Sunday, October 30, 2005

Perspectives on Wilma

Tomorrow morning marks one week since Wilma hit South Florida and caused all sorts of hell. It's time to begin to review what happened, where we are and what lies ahead (past, present and future).

We've seen power restored to about 2,000,000 people, with 1,000,000 people still in the dark. We've seen the end of most of the lines at gas stations (I was able to pull right up to a pump today), and food is slowly returning to grocery stores (between two stores, I was able to get everything except for chicken).

A woman called from my insurance company tonight and gave me my insurance adjustor's name, and said she'd call me in a week to schedule an appointment with him. I'm likely going to keep my agreement with Andrew's Roofing...but I'm not sure. I'll try to decide tomorrow.

Power has been restored to my company, but tomorrow is mostly a recovery day. They'll be bringing our computer systems up tonight, but without our T1s, we will not have any internet connection, nor phones, except that we will be able to make outgoing calls.

My kid's school is still closed, and I'm not sure when it will re-open, but it will likely be within the next couple of days. My mother-in-law still has no electricity, so she can not watch the kids while my wife and I work, so we'll have to tag-team that.

We didn't have a great hurricane plan for our family, but we were enough hurricane aware that we did several things right. It could EASILY have been worse for us, and we lucked out this time. Specifically:
- We had full tanks of gas before the storm hit. (GOOD)
- We left our cars outside, vunerable to the storm. (BAD)
- We fully shuttered our house. (GOOD)
- We had inadequate hurricane supplies, specifically non-perishable food, water, batteries, first aid kit and more. (BAD) Despite this, we didn't have a strong need to rely on them, so we came through OK.
- Our local government prepared for a potential gas shortage by making sure all gas stations had full supplies before the storm. However, they didn't make sure they had generators so that the pumps would run, so the gas sat in the ground. (BAD)

- We need to clear out our garage and get atleast one of our cars in there. Well, the only one that would fit, anyway.
- We need to update our hurricane supply kit, and keep it current.
- Federal and state governments are looking into what can be done about supplying gas stations with generators so that they can pump gas after a storm. It'll be interesting to see what they can come up with.

We did not take this storm for granted. We certainly didn't expect it to be as bad as it turned out to be, and it could have been worse. We hunkered down, and played it safe, and we turned out fine. Many people were in worse shape, and won't have power for another 2-3 weeks. We only had to last 2 days...again, we were lucky. We can not afford to be this complacent again, because the next storm is really going to bite us in the butt!

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