Wilma Aftermath: Suspended Animation, Active Worries

We’re fine, but we’re in a sort of suspended animation. There’s power three or fewer blocks in every direction, and even for one or two houses on my street. But the rest of us are left in limbo, watching food and gas supplies dwindle.

FP&L, the local power company, has promised that all those of who live in Miami-Dade north of Kendall Drive (the group I’m in) will have power by … November 22. Yes, by Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, although there is apparently no shortage of gasoline, there is a very great shortage of gas stations with power. And without power they cannot pump the gasoline. Knowing that our pre-hurricane hoard of gas — which runs the generator which keeps the fridge going — was due to run out Wednesday night, I went off in search of gas Wednesday morning. All I found was gas lines. The first one was short, but only because it was a flash crowd; there was in fact no gas being pumped. The second one was ten blocks long. The third was almost as long, and the station had run out but expected a new delivery ‘soon’. The fourth was again ten blocks or more. I gave up and went home. By Wednesday night, an hour before curfew (curfew runs from 8pm to 6am), the line at the closest station was only about fifty cars, and took maybe forty minutes; I got home with minutes to spare. But I got my twenty gallons, and I’m good to go for another three days or so. I expect that by the next time I need gas, there will be a lot more stations open so the lines will be shorter.

A more pressing problem may be food, although risk-averse legal types that we are, we have several days worth of pasta, rice and the like, even after we finish eating the frozen stuff. Most of the local stores are running on generators and selling mostly dry goods at present. It would be nice to find a source of milk and bread, but I can’t complain compared to many. Plus the Miami Herald reports that FP&L will be prioritizing stores starting today, now that they’ve gotten the hospitals and other first responders sorted out. (A longer-run problem may be laundry; but I’m sure there must be a host of machines somewhere in the student dorms.)

The schools claim that they will reopen Monday, and that is the university’s current plan as well. The remaining issues are whether the roads will be sufficiently clear, enough traffic lights will be working to make the journey safe, and especially whether gas supplies will be plentiful enough to allow people to commute.

It also seems as if the weather, which has been unseasonably dry and cool — the mid-70s — will revert to normal, starting Friday, and climb to the mid-80s. Plus it will rain a lot, topping up the humidity. So it’s going to get much more unpleasant in the house, and the fridge will have to work harder, making greater demands on the gas supply.

In fact everything is fine, and our discomforts are in the grand scale of things quite minor. But it is surprising how much time coping requires.

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One Response to Wilma Aftermath: Suspended Animation, Active Worries

  1. Great to hear that all is reasonably well with you Michael.

    I keep hearing stuff that things are far worse in Broward and Palm Beach counties — but that the media isn’t really covering it because of all of the other news going on….

    any insights?

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