IRMA update (don’t worry we are safe!)

September 10, 2017

WELL.  Coming at you live, from Birmingham AL!  I have received so many messages by email and social media from you guys, so wanted to let you all know we are safe!

This has been quite the adventure.  Our entire city (Miami Beach) went under mandatory evacuation order on Thursday morning.  Fam/friends have either left for other FL friends/fam not in the evacuation zones, or have left the state, like us.  As of now, the track of the eye is NOT predicted to directly go over Miami, but it is expected that we will still get some kind of hit.  Currently there are numerous tornados in our region, so I am still feeling anxious about everyone’s safety back in FL.  And we already received notification that our power is out, so I’m really really glad we are not at home.

I always knew a hurricane was a risk when moved here, and had informed Josh that when it happened, I wanted to GET OUT.  That sounds so easy!  Simple!  You just leave, right?  Book a flight or a hotel, or stay with fam?

HA.  NO.  It’s actually like 939224 decisions, each of which feel very high stakes, made while you are getting increasingly tired.  We ended up deciding to initially leave Friday, then changed to Thursday, THEN to Wednesday night when we heard reports of increasingly nightmarish traffic and gas scarcity.  At the point when we were making these decisions, the storm was predicted to directly impact Miami (Miami Beach is just to the east, connected to the mainland by bridges/causeways).  It was too late to book a flight anywhere – everything was taken as the mass exodus and frenzy began.

the “cone” as predicted on Wednesday morning

GAS SCARCITY in an evacuation scenario is terrifying.  And it’s not even something I had considered.
beginning our journey: MIAMI BEACH –> OCALA
8:30 PM – 3:30 AM
We ended up leaving Wednesday night at 8:30 pm.  Cameron was already asleep but A was awake for about 30 minutes into the trip.  Our initial destination was Ocala, where I booked a last minute Quality Inn – accomodations in Orlando, Gainesville, and nearby Ocala were disappearing incredibly fast!  I am going to give Quality Inn major credit right now for not charging us cancellation fees for Thurs-Monday nights, as originally we had planned to stay right through the storm.  But then the path changed again, and we realized that Central FL probably wasn’t the place to remain.
At that time, we considered 2 options:  driving northeast to NC (to stay with my sister!) or West to Birmingham, where I had managed to book a hotel (Atlanta was basically sold out!).  But then the projections kind of looked like the storm was headed to NC, and traffic was said to be much worse in that direction.  
SO, Thursday at around 1 pm we left for Birmingham, and arrived at 1 am.  

The whole thing has been physically and emotionally exhausting, and it isn’t even close to over.  I am of course happy that our locale looks like it will NOT get the brunt of this storm, but of course it’s horrible that it’s hitting the West Coast of Florida.

I have an odd mix of guilt / anxiety about leaving and not knowing how hard it will be to get back.  We keep trying to plan the timing of our route back and honestly if there’s anything I should have learned by this point, it’s that these CONES change and it’s hard to plan ahead.  You just have to kind of take each step as it comes.

CURRENT CONES –

Yep, looks like it’s headed through . . . Birmingham.
But it won’t be a hurricane by that time.  
We are trying to optimally time our journey back home . . . still TBD.
Scenes from Birmingham:

NOTES I am taking to remember this ordeal . . .

Will keep everyone updated – thank you again for your thoughts + prayers!  Thinking of everyone else in the path of this storm (as well as those still recovering from Harvey).  HURRICANES SUCK. More to follow.

11 Comments

  • Reply Christine Cortese March 10, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    You guys were so smart to leave early and skedaddle so far. That’s the way to handle it! So glad you were proactive and decisive and all that. Bet this is going to make a whole lot of people rethink their game plans. Be safe on the drive home.

  • Reply Betsy March 10, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    Oh my goodness, what a nightmare! But glad you are safe, and Birmingham is a wonderful spot! I’ve been reading for awhile but never commented, but I grew up in Birmingham so I figured I’d pass along some things to do recommendations in case you need them! Before it starts raining, check out the tot lot in Crestline Village (playground) and walk through the village for good lunch spots. Mountain Brook and English villages are also good for walking/lunch/killing time. Jemison trail is also a great place for a walk/run. Once it starts raining, the McWane Center is a wonderful kids science museum that I bet y’all would like. Let me know if you want other rec’s and I’ll keep thinking. I haven’t lived there for years but do go back every few months!

  • Reply Allison March 10, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    Glad you are safe! We live in Jacksonville (just moved THREE WEEKS AGO from Virginia, terrible timing) and made the decision to evacuate with our 6 month old. We ended up in NC after trying and failing to find anything in Georgia. We definitely didn’t have the level of stress you all did in Miami but when we decided to leave the cone looked like it was headed right for us, of course. Worried about trying to get back too. It’s hard to enjoy the impromptu vacation when you’re watching the news and worried about your home and loved ones, isn’t it? Wishing you and your family a safe trip back and a peaceful stay in Alabama.

  • Reply omdg March 10, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    I saw that Miami Beach was ordered to evacuate and thought of you. I’m glad you and your family got out safely, albeit with huge amounts of traffic. I can’t imagine how stressful that must have been for you guys. Good luck and keep us posted!

  • Reply Alissa March 10, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    We are currently driving home from our NC beach vacation and were chatting with a FL family at our last stop. As a longtime reader I thought of you and am relieved to hear you are safely evacuated! We were thiiiiiclose to relocating to Miami for my husbands job last year and this was one of my anxiety scenarios. I will continue to think positive thoughts for your home and safe return (as well as for the state and people of FL!). Take care!

  • Reply Solitary Diner March 10, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    Glad to hear you are all safe. Wishing you all the best as you wait out the storm and then make it back home safely.

  • Reply Brittnie March 10, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    Hurricanes are awful and yes, it really is baby step after baby step when it comes to planning and making decisions. It is always best to be extra conservative (our approach to Harvey) and I’m glad you got out sooner than later.

  • Reply Erika March 10, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    So glad you are all safe! I just wanted to say that I took your advice from the podcast to have over other families with young kids on a Sunday evening for a playdate and dinner. Might have gone overboard inviting the 4 other families staying on for another year of preschool in my son’s class…but it was a BLAST. We aren’t all close, but I want to have more friends and social plans this year and decided to take action. I took it easy on myself and got inexpensive take-out and someone else brought dessert. Seeing our little home full of 18 people was amazing and everyone had such a great time. Thank you for the tip!

  • Reply Amanda L March 10, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    Glad you’re safe. As a born and bred New Orleanian, I do NOT understand the hesitation for leaving (the house I currently live in had 7.5′ of water during Katrina. We keep an ax in our attic). I’m glad yall got out and Birmingham isn’t a bad place to spend a few days! Hope all is well when you are able to return. By the way, I am loving the Best of Both Worlds Podcast – I’m definitely a fangirl! Stay safe.

  • Reply Meghan March 10, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    Glad you’re safe! I live about 2.5 hrs southeast of Birmingham, so also in the cone, but yes — having "just" a tropical storm seems totally like no big deal at this point. I’d love to see a post eventually about your lessons, especially if you end up with a checklist or two πŸ™‚ Right now, I’m trying to get as much work done as possible in case we lose power this afternoon (so no more blog reading after this!). Good luck with the eventual travels back home, too.

  • Reply beth March 10, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    Wishing you the best possible evacuation!

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