Archive for October, 2016

Welcome to Florida: Hurricane Matthew

Posted by Amanda on October 9th, 2016

We had quite the adventure this past weekend with Hurricane Matthew.

A few weeks ago a hurricane, or I guess tropical storm, came through near Orlando. Darryl and I talked about it and wondered, and worried. No one here batted an eyelash. So when Hurricane Matthew came into view and everyone was talking about it, I knew this was the real deal! Every few hours a new predicted path showed up, and most of them showed it coming right off the coast of Melbourne Beach, FL, and maybe touching down there. Melbourne is where we do shopping, and is the closest town/city. To Melbourne Beach it is just over 25 miles. There was a lot of talk about Brevard county – we live just a couple miles outside of Brevard county.

On Wednesday, our school district (and many others) decided to close schools for Thursday and Friday. I had thought for sure they would go to school Thursday, since the hurricane wasn’t supposed to come here until early Friday. But it was a good thing, since Thursday had a fair share of rain and wind and ominous-looking skies. A group text was going around the ranch moms on Tuesday and Wednesday about who might go to stay somewhere else during the hurricane, what supplies we had or needed, what stores still had water. It was interesting to have the stores be packed with people and certain aisles totally empty. Darryl got some emails at work about preparing at the ranch. I really appreciated all the tips and ideas from other people, as I had no idea how to prepare for a hurricane.

We already had food, so I wasn’t worried about that. And we had a generator, so I wasn’t worried about that. We planned on for sure losing power. We have lost power at least 4 times in the 2 months we have lived here in storms, or for (what seems like) no reason at all. Part of living in the country, I assume. But this time we had to expect that it might be for longer than just a few hours. It has rained a lot the past couple weeks (and this rain is nothing like rain I’ve experienced in Seattle or EDH). It is so much water coming down so quickly!

On Thursday we spent the day preparing. We went around the outside of the house and put anything that could blow around into the garage, so it wouldn’t blow and crash through our window or something. This included our bench, shed, empty flower pots, etc. Darryl got everything ready and connected for our generator, and also helped someone else do the same. I put away any papers out loose on a desk or shelf or anything in case wind got into our house and blew things around. We filled up several containers with water, including the bathtubs. The ranch supplied wood for boarding up windows facing the directions the wind would come from. In fact, a crew of neighbors came around helping put the wood up.

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We squeezed the van in the garage, and Darryl parked his car up by the porch, which would be protected by the garage from the winds coming from the north. We saw all the neighbors doing it so we followed suit!

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Then all we could do was wait and watch! I admit I was as much curious as nervous or scared. I just wondered what it would be like. I actually felt quite peaceful, I suppose just knowing we were as prepared as we could be. We started a puzzle, had dinner, sent the kids to bed with a flashlight and told them if they got scared in the night to come see us. Then Darryl and I watched the news and hurricane updates and wondered if we would sleep at all. We did sleep, waking up a few times and checking hurricane updates. We could hear rain and wind, but it never seemed too bad, although our bedroom is on the south-west corner and the wind was supposed to come from the north and east. At one point, about 5am, my phone alert went off and the message said severe wind, get into a middle room of your home. We had previously discussed that, but it just didn’t seem bad enough to need to, and the kids were all asleep.

As it turned out, the hurricane had downgraded to category 3 instead of 4, and also had turned a little more out to sea instead of into Melbourne. What a blessing! In many ways it was quite underwhelming considering the preparation we did. No complaints about that, though! The most interesting thing, is shown on this map. We are the #3.

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As the hurricane circled, our area was continually in a band of much calmer wind and rain. This happened more than once when Darryl looked it up, and we could only conclude that we were blessed and we are grateful to live on such a special ranch.

Friday was a stormy day, and we kept waiting for something dramatic to happen, but it didn’t. There was plenty of wind (we estimated 30-50 mph?), some rain, and we stayed inside most of the day.

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In the evening we went out for a walk and some fresh air. There was just a nice breeze by then. Several other people were out, and we even enjoyed a soccer game on the field across the street.