We went through 3 hurricanes last year with the eyes only a few miles away. Central Florida was hit very hard.
Before Frances I remember that motels and hotels up as far as Tennessee were booked up. People just got in their cars and went. Many got caught on highways that were backed up and ended up staying in all kinds of shelter near where they were on the highways.
By the time people knew they had to evacuate, it was almost too late. By that time people in inland areas like us are praying that our homes will be preserved. People in coastal areas by that time are having to decide something very vital…do they stay home and take a chance or do they get on the road with most likely jammed highways and nowhere to go.
Here is the thing I never see mentioned. When a major storm is threatening, it is hard to find gas for your car. Two days before Jeanne, the 3rd storm, hit our area, there was no gas to be found. How does one evacuate from an area when they can not get gas for their car?
Whenever a hurricane threatens an area of Florida, the stores run out of stock quickly. Days before. Katrina hit South Florida, our area was not touched. However the stores were short on just about everything, and gas lines were long.
I guess I just get tired of all the platitudes about how easy it is to evacuate when they say to do so. It is not easy. Sometimes you have to make a choice to stay in your home or get caught on the road.
The days after Jeanne hit us last year we had empty grocery stores, no electricity for days, no way to find out if any restaurants were open and serving. Right wing owns the radio waves here, and they did not want to give up regular programming. They did it for 6 hours after Jeanne, then they said back to regular programs.
We thought about evacuating before Jeanne, though we live 40 something miles from the coast. We quickly changed our minds. There was no where to stop on the way to our children’s home in other states. The highways were bumper to bumper for miles.
Evacuating from Florida with its long coastline is a virtual impossibility.
Just a few unorganized thoughts that came into my brain as they have blamed the victims of Katrina on the Gulf Coast. I have felt for them, as we had to decide that 3 times last year. We were lucky, many were not.