|The media spinning Irma|
The three safest places to be in Florida during a hurricane are (listed in official order) Leesburg, Orlando and Sanford which form a triangle in Central Florida. We live directly in the center of that triangle. Central Florida is safer because when a hurricane moves inland, its intensity weakens from no longer being fed by ocean waters. However, it still dumps many inches of rain and causes wind damage before finally dying out.
Before and during Hurricane Irma I spent 5 days telling a panicked friend who had evacuated from Jacksonville to our home NEVER to listen to the news during a hurricane because it's all about ratings and NOT the truth. The media had frightened her so much that she drove from Jacksonville to our home in Central Florida and, as it turned out, closer to the eye of the hurricane because when she first heard the news - "DOOMSDAY FOR FLORIDA!" - the media had no clue where the hurricane was or where it was going.
From 8:00 pm Tuesday, September 5th, to 3:00 am Monday, September 11th, I tracked Irma's Latitude and Longitude almost every hour on the National Hurricane Center's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website (NOAA) then plugged in the lat/long stats on the findlatitudeandlongitude website's interactive map on the Internet.
If you experiment yourself, enter the Longitude as a minus. For instance, right now (9/18 @ 11:45) NOAA says that the center, or eye, of Maria, the new hurricane out there, is at 14.7 N 60.1 W. Therefore go to the lat/long interactive map and in the "Load Location" box enter 14.7 for the Latitude and -60.1 for the Longitude and you will see that Maria's center is directly east of Martinique. You can zero in on the map to the exact location and/or move it around to see a smaller or larger view.
Each hour as I tracked Irma MYSELF I could see exactly where she was and how fast she was moving. When the media screamed, "Devastation for Miami!!!!" I could see Irma still above Cuba going nowhere at 6 mph, then eventually turning NW toward the Keys, not NE toward Miami and up Florida's East Coast like the media said.
When the media howled that Irma would be "DOOMSDAY for Florida's West Coast!!!!" I could see that Irma had moved from Naples inland over Lehigh Acres East of Ft Myers, then up to Arcadia toward Lakeland then NW to Zephyrhills.
When the media cried hysterically that Irma was "Still a Category 4!!!" I could see on NOAA that she was rather a category 3, slowing down to a 2 and would be a 1 when she reached us.
I finally went to bed at 4:10 am and listened as Irma went past about 4:30, the wind sailing through the trees and not as much rain at that time.
This enormous, positively NEON (double) rainbow
appeared in the sky 3 miles from our home 2 days
BEFORE Irma hit. I took it as a sign from God that
we would be OK. And so we were.
One room in our house got sopping wet from standing water which seeped through the wall (OK, yes, I was a bit hysterical about that) but we never lost power. I had prepared beforehand with bottled water and provisions, cash, flashlights and a tank of gas in the car, none of which, as it turned out, I needed.
After Irma, my daughter's family, who had no power for 4 days, came here to be in the air-conditioning. I cooked dinner for them the second night night but the first night we went to the Italian restaurant on the corner which had no A/C but the lights and ovens were working. They were making pepperoni pizzas only. It was too hot to sit in the restaurant so we sat outside on the curb with many other people. People were everywhere waiting for their pizzas - some sitting on the hoods of their cars parked at the gas station's pumps which had no gas, some had called in their order and just drove by to pick up their food.
Other restaurants (some cash only since card machines weren't working) began to reopen when they got power so we went out to eat two nights. Menus were restricted since the restaurants had lost some dairy products and food from having had no refrigeration, but they were doing the best they could to help people get a hot meal. Slowly power is being restored, streets are being cleared of fallen trees and food is back on grocery shelves.
NEVER LISTEN TO THE MEDIA. I have lived through at least 15 or more hurricanes in my life and never once have evacuated. Of course we live in the middle of the state where it's safer. If we lived on the ocean we'd drive inland and stay in a motel or with friends like our friend from Jacksonville - whose house BTW was just fine. She went home to no damage and full power and water. The neighbor said all had been well in their neighborhood during the hurricane.
The moral of this post is: always always always track the hurricane yourself so you know the TRUTH.