Our first hurricane (we weren't there)

posted by Jeff | Thursday, October 13, 2016, 8:28 PM | comments: 0

Hurricane Matthew ended up being mostly an inconvenience for Central Florida, fortunately, but it was close. At one point the odds were about 2 in 3 that the eye of the storm would cross over Cape Canaveral, which would have put 80+ mph winds through downtown Orlando. It ended up sliding about 30 miles east, and that made a huge difference. Haiti and the Bahamas weren't so lucky, and the Carolinas are still recovering from flooding.

Our neighborhood topped around 40 mph sustained winds, with gusts up to 60. Some smaller trees went down here and there, but it wasn't serious. Again, had the storm moved even a few dozen miles west, we would have had a lot more damage even in our area. The thing is, we weren't home. We were up in Maggie Valley, NC for my in-laws' wedding. The difficult thing for me is that the storm was trending toward land right up until the last day, and I felt like I needed to be home for it. We rolled the dice and it fortunately moved east, so by late Friday, I was feeling relieved.

My first real tropical experience was in 2008, when Diana and I were running around the gulf coast near Ft. Myers, shopping for our wedding location. Fay landed on the coast barely down to a tropical storm. It was interesting for sure. No long-term power outage for my father-in-law's house, where we were staying.

Being inland reduces risk, and with new construction, our house is intended to withstand 140 mph winds (the low end of a category 4 direct hit), but I'm not interested in experiencing that. Hurricane Charley hit Orlando directly in 2004, and I remember flying in after and seeing the tarps on roofs. Fortunately that's unusual, but it's certainly possible.


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