By the time everyone is seeing this, I will probably have already been impacted by Hurricane Irma. I am a native Floridian preparing for Irma as best I can. This storm is not being taken lightly, but mass panic and fear is something that helps no one. I am thankful that I live in North Central Florida, but we will still feel her wrath. So many of us did not or could not leave. We are not “dumb” we are not “suicidal”. For many, it is impossible to leave, or even more dangerous to do so. So to my neighbors to the north, please keep some of your comments to yourself and think about your words before spewing them.
Floridians Preparing For Hurricane Irma
For a week now, us here in Florida have been doing all we can to prepare for Irma. She is large, and she is dangerous. Not a storm to take lightly. While we are doing all we can as Floridians preparing for Hurricane Irma, there are those neighbors to the north who do not totally understand. Good intended worry turns into hateful words that are difficult to hear. Explaining becomes an argument and worry increases. So friends and family to the north, I love you and thank you for your worry. Send love and prayer, but do not send your hate and negativity. If you really wonder why some of us don’t leave, well there are a few things this Florida girl would like for you to know.
Just Get Out
Ah yes, we will start with my favorite, the ” just leave Florida” statement. Now, many of our people are under mandatory evacuation and they are the ones who should be leaving. Personally, I am in Central Florida and will not be evacuating. My home is solid block and I am far from trees and risk of flooding.
So, I think last time i heard there were about 5.6 MILLION Floridians evacuating. Now, do you understand there are very few ways to get out of Florida? Just a few roads will get you north and those roads are a parking lot at the moment and have been for days. Not only that, gas is scarce and the bit that is left is being reserved for first responders.
Just take a flight… okay I love this one as well. When the airports were open (they re not now) flights were getting cancelled, overbooked, and the prices were insanely high! Yes, there was the $99 Jet Blue ticket guarantee, but those sold out faster than you could get them! So unless you are going to buy the upwards of $1,000 ticket or come get us in your private jet, it just isn’t going to happen.
There are also those who cannot leave. Our medical personnel, first responders, police, and prison guards. These people can’t just up and go because they have important jobs to do.
Oh and so I mentioned all those people on the roads right, well that means that there is a chance of getting stuck on the roads when the storm hits. To me, that is much more dangerous than staying in my nice sturdy home.
We Are Not Dumb
I have heard how “dumb” Floridians are quite a bit this week and it is really starting to make me mad. We in fact, are rather smart. Floridians are well aware of the risk of storms and are prepared to deal with them. We know how to stock up, board up, and hunker down. This is also the time that we help our neighbors. People we barely know are helping board up windows and clean yards before the storm comes. We come together in these times, because we are Florida.
We also know all about evacuation. Those of us in Central locations know to let the coastal areas go first. They are typically mandatory and in much greater danger than we are.
It is impossible to evacuate and entire state full of people, so the most endanger go first. Now that coastal areas get out, people in frame houses and mobile homes get to come out. Many of these individuals in my area will stay in county and go to a shelter. Then those of us with block homes will hunker down and offer a safe place for friends and family to sit out the storm.
We Are Taking This Seriously, But We Like To Joke
I am sure you have seen the plethora of memes and fake events making their rounds on social media. They are hysterical. As Floridians, when we hear hurricane we typically hear party. We joke of boating in the roads and preserving all the alcohol. Even with all of the light hearted jokes, don’t think we aren’t taking this storm seriously. The jokes are a fun way to relieve stress and have a good laugh once we are ready and waiting. Laugh with us, but don’t chastise us.
Want To Help?
If you really want to help your loved ones in Florida, there are a few says you can do it. Go give blood, call your loved ones and check on them. Offer to come help rebuild once the storm has passed. Just don’t tell us how we are going to die and how we are ignorant for not evacuating. Again, please see above if you want to know why many of us are still hunkered down. Your love and prayers are appreciated, but your words of ignorance are not.
We Are Florida
We are Florida and we are strong. This is what we signed up for. We live in a state where we know storms like this are a threat. We have houses built to withstand, storm shutters, and ample preparation time. We are strong and we will rebuild. No matter what happens, we will withstand this storm. People will still come here to vacation at our beautiful beaches and theme parks and we will welcome them with open arms. We are Florida strong and Irma is not going to be the one to break us.