Final Thoughts of an Evacuee Before Hurricane Irma Strikes Florida

Naples, FL is my home. I was born here, I was raised here. And starting tomorrow, my hometown is expected to get hit by the biggest hurricane to ever form in the Atlantic Ocean, since 1960. Hurricane Irma is expected to make landfall at a Category 4. And I honestly cannot wrap my mind around what’s happening.

If you’ve been following and are aware of the destruction that Hurricane Harvey (a category 3 storm) caused Houston…hopefully that puts in perspective of the potential life threatening risks that at category 4 can bring. Southwest Florida is expected to receive the biggest impact and Naples, specifically, is expected to have a storm surge of up to 12 ft. Our state has never seen anything like this deadly storm.

I wanted to share my thoughts because I have a very strange, uncomfortable about this storm that I’ve never felt. It feels as if though we are about to witness and experience THE most historic storm that has ever hit our city.

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Everyone across the entire state has been watching, talking about, stressing over this hurricane since Monday. I think the anticipation of its arrival is what’s making me more and more nervous. Everyone just wants this to be over already. Yesterday, the west coast of Florida was in major danger. And within a day, the path has now completely shifted towards the west coast over to Southwest Florida. Meaning we will be getting a direct hit.

No one has slept well at all. Water and food have run out a countless amount of times at certain places, and gas fuel shortages have been at an all time high. People have been fleeing north. Many have boarded on overpriced flights for safety, others have decided to make the bumper to bumper ride up north to keep away from Irma. The national guard and other officials from other states are here to help with the aftermath.  I feel at peace knowing that most of my friends have fled this monster of a storm. I am glad that they will not see or go through this. Many of them had posted on social media with certain thoughts like” Its a strange, and uncomfortable feeling not knowing if or what we will be returning to.” Makes me think: “What the hell are we about to go through…?” I don’t wish this feeling on anyone. This storm is bigger and stronger than Andrew in 1992.

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The Naples Coast is under a mandatory evacuation, along with Marco Island and the Everglades – all of which are surrounding the only area that is not supposed to be as affected – anywhere west of i75. We are expected to receive winds of over 100 mph for 6-9 hours on the strongest day which will start Sunday, September 10th at 12 noon. I want everyone to know that yes, this hurricane has us all super uptight and anxious, it has been for an entire week almost. If it was a CAT3 we’d be more at ease, us Floridians are veterans at this. Not this one. Irma is headed straight for us, it’s just a strange, uncomfortable feeling.

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The saddest part for me, was putting plywood on our home and leaving it not knowing if its going to be in the same shape. More than any scared feeling, I know we will be okay because I trust the Lord to be with us and will be watching over us. We’ve taken the proper precautions to be as safe as possible. My only hope is that we come out stronger because this will certainly leave a big scar amongst the people of Naples.

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We are a strong community here in Naples, Florida. When help is needed, help is given. I just pray everyone is taking 9-12 feet seriously if you’re along the coast or anywhere near the downtown Naples area, and anything west of i75 is expected to receive 1-3 feet. My family and I waited in line for 2 hours to register for a shelter. Although some schools are already at max capacity, they are doing a phenomenal job at opening more elementary and middle schools. I want to thank our Governer, Rick Scott for doing an exemplary job of preparing our state. I feel secure knowing my family will be staying at a hurricane proof evacuation shelter. We will be staying at Gulf Coast High School. We’re ready for you Irma. Scared as hell. But we WILL prevail.

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My final thoughts, my final hope and what I will be holding onto from now up until this storm has passed. I pray anyone who fears Irma to dwell on this scripture:

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

 

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