It took me forty minutes – twice as long as normal – to get home. It took my friend Bob, who lives ten miles south of me, an hour and twenty minutes to get home. Traffic was backed up as cars lined up at gas stations to fill up. People are heading to banks to get cash. Stores are crowded and there are long lines at Home Depot as people stock up on essentials. Shelters in Miami-Dade will be opening at 4 p.m. The mayor is telling people not to panic but be prepared (Tom Ridge could learn a thing or two from this experience).
Here at home I can’t don’t anything other than make sure that I have everything in place. One thing I don’t have is hurricane shutters. My landlord has never provided for them, and since the house has been through several hurricanes before, including Andrew in 1992, without any structural damage and the windows are new, all I can do is hope that the winds keep coming out of the north where the exposure is less. I will move the Pontiac into the backyard where it will be sheltered on three sides from the direct force of the wind, which will come out of north as the hurricane passes to the north. The yard furniture goes into the garage.
I sent the manuscript of the novel via e-mail to a friend who lives in a hurricane-free zone (New Mexico) for safekeeping just in case.
Now all I can do is wait.