Today is Monday. On a normal day, at 8am, our roads are packed with cars, heading to work, or since I live in a tourist area, congested even more with sightseers. But as I pulled out from the side street, there were only a hand full of cars coming in my direction. “Odd,” I thought to myself. Then I remembered, today is a “recognized” day off since the actual 4th of July holiday fell on a Sunday. A lot of places are closed today. But still, there should have been more traffic. Even on a Saturday, the flow of traffic is pretty heavy. While I am sure it is just the fact that so many places are not open today, the empty eerily reminded me of another time, September 10, 2017.
We are currently under a “tropical storm watch,” best explained with this meme:
A watch, means the ingredients are all there for impact from the tropical storm named Elsa. A warning means it is going down, imminent.
For Floridians who have been through multiple tropical storms, Elsa probably will not pack as much of an impact as many of our Summer storms that we get hit with. But to those not from here, after they get past the shock that this happens to be an area that sees a lot of these storms, or that the storms happen from June to November, they become Chicken Little.
Under normal circumstances, this fear, or drama, leads to a dramatic shift in behavior, bad and irresponsible behavior, not unlike the great toilet paper short of 2020 or the pipeline gas shortage of 2021. Panic sets in. There is a rush to wipe out store shelves as if they will be cut off from society for weeks. But not this time.
So the lightly travelled roads, and the lack of a last minute rush to the store, do not seem to be a reflection of Elsa approaching Florida. She is a serious storm as she has left some destruction, and cost peoples lives. As she goes passed the coast where I live tomorrow, it really is going to be just another storm with some rain and wind, and a really pretty and vindictive name, Elsa.
But the day before Irma hit in 2017, one of the monster hurricane’s in the record books, I do recall quite vividly, the emptiness of the roads, boarded up businesses and shuttered homes, as we all prepared for a potential and eventual head-on impact. Fortunately for us, there is no comparison between the two storms. And that means, that after Elsa passes us, the devastation and recovery will be nothing compared to Irma.