I have been a Florida native for a little over 23 years. I was born here and learned early on what to expect weather wise which includes hurricanes. I was about 6 years old when I experience my first hurricane, Hurricane Erin. We lost one of our orange trees during that storm but other than that we managed. I stayed up most of the evening with my father watching the weather channel as it tracked the hurricane’s path through our area. I was fascinated.
In 2004, my family was faced with evacuation from our home on the barrier island on more than one occasion during hurricane season. The storms: Charley, Frances & Jeanne. Frances was a category 4 and was expected to stall over our state. I remember it like it was yesterday…we spent almost a week at my grandparents house in Port Saint John huddled over the t.v. and weather radio. The wind and rain were constant. I barely slept at all that week in fear that we wouldn’t have a home to come back to. Sure enough when we arrived back to our neighborhood, houses were still standing and the only damage we could see was our back fence was blown down.
This weekend marked our first storm of the year. I had made the trip back home to visit my family and go to Disney. Tropical Storm Beryl made that visit a short one! I was forced to pack up my car early Sunday morning and drive back up to Jacksonville, racing the storms outer bands as I drove. I bought a weather radio and numerous supplies once I arrived in Duval. This would be my first storm experience on my own and I was ready for it.
As it got later in the evening Sunday, the winds picked up and the rain began to pour. Judd, Ryan and I huddled around the weather radio listening to our local news/weather station describe how areas around Jacksonville were managing the storm. Trees were reported down and power outages occurred around the city. We managed to keep our power on even though it was flickering most of the evening. By morning, the rain died down and the winds decreased. We walked around the apartment for about 10 minutes surveying the minor flooding. The rain caught us outside and we were forced back inside.
I would say I did very well during my first storm experience on my own. I called my parents a few times to check in and update them on how we were doing. We managed the storm well and I even was able to catch up on some sleep last night. Needless to say, I think I am a storm pro now. Hurricane season is one of the many joys of living in Florida!