This past week has been one of the most nerve wracking weeks in recent memory. As I prepare this post, Hurricane Matthew is inching up the Florida coast for a perilously close flyby of the West Palm Beach area where I live.
Much of the week has been spent watching the storm’s track and finalizing preparations in anticipation of its arrival. I sense the storm has cast such a huge shadow over our lives that nothing else matters at the moment, not even the election.
I work at a large home improvement store, which has given me a front seat view of the frenzied preparations in progress. Customers have been swarming in and raiding the aisles containing their treasured supplies. Not surprisingly, one of the top selling items is plywood. When the store ran out of plywood, there was literally a long line of customers in the lumber aisle waiting for the next shipment to arrive. Cases of water, batteries, flashlights and generators have also been flying off the shelves. Barbeque grills and propane tank exchanges have been hot commodities as well.
As the week wore on and the preparations continued, my store soon ran out of the supplies that were in huge demand. Customers looking for flashlights were greeted by the sight of empty shelves. Soon the shelves on the lumber aisle became bare as the demand for wood exceeded the supply.
And then comes getting ready for the storm myself. I too have had to shop for hurricane supplies and hope the store even had the needed supplies in stock. Often I wasn’t lucky. When I went to the bottled water aisle, I found it completely empty except for signs assuring more water was on the way. Wrapping up the stressful shopping were the long waits in line at the checkout.
I think the most stressful part of preparing for a hurricane is getting gas for the car. Every gas station in my area had extremely long lines of cars waiting to fill up. I became so desperate that I set my alarm for 3:30 in the morning and go fill up first thing after getting up. My scheme worked. There weren’t many cars at the gas station at that time of morning so I had no problems filling up. I was also at the store at 5:30 that morning and easily got hold of the bottled water I needed. The early bird gets the worm indeed.
And now here I am, home and waiting for the storm to pass. I did go into work this morning and assisted customers in loading their cars, staying mainly in the lumber area to help load plywood and bags of sand. Later in the day as weather conditions deteriorated, the store closed early and still the customers kept coming, only to be turned away by the hand written “CLOSED” sign.
I have my own house secured and ready for the storm. There’s nothing more to do now except keep track of the storm and stay in touch with loved ones. Oh yeah, and take pictures too. I’ll post the best one here. Meanwhile, I better post this while I still have electricity and Internet.
Hurricane Matthew is currently skimming along the southeast corner of Florida and will head out to sea before turning around and possibly hitting Florida a second time.
Isn’t life in paradise wonderful?