Monday, June 2, 2014

Welcome, Summer!

Here in sunny south Florida the rainy season finally arrived. Last Friday, to be precise, which is a couple of weeks later than usual. That means it's summer! And, when I flipped the calendar over to June yesterday, I realized it was also the first day of hurricane season. Arghhhhh!!

We haven't been hit by a hurricane since Wilma passed through Florida on Monday, October 24, 2005. The meteorologists originally called it a Category 1 storm, so, at my house we didn't even put up the shutters. Consequently, we were able to sit in the living room and watch the wind blow down a 60 foot black olive tree in our front yard (among other things). It took about an hour.

The storm was later upgraded to a Cat 3 storm. Hrmph! You'd think they would know that, wouldn't you? But, no. In 2005, they didn't take into account that the storm was traveling from west to east across the state and out there over the Everglades where there's lots of warm water which fueled the storm.

Historically, hurricanes have arrived in south Florida via the Atlantic Ocean to the east. And, that was the very thing that made Wilma different. It snuck up on us by coming in the "back door!" Left us without power and cell phone signals for weeks. And, honey, I'm here to tell you! That was a lesson learned!

It took a month to clean up that black olive tree, and it wasn't the only thing we had to clean up. There was debris everywhere! At one point, we couldn't see our house from the street for the piles of debris. It took more than a year for the huge piles out by I-595 to disappear. It was a storm that taught us a lot about the aftermath.

The following year my darling husband had hurricane impact windows and doors installed and we purchased a generator that's powerful enough to run the refrigerator and the ceiling fans. The State of Florida has gifted us with a "no tax" week to buy batteries, bottled water and other supplies, so we'll be looking to take advantage of that. A buck here, a buck there ... it adds up. When we replaced that black olive, we planted two wild tamarind trees. They have deep roots that spread out underground and their branches are far apart with lacy leaves that allow the wind to travel through them. They're wonderful shade trees, too!

Unfortunately, the majority of my new neighbors haven't lived through a real hurricane yet. They moved here from states like New York, Michigan, Massachusetts and Ohio where hurricanes aren't common. And, they don't know what to expect. They don't seem too worried either. :(

All of our local TV stations are cranked up and providing volumes of information, so there's really no excuse for not being prepared. Maybe we'll be lucky and skate by for another year. Maybe not. So, I think I'll stock some extra items, in case a neighbor needs to borrow a cup of sugar or some batteries.

Welcome, Summer! I'm so glad you're here! The Royal Poinciana trees are in full bloom! Our days and nights are warm and humid, so I'm most grateful for air conditioning! The ocean is like a big bathtub and most of the tourists are gone so you can actually find a parking place at the beach! The best part? We don't have to wait in line for an hour at our favorite restaurants!

Yes! I love summer! And, if we do get a hurricane, we have time to prepare. It's not like those ungodly snowstorms, or the tornadoes that arrive with a two minute warning. We know it's coming and, once it's over, we can go outside in our shorts and flipflops. I'll take it!

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