As I’m sure you’ve seen on every news station across the nation, Hurricane Irma ravaged Florida earlier this week and although I’ve been trying to keep everyone updated on my status through Instastories, the lack of a good cellular connection has made it tough.
I had planned months ago to Minnesota this past weekend and had already bought my ticket before Irma was even spun into existence. My boyfriend, Todd, is a Crossfit competitor, and had a competition there for the Granite Games and I was going to support him. In the week before the hurricane hit, we didn’t really think it would be that bad. We had assumed, yes, it’s a big storm, but it always weakens by the time it hits Florida. We had also gotten comfortable in that a large hurricane hadn’t hit us in years. I wasn’t alive during Hurricane Andrew- but I know that was as bad as it gets. I was alive for Katrina and Wilma though, and remember not having power and being stuck in the heat for around 2 weeks- we ended up having to leave Miami because it was so uncomfortable. That being said, we still thought this storm would weaken and that we would be fine.
My family and I moved into a new house the week before. The week of the storm (Labor Day) we had just hung the last photo we had wanted to hang and it was finally complete. The next day, we started to take it all down. Our house is a rental, and has no shutters or plywood. My dad was in Key West until late Wednesday and we knew we wouldn’t have time (or resources, since supplies everywhere was sold out) to put them up in time for the storm that weekend. Everyone thought we were crazy- and so did I. I stripped my entire room and put things up as high as I could in my closet, put things in trash bags, and photos in a room with no windows. While I was worried about the windows, I was mostly worried about the flooding. The day after my mom moved in here, it rained a lot, and I noticed water starting to gather in front of the house- and that was just a normal day.
We were all on high alert after Harvey hit Texas with record flooding and we started to realize that could be a possibility for us. It got the most real on Wednesday night, when my grandpa called us to ask what zone we were in, the answer was Zone A, and that meant that we were under mandatory evacuation because of the possibility of a high storm surge.
I went back and forth with if going to Minnesota without my family was a good idea. At this point, the eye was going directly over Miami. I decided, in the end, that it was best since my family decided to evacuate as well. We made it to Minnesota (after sitting on the runway for 2 hours because of how many planes were trying to leave at the same time) and had a good time, but still couldn’t shake the thought of home out of our minds.
The storm decided it had a mind of its own. It shifted to the west and took some of the pressure off of Miami. When originally, I thought that it was a great thing for Miami, I quickly realized that it meant that the eye would go directly over the Florida Keys- a long strip of islands connected to the mainland ending in none other than: Key West. My family’s entire business is in Key West and there was nothing we could do at that point. My dad had boarded up before he left, and we just had to pray for the best. UPDATE 9/19: The restaurant is up and running and had no serious damage. We are beyond blessed, however we know that others aren’t as lucky, and we will continue to keep those in our thoughts and prayers.
Key West really is my happy place. I love going down there to escape the real world, be with family, and be a tourist in a town I know so well. It is unlike anywhere in the U.S. and I just love it so much.
My house in Miami had no serious damage and everything has been put where it goes again- Praise God!
Prayers are welcome those that have been affected by this storm, including those in the Caribbean. We are all working on trying to get back to normal, but it’s strange when everything where you have lived for so long looks so different now. But no matter what, we are all so grateful to be safe and have a roof over our heads.
If you’d like to donate to those affected by the storm you can go to any of these organizations: Red Cross, UNICEF, Americares, or the Florida Disaster Fund. Please leave a comment if you know of others!
If you aren’t in a position to donate, please pray. So many people lost everything in this storm, and they need your love and prayer during this time.
Thank you so much for not giving up on me during my absence!
I love y’all!
**I will be updating this post as information becomes available**