Saturday, September 25, 2004

Watching and waiting.We left yesterday in the Mothership to get out of the path of Hurricane Jeane. As we drove out of the local area we saw long lines backed up at local gas stations. Lines extended up to half a mile on one road. Barbara suggested that we go west and take the Florida Turnpike which turned out to be a good suggestion. We were headed to Naples, Florida where we are now encamped. I looked at the forecast path for the storm and took a ninety degree angle to the left of the track and the farthest point we could get was Naples. This location puts us 150 miles from the path. We hope this will get us out of the destructive part of the storm. Our house is strong with metal shutters on all windows but the Mothership would not take hundred mile an hour winds. In addition, we are trying to avoide the long power outages and lack of gasoline and food that follow these events.

We are tired of running from storms and tired of being constantly on the run. This year has been very stressful for all Floridians. We count ourselves among the lucky since we are retired and have the mobility to get out of harms way. We have not endured the trauma and stress of our friends and family who must remain the storms path. We worry about them constantly. We are constantly in touch with our cell phones but there is little we can do to help them except bring needed items when we return.

The biggest worry with Hurricane Jeane is the debris that still remains from Hurricane Frances. Streets in West Palm Beach are lined with piles of tree branches and other debris. An astonishing amount of work has been accomplished in collecting this debris but the amount to pick up is so huge that a lot remains. The worry is that all of this will become flying missiles that will do more damage. I put as much of it in my garage before we left so I have a garage full of vegetation that smells bad. My friend and neighbor will go over and take it out after the storm passes.

A drive by one of the local debris collection locations, John Prince Park, provides some perspective on the amount of tree damage inflicted by Frances. There are lines of trucks bringing tree debris to this location where it is being chipped and ground up. There are literally hills of wood chips in the park where there used to be green grass areas where people played. The park, one of the largest local parks, is closed to the public since it is a central debris collection point.

We now wait and watch as Jeane moves through the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas. We may get some wind and rain from it here in Naples beginning this afternoon and tonight.

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