Hurricane Irma has crashed into the Caribbean and now has set sights on South Florida. I know there are many Western New Yorkers who have moved to Florida, many more still here with relatives there.
So do I.
My dad is there – he’s in a nursing home. I just talked with the Supervisor at the home who understands my worry – but assures me they have everything under control, “We are totally prepared. We have multiple generators, ” she said, “We have enough food and water for our staff and residents for up to three weeks. Our windows are hurricane impact windows so we will be okay.” They also tell me there will be a large group of staff members sleeping there in case they have to evacuate the residents.
Yes, this makes me feel a bit better, but I can ‘t help but worry. The truth is – my dad – along with many residents in homes just like his all across South Florida – is frail and basically helpless to get around. My sister and I have talked bout it, and agree, he is safer in the home than with my sister and brother-in-law.
Speaking of my sister and brother in law, they are in Fort Lauderdale and have already started boarding up their home.
Robert and Paula Cheff are staying and riding things out. Paula works for a Pharmacy and Infusion company and it’s imperative that she gets patients their medication. They have enough supplies to get them through up to a week or more.
Paula tells me there are massive lines for water.
And stores are running low or totally out of plywood and gasoline.
Not everyone is staying to ride out the storm. Crystal Walker is taking her little boy, James and hitting the road. Her plan is to get into her car and drive back to Western New York until it’s over. She says it’s just something she has to do, “I don’t want to wait til it’s too late like people in Texas. I want to get James to the safest place.” They’ll be on the road tonight.
Karen Kennedy moved to Key West earlier this year from West Seneca.
Karen is a teacher at Poinciana Elementary in Key West and has spent the past few days packing up her classroom. A mandatory evacuation for Keys is set to begin Wednesday at 7 p.m. Karen tells me via text that she is sending an awful lot of prayers, “I am at school now totally putting everything away, high up off the floors and praying when I return that my classroom is not a total loss. Of course praying for all the people here too. The locals are all saying they have never seen anything like it.”
I keep hearing people say that Florida is Hurricane ready; that they’ve done it before – many times. But, this is much bigger than those. It’s hard to grasp the destruction she could bring. I pray the people of the Sunshine State.
All we can do is watch, pray and hope.