At about noon today, we'll start to get tropical storm force winds in Orange County, which is fortunately not full on hurricane force (74 mph and up). That's not actually uncharted territory for us, because we were in Ft. Myers for Fay in 2008, shopping for wedding venues the week before. That landed with winds in the 60's, which is what our forecast here calls for. The potential for tornados on the front end is frankly more worrisome than the sustained winds.
We knew a week ago that Irma would have some impact on us, it was just a question of what that would look like. Extended periods without power and water are really the biggest issues we deal with in Central Florida, particularly if you live in newer construction. A direct hit of a storm this big from the south would result in 80+ mph wind. A direct hit from the east or west, coming straight in, could get us over 100, but this too is really unlikely, though certainly possible. As it turns out, the direct south hit almost came with this storm. The important thing to understand is that hurricanes this far inland are not the same experience as they are on the coast. They can still be dangerous, sure, but without the ocean component and storm surge, it's a different kind of dangerous. I'm not aware of this area ever having to evacuate.
And that's the crazy thing about hurricanes, but especially this one. You know a week out that something will happen, so you have to prepare for it regardless. Last year, we ended up being in North Carolina during Matthew, but had the storm moved even 30 miles west up the Atlantic coast, Orlando would have seen some serious shit. With Irma, even three days out we were expecting an Atlantic track, then the day before last, a direct hit up the middle. In the end, it was pushed up the gulf coast.
We have a bunch of ice made and can probably preserve food for a day and a half if we lose power. Plenty of bottled water in case we lose that, with a bathtub full in case we need it to flush toilets. (The water quality here kind of sucks to begin with, so we don't drink it without filtering.) We have plenty of battery packs to charge phones for at least five days. We can be plunged into the dark ages for a few days without too much discomfort.
If anything good could come out of this, we went to Epcot Friday night for a few hours, where in a shut down for light rain, Simon got the VIP treatment from the Test Track crew and got to walk the empty queue. Then for Saturday, we went to Magic Kingdom, where it wasn't busy, and he got to ride his favorite three roller coasters with his new buddy. When that was done, we went back to Epcot, and got to ride the three big rides: Test Track, Frozen and Soarin', in the span of three hours. It was one of the best Disney days ever.
This afternoon gets noisy, but at least I know what to expect. Probably won't sleep much.