Hurricane Frances 8-31-2004

I live in the Melbourne, FL. area.

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004.

I went to Wal-Mart today. The only water they had left was the expensive bottled kind, like Disani and Zephyr Hills. Instead I got some of the new Minute Maid Limeonade and some donut holes.
Went to Windixie and got 4 gallons of distilled water. Oh and a bag of chips, some canned tuna, and canned pineapple.
Looks like Francis is creating a slight panic here in Central Florida. Current predictions show it hitting us sometime Satuday.

Wednesday, September 1st, 2004.

2:15 PM Eastern.

Panic is on the verge of breaking out. Batteries are sold out everwhere, none of the hardware stores have any plywood left, there is a mandatory evacuation for Beachside Melbourne. There are talks that it will become a mandatory evacuation for all of Brevard County and Indian River County as well. According to the newest information, Frances is going to come directly across where I live.
The local mall here is going to be closed on Friday. Best Buy is talking of closing perhaps as early as tomorrow night. Schools are being closed right and left.
Winds are at 140 MPH; it’s moving NNW at 14 miles an hour. It a big powerful beast and is slow moving which makes her a really nasty gal.
Not too sure what we will do at this point.

11:50 PM Eastern.

Panic seems to be cutting deep now. We cannot decide to head south-west or to head north. 4 hours sw takes to towards Ft Myers, it will get hit by parts of the hurricane but no hurricane force winds. North takes us up to Memphis (BLECH!) and is also an 18 hour drive (double-BLECH!). Then come Monday we would have to turn around and fight all the traffic coming back (yep you guessed it, tripple-BLECH!).
Seems easy enough to decide what to do, but it is not.
More later.

Thursday, September 2nd, 2004.
9:15 AM Eastern.

After a decent nights sleep the mind tends to think a little more rationally. Hurricane Frances has taken a slight move to make landfall south of us. It is still going to make landfall in Brevard county, according to the prediction, but now instead of north Brevard county, it will fall on South Brevard county. This is not a good thing for me. That brings the eye DIRECTLY across the apartment in which I dwell.
Traffic is being shown on the news, Orlando is almost at a standstill with it’s roads being so packed with traffic. Fleeing north right now seems to be on hold. A possible run south may actually happen.
We have no way of being able to board up the windows, being in an apartment and all, so instead we are putting tape on them in an X. It will at least hold the glass together if the wind or debris shatters them.

More later.

12:19 PM Eastern.

The roads are bumper to bumper traffic on I-95 heading north towards St. Augustine. I think we have decided to head out to go to Destin, FL. It’s about 9 hours away from us, still a painful drive, but not as bad as it could be. We are thinking about heading out at about 1 AM but plans could change between now and then.

More later.

1:50 PM Eastern.

We have decided to go to Destin. It’s about 500 miles away, hopefully we can make it to a place that actually has gasoline between here and there. The problem is going to be coming back. Will they have gas when we need to come back?
Will anything even be here when we come back?

I’ll try to update when I can over the next few days, but if you never hear from me again, well…

Tuesday, September 07, 2004.

10:59 PM

We are back home. Everything around us is pretty much destroyed. Trees down everywhere, power lines down, gas station have no gas. Oddly enough we have power, and obviously cable. We made a mad dash up to Destin and stayed at the condu unit. There we watched as Frances made landfall; watching various channels show the winds move in, then then rain, then the damage. Frances decided to stay over the Melbourne area for close to 24 hours. Watching the news right now, the damage being shown looks more like the work of a tornado rather than a hurricane. 4 similar A-Frame houses in close proximity of each other, 2 are totally destroyed, the other 2 are still standing.

We made our way to Destin, it normally takes about 8 1/2 hours to drive there from the Melbourne area. It took us 16 hours. At one point it took us 2 hours just to go 30 miles. It was all due to heavy traffic, as everyone in our county (Brevard County) was pretty much given a madatory evacuation.
At about 9 PM the night we left we managed to find a place that had some gas and topped off our tank, then we decided to try to find a place to rest for the evening. We went to roughly 15 different Hotels, Inns, etc, looking for a room. ALL booked up with people on the run. We instead drove on. We left Brevard county at 3:00 PM and arrived in Destin at 7:00 AM. We then crashed asleep.
Once in Destin we pretty much had a vacation on our hands, anyone who has been there will know, it’s vacation central. The problem was, we were too worried about the hurricane to be able to enjoy any of Destin’s vacation luxuries.

Coming home was a bit faster, we left Destin at 10:00 AM and got back home at 8:30 PM, 10 1/2 hours. We heard reports that part of I-95 had a sinkhole, we never found that part, but traffic was still pretty bad nonetheless.

So, for now, everything seems to be okay for us. But Hurricane Ivan is on his way…

Thursday, September 9th, 2004.
7:52 AM

The aftermath. Hurricane Frances has cause a load of damage in most of her path. She spawned 92 documented tornados.

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