charley,  we took the whole computer tower with us.

How’s your supply of food and water?  In the five days before a hurricane, count noses.  Every animal that has a nose needs food and water during a hurricane.   The amount of food and water you will need, will be based on upon whether you are staying home (shelter-in-place) or evacuating, (“We’re bugging out!”)  Each mammal needs at least a gallon-per-being-per day.  People need a lot of calories and comfort foods during a storm.  Along with canned food, we recommend cola, chocolate, cheese, tuna and peanut butter.  Also remember crackers, chips, bread.  If you evacuate, take your food and beverages with you.

Batten Down The Hatches -Or put up Shutters  —  When the storm is predicted to be a Tropical Storm, or greater, and you are expecting sustained winds  over 39 MPH, you will want your home to have the windows boarded up, snugly.   So, five days before the storm hits,  if you have shutters, you’ll want to walk around and check the conditions of the shutter channels and bolts.  Are there wasp nests in the channels?  If so, you’ll need to SAFELY remove the nests.  [My advise on that topic, ends here.]  Are the bolts in good condition?  Putting up Shutters is a labor intensive task, and is best accomplished with help.  We like to drink highly caffeinated sweet beverages and eat candy bars with chocolate and nuts, before we start, so that we are hydrated and pumped up a bit.  Hopefully, your notes on which shutter panels cover which window opening, survived the year in your garage.  I have a special bucket that I leave on top of my supply of shutters in the garage.  The bucket has the chart showing which panels go where, all the wing nuts (and you really should get a wing nut turner, like you said you were going to do, last year)  and gloves. Everybody helping should wear a pair of thick gloves, and sun hats are smart, too.  Drag the panels out of your garage, and put them in stacks in the shade.  They are metal, and get hot quickly.  Finally, remember that once you get all the panels up, it gets dark and quiet inside the house, so you may want to leave some of the windows partly open, until you are ready to button everything up.  Also be careful once you are inside because Shutters do create a fire escape hazard.  Putting tape on your windows is a waste of time.  It doesn’t help, and the tape gunk never comes off.  If you don’t have ready made shutters, you can use plywood, and the blue screws.  Plywood is HEAVY and you will definitely need help.  Stay hydrated and take rest breaks out of the sun.

Where do you live?  Most people know where they live.  But this is an ideal time to find a map of your town, and State, and figure out where you are, and learn to compare that to where the predicted Hurricane Path is.  How do you get maps?  You can look up where you are, on the internet, of course.  But for Hurricane Planning purposes, you should get a paper map so that you will have it when the power goes out.  These are usually available at gas stations and even some pharmacies and grocery stores.  You should also take the time to figure out your longitude and latitude, using that paper map.  The most important thing to know is, do you live on a Barrier Island?

Where is the Storm?  Where is it predicted to go?    It is useful to watch a good weather channel (I like The Weather Channel)  and learn the lingo.  Some news stations report the information posted in NOAA’s Tropical Prediction Center. This is an excellent resource to learn about Hurricane Tracking.  The Tropical Prediction Center looks at hurricane models, and it conducts mathematical analyses to come up with a cone-shaped prediction.  It is a Five Day moving target.  The location of the storm is represented by the small nose end of the cone.  The location of the nose end is more certain that the fan of possibilities represented at the wide end of the cone.  It is really important to understand that the effects of the storm can usually be felt, outside of the cone boundaries.   This cone is updated every 6 hours for a Tropical Storm.  Remember, Everything Changes…  The Spiritual Message in this Season is, Stay Flexible.

Hurricane Danny Track- 11AM 8/21/2015Hurricane Danny track- 2:00 PM, 8/22/2015

Get a feel for where Hurricanes develop, and how Hurricanes act.  In the Atlantic basin,  Hurricanes tend to form in one of two places:  either off the west coast of Africa, or, off the Yucatan Peninsula, or the north coast of South America.  The ones that form just above the northern coast of South America, seem to kind of “blow up” in intensity in the Gulf of Mexico.  From the Florida Perspective, these don’t have too far to go, so if Florida is in the 5 day cone forecast, we have 5 days to prepare, maybe fewer.  These storms tend to develop in mid-August, because the Gulf of Mexico is very warm water in mid-August, and Hurricanes Love Warm Water.

That’s different from the Hurricanes  that come off the west coast of Africa, like bowling balls coming down the alley.  Those are at least 5 days from land maybe more, and at least 6 or 7 days from the East Coast of Florida.  (They may have no impact at all, on the West Coast of Florida.  It all depends.)  Depending upon the world wide weather conditions — like Hi Pressure zones and Low Presser Zones, and various waves–  these storms will either (a) get about half-way out to the middle of the Atlantic and then head north – we call those “Fish Storms”  or, (b) the storm will head towards Hispaniola (the island where you’ll find Haiti and the Dominican Republic)  and dip down, towards the southern part of the Caribbean sea, or,  (c) the storms will skim the top of   Hispaniola, and then hit Cuba, and re-curve up to Florida — This is what Hurricane Charley did in 2004.  Or, (d) the Storm will blow a bit north, and will head for Bermuda, and depending on how it interacts with Bermuda, it may also impact the east coast of Florida.  Usually, when Hurricanes hit land, they slow down, or stop altogether.  But it depends on whether the Hurricane is hitting flat, humid, rain-soaked land, which can recharge a Hurricane, or if it hits a Mountain, which usually stops it.

Decide what to do: “Shelter-in-place, or “Bug out”.  This is the key point  of hurricane planning, and it is best to decide this as soon as possible.  This is a family decision, based upon your circumstances:  Where do you live, what do you live in, who lives with you, how big is the storm, and where is it predicted to go?  Ideally, you will have thought about some of this months ago.  But circumstances change, and so do people’s tolerances for risk.  Here’s how the planning decision gaming scenario goes:  If your family is all healthy, and you live in a house, and you aren’t on a barrier island, and if the windows of the house are all storm-rated, and, if the storm is only expected to be a tropical depression, and depending on the predicted track of the storm, then, you could probably ride out the storm in your house.  This is also called, “sheltering in place.”   BUT, let’s look at this some more.  Assume that during a storm, you will lose electricity and maybe your phone service, with the length of this interruption dependent upon the severity of the storm.  If anyone in your family has special needs, you’ll have to plan for their needs, ahead of time.  Do they just need a generator, to ensure that some appliances will work, or do they need more specialized care?  Plan for it.  By the way, if your community has a Special Needs registry, you may need to renew that, annually.  If you are in a house, you can generally stay there during most storms.  But if it is a mobile home, you should plan to evacuate before a storm.  If your house is on a barrier island, you will probably be ordered to evacuate.  If ordered to evacuate, go.

Having storm rated windows is important.  Windows installed after Hurricane Andrew (1992) must meet strict Florida Building Codes, and those codes are getting stricter each year because the storms are getting bigger and stronger.  (Let’s say it in unison, “CLIMATE CHANGE.”)  If you are in an older house with the old jalousie windows, you will need to board them up.  If it is predicted to be a bigger storm,  with winds over 74 miles per hour, and you just aren’t sure you want to deal with having no electricity for a week, then you should consider evacuating.

Storms come in several sizes, based upon wind speeds. There are four  categories of storms, as  described on the NOAA Tropical Prediction Center website.   There are Depressions, Storms, Hurricanes and, Major Hurricanes.

D: Tropical Depression – wind speed less than 39 MPH.
S: Tropical Storm – wind speed between 39 MPH and 73 MPH
H: Hurricane – wind speed between 74 MPH and 110 MPH
M: Major Hurricane – wind speed greater than 110 MPH.

Let’s Talk About Storm Tracks, before you make tracks.   In Florida, storms either come across the State from the East Coast, or they come across from the West Coast.  Those are called “entering” or “exiting” storms, and that depends upon your perspective.  Or, they go up either of the coasts, which is called a parallel storm track.   In all of these cases, the important thing to research is where the eye of the storm is, in relation to your house, and to your proposed evacuation routes.  Where will the storm make land fall?   Your evacuation route, will depend upon that, too.  The most important thing to do is, leave before you have to go!  Ideally, you will be on your way, before the roads get too crowded, before everyone is panicking.  And, before we leave this point, remember these things:  Once you are in the range of a 5 day  storm prediction, it is a good idea to get a full tank of gas.  But please, don’t run to every gas station to “top-off” your tank, because that creates runs on gasoline, and shortages.  Having a full tank of gas should give you better traction, and, will allow you to get out of harm’s way, when you evacuate.  Next, you should review a road map, and check weather conditions along your proposed route, before you head out.  You may want to reserve hotels in two different areas of Florida, so that you can have greater flexibility.  (Remember to cancel the room you aren’t using.  You may have to pay a cancellation fee, but you will probably feel like it ‘s worth it.)  Remember to get some cash before you travel, since the power may be out on your return trip, and cash is best then.  Remember to tell a family member where you plan to go.

Storms can change tracks suddenly and without warning.  And remember, hotels are not immune to the impacts of Hurricanes.  It won’t hurt to look up the location of hurricane evacuation shelters in the counties along your evacuation route.

Finally, sit with this meditation:  Prepare for the Worst and Hope For the Best.  Years from now, when you look back on this Hurricane, and you will, trust me, you will have so many stories to tell!

Hurricanes move heat and water around our Mother Earth.  They are a vital function on our dear planet.  Let’s Share Peace With Our Earth.

~WhaleMaiden, with grateful thanks to NOAA & the Tropical Prediction Center.