There’s more to surviving hurricane season than knowing how and when to evacuate. Even in summers without any significant hurricanes coming near the island, I have noticed that hurricanes still interfere with life, and cause stress.
We usually are very lucky to get plenty of warning about every major storm of the season. The tracking begins very early, when they still are far from Florida. Although this early warning can save lots of lives, it also wears on the nerves, as we pay attention to every single storm for days and days. There’s usually a storm somewhere, so this means we are looking at storms and worrying about the results for most of the summer. If nothing else, it is distracting and tiring.
From June through October, we tend to obsess about watching tropical updates on the local news channel and on the Weather Channel, at ten minutes before the hour. Then there are all the programs about storm disasters. It’s enough to make you nervous even if no storm comes your way.
Then, if it looks like a storm might be coming your way, life is interrupted even more. At our house, we begin to pay attention to how many bottles of water we have, and to how much canned and dried food. If the predicted cone-shaped path of the hurricane continues to include Anna Maria Island, we then start organizing our important possessions. We make sure we have enough plywood for the windows. In the years before we had a mainland evacuation destination, we also would look around for motels on the mainland, and often we’d make a reservation just in case we needed it. The problem is that it’s sometimes difficult to know, ahead of time, exactly which nights you might need that reservation. And you might not need it at all. But if you wait, the motels will be full and there is the risk of having nowhere to go.