Practicalities of evacuation from Florida’s west coast

It’s 10 pm and Hurricane Ian is now forecast to slam straight into Fort Myers, Florida.

A friend’s dad is in one of the low-lying surge-vulnerable areas covered by a “mandatory evacuation order,” but he’s refusing to leave. Will the National Guard pull him out? “There’s evacuation orders in place… our recommendation is to heed those evacuation orders,” says Ron DeSantis (still making some last-minute efforts to redirect the hurricane to Martha’s Vineyard).

What if dad wanted to evacuate to FLL or Miami (plenty of hotels available)? Fall of Saigon situation? Not according to Google Maps. The highways are green. Google calculates 2 hours and 8 minutes right now from Fort Myers to the hotels around FLL.

What if dad wanted to stay nearby, but in a county-/state-run shelter on high ground? It looks as though the schools and recreation centers have been set up as shelters (list for Lee County). What if he wants to bring a faithful dog? “All shelters are pet-friendly” says the county’s Facebook page:

Suppose that dad #persists in staying in his flood-vulnerable house and needs to be extracted by boat? The state has a collection of redneck airboats!

The power companies have assembled what looks like an invasion force.

It seems that thousands of crews have been driving in from other states. Helping out in Florida after a September hurricane is a lot better than helping out in New England after a February Nor’easter!

Not everyone from San Antonio went to Martha’s Vineyard:

That’s what’s available from the local and state governments here in Florida. Let’s not forget the vital role of Science and the Federal government. “Preparing for a Hurricane or Tropical Storm” (CDC):

If you live in areas at risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages you to be prepared for hurricane season. … Stay up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines.

12 thoughts on “Practicalities of evacuation from Florida’s west coast

  1. Luckily climate change is a myth so anyone evacuating is a pathetic liberal science denier.

    • Toucan: but I’m agreeing with you? Weather is real, but luckily you can redirect it with a sharpie so not sure what your point is?

    • @Angry Aussie, not sure whether you are familiar with Florida geographical location, hurricanes are common fixture there from second half of August till about November which is called hurricane season. If anything, recently Florida experienced fewer hurricanes then usual.

  2. @philg: Good luck and my best wishes and prayers to everyone. Even the east coast of FL is projected to get a lot of rain depending on how it tracks. Be careful out there.

    • Thanks, Alex. Our neighborhood was built in 1999 so the hydrological design is textbook. The neighbors say that they’ve never had any kind of flood here despite previous hurricane-scale rain. There were two tornadoes last night about one hour south of us. That was not forecast. In fact, this is the part of Florida to which people on the west coast were told to evacuate to. The safe space was not safe!

    • @philg: Yeah unexpected tornados can wreck your day. Back in 2011 there was an F3 that ripped part of Deplorable MA. One of my friend’s homes was directly in the path. It was completely obliterated, leveled to the foundation, with little fragments of roof joists and scattered shingles. Trees more than foot in diameter were snapped in half like they had been hit by the Lord’s Weed Whacker. I knew where it hit and drove by his place: he was standing in the road with a bunch of friends, personal items and papers blowing in the wind, his home and attached business completely destroyed. I got out of my car and I could just not believe the look on his face.

      He ran up to me crying, threw his arms around me and hugged me. I couldn’t believe it – he’s not that kind of emotional person usually. I said: “How are you still here? How did it miss you?”

      He said:

      “I heard it coming, I ran out of the house and took off running like hell down the road. It’s ALL GONE, MAN! BOOM!”

    • My best friend’s waterfront house just exploded in 150 mph wind. He was picking up their stuff in the neighborhood for days. His wife never found her chest with her undies! He may have been double-whammy’ed by an embedded tornado.

  3. “FWC has readied high-water vehicles & all other storm response resources so they can be rapidly deployed to assist Floridians in need due to damage or flooding”

    A hurricane or threat of a hurricane is a huge overtime generator of public-sector workers. My city activates the entire police, fire, and public works departments (over 500 workers) plus an assortment of dozens of managers and bean-counters (to be sure to accurately account for everyone’s hours worked and other storm expenditures so the city can get reimbursed by FEMA); all working 24-hour paid shifts (12 hrs on duty/12 hrs rest) for three days, at double time. Everyone wants to be on the hurricane response team.

    • @DP: Sqrt (-1) to that and don’t forget the Red Cross. My father knows a guy who decided to retire from his job as a sysadmin for a large company and now travels the country with his wife in a UGE motorhome (he’s originally from Jersey) and basically, what they do is travel from disaster to disaster, get paid generously by the Red Cross, and spend the rest of the time visiting all their favorite places. It’s a great life if you can swing it.

    • @Alex: “get paid generously by the Red Cross”

      This is interesting. Are they regular Red Cross employees? Or on-call contractors paid per event? How do they get their assignments? What is the pay? What do they do beside hand out water? Do they have any special disaster-response skills, or were they trained by Red Cross?

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