Saturday, September 09, 2017

IRMA update (don't worry we are safe!)

WELL.  Coming at you live, from Birmingham AL!  I have received so many messages by email and social media from you guys, so wanted to let you all know we are safe!

This has been quite the adventure.  Our entire city (Miami Beach) went under mandatory evacuation order on Thursday morning.  Fam/friends have either left for other FL friends/fam not in the evacuation zones, or have left the state, like us.  As of now, the track of the eye is NOT predicted to directly go over Miami, but it is expected that we will still get some kind of hit.  Currently there are numerous tornados in our region, so I am still feeling anxious about everyone's safety back in FL.  And we already received notification that our power is out, so I'm really really glad we are not at home.

I always knew a hurricane was a risk when moved here, and had informed Josh that when it happened, I wanted to GET OUT.  That sounds so easy!  Simple!  You just leave, right?  Book a flight or a hotel, or stay with fam?

HA.  NO.  It's actually like 939224 decisions, each of which feel very high stakes, made while you are getting increasingly tired.  We ended up deciding to initially leave Friday, then changed to Thursday, THEN to Wednesday night when we heard reports of increasingly nightmarish traffic and gas scarcity.  At the point when we were making these decisions, the storm was predicted to directly impact Miami (Miami Beach is just to the east, connected to the mainland by bridges/causeways).  It was too late to book a flight anywhere - everything was taken as the mass exodus and frenzy began.


the "cone" as predicted on Wednesday morning


GAS SCARCITY in an evacuation scenario is terrifying.  And it's not even something I had considered.


beginning our journey: MIAMI BEACH --> OCALA
8:30 PM - 3:30 AM

We ended up leaving Wednesday night at 8:30 pm.  Cameron was already asleep but A was awake for about 30 minutes into the trip.  Our initial destination was Ocala, where I booked a last minute Quality Inn - accomodations in Orlando, Gainesville, and nearby Ocala were disappearing incredibly fast!  I am going to give Quality Inn major credit right now for not charging us cancellation fees for Thurs-Monday nights, as originally we had planned to stay right through the storm.  But then the path changed again, and we realized that Central FL probably wasn't the place to remain.

At that time, we considered 2 options:  driving northeast to NC (to stay with my sister!) or West to Birmingham, where I had managed to book a hotel (Atlanta was basically sold out!).  But then the projections kind of looked like the storm was headed to NC, and traffic was said to be much worse in that direction.  

SO, Thursday at around 1 pm we left for Birmingham, and arrived at 1 am.  

The whole thing has been physically and emotionally exhausting, and it isn't even close to over.  I am of course happy that our locale looks like it will NOT get the brunt of this storm, but of course it's horrible that it's hitting the West Coast of Florida.

I have an odd mix of guilt / anxiety about leaving and not knowing how hard it will be to get back.  We keep trying to plan the timing of our route back and honestly if there's anything I should have learned by this point, it's that these CONES change and it's hard to plan ahead.  You just have to kind of take each step as it comes.

CURRENT CONES -


Yep, looks like it's headed through . . . Birmingham.
But it won't be a hurricane by that time.  
We are trying to optimally time our journey back home . . . still TBD.

Scenes from Birmingham:




NOTES I am taking to remember this ordeal . . .


Will keep everyone updated - thank you again for your thoughts + prayers!  Thinking of everyone else in the path of this storm (as well as those still recovering from Harvey).  HURRICANES SUCK. More to follow.