Battening Down

We’re in Boynton Beach, getting ready to board up our house in Lake Worth. Posting will be sparse because my only computer is my phone and Patricia’s iPod.

[Wednesday-evening update]

Here’s the sitrep. We’re staying on the third floor of a new apartment building a block from the Intracoastal (not on the island). It’s solid concrete, built to current Palm Beach County codes, with the only glass patio doors rated to 150 mph. We’re boarding up a house a few miles inland that probably couldn’t take a direct hit of a 4 or 5, but that seems unlikely. We came down here to prep it to sell, and Patricia’s son is living in it. We could bug out in theory (American is offering no-fee flight changes), but we don’t want to leave him in the lurch. Worst case for us is if it does come right up the middle of the peninsula, which would put us on the dirty side of the storm (our apartment windows are south facing), but I think we’ll be OK even in that event. We are well above any potential surge, as is our car (in fact, it’s a floor above us). Our current concern is finding gas before it hits. A lot of lines, and we’re a little below half. We’d really like to top off.

[Thursday-night update]

I went out and spent 45 minutes in line getting gas this morning. We’re storing water in bottles, and making ice and putting it in gallon zip locks in the freezer. We’ll move into fridge as necessary if we lose power. Fortunately, unlike most here, we only need hold out until we can get flights out next week when airports reopen after the storm.

[Friday-night update]

Bad news for Cuba and southwest Florida, good news for us. The storm has taken a turn to the south and west, scrubbing the upper west coast of the island, and heading for landfall perhaps near Naples, perhaps with reduced strength from the Cuba encounter. But it won’t have reduced it enough to spare Naples and Fort Myers a huge storm surge.

What it means for us is that, while we’ll still probably see hurricane-force winds, they will be much lower than previously anticipated, and nothing we can’t handle. The only bad news is that the northeast side of the storm, where we’ll now be, will have a lot of tornadic activity. No problem for us in the apartment building, but it puts the house at risk.

[Sunday-afternoon update]

Almost 5 PM EDT, and the winds are continuing to increase. We just lost power, most likely for the duration, until crew can start repairing after the storm. We’ll start to move accumulated ice from the freezer to the fridge.

19 thoughts on “Battening Down”

  1. I hope you’ll be leaving the area before the storm, if the storm track holds.
    Stay safe, and best wishes.

  2. Good luck and stay safe. On the west coast of Florida, watching this monster coming towards us. Hope the storm gives us all a miss.

  3. Be safe.

    I still remember leaving Dragoncon 2004 with Frances on our heels, and waking up in Chattanooga to its remnants, in the form of torrential rains that nearly drenched us as we carried our stuff from hotel to van.

  4. Wow, Rand… I hope this was just a quick expedition to protect the property, with an equally quick exit. Good luck, my friend, and be safe.

  5. Don’t stay. Windows may be able to survive 150mph winds, but they can’t stop a 150mph tree branch or chunk of siding. Get away from the coast while you can.

  6. If you are fighting long gas lines, consider that a convenience store that closes at 11 may still have 24-hour operational fuel dispensers that will work for debit or credit card transactions, assuming you can do so in safety.

  7. Stay safe – might be worth it to buy the step-son a plane ride out of there. Irma looks like a ticket to hell.

  8. I want Rand and family to be ok too, but I have to chuckle at the idea of everyone saying “stay safe” to the author of “Safe Is Not An Option.” So, Rand, while keeping a clear head about what it is important for you to achieve and how much you want to spend to achieve it, stay rationally safe! May you be safe while avoiding generating minimal accomplishment for maximal cost!

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