We didn’t evacuate. The path of the hurricane shifted to the right yesterday morning, September 6, along the east coast, and we were concerned about the shortage of gas en route to Atlanta. So we moved to plan B – staying with a friend in Cassadaga, then learned that the town was under an evacuation order because the buildings are so old. So here we are.
Today, the county of Palm Beach asked residents to stay where they are because of gas shortages. Lines at the pumps around town were half a mile this morning to twice that this evening. As of tonight, 30 percent of gas stations across the state are empty – and that’s not good for the people who are under mandatory evacuations from the Keys and Miami-Dade County.
Our house is concrete – with a wooden addition that makes me uneasy. We have accordion pull shutters, easy to close up. I have removed stuff from the walls- like Megan’s paintings, memorabilia from our travels, photos, other art – and sealed them up in garbage bags and taped them shut. They’ll go into the dish washer and oven when the storm moves in, and in high spots around the house.The dish washer and stove are appliances ensconced within the counter (or under it) and are considered to be solid “safe” places.
We’re fortunate in that our town, Wellington, is structurally strong. No high rises, most of the electrical poles are concrete, the roads have been raised recently, the drains enlarged so that runoff of water is much better. And yet. Lake Okeechobee, the largest fresh water lake in the state that supplies drinking water to most of us, is about 39 miles from us. If its dike is breached and the water pours into the numerous canals around here, no telling what might happen. Maybe nothing. Maybe another Katrina.
Our local Publix has been out of water for several days. Today, the other aisles looked nearly as empty as the water aisle in the above photo. Fortunately, I bought water – plastic, bottled water, not known to be environmentally friendly, folks, but readily available and when you’re hot and thirsty, it does the trick. And now there’s none left in this town.
I’ve always been fascinated by hurricanes because they seem almost sentient, conscious in some strange, unknown way, but this one is too close, too personal, too powerful. My hope is for a shift farther to the east, so that Irma does what Matthew did last summer, the eye staying out to sea. Irma, though, is much larger than Matthew, so that every part of the state will the impacted in some way. Hey, maybe Mar del Lago will be inundated, a trickster thing.
And yet, today,everything seemed pretty normal and we took Noah and Nigel to the dog park. They waited patiently for squirrels. For dogs, life is infinite, timeless, unfettered by hurricanes.