While most Americans settled in for a good night’s sleep, I had an experience I will never forget. As I said in a previous update, I have always been a “weather nerd”. Many people are scared to death when they hear a storm is headed their way. When I lived in North Dakota, storm chasing was a hobby of mine. Driving out to a random country road to get a good view of a tornado is a thrill that can’t be beat. This storm, however, caught my attention, but also made me curious. My whole life, I have absolutely hated missing out on things. I would rather be exhausted the next day than miss out on something the night before. It’s just the way I am. Live for today!!
Before I continue, I want to apologize in advance if there are spelling/grammar errors in this update. I normally proof-read my posts 4-5 times before publishing them, but I have done some decent damage on a case of beer tonight as this storm has moved in, so editing is not something I’m concerned with right now. haha
Anyway, Hurricane Irma basically got ripped apart over central Florida. Wind shear caused the eye to get destroyed. In the process, the strong winds were expanded by almost 450 miles!! That is pretty unbelievable. People as far away as North Carolina experienced strong, damaging winds from a hurricane that was centered over central Florida. That just doesn’t happen… ever… except tonight. As a result of this change in the storm, the strongest winds ended up hitting where I live. I ended up inside the eye wall of Hurricane Irma.
I am struggling to find the words to do justice to the experience. Imagine a jet hovering directly above you for an extended period of time. That may not fully describe what it was like here, but I can’t think of a better description. It was LOUD!! Palm tress that are 30 feet tall were completely bent over. The tops of the trees were touching the ground. You know those things you see on TV, but you think “that will never happen here”? That happened here. I was stunned and amazed. It sucked me in and I couldn’t look away. Now that I am safe and out of danger, it was SO COOL!!!!
Throughout this storm, I have been hoping that I would not lose power. My lights flickered for about 20 minutes as the worst of Irma moved in. I have no idea how, but the power never went out here. Millions of people were not so fortunate. I have heard that well over 3 million people across Florida have lost power. The storm is nowhere near being done here, but I am hopeful that I won’t end up in the dark, now that the worst of the storm has passed.
All night long, I have been hearing loud bangs outside. I have no idea what those sounds are from at this point. Perhaps I will find out tomorrow. The only real concern I have had during this storm is that my car is parked right next to a tree. The trees that I am able to see from my balcony are all still standing, and very few branches have been lost. I am hoping when I get a chance to go check on my car tomorrow that there isn’t a tree on top of it.
Growing up in North Dakota, one experience you never think you will have in your life is being inside the eye wall of a hurricane. I experienced it, and it was incredible!! I will not say that it was “fun”, but it was something I will say I am glad I got to experience, now that I’m out of danger. This storm did a lot of damage, and areas of Florida will take days, weeks, months, or maybe even years to rebuild and get back to normal. I have said this all along and I will say it again, Florida will come out of this thing stronger and better than ever!! People will pull together. We will all help each other to get life back to normal. Friendships will be made. Neighbors will become closer. Communities will be stronger. I’m an optimist. I just am. I don’t want my personal experience to diminish the damage and destruction this storm has caused. Now is the time for all of us who were very fortunate to step up and help others in need. We are all Floridians. We are all Americans. We are all human beings. Nothing else matters. Now is a time to love each other and help each other. We can all pull together in times of need, so why can’t we all pull together like this ALL of the time? We can. We just need to remember times like right now and remember how easy it is to be kind to each other and help each other. Irma was, and is, a horrible storm that has changed many people’s lives forever. Let’s all use this storm as a turning point to unite and spread love to everyone around us!!