Staring at the NOAA Website All Day
When we were making the choice to move to the Caribbean it was obvious that we would be moving to a part of the world that we would have to encounter…or maybe…endure hurricanes. Little did we know that it would be so soon and so intense.
I have learned that during hurricane season – and especially as a storm is nearing you – you spend most of your day staring at the NOAA website trying to decipher how soon or how close a storm may or may not hit you directly. We have gotten pretty good at figuring out the many different tools on the site and even enjoy tracking the many storms at times.
Irma was our first. We planned and prepped. We prepped and planned. The Friday before Irma was forecast to hit the U.S. Virgin Islands I spent the day going to the local grocery stores and gathering supplies. I knew we needed water and non-perishable food. I got a lot of both.
I would make another 3 trips to the stores to get “one more thing” that we just “might” need. I had frozen drinking water in gallon Ziploc bags in my freezer. I filled my bathtub with water. I filled containers to wash and rinse our hands by the sinks. I filled all the containers we had with other water that we could cook or clean with. I charged any and ALL electrical device we had. I filled up our car with gas. I made sure I had cash. I set up and filled our camp shower. I did all the laundry. I covered everything we owned with plastic or put it in a plastic bag in the event we lost our roof. We (meaning Stewart) put up our hurricane shutters. Then we sweat through the night with no cross breezes. It was uncomfortable but we felt safe. We were ready.
Wednesday came and we waited….and waited….and waited. We got up and had breakfast – toast and fruit. We still had power. I had just finished toasting the bread when the power went out. WAPA (Virgin Islands Water & Power Authority) will shut off the power as a preemptive effort to ensure that if power lines go down there are not “live” wires on the roads where people could get hurt. We then knew that we were now ready to go without power for a while. We didn’t know how long.
We had charged our phones and the computer so we could stay connected to family and check the storm path throughout the storm. We could see that we should be in “the thick of it” by about 2pm on Wednesday. Then it looked like 4pm. It seemed to keep getting pushed back. We waited some more. We opened the doors to let some light and some air in. It rained a little. The wind blew a little. We didn’t ever feel like it was time to “batten down the hatches.” And so it was. Irma passed St. Croix with very little damage. There were power poles and trees down all over the island but there was no major loss of life or property. We had been spared and received a great blessing! Our hearts ached for our sister islands in the USVI who had not had the same experience.
Once Irma passed and the damage was assessed on the other islands, it was time to start the process of rebuilding. However, only 2 weeks from when Irma hit the USVI, we are now looking forward to another Category 3 (possible 4 or even 5) hurricane hitting our little island community.
As I sit here, I am writing as a way to process this experience of hurricane season. I would be lying if I said I am not scared. I am terrified. I have an overactive imagination and I am really good at imagining the “worst-case” scenario. I try to look at my imagination as a strength in helping me to prepare for anything. I have a knot in my stomach. I fear for the many “what ifs” that may occur.
We have done all the same prep for this storm as we did for the last. We are planning for the worst and expecting and hoping for the best.
I could choose to cry every moment I think about the “worst-case” scenario or I could choose courage. I can choose joy. I can choose calm. I can choose peace. I know that we are in St. Croix for a reason. I know that no matter what, God has a plan for me and my family. I am putting my faith in Him to work a mighty miracle – whatever that may be. I am willing and ready to receive it.
And so I breathe. I breathe to release the tension that is built up inside of me. I breathe to let the calm and peace in. I just – BREATHE. Although the chaos and fear and unknowing may last another 24 hours, I will choose joy no matter the outcome.
Please remember to pray or send your positive energy our way! Also know that it may be another little while before we are able to make another post.