Preparing For Hurricane Irma – The Down-Side of Living in Florida

While we love living in Florida, we admit that summer brings a lot of uncertainty along with the heat and humidity. That is the down-side of living in paradise for nine months of the year. While we have not had a serious hurricane since 2004, when both Frances and Jean hit our coast, we have had a few close calls. Last year we prepared for Matthew, which was to make a direct impact on our coast, but mercifully skirted up the Atlantic Ocean without making landfall in Florida. Nevertheless, we took every precaution to be ready. That is simply what we do when a threat arises. Preparations can take hours or even days, depending on the type and location of a home.

Our home is sturdy and built to a code that was adopted in our state after Hurricane Andrew devastated South Florida twenty-five years ago. It is fitted for metal storm shutters that have been applied to the house on at least five occasions in the past fifteen years. Covering windows is the most time consuming part of our hurricane preparations.

We live in a two story home, and while we are capable of installing the downstairs shutters, we have to hire help for the upstairs windows. It is costly, but not nearly as costly as installing Accordion Shutters (which are permanent) or some of the newer applications which are lighter in weight. We started preparations for Irma a week ago and for the past three days, the windows of our home have been shuttered, creating a virtual bunker in which to ride out the storm.


We have stockpiled water, filled propane tanks for our gas grill, added additional clorine to the pool, topped off the gas in our cars, filled the bathtub with water, (for flushing toilets) located lanterns and flashlights, checked batteries, secured precious items into plastic bags and located insurance policies, health insurance cards, etc.; trees have been trimmed and debris removed, patio furniture has been moved to the garage, (along with everything else that might move during high winds), while still leaving space for our cars. The freezer is stocked with ice bags to prolong defrosting and we have enough meals prepared to last for several days. The past week has been physically stressful, but the mental stress is what really takes a toll.


The digital age has taken hurricane reporting to a whole new level, and it is easy to be engulfed by information and propelled into overload. In my opinion, there are too many models for forecasting the track of a storm, especially given that none of them seem to be reliable and each one sends your emotions racing in different directions. I also think there is a fine line between responsible reporting and sensationalism. I am completely in favor of a centralized information bureau when it comes to disseminating hurricane information!

a virtual spaghetti bowl of storm projections

Unless a storm is clearly forecast to go out to sea, we will endure the physical exertion and the emotional roller-coaster ride every time to keep our property and family safe. To avoid overload, we limit our television viewing to scheduled updates from the National Weather Service and our local government. I also use a weather app for updates on my phone.

Irma has gone from catastrophic to barely there for our coast, in just a matter of days. We are eternally grateful that the latest track shows that we are no longer in the path of destruction, but we remain diligent until the storm has passed. Our hearts go out to everyone on the west coast of Florida and to those left in her wake.

Even with the latest track, we still expect to loose electricity, and so the fun begins. Our city curfew is for 3:00 p.m. today, which means we will be sheltered in place at that time. We have games to play, books to read and movies to watch for as long as we have power.

The aftermath is unpredictable for us, but we will do what we need to do to clean up and secure our property within the next several days. Staying in our home for a prolonged period with no electricity in 90+ degree heat will not be an option, but we will cross that bridge if it comes.

Current track showing the exact opposite of two days ago. Looks like a West Coast storm. Be Safe!

Last week Malcolm and I had planned to be in St. Augustine (The First Coast) and Cocoa Beach (The Space Coast) instead of preparing for a hurricane. We will get back on track with our summer Blogging goals within the next few weeks, but sadly, we expect the Cultural Coast and the Nature Coast to be altered for some time and will likely postpone visits to those areas until a more appropriate time.

We wish everyone in the path of Irma safety and will leave you with a photo I took yesterday at our favorite East Coast beach. Good luck Florida.


This sight alone makes it all worthwhile.

14 Comments on “Preparing For Hurricane Irma – The Down-Side of Living in Florida

  1. As of Sat pm, looks like she is turning westerly – perhaps our risks have been minimized.


  2. Suzanne I have been thinking of you and I am glad to hear the catastrophic forecast has now been downgraded…relief. Very interesting to hear about all the preparations and I am surprised that you would stay put? Although your house looks like Fort Knox with all those shutters, I wonder why you would not evacuate like many others have? Just curious. Natural disasters are unpredictable and can happen anywhere in the world, Florida certanly gets more than it’s fair share, but it is paradise for most of the time😄 Definitely worth living in such a beautiful place. I hope soon you can resume your travels. Keep safe.


    • Hi Gilda, thank you for your concern. Generally folks that have evacuated live in low lying areas that are subject to flooding (coastal areas,the Keys ,homes on canals, rivers, etc. also mobile homes and homes not built to current code.) Our home withstood a category 3 storm in 2004 so we feel very safe here. The storm surge would have to reach 13 feet to affect us and winds would have to be in excess of 140mph. The upside of a hurricane, if there is one, is that there is time to prepare and as you can see, we have. We fully expected impact until 48 hours ago when it tracked to the West Coast. If it had stayed on the East Coast track we might have made a different decision. Some folks are just stubborn, and stay out of ignorance with no preparations and will end up in lots of trouble. You are right in that anything can happen, but our experience has been that the coming home to a disaster area is so much worse than evacuating. We prefer to stick around, access damage, clean up, help where ever we can and then find a cool place to stay for the duration of a power outage. In the end, it is a somewhat calculated, but reasonably educated decision. Sorry for turning my answer into another POST, but glad you asked the question. Can’t wait for the next 12 hours to pass. We are getting weather bands and wind gusts, but the power is still on. Irma is hitting the Keys now and will make landfall around Sarasota later today. Hopeful…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was just thinking the same as far as the house looking like Fort Knox. It’s nerve wrecking waiting and preparing for a hurricane. We experienced our first one when we moved to Houston and Ike struck. Despite the many earthquakes experienced in L.A, none of them compared to that. We had some damage but less than others. Glad you guys were able to escape this one. So much happening in the world right now 😦


  4. You make preparing for a hurricane sound very cool headed but the uncertainty must be exhausting, even when the storm passes you by. Your post helps explain why and how people choose to stay in the possible path of a storm. Leaving isn’t an easy option either.


    • Hi Judith, it is exhausting. I fully understand why people transition to a condo in Florida as they age. We are getting to that point.Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I hope you weathered Irma with little to no damage. Your home does look like a fortress and that it could withstand a lot of abuse.

    My sister, and one of my closest friends, both have homes on the west coast near Sarasota. I still have not heard how they fared through the storm and it is most concerning.


    • Joanne, I am sorry to hear of your sister and friend. I hope you hear from them soon. Cell phone and internet service has been spotty at best these past few days in most areas of Florida. Best wishes and thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. As I was reading your list of preparations I was reminded of what we used to have on hand when we lived in San Jose, CA (earthquake country) for 30+ years. We didn’t have the storm shutters but for years we kept an emergency box in the garage where it would be reasonably accessible in the worst case scenario. We rode through a few good quakes in our time in CA but never had to open the emergency boxes, which included a tent, camping cook stove, water, canned food, etc. etc. Of course the HUGE difference between hurricanes and earthquakes is the warning (or not) of what’s to come. Stay safe and continued safe travels.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The advanced warning of a hurricane makes all the difference in terms of preparation. I cannot imagine living in a place that experiences earthquakes – canned food, cook stove, water, all sounds too familiar.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Serenity is an Inside Job

Chambers on the Road

RV, other Travels and Home Life in Retirement

Journeys with Johnbo

Reflections on places traveled and photos taken.

The Hungry Travellers

Independent travel, food, photography and culture

Stony Soil Vermont

Writing in Vermont

Travels with Ali

My site is all about my travels around the world and in Australia, plus daily life photos!

Buddha Walks Into A Wine Bar ....

Sits down with The Two Doctors and .....


Enjoying life and the empty nest while easing into retirement,

Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary


More Daddy Fool Than Daddy Cool

Travel with me

Travel snapshots from Toonsarah


Tales, Thoughts + Tribulations of a Free Spirit in Suburbia

Circadianreflections Blog

“A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.” ― Eudora Welty

Live Laugh RV

Our Next Chapter

Marsha Ingrao - Always Write

Having fun blogging with friends

Everyday Gyaan

Keeping Life Simple, Authentic And Holistic

Becky in Portugal

The Joy of Slow Travel


Adventures and Postcards from the road

The life of B

Mainly through the lens of a Nikon


The Beach Girl Chronicles


envisioning & implementing life's next stage

Book Club Mom

Read this, not that!

Something to Ponder About

Life - Photography - Traditional Art

The Showers of Blessings

Giving and Receiving Blessings

Change Is Hard

...but change is certain.


Midlife traveller

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Retired Introvert

Navigating retirement as an introvert

Trent's World (the Blog)

Random Ramblings and Reviews from Trent P. McDonald

A Day In The Life

People, Places, Nature, LIFE!

The Chicago Files

A Canadian Perspective on Living in the Windy City!

Back Road Journal

Little treasures discovered while exploring the back roads of life

And Anyways...

Author, Baker, Sunrise Chaser

P.A. Moed

Creative Exploration in Words and Pictures

Life at No. 22

Suzanne's Life and Travel Musings from New Zealand and Beyond

Hugh's Views & News  

WordPress & Blogging tips, flash fiction, photography and lots more!

A Hundred Years Ago

Food and More


"This blog is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." - F.G.

Natalie the Explorer

Taking steps to live a healthy and enriched life

Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

Behind the Scenery

Grateful for the present moment

Women Living Well After 50

Midlife Women Embracing Life

Savoring Sixty and Beyond

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day." 2 Corinthians 4:16

Travel and Lifestyle with Bree

Travel - home and away and Chronic Illness's

Easin' Along

Retired and Enjoying Life From the Slow Lane

%d bloggers like this: