Doppler Radar of Irma at 5:50pm on Sunday 10th 2017

Hurricane Irma – Latest News (Updated at 8am Monday 11th)

  • The Hurricane Path meandered back and forth in the channel between Tampa and Orlando.  Finally settling for a fair compromise as a Cat1 before heading further up state.
    We personally got off lightly.  I didn’t know that a house could take so much abuse!  It wasn’t comfortable at all, but it was indeed an experience.
    Lights flickered, but we held power when others in the area lost it.
  • 6.5 million homes in Florida are were without power during the storm (two thirds of the state’s homes!)
  • Current Orlando weather at 8am Monday = ‘Heavy winds’ expected through much of Monday morning at least.  Much as expected, but the winds will slow the clear up.
  • So far, the Hurricane at tracking north to Tallahassee, we certainly wish everyone in its path the same good fortune that we experienced.
  • The weather to the east of the Hurricane’s path (Central Florida) is subject to intense Tornado activity.  (Theme Parks area, International Airport and Daytona/Cocoa Beach areas)
    It is typical for tornado risks to occur on the east side of a hurricane’s path for many hours afterwards.
  • Law enforcement have announced a curfew in most of Central Florida from 7pm Sunday 10th September.  Stay Indoors until the curfew is lifted to avoid being jailed and wasted emergency resources.
  • Tourists and residents MUST STAY INDOORS from midday Sunday until further notice.
  • Monday afternoon is expected to be the earliest break from the fierce winds, but await official announcements before venturing outdoors.
  • Heavy rainfall will probably continue until late monday
  • Tornadoes are possible through until Monday afternoon
  • Airports are closed until further notice.  Hard to picture that they will open before Tuesday.  (Our opinion only!)
  • Irma struck Central Florida in the early hours of September 11th.
    A significant date for obvious reasons, and we must not let Irma distract us from those tragic events in New York.

Hurricane Irma – Our Family Photos

So here we go again!  Two years on from moving from the UK.
Our first real hurricane experience was with Mathew last year, but Irma is already creating a very different impact on Central Florida.

Irma – A Hurricane Like No Other!

Yes, it is physically a very troublesome and record breaking storm.

  • The width of the storm is astonishing.  Wider than any Florida bound storms in recent years.
  • It is Category 5 and is expected to be Cat 4 as it makes land fall around Fort Myers on Sunday.
  • It has risked running the entire length of the state.

But, although all of that is a massive concern to Floridians, residents are usually fairly relaxed about Hurricanes.  It is quite simply a part of life here from June through November.
This time though, Floridians are taking Irma more seriously than any other storm.
Hurricane Harvey’s impact upon Texas has been a major wake up for us here in Central Florida.  The effects of Harvey may take 5 years or more to recover from.
During the prep for Irma, we’ve not heard the usual ‘no big deal’ assurances that accompanied the prep for Matthew.
I think Florida owes a lot to Texas.

Monday Morning , and Irma is finally leaving Central Florida (3am)

Orlando International Airport closed at 5pm Saturday and won’t reopen until Monday at the very earliest.  Our guess is Tuesday!
That may be useful information for travelers expecting to fly to Orlando this weekend.
Sanford will close on a similar basis.  Check with your airline though.

Walt Disney World closed at 5pm Saturday.
Universal at 7pm.
Both won’t reopen until at least Monday, probably Tuesday
Note, that the new ‘further to the west coast’ storm path has slowed and strengthened Irma, so reopening timings are likely to be extended and delayed.
A good article on closures is right here

A personal ‘guess’ is that the parks and airports will be open on Tuesday at the earliest.
It certainly could be earlier, but the storm’s path is slow and stronger than originally forecast.

We Tried to Evacuate –  But Couldn’t

So, hands up anyone who’s ever criticized people for staying at home during a Hurricane?  Yep, me too.
We made a concerted attempt this week and failed miserably.
Our youngest daughter’s travel docs had to be renewed and are currently in the mail, meaning that we could not fly.
We tried to find a hotel in driving distance, but everything was taken, by Southern Floridian residents that were affected by mandatory Evacuation notices.
On top of that, by late Thursday the major routes were like parking lots, with slow moving traffic.
The state actually recommends not evacuating unless you are in a mandatory Evac route for this very reason.  Florida simply can’t cope with a major Evac.

Also, as is often the case, many, simply don’t have the money or access to transportation to leave their area.  I’d never grasped that before Hurricane Katrina.

Making the Most of ‘Hunkering down’

With all plywood gone, we are staying put in our home near Orlando International Airport.  Other than boarding up the windows, we have covered just about everything that we can.
We are simply amazed at how well organized the grocery stores and gas stations are.
Even as close as this to the storm, we can obtain most essential items.

Our Hurricane prep list has doubled in size, as we learned from our local friends here.
Water however is the key to enduring a major storm and that is not the easiest thing to transport.  Thankfully we do have enough.

Amazon was a great asset for us!

This isn’t a cheesy Ad for Amazon, but the swift deliveries of ‘out of stock items’ was a pure genius stroke.
We ordered a low cost Honda generator and fuel cans, when all of the stores had run out a week ago.
Delivered to our door by a smiling FedEx guy that clearly seemed impressed by our tactics.
He joked that I could sell this for double the price today!

Florida is an Amazing Place Right Now

The preparedness is simply astonishing.
Essentials are in supply and can be obtained with patience if needed.
Water and plywood are the hardest, but food and petrol (gas) is in ready supply.
If you recall driving past the Orange County Convention Center on previous vacations, the county officials announced that it now houses over 1500 rescue and recovery vehicles, from heavy construction equipment to Blackhawk Helicopters.
Power workers from all over the USA are staying on Disney Property, ready for the clean up!  It’s hard to believe, but that’s how well prepared Floridians are.
Daytona Speedway is home to over 150 power trucks and crews from around the USA, ready to get to work restoring power as soon as it is safe.

On a lighter note, the ‘Hurricane Humor’ is hilarious and very much welcome.
We’d love to share much of it with you, but as a ‘family blog’ we can’t lol
Social media however is a huge help, while connection services stay live.
Sharing funny family stuff with friends here and in the UK keeps spirits high.
From people using irons to make grilled cheese (toasties) in their hotel rooms, to witty posts on how to deal with looters, it all helps keep up morale.
We’ve always loved our time in Florida, but today, on the eve of a record breaking storm, we love it even more!

Decisions are everything, but how do you know?

We decided to stay, not to risk getting trapped in our truck on a major road in the peak of the storm.
Figuring out that ‘home’ was the better choice, is yet to be proven as a ‘good family decision’.
Wish us luck please!

Expect to be Scared Shitless (advice from one of my close Floridian friends)

Thanks Mark, you meant well, and I certainly took his advice seriously.
If anything, it helped me give my wife and kids, aged 11, 14, 16 a genuine insight into what we were about to face.
I am under no illusion about how dreadful this is going to be.
We are just hoping that those under the direct path survive and stay safe.
FYI – We were indeed scared shitless.  It’s a power that can’t be described, but can be endured with common sense, preparation and some significant luck.

Friends Traveling in Africa

Some lovely Floridian friends of ours are on business overseas.
As most families do, their adult son stayed home.
Anxiety isn’t the word to describe their state of mind right now.
Everyone really helps though and that’s a characteristic of Floridians!

Tracking Hurricane Irma

The entire state is glued to the 4 daily storm track updates.
Each update reveals the adjusted path cone.
We’ve seen the path move from running up the east coast, to a direct hit on Miami followed by a run up the center of the state, to the latest, showing the path up the west coast, at a much stronger intensity.
Feeling guilt for others is a major problem in storm tracking.
Might our family be spared at the cost of another?

Photo Updates!

Check out our Family’s “Irma and the Maw’s” Photo Album on Facebook.

On the lighter side of Irma!

Read this funny blog on Irma by one of Miami’s funniest reporters