The continuing saga of Hurricane Matthew in Jacksonville
Friday: It was a restless night. We kept hearing the noise of the wind and rain messing with the tarp on our roof. The logs holding it down kept rolling around, thumping, and we wondered when the leaking would start. When it was light enough, Julie decided to move her vet van out to the other side of the electric gate, in case the power would go out and leave her trapped. She thought it would be good to move my car out as well so it wouldn’t get stuck in the mud. I never had noticed all the power lines overhead, but now that it was time to avoid them, there they were.
The barn owner came over in his golf cart and suggested better placement of our vehicles, so out we went again, looking for high ground away from trees. The weather was not particularly scary so we decided to eat a good breakfast before leaving. The cats were going to stay put in the barn apartment so we fed them too. The horses, backs to the wind, heads down, were still grazing out in the field pond. Water, water everywhere and more coming down all the time.
We relocated to the main house around 11 and took up residence with Cliff, Monica and their kids, “hunkering down” as hurricane people call it in their solid, block house which Cliff assured us was going to be super safe in spite of being surrounded by huge trees. For several hours we cooked, watched tv, and did all those electric things that one takes for granted, until the power went out at 3 pm. The party spirit was not dampened in the slightest since the generator went on and powered lights and fans, tv and internet quite adequately. Out on the dining room table a four hour (agonizing) game of Risk took place at decibel levels that I’m sure were damaging to the ears. I blogged and caught up on my Solitaire challenges.
Somewhere in its progression Matthew took an eastward jog which newscasters credited with saving most of Jacksonville. The reports showed the devastation of the beach towns which were flooded, but even there the damage could have been much worse. Piers were washed away, people reported sharks in their front yards, trees were snapped off, all the routine hurricane stuff… Just sayin’…
It seemed like the wind was dying down where we were as well and I wanted to get out of the house and check on our things in the apartment before darkness was upon us. Julie and I set out in the golf cart during a lull, but before we got halfway to the barn the wind picked up again and, well, really impressed us, I’d have to say. It wasn’t a fearful moment, but definitely exhilarating to be aware of the power of the wind and driving rain, to have to wade through a foot of water to open the gate, and to arrive drenched in spite of rain gear.
The expected leak had begun but the buckets were catching most of it. The cats were fine. We grabbed some food to take back and braved the elements again going back to the house. More eating, waiting, watching tv until bedtime. We decided to sleep at the house where there were lights and fans and good company if we needed it. Still raining, but we were glad to hear the promise of better weather for the morning.
Saturday: From a west coast friend “it’s hard for me to understand why people choose to live where they have to prepare for possibly devastating weather. Every year.” I guess I would answer that I didn’t really choose Florida for its weather at all – I loved Wisconsin where I came from (although some people can’t understand choosing to live there either…). Sometimes the more pressing matter is where you have a job that will support your family. And I have to say that most of the year Florida weather is pretty desirable, judging by the crowd we get down here. Florida has been our home for 30 years and this is only the second time I have “hunkered down” during a hurricane. I do appreciate that we are given ample time to prepare and make decisions, even leave the path if we desire.
Today’s waiting is for the power to be restored and the water to run off. Most of us are a little stir crazy. I’ve been out to check the apartment, sweep debris and pile up fallen branches. We are still on generator power and it doesn’t run the AC so it’s getting a little damp and warm in the house, but overall, still comfortable. Although we have internet, my pictures will not upload so I will have to add them later. Check back if you wish. Thanks to everyone who cared about our welfare, and thanks to God for protection and comfort in the midst of the storm.