So, you all may have heard that Hurricane Dorian seemingly has its sights set on my home state of Florida. Thinking back to all of your comments and concerns that you all posted here on my blog a couple of years ago when Irma went up through Florida like a buzzsaw, I’ve decided to write a bit ahead of Dorian’s anticipated arrival in a few days.
Its exact path as it concerns Florida is still a bit uncertain, and it will be until probably a day or two before it actually arrives. As it stands now, the forecast cone has moved a bit southward relative to my hometown (which is inland and north of Orlando), but the amount of uncertainty is still too great to put us in the clear when it comes to winds. We know it will make landfall somewhere on Florida’s Atlantic coast, and that hurricane force winds will be present in Central Florida through Labor Day and into the following morning. It is forecasted as making landfall as a Category 4 (although on the weaker end of the Category 4), but will drastically weaken to a Category 1 the following day as it interacts with land and loses its warm ocean water fuel source. Unlike Irma, it is forecast to make landfall from the southeast before turning northward (Irma was in the process of turning northward when it made its Florida landfall), so the “buzzsaw” effect may not last as long, but it’s still gonna be a bit dicey. This forecast could very well change over the next few days, but this is what we know at the moment.
Since Irma struck a couple of years ago, we have taken some steps at our house that should help to ease some of the risks and inconveniences that we came across last time.
- Although we live within a couple of miles of a river, flooding is not a major concern for us because our house sits on top of a hill and our neighborhood itself is rather hilly to begin with.
- We have plans in place to move any potential projectiles that cannot be taken inside (like trash cans, lawn mowers) to the southern end of the house, away from the winds which will likely come out of the north and east when the storm actually passes through.
- After dealing with the effects of losing our power for five days as a result of Irma, my dad decided to invest in something called a transfer switch. A transfer switch is a device that transfers an electrical current going into a building from the utility source (power lines) to a backup source (usually a generator). In the aftermath of the 2004 hurricanes (of which we had three strike within the span of a month), we got a portable generator, although we didn’t really have to use it until our power was knocked out by Hurricane Matthew a few years ago. We then had to use it again after Irma. But after Irma we were having to run extension cords and power strips all throughout the house to power various appliances, lights, and devices. We also had to leave our back door cracked open very slightly so that we could run an extension cord into the kitchen to power our refrigerator and microwave. That was a bit of a security issue. So my dad ended up ordering and installing a transfer switch that connects to the house’s load center so that in the event of an extended power outage, all my dad has to do is hook up our generator to the transfer switch, and he can bring power into the house in a safe manner: safe for us because we aren’t having to run all sorts of cords into the house (and he can also control which appliances and rooms run off of the generator power so that it doesn’t overload the generator’s capacity), but also safe for the utility workers as the switch takes the house off of the utility line and prevents what’s called “back feeding”, which can be dangerous and cause electrocution to workers working on a power line. Note: Never ever directly connect a generator to a house’s load center. This is what causes back feeding. That’s why you use a transfer switch. There are transfer switches that work automatically by being connected to a standby generator, and there are switches that work manually so one can connect a portable generator.
- The power thing, of course, is more or less for comfort. And given my mom’s condition, her comfort is a top priority for us.
- Last fall, we had some trees that were in our front yard (and could have posed as storm hazards) cut down and cleared out, and we had the branches of an oak tree next to our house trimmed. We sold the Chrysler last year, and my dad’s trailer (which can hold things like motorcycles) now occupies its spot in the driveway, while my dad’s Jeep is just a little further down. So, if anything from that oak tree comes in that direction, that trailer can take a hit or two…or a branch or two.
About the only thing we may be without for an extended period of time in the event of power outages will likely be internet. Which means I may be disconnected for a few days after Dorian has its way with us. But I do have my books and my knitting here to keep my mind busy in the event of an internet outage. Heck, it may let me read more of Ghost in the event I can’t access my ebook of Jane Eyre (although I believe it’s already downloaded to my Books app on my iPad, so I shouldn’t have issues as long as my iPad has a charge). Both books are going well for me. The first discussion for the buddy read of Jane Eyre I’m doing on Instagram is supposed to be on Wednesday, but we’ll see if we have internet at that point.
If we make it through all this in one piece, I will post here again once things are relatively back to normal. I’m not a religious or spiritual person, so I’m not gonna be praying, but any good mojo would be appreciated. This storm’s coming, whether we like it or not, so the best we can do is be prepared, right? I always get stressed out when things like this happen…I’m gonna try and do my best to manage it, but I probably won’t feel better until this is all over and done with. Knowing that there are people out there thinking of me does help me feel better.
Hope to see you all on the other side of this hurricane!