By: Sandra Jean Charite, MS
Hurricane Irma was expected to hit landfall in South Florida between the early hours on Sunday, September 10.
All day Friday and into late Saturday night, thousands of South Floridians prepared for the storm. They lined up in stores, filled up their gas tanks, and ensured that they had obtained all the necessary supplies.
People tuned in to their local weather stations via television, radio, or online to get their latest updates of the storm. However, Irma would bring more than just wind and rain but she brought patience.
Ok, rewind. Days before the storm hit South Florida, many flocked to the gas stations in which they endured long wait times. The wait was ridiculous. Having endured Hurricane Andrew, Katrina, and Wilma, I could not find myself waiting in those lines again and possibly running out of gas while waiting. So that Friday morning before the storm, I decided that on my way to work I would fill up my gas tank. I left my house early hoping to beat the traffic to the pumps but the gas station’s line was long and they ran out of gas just as I was the third vehicle in line.
Knowing that I didn’t want to be late for work, I jumped on the Florida Turnpike thinking that my commute would be quick. The Turnpike was already congested due to the amount of people who were fleeing Key West and the down south area of Miami. Although the tolls were suspended because Irma was approaching, I was annoyed by the traffic and my patience was slowly diminishing. Surprisingly, traffic cleared in less than 10 minutes and I was flying on the Turnpike. I reached my destination, Margate (Pompano Beach area), within 15 minutes and I was left with 45 minutes to spare.
Since I was early, I drove around to find gas. All the local gas station’s lines were long.