Friday, August 31, 2012

One Woman Faces Down One Big Storm: Happy Ending

We left Michele heading into dangerous Florida streets flooded by Isaac. Her final emails celebrate survival and gratitude as she and her neighbors clean up after the storm.

Monday Afternoon:

Going downtown to Ft. Lauderdale to call for my friend post-op, I could drive only in the middle lane as the inner and outer lanes were flooded.  In spots, the visibility was nada.  I arrived at the doctor’s office shaking.

The trip home took half the time, no problems, roads clear.  Looked like it was clearing up. Dropped my girlfriend off at her home and took my dogs out in my soggy side yard. Then, before we could get inside, the skies opened up once again and we got caught.
Call just came from Management:  We are experiencing flooding and DO NOT WALK THROUGH FLOODED AREAS.  There may be glass, bacteria and SNAKES.

Immediately finished the much needed chocolate before hubby comes home. Fortunately, this was a tropical disturbance.  I was able to laugh my way through it.  However, a real hurricane is devastating.  I’ve experienced a few of those – waiting on line and searching for water, gas and food, no electricity for days, terrible heat,  fallen trees, getting a new roof and even then we were lucky here – very lucky.
Thursday Afternoon:
Been very busy trying to get house back in order--downed tree cut and already taken away (again with son’s help), plants and yard things out of house, creepy crawlies still living here.  Management has cleaned up our property outside but there’s still a lot to be done.  There are repairmen all over the place. One hears the sounds of mowing, sees roofs awaiting to be replaced, and yet we were so fortunate. Monday, we received a foot of rain, fast and furious. 
I feel very guilty about my light-hearted approach to the storm when I see the damage it has done to the Gulf Coast and all those poor people.  Truly, when it gets really serious, so do I. Thanks for caring, everyone out there.
Here comes the sun!


Hurricanes, blackouts, earthquakes, tornadoes, and derechos (lines of heavy winds and fierce thunderstorms that swept through the Mid-Atlantic states recently),we seem to be experiencing a period of unusually intense weather. Do you have a disaster plan in place for "just in case?"  Besides the standard flashlights and bottled water, what items do you think are essential to keep at the ready? How does your disaster plan help protect you and your family? And don't forget the pets.
~ Toby Devens






  1. Binnie Syril BraunsteinAugust 31, 2012 at 2:07 PM


    I'm so glad that your friend, Michele, has managed to cope with Hurricane Isaac.

    I wanted to respond to your Q about disaster plans. My first experience with the need for same came during a snowstorm when I was in grade school. We'd had a blizzard, no electricity, and no way to use the electric can opener to open that seductive can of tuna fish. So, first on my list of items necessary to stave off disaster: a manual can opener. Also a stack of tuna fish cans as well as a jar of peanut butter and something to eat it on. I also have a stockpile of batteries from AAA to D,along with several flashlights and portable radios. What I don't have is a stockpile of water, but I plan to remedy that. I also try to keep my meds current and even up to 2 weeks ahead. And I also keep my cat in mind, and have a stash of canned and dry food, as well as kitty litter. In my fantasy world, I also have a powerful generator, so that all the perishables in the refrigerator don't die horrible deaths yet again. I fantasize a lost...

  2. I'm just glad that when rescue is necessary, the rescuers no longer expect people to leave their pets behind to die. The crazy weather is troubling. Many scientists are telling us it's global warming. So my survival plan involves driving a Prius and a wood burning stove for heat to conserve energy, etc. A long term plan with little hope of actual survival in an emergency, but at least I'll go knowing I tried to do my part. Glad your friend is okay.

  3. Last year, Hurricane Irene was approaching, so...before we dressed in "black tie" for the wedding to be held at a remote country inn an hour away, my husband filled the bathtub with water, and off we drove.
    Thought we drove an hour on country roads, we returned home by way of major roads, wanting to avoid falling trees, power lines, etc.
    We drove at the height of the storm, and got home safely to find our power still on. Whew...dodged that bullet.
    NSF ( not so fast ) an hour home...and the lights flickered, and that was the last of the electricity coming to our house for 7 days. but we didn't know that at that time.
    Where we live, we have a well, so we have no water when the electricity is gone. Thank goodness the bathtub had enough water to use for the toilet for the week, if we were careful.
    We were lucky that our next door neighbor had power, and we are close proximity and be able to put power cords together, and connect our refrigerator and our freezer to their outlets through their bedroom and basement windows. Now that's the definition of neighborliness!
    Down the country road a bit, 4 houses down, our neighbors there were in the same predicament, but had aLso quail and chickens as welll as their dogs and cats. We lent them our small generator.
    We were last on BGE's list because of the extent of the repairs to wires downed by trees, and the small number of houses affected.

  4. Sometimes we forget how much we rely on even small appliances powered by electricity. You're right, Binnie, the manual can opener is an absolute necessity. And having extra meds on hand is a good idea as well, though pre-ordering can be a problem with some insurers.
    It's also helpful to chose in advance a "safe room"--an interior space with no outside windows and no large pieces of furniture to topple--where the family can ride out super heavy weather--like surprise tornadoes. Also, for events that require you to evacuate the premises, designate a spot outside, away from the house, as the "gathering place." That way you can make sure everyone has made it out safely.

  5. 47 years ago, Hurricane Betsy did her best to wreck my Miami Beach honeymoon. This ingrained a belief in me that I've had no reason to modify in the years since then. If I lived in Florida, (perish the thought,) my disaster plan would consist of a one-way plane ticket out of there.

  6. I can understand why a ruined honeymoon might prejudice you against a particular location, Alan. Of course, there's probably not a spot on the globe that doesn't experience destructive weather events at one time or another. And when February blizzards strike where I live, I'd trade my electric blanket for a beach towel under a palm tree in Key West in a heartbeat.

  7. Been stuck in a number of hurricanes over the years, several which ruined vacations at Wrightsville Beach, NC. Sometimes a bit scary, always wreck one's plans, but that's the price for being along the East Coast.