Ran across this account of Hurricane Wilma’s aftermath while cleaning out my desk. Though I wrote about Hurricane Andrew’s passing, it’s certainly not for consumption. Our experiences after Wilma, though, are simply boring. Putting it here to save it.
Hubris and the Hurricane or How We Found our Miracle
::Cue the Gilligan’s Island theme::
No phone, no motorcar, not a single luxury. October 25th, 2005. The day after Wilma rolled through south Florida. Tonie (Oldest Daughter) appeared at our door, an hour north of her home, with a quarter tank of gas.
We had started cleaning up the yard – everyone lost trees, and I told Mike not to worry about the ficus hedge laying on its side. If it’s warm enough you can plop a ficus down on pavement and it will grow between the cracks – anyway… Tonie presented her idea of going north for gas and food. We’d done that after Andrew and it had worked a treat! Ft. Lauderdale was normal while we down in Miami lived in a combat zone. What we didn’t realize was… while Andrew was a compact Cat 5, Wilma, though only a Cat 3, was huge. The problems associated with storms reached from Miami through Palm Beach.
Mike and I acquiesced and we drove up to Palm Beach (this is Broward county), further and further north. The gas situation was looking more dire than ever. No one had power and we were forced off at I95 and Okeechobee. I was on the mobile looking for an open station, with no luck.
We finally came upon a station with lines of cars stretching a mile down the road. The owner was hand cranking the fuel – but for cans only.
Turning right onto Military Trail we pulled into a 7/11 type station where they were selling warm beer and cigs, cash only. They gave us directions to get back on Okeechobee where we found four stations with power that were pumping -past the turnpike. I purchased three 1 gallon cans (all I could get) in case we needed them.
The station with the shortest lines were still a mile long. We dispersed, one in the car line and two in can lines. If the gas had run out we’d have been stranded there all night. Our miracle was that Tonie’s was the last vehicle in the car line to get gas.
We made it home at 9:30p. Suffice it to say we keep plenty of gas for storms now.
This is not all…