To have the eye of any storm focus its attention your direction is not good a thing. Earlier today I heard the local meteorologist announce that; “Governor Rick Scott has just declared a state of emergency for all counties, the entire state of Florida.”
This is the rainy or “wet” season in Florida also known as hurricane season by the local population. Certainly the rain is needed, the annual rainfall level is well below normal this year. What we don’t need is the unimaginable hurricane force winds.
For anyone who has not experienced a hurricane, the powerful punch is difficult to imagine. Many of us in Miami-Dade county witnessed and survived the power of Hurricane Andrew. There is no need to imagine. The devastation during and after are indelibly imprinted in the mind’s eye. August 24, 1992 Andrew blew through extensive stretches of south Florida. The event has been well documented. (see links below)
I have been home all week. My asymptomatic degenerative osteoporosis in the lumbar region decided to scream. Another ride on a stretcher to the nearby emergency room. The paramedics started an IV and pushed some morphine through to my veins. It may well have been a placebo drug because it made absolutely no difference in my level ten pain.
After more drugs, another MRI and CT scan, visits from a full complement of physicians, an overnight stay in the clinical decision unit (CDU) for pain management, I was released.Last night I couldn’t remember when I last took the pill for pain as needed every six hours or the muscle relaxer every eight hours. So I took them both. Slept all night! Woke up needing a dose of something again. Physical therapy will begin in mere hours from now.
So that explains why I have the luxury of sitting in front of the television anxiously awaiting the next update on Tropical Storm Erika. Keep in mind that the same thing is reported for at least five hours until “the next official storm-cast” is provided by the hurricane hunters. Over the years I have learned not to sit transfixed, hoping that the numerous and varied predicted paths will all stay well east of the Florida peninsula. That Florida will not be anywhere near the “cone of uncertainty.”
Instead of keeping the t.v. on today, I turned-it-off!! That is huge. Perhaps you can relate to other t.v. transfixing events; the Royal Wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles; the terrible car crash which killed Diana; the snail paced chase of the white SUV through California streets. Why do we do that?
For one thing, as a hurricane approaches south Florida, many of the regular broadcast programs are pre-empted with hurricane preparedness tips. There may be one little tip not previously heard, I tell myself.
At the beginning of each hurricane season I buy water, stock up on peanut butter and tuna, keep bread in the freezer, save empty juice containers which can be filled with water and frozen. They can then keep a cooler full of perishables cold for a while.
Waterless hand cleaner is stocked as are pre-moistened wipes and batteries. Spoke to the landlord yesterday about the possibility that there may be shutters in the warehouse for this house. Nope. The generator is chained to a tree in the back yard. I’m not going to try starting it and do more damage to my herniated disc. I’ll get gas for it though.
I’ve done all that I can do to complete the preparedness check list. Most of the forecasts are in agreement that Erika will remain tropical storm strength or maybe a category 1 hurricane. Andrew was a 5!
The governor’s announcement to declare a disaster area is partially political and an official act that needs to be done prior to requesting outside assistance, if need be, in the storm’s aftermath. There have been times when state and local officials erred on the side of complacency with truly disastrous out-comes. Over time, they have come to realize the benefits of erring on the side of caution.
When an official, local decision is made to close schools and county offices, etc. the rest of the employers generally follow suit. However, the medical campus (where I work) is usually the last to announce closures and cancel clinics.
In terms of meteorology, Erika is not a large storm but has already done significant damage as she blew through the islands of the Caribbean. The building codes on the islands are probably not as stringent as codes on the peninsula. The folks there will no doubt require extensive, generous assistance during recovery.
Natural disasters are often wicked. Personal experience: flood, check.
Blizzard, check. Tornado, check. Earthquake, check. Hurricane, check, check, check, check….
Andrew was not forecast to hit land. Just a tiny jog to the west and his never took his eye off of us. Then there was the one referred to as, “the no-name-storm,” which morfed quickly and unexpectedly.
Oh, its time for an official update! Gotta check it out (maybe it has made a little jog…)
Be well. Stay dry. Keep an eye on the storm.