Traffic in Panama City was unusually heavy yesterday. It seemed everyone was headed to a grocery to stock up on bottled water and non-perishable foods. Lines were forming at gas stations. What was the occasion? The approaching tropical storm in the Gulf. Are people overreacting? Maybe some would say so. But it is somewhat understandable.
After all, the cat 5 hurricane Michael came up along a similar route and it wasn’t a cat 5 until it was virtually upon us. A year and a week after that event we still live with the results. Virtually every neighborhood has houses with blue tarps for roofs. Almost every block has a vacant lot where there was a home or business before. There are still piles of rubble from collapsed buildings and blown out building shells everywhere. A metal building skeleton stands where a bank used to be. The county fairgrounds are still covered with FIMA trailers. Help wanted signs are in front of most businesses and street signs are still missing. Neither of the regional hospitals is fully functional and the regional mall has only one store open. Many businesses are still closed including grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, and retail stores.
So, with these daily reminders perhaps one can understand that the locals are a bit on edge with an approaching storm from the Gulf.
Okay, we aren’t exempt either. I pumped the pool down 10 inches and we secured planters and pool furniture. Better safe than sorry as the old saying goes. I have no burning desire to be out pumping the pool down at 3 am in a driving rainstorm with tree branches threating to snap at any time and pool furniture and planters flying around.
We learned a lot from Michael. We routinely keep a stock of water, canned and freeze-dried foods, and gasoline on hand. We know the “get ready” drill by heart and can be hurricane ready in about 45 minutes and can ride out having no electricity for several weeks.
Those that for a variety of reasons don’t stay in a state of readiness need to load up on water, food, and fuel just in case. So, I really can’t fault them because they are doing the prudent thing. Then, all we can do is pray that this storm doesn’t play out as Michael did. Let’s hold out for a tropical depression with a soft rain (which we need) and a gentle and cooling breeze.