A Date with Destiny (and Hurricane Irma)

A Date with Destiny (and Hurricane Irma)

Dana Lark

Long before it made landfall, the world had it’s eyes on Hurricane Irma. Prior to making landfall on the continental U.S., Irma broke the record for the longest sustained Category 5 hurricane.  

“I see you girl” – Riley Curry

An interesting enough tidbit, “I” named hurricanes have a history of making a lasting impression. On the long list of historical hurricane names, more “I” named hurricanes have been retired than any other letter. 

When it arrived, Irma sent the southeastern U.S. into a innate state of panic and confusion. Over 6 million people were ordered to evacuate Florida, potentially making this the largest evacuation in U.S history. The process doubled the largest recorded evacuation in the U.S., with about 3 million fleeing in anticipation of Hurricane Rita in 2005.

But as for Georgia Southern, it really only brought out the best in us.

I decided to stay in Statesboro and ride out the storm. As the NOAA updates consistently shifted Irma’s track in a more western direction, I gradually felt better about my decision and chose to catalog Irma’s encroaching nearness.

When the school’s extended cancellation was finally announced on Thursday, it was an eerily beautiful day. Friday was more the same, with crystal clear blue skies. By mid-day Saturday, I could see bands of clouds taking over and by the evening the cloud coverage was significant.

A #nofilter warning has been issued.

 

Sunday 9/10

12:11 p.m. 

As Irma is ripping past the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane, we still only have overcast skies covering our area.  

7:14 p.m.

At this point, it’s been raining for several hours and there is no end in sight! Irma is currently a Category 2, 494 miles away in Fort Myers, Florida. The temperature remains in the low 60s, causing me to turn the heater on in my car for the first time in months. Tis’ the season?

Monday 9/11

When I woke up around 9 a.m. I had no power. My biggest concern at that point was how to make a cup of coffee. A luxury problem, I know. Long story short, this did not work. A car plug-in adapter is not strong enough to power a coffee pot, just in case you were wondering.

 

12:37 p.m.

Strong winds and a heavy downpour from the remnants of hurricane Irma unfold, which has now been downgraded to a tropical storm.

 

5:08 p.m.

I still have no power, but the rain has subsided and the sun is trying her best to make an appearance.

 

6:20 p.m.

I get in the car to assess the damage at GS. The Bulloch County curfew is still in effect, but at this point I’m getting stir-crazy from being cooped up in a powerless house.

Sweetheart Circle had certainly seen much better days.

 

After scoping out the scene, the hunt for food began, which is quite literally what it sounds like: A hunt. The town was almost completely shut down. We circled what I’m sure to be the entire perimeter of Statesboro and found five restaurants open. Seasons of Japan had a line out the door and along the sidewalk, while Olive Garden had much of the same. Hardee’s had a line of cars that wrapped around the drive thru twice, and Longhorn’s parking lot resembled that of graduation day. My crew finally landed at Little Italy out of desperation and the restaurant was nearly standing-room only. When I arrived home about 9:30 p.m., the power was restored.

Thus, the Irma Statesboro experience came to a close. The loss of power, struggle for coffee, and hunt for food when I had plenty to eat in my own kitchen are such small aggravations in the light of the sheer devastation Irma brought to Florida. My heart, thoughts, and prayers are with those who were truly affected by this catastrophic storm.