Our First Hurricane | Tuesdays with Jacob

Our First Hurricane

October 18, 2016

Hurricane Matthew was a first for Jacob AND mommy. I moved to Florida in 2006, after all of the hurricanes of 2005, and we haven't had any since. 

When the news started reporting on Matthew, and a possible hit, I knew my luck was up. 

We returned from Michigan on Monday (Rosh Hashana) and that was around the time they started talking about this being a major storm. The track had shifted west, towards us, putting us in the cone of error. I remember joking with my sister in law in Michigan that I like to call it the "cone of terror."

Tuesday we had school as usual. Tuesday night they made the call that there would be school as usual Wednesday, but no after school activities. School would be closed Thursday and Friday. 

gas lines were so long they backed up traffic on the street
Tuesday evening we skipped swim class and stocked up on hurricane essentials. Stores had already begun to run out of things like bottled water and batteries as people started to panic, but luckily we already had those things. We grabbed non-perishable food and snacks based on what we thought Jacob would actually eat, which was a bit tricky. Jacob had a complete meltdown in the store and I began to worry about how he would handle the possibility of days without power. 



Wednesday at school we calmed any anxious children and focused on learning the facts about hurricanes - what they are, how they form, and how we can prepare. On the surface, I was the face of serenity. Deep down, I was terrified of the unknown. 


Wednesday night, daddy closed the storm shutters for the first time in the history of our home ownership. Apparently you are supposed to condition them with WD-40 every few months. We had no idea so it was quite an ordeal getting them closed. 



Thursday everyone was home and the day felt like it stretched on forever while we waited to see what would happen. We took many walks outside in case we were about to be stuck inside for quite a while. It was eerily calm outside.



Daddy helped some of the neighbors with their shutters, and all up and down the block we saw the same - neighbors helping out those who needed it. I'm sure we weren't the only ones going through our first rodeo! It was nice to see everyone helping each other out. We left the news on 24/7 and waited. Daddy brought in all of our outdoor furniture, cooked up some meat from the freezer in case the power went out, and closed up the last shutter.




I've always thought our house was pretty dark without a whole lot of natural lighting, but with the shutters closed up, it was a whole nother story. We gathered all of our flashlights and candles in one place in case we needed them, and we set up camp downstairs in the living room. 

In the afternoon some of the outer bands started to come through with rain and wind. It wasn't anything out of the normal for us and Jacob enjoyed watching it so we sat out on the porch for a while and watched the rain. A hurricane warning came through on my phone and I started to panic just a little.



We put Jacob down for nap after lunch in his crib like normal, but by evening the wind and rain had really picked up. We ate dinner, watched the news, and tried to keep Jacob as occupied as possible. He knew. I don't know how, but somehow he knew something wasn't quite right. I don't think I'll ever forget him asking over and over "what's wrong Mommy?" and I promise you we were NOT showing signs of worry on the outside. We told him over and over "Nothing's wrong, it's all ok because we're together and safe in our house."


We put Jacob to bed in his crib, since he won't fall asleep anywhere else, then moved him down to the couch bed with us once he was asleep. I just didn't feel comfortable with any of us being up on the second floor, let alone Jacob being by himself in his room since we still weren't sure exactly what this storm was going to do. We watched the news quietly while he slept and then tried to sleep ourselves in our too-dark house. I got very little sleep that night, partially because of the storm, and partially because I was sleeping next to a toddler in my living room. Every time Jacob moved or coughed, I woke up. Every time the wind really started howling, I woke up. Tree branch against the house - I woke up. You get the idea. We were VERY tired the next morning.



Luckily for us, Matthew turned north at the last minute and we never got hit with the brunt of it. Some tropical storm wind and rain was the worst we got, though it did knock our power out in the middle of the night. Our house is REALLY dark, with no light coming in from outside or from inside. We lit a lantern for a few hours until the power came back on.


In the morning, we checked around outside and found that we were really lucky with no damage. Some large tree branches had fallen, and there were leaves everywhere, but that was it! It was kind of nice to have our first hurricane be "not-so-bad" but lets hope we don't have any more anytime soon!


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