MIAMI -- There is a sense of panic in the air as South Florida braces for Hurricane Irma.
As families spent the week trying to escape, crowding Florida highways, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, deciding to ride out the unprecedented storm in their homes. That includes my mother, Gladys.
“Everybody is scared and we don’t know what’s going to happen,” explained my mom over a FaceTime interview Friday night.
There are five evacuation zones in Miami-Dade County. Zones A, B, and parts of C are under mandatory evacuation. My mom is further inland in zone E. She says making the choice to stay was tough.
“It’s hard. Especially when you have health issues, sitting in the car for so many hours. Another problem is also if you don’t find gas,” she added.
Fuel is in low supply across the Sunshine State. My mom saying there were long lines at every gas station she drove by this week. Also in low supply are some of items essential to dealing with the aftermath of a major storm.
“No bread, no water, no ice. No gas for the BBQ, propane,” she said.
My family went through Hurricane Andrew back in 1992. From that experience my mom learned to always keep the pantry full of non-perishable food. Because of that, as she waits for Irma she has comfort in knowing she has food for days. This time, shutters will protect windows from flying debris instead of just masking tape.
She checked off other items off the preparation list as well. She brought in the patio furniture, stocked up on batteries and flashlights. She hopes it’s all enough to protect what’s most important.
“We are concerned about our lives. Everything else you can replace,” she added.
The next 48 hours are filled with a lot of unknowns. If it is anything like Andrew’s aftermath she knows there is a long road ahead and for that she this request from Coloradans tonight.
“Pray for all of us. We need a lot of prayers.”