It’s scary when law enforcement in some places have started marking the roads with orange spray paint so when the road signs are missing emergency crews can find their way around — something that started to happen after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. I’m amazed at the number of people who don’t notice the severity of the storm, I guess partly because the last storm (Charley) was not nearly as bad as it could have been. I hope it doesn’t affect anyone more than it has to, and that everyone who needed to prepare has done so and had the chance to get away from the coasts. I also hope my mom gets freed from the Riviera Beach VA hospital and back home to the house and that my dad has finally finished putting up the boards over the windows. With all three of us in different locations, I want nothing more than for everyone to be safe. In the meantime I wanted to give a brief timeline on how much focus from our daily routine can be transferred to nature in the matter of only a few days:
11:00pm on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 — Tropical depression number six develops in the eastern Atlantic Ocean with maximum sustained winds of 30 miles per hour. Just ten days prior the state was enduring Hurricane Charley. Of course, there’s no need to bat an eye at this news.
5:00pm on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 — Not only the third day of school, but also the day when tropical depression becomes Tropical Storm Frances with winds slightly over 40 miles per hour. Having lived in Florida basically my whole life, this is nothing new either.
5:00pm on Thursday, August 26, 2004 — In a mere 42 hours the storm strengthens into the fourth hurricane of the season. While still no threat to land, Frances is getting stronger and is soon to become a category three. I believe this was the first indication that there might be something to worry about.
11:00am on Sunday, August 29, 2004 — Keeping the westerly movement but there is no immediate threat to land (over 500 miles east of the Northern Leeward Islands).
11:00am on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 — The now category four hurricane continues to move towards the west northwest on path for the US. This is about the time that I started keeping track on its movement and starting to get my plan of action in order.
All afternoon on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 — Due to the predicted path I decide to get some basic supplies, and come later in the evening I buy a large amount of water. Hopefully I won’t need it, but if the power is going to be out I’m at the very least prepared for a few days. For whatever reason, I begin to get pretty worried about what the hurricane is going to do and how it will affect my life… I’m becoming obsessed.
6:45pm on Thursday, September 02, 2004 — 2.5 million people (that’s 15% of the population) all over the eastern seaboard (Volusia all the way down to Broward Counties) and a little of the northwest coast of Florida were told to flee because of the impending hurricane. On my way home from the school I couldn’t help but notice: where have all the birds gone? They obviously know what’s going down more than I do.