No easy options, even if gas were still available.
The hurricane options my wife and I are currently wrestling with are like an onion. Peel away one layer of complication and there’s another layer. Peel that one away and… well, you get the idea.
Stay or go is the first question. The prospect of a category 4 or 5 storm would seem to make that decision easy. Get out of Dodge. Period. Paragraph. We have a full tank, and a hardy soul from my gym who is sticking it out here has agreed to take the cat. So when is lift off?
But hang on. Fleeing Irma would not be so easy. First, where to go? The two offers of places to stay that my wife and I were entertaining are now in places that are in Irma’s potential path. The good Samaritans who made us these kind offers of hospitality may now be needing our guest room. To which they are indeed welcome if they can find a way to get here without driving through the storm.
The latest projected storm track for Irma is a little more optimistic for the west coast of Florida. Not so much for the east. The path prediction has moved a tick or two to the right. It now shows Irma barreling up the east coast of Florida. Folks in South Florida and Key West are already, sensibly, leaving the state. Traffic is already horrendous on the interstates, and will only get worse. Finding gas is impossible in town now, no doubt a real challenge on the road as well. The last thing we need is to spend the weekend in a gas line at the Valdosta exit, or run out of gas on the interstate between here and there, only to have Irma close in on us from behind at a stately 16 mph.
If the current storm track holds — no guarantee that it will, but as we get closer to the event the predictions are more reliable — then Tampa will get some wind, some rain, and probably some power outages. Perhaps not much more than this. But Key West, Miami, and points north on Florida’s east coast are in for a rocky weekend indeed, and those who live there are deserving of our prayers. There are no scenarios left where no one in Florida gets hit really hard. Irma is very bad medicine. And right on the heels of Harvey, another bad dose.
So our current plan is to sit tight. (An option not so attractive to Floridians to our east.) But then for the last three days we’ve had a different current plan every day. Staying on at least has the advantage of simplicity. No worries about where to find food and gas on the road. No dealing with horse-choking traffic. No problems getting back home over storm-damaged territory. No worrying that our friend Bob and the cat are really tired of each other.
The predicted turn to the north by Irma, which lets Tampa off the hook for the worst but condemns Miami, Fort Lauderdale, et al. is not scheduled to take place until Saturday. If Saturday comes but the turn doesn’t, I’ll know we made the wrong choice, and will get to the business of serious hunkering down. Like I said, an onion. And not a very tasty one. My eyes aren’t watering yet. But check with me again this weekend.