Monday, September 19, 2005

Throwing Caution to the Winds

Sep 19, 2005 2:20 PM
It's still a nice day, a little warm, the breeze is kicking up a bit. Tropical Storm Rita is about 400 miles away, somewhere in the Bahamas. The path right now takes it directly over, or slightly south of, Key West sometime early Tuesday morning, and is expected to be a Force 2 storm by that time.

Key West is under a "mandatory" evacuation order for residents, which only means that the governments absolve themselves of responsibility for anything that might happen. The shelters here in the lower Keys won't be open at all. Emergency services will be scarce, if available at all.

Nevertheless, we?ve assessed the risks and have decided (again) to not evacuate. Our hurricane kit is stocked. The shutters are ready to go up on the windows tonight. We've mapped out an evacuation route to higher ground in the unlikely event that should become necessary. Our apartment is well-sheltered from the wind, with the only windows on the north side of the house and behind an eight foot high fence.

Local television is providing nearly non-stop coverage of the approaching storm. Camera crews and reporters are out on Duval Street looking for people to talk to. Most places that put up shutters and plywood are doing so. I talked to a friend who is putting up shutters for four people who hire him to do that.

Our new friend Beth, who we took to the Edgar Winter concert last Friday, is nervous, having never experienced a hurricane (she's a student at BYU in Salt Lake City, you might remember). Her roommates have evacuated, so she's alone at her condo on the Atlantic side of the island. We invited her to come and stay with us if she wants to do that.

Our girls worry about us, but we are watchful, alert and, we think, prudent. We'll be in touch as we can.

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