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Earthquakes or Hurricanes?
Which do you prefer?
Most people live in areas that have some sort of calamity potential in their area. This could be tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunami, avalanches, etc. I have lived mostly on the west coast, prone to wildfires and earthquakes. When I moved to the west coast of Florida, south of Tampa, of course, I was aware that a hurricane might happen, but to me? LOL.
In 1989, I experienced the big quake in the San Francisco area, where the World Series was stopped while in progress, bay bridges were ripped and left dangling, roads interrupted and much more. At that time, I was actually 70 miles away from the epicenter, yet the shaking was eerie. It was a rolling type of feeling, where you felt like you were intoxicated and if you were driving, lights and signs swayed. One's immediate instinct when you realized what was happening was to run to open areas, otherwise, seek some sort of cover. Within less than a minute, the horror was over. It hit and left. The lucky suffered only fear that would last 24 hours, the unlucky, a life ruined of sorts. There was no warning, it just happened. Life interrupted.
Hurricane Irma was my first. The amount of anxiety, tension, indecision, panic, it created was FAR worse. It was a slow build-up to a horror show. Irma's indecision as to where to hit, the Miami area on the east coast, or, the Naples area on the west coast. All week, the tracking from the two weather models were not in agreement, most indications showed it would hit the Miami area but as the week went by tracking shifted westward. Millions evacuated the Miami area in the days leading up to the impact, while most of us on the west coast, waited and waited before making a final decision. Sleepness nights, quiet panic inside, as to what to do made it worse. Finally, the tracking indicated it would hit near Marathon located on the Florida Keys. Tracking shifted westward and by late Thursday, the west coast was being warned. Meanwhile, the zombie effect increased with people filling gas cans, emptying shelves of water and food. When you go to Walmart and see rows and rows of empty shelves, it really hits home.
By Friday, many still were undecided on the west coast. Where do we go? Irma covered the whole state! We had decided to leave early Saturday, Irma was about 200 miles south of us. Tracking was taking Irma within 75 miles of my location, we decided to pack everything of value into the SUV and drive north (like millions of others) to Tallahassee, five hours north on a normal day. While I was expecting the worst, the drive was not too bad except for a long 45 min. traffic slow pace section. Luckily, I had booked my hotel days before, just in case, that was a smart move. We got halfway there and the gas issue became a horrifying scenario- there was no gas at any gas station along the three lane interstate! I would pull into a station and soon others followed me in thinking there was gas. With the gas tank at half, I reduced my speed to conserve.
We finally found some gas after waiting over 45 min. in a line of cars and reached the hotel. It was strange seeing a totally empty southbound lane on our way up. Upon arriving at the hotel, we were warned that Irma will now hit there! There was no escape. Do we now go to Alabama, like others, or make a stand? We made a stand despite the hotel warning us that we may be forced to evacuate! To where, I asked. The manager said to shelters. I told him the shelters in that area were full! The hotel itself was not taking any new travelers unless they had made a reservation, many were turned away. We made a stand in the three story building for two nights. Luckily, Irma had turned into just a tropical storm by the time it arrived, so it was just wind and rain.
We headed back on Tuesday, a nice, calm, sunny day, along with millions of others! The horror story going up was repeated going south. This time, the southbound lane of the interstate highway was packed, while the northbound, empty. Gas was the same story. Stopping at a fast food place was a total nightmare and long waits. By the time we were about 50 miles from our home, I had two gallons of fuel left. I had stopped at every off ramp for gas, only to find no gas at gas stations or super long lines for it. We had been driving seven hours. Now, I feared I would run out of gas so close to home. So, one last time, I got off the highway in search for gas and found some! What a relief! You have no idea.
I had prepared myself for the worse, when we arrived, the home was untouched! Thank God.
For myself, give me an earthquake. Hurricanes are just too much drama! Too much tension and slow build-up. With an earthquake, it hits and within one minute it is over. There is no warning. No drama. No build-up.