The Inner Storm of a Hurricane


I am, and will forever be, a Texas girl. I have salsa in my veins, and my favorite drink is a margarita. And Mexican food is the 5th main food group in our house.

I can also correctly identify the bruised green color of a tornado sky in seconds and can hear the faint train whistle of a tornado in my sleep. That’s the sound of “tornado alley” I was raised in.

But now, Florida is home. The ocean views calm me and fill my cup, and the sun and seafood make this place a paradise you never want to leave.

Until hurricane season arrives.

Hurricane season begins in June and lasts until Thanksgiving. Half of the year is a waiting game of unknown proportions. You always have an eye on the five-day weather forecasts and are just waiting.

It is almost like when you were in Middle School, and the teacher threatened a pop quiz. You know it’s coming. You don’t know when, but it’s coming.

Is it going to be easy? Or hard? You don’t know!

You start preparing, but after weeks of nothing, you get tired and maybe even complacent. That’s like hurricane season. You first check your generator, fill up on water, get some batteries, and load up on snacks.

And then you wait.

Listen, I am new to Florida. I’ve ridden out minor hurricanes and even attended some hurricane parties. I have also been scared, really scared, by a hurricane. What a hurricane does to us can easily be measured in some ways.

What are the wind speeds? What category is it? How many trees are down? How high is the flooding? How many days are schools and businesses closed?

What can’t be measured is the personal toll it takes on us.

The preparation and planning it takes months before a potential hurricane is astounding!

Making sure documents are in one place to be grabbed if needed. What is special enough to take with you or place high enough to hopefully save? What are you willing to lose? The constant weight of watching and waiting. It is like a turtle coming towards you with a grenade strapped to its back and the pin pulled.

Is it really coming to you? Will it change and go someplace else? When will it explode? Will it explode?

You never know until it happens. That’s a hurricane, and you never really know.

The dreaded cones. It is like a shot of adrenaline and makes you come out of your hurricane daze.

Do we have gas in case we need to leave, or if there is no local supply?

Do we have the special gas that generators need?

Do we have bread?

When do we fill up the bathtubs so that we can flush toilets?

Are we going to stay?

When do we need to make the decision to leave?

When do I go to the grocery store? How much do we need?

What is left?

I have to finish all the laundry! It is exhausting to add all that to your plate on top of everything mentioned above.

And then the cone is like a dance. With Ian, it started west, and there was a time it was aimed toward the Florida Panhandle. Over time it moved east, then a little west, then more east, and finally surprised us with a dip south.

It’s a dance where the person leading you gives you very few clues. You hold your breath and hope that it is not coming to you. And then there is such relief when you are out of the cone.

But not coming to you means that it is going to someone else, and it is affecting their lives and their home. The relief I felt this week as we were no longer in Ian’s path put a lump in my throat.

The sorrow, sadness, a little guilt, and empathy are all there.

It is so many emotions.

Ian is on his way out. So the focus is on how to help. Filling ice chests of food to send to South Florida. Welcoming evacuees into our community. Donating.

And then preparing for the next one. Because it is coming.

And it’s exhausting.

As you prepare during this hurricane season, PMC has put together the following information that we hope is helpful for you and your family.


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