As stated in the previous post, most Floridians fear not the hurricane, but rather, the time after the hurricane. The worst thing about hurricanes is the time following passage; particularly when community services are lost, especially electricity.
Before the hurricane arrives, people are busy doing one of two things. They are either finishing up their travel arrangements to leave, or, if they have deemed the storm to be more on the minor side, they spend the day or two before landfall “shopping.”
Now, this is not shopping in the sense most wives, girlfriends, and other females think of when they hear the word, “shopping.” No, this is more the “let’s stock up on all the necessities of life,” kind of shopping. Items purchased during the days immediately before the hurricane strikes include such items as plywood (to board up all windows), batteries (you have to be able to hear the news on the radio), portable radios (if you do not have one to put your batteries into), bottled water (there’s no telling how long you will have to boil tap water), gasoline (you have to fill up the tanks, just in case you made the mistake in staying when you should have gone), non-perishable food (if there is no electricity and you have to have batteries, there’s also no refrigeration), and playing cards (solitaire will not work on your computer because you don’t have electricity).
Now, this thing about not having electricity is important. Most from Up North and Out West may have gone a little while without electricity. It is a pain in the rear and most of the time, merely an inconvenience. Unfortunately, after a hurricane, the lights are sometimes out for days.
When power is lost for days at a time, this goes well beyond an “inconvenience.” Many do not realize what is lost when the lights go out. For one, air conditioning is unavailable; for those of us who lived here before air conditioning, it is uncomfortable. For the recently arrived, most are found packing their bags, puttng “for sale” signs in front of their homes, and leaving.
In addition to the unbearable heat, the recently arrived tend to leave because of the other problem created by the loss of electricity: namely, the stench. If you have no electricity, the lift stations in the city’s waste system will not work. After three days, the main sewer lines will completely fill with… uh… . The gases will then escape the system making life really intolerable.
This is about the time most Floridians choose to evacuate.