My first awareness of the power and fury of tropical storms came when I was a child . When I was four or five, somewhere around there, I remember traveling with my family to services in St. Petersburg, Florida during the autumn of the year while rain bands were overhead. The memory lives with me still. One time, while driving to church, I accidentally drove directly through a tropical storm I had been entirely unaware of, which drenched my car and made it difficult to drive and then left as quickly as it had come and left a beautiful Sabbath day in its wake. Another time a hurricane remained overhead for a couple of days, giving me a bit of cabin fever while I drove around deserted streets with downed tree limbs and high water looking for someplace with air conditioning. I ended up finding a Subway in Temple Terrace near the university and staying there for a bit until I cooled down a bit.
At times hurricanes have dramatically affected my travel experiences. In 2005, when I attended the Feast of Tabernacles in Wildwood, New Jersey, a nor’easter that had flooded the connection of the island where the feast was held with the mainland combined with the post-tropical Hurricane Wilma and created a perfect storm off-shore. That hurricane had damaged the wharf on the Yucatan near Cozumel which I would visit the following winter, and then damaged the airport in Miami where I was soon to travel, forcing some rescheduling of my flights. On the downside, I had to miss an extra day of work, but on the positive side, it was the first time I had ever flown first class, where I got to eat as many goldfish crackers as I wanted while reading Architectural Digest–the quality of reading material is much better in First Class. As someone who pays a great attention to logistics, I have found that storms reveal much about the strengths and weaknesses of logistics. Airlines manage to do pretty well as they have at least some hubs, but for those who are not so mobile and so flexible, storms can do immense damage that lasts for decades.
In 2004, the first of three hurricanes that hit central Florida was predicted to make a direct hit on Tampa before ending up hitting at Port Charlotte, some distance to the south and then moving northeast across Central Florida. My brother had planned to evacuate, and ended up evacuating into the path of the hurricane, which was probably not what he had planned to do. Over the past few days friends of mine have sought to ask suggestions about what songs they should have on their playlist for their hurricane parties, and many have wondered whether they should evacuate or not in the face of a massive and deadly storm bearing down on the state. Over the past few days the track has wavered between the west side of the state, off the east coast of the state, or right down the middle of the state, like a bowler seeking to make different approaches to a set of pins he or she is trying to knock down. I wondered what sort of plans my own family had made, given that much of my family lives along the central Part of the state in a band that extends through a few counties from the St. Pete Area through Tampa and Plant City up to Orlando and then over to Ocala. The projected path of the storm as I write this is definitely a sobering one.
[Photo below courtesy of the NHC.]
My concern and curiosity for my folks led me to call my mum while I was at dinner. In asking her about her plans she was her customarily detailed self, discussing how she had plenty of water in various teapots ready to go when the power went off, how there was water in the tub to use for watering plans or any other washing needs, how the plants were taken care of, and what rooms of the house she and my stepfather would go to when the winds were at their most severe. From what I heard it appeared they had a solid plan, and so I wished them well, they asked for plenty of prayers, and she promised to call me when the storm was finished. With that, we wished each other a happy Sabbath and I finished my dinner and hobbled on home. Soon after that, I chatted about various verses I found to be particularly comforting in a time of anxiety like that where one has to steel oneself against the coming storm.
 See, for example: