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Growing up in the hurricane state

by Meghann on August 27, 2012

We have a tropical storm in our backyard.

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Why, hello, Mr. Isaac. I can’t say it’s a pleasure to meet you.

Isaac is not the first tropical storm to pass so close to home this season, and he certainly won’t be the last. Hurricane season runs through November and usually reaches its peak sometime in mid-late September, which means we probably still have a storm or two in our near future.

Growing up in Florida, I am no stranger to hurricanes or the havoc they cause every summer. I think my first taste of understanding what a hurricane is was in second grade, when Hurricane Andrew hit Miami (exactly 20 years ago this month). We were lucky in Central Florida, with just some rain and a little wind. I don’t actually remember much from the day the hurricane made landfall, except that I got to miss the first day of school. It wasn’t until a few weeks later, when I made a new friend whose family had to relocate to the area after they lost their home down south, that I actually understood the destruction Andrew had left behind. It was a hard lesson to learn at 8.

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In 1999 Hurricane Floyd threatened Central Florida. It was the first time I ever remember my parents being legitimately scared of a storm. Our family did everything we were supposed to do – we boarded our windows, packed up our van, and headed inland. Where did we go? Disney World. The All-Stars resort was apparently the best deal my parents could find for a hotel, as every other spot in Orlando filled quickly with other east coast evacuees. It actually wasn’t a bad situation. It wasn’t raining yet when we arrived, so we spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in the hotel pool. The also hotel provided a free meal and had an arcade, where we spent the rest of the night wasting quarters.

Thankfully, Floyd made a sharp turn in the middle of the night and headed north. Our coast was spared of any severe damage, but the majority of our county still lost power and remained powerless for the week. My dad bought a generator the first night without power. Our house quickly became the favorite of all my friends as we were the only ones with power to watch TV or play video games. We also got to miss 4 days of school due to the power outages. Unfortunately, we had to make up two of those days at the end of the school year.

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2004 was the year of hurricanes for Central Florida. I was in school at the time up in Tallahassee, but I think my brother and sister missed a total of 16 days of school that year back home. It was not a good year to live on the east coast of Florida. A curfew was put in place through the county and most businesses stayed closed, due to high winds and power outages.

I missed the other hurricanes, but I was in town when Charlie hit. Charlie made his way across Florida the day before my cousin’s wedding – you can read more about that experience HERE.


Andrew, Floyd, and Charlie were just a few of the storms I’ve lived through in my 27+ years in Florida. My family has been VERY LUCKY with our hurricane experience. The most we’ve had to deal with is fallen trees (that thankfully did not land on our house or cars) and lost power. I’ve known friends and neighbors that have not been so lucky, they are my reminder that you can never be too cautious and that these storms are NEVER predictable.


Hurricanes or no hurricanes, Florida is still my home. I believe that no matter where you go in this country, there’s the potential for a natural disaster of some form to hit. We may have hurricanes here, but at least we don’t have earth quakes – the idea of those scare the crap out of me!

Even though Isaac is far off the west coast of Florida, we’re still getting a taste of him all the way on the east coast. It was windy, rainy, and gloomy when I woke up this morning. I decided to toss my plans for a run in my parents’ neighborhood out the door and instead headed to the gym. 3 miles on the treadmill was all I was after. πŸ™‚

After the gym I met my friend Allison at Sunrise Bakery for scones.


I got the orange date, my FAVORITE.


I also picked up a loaf of Flax Seed bread.


Which made awesome sandwiches with the leftover pork in my parents’ fridge for lunch.


Plus, apple slices.


Puppy’s first tropical storm.


Still no name. πŸ™

I’m waiting for it to clear up some before I head back to Tampa. I think Orlando is being hit with the outer bands the hardest right now, but according to the weather channel, it should pass soon.

1 Krissy @ Shiawase Life August 27, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Stay safe, Meghann!

I really lucked out when it comes to hurricanes…I lived in Orlando from 2006 to 2010, and never experienced one. I do, however, remember that super slow TS Fay! Holy buckets, was that a lot of rain!!
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2 Sana August 27, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Take care- we had a hurricane/tropical storm last year? And a lot of people lost power but my house was fine. Still scary!
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3 laura August 27, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Be safe!!!

How about Winston for the puppy’s name??!

4 Amanda August 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm

I hope Issac passes soon! We’re headed to Disney on Saturday for a week trip with my Fiance’s family. My future MIL is FREAKING out right now but I told her that we can’t control the weather and at least we are not there right now.

How has the weather been otherwise? We’re planning on having at least an hour or so of rain each day — is that an accurate guess?

Fingers crossed everything resumes to normal soon!

p.s. your family’s new pup is adorable. I’ve always loved boxers and think they are the cutest puppies!
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5 Meghann August 27, 2012 at 4:11 pm

The weather is just gloomy here. It was sunny all weekend, today has been the first gloomy day. I think it will clear up before Saturday. I would expect an hour of rain a day, just like any other summer day. Florida weather is so unpredictable – it’s hard to know exactly what you’re going to get.

6 Lindsey August 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Why not name the new puppy Issac because he came into your lives during Hurricane Issac?

7 Margaret @ Have A Good Run August 27, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Hahaha I was JUST going to suggest that myself! πŸ™‚
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8 Becka @ simplybecka August 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Stay safe in the storm. I like the name “Barley” for the dog. What a super cutie. I hope he is a wonderful new addition to your family, sorry about your lose.
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9 Miranda @ Biting Life August 27, 2012 at 4:10 pm

It’s tornados that I’m really scared of!

Rhode Island doesn’t get too much. Although we have to deal with a hell of a winter, so that probably covers us. We did get a big hurricane last year, which was awful, and a flood a couple of years before that. But those are really the only bad weather events I’ve ever experienced here.
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10 Annette @FitnessPerks August 27, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Stay safe!! I’m from StL, so I’ve lived through tornados–those are pretty crappy. The sky turns green & black….it’s spooky!
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11 Heather August 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm

glad things aren’t bad there. We decided to ride out the storm, it’s supposed to start getting bad tonight here on the MS coast. eekk!

12 Lisa August 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Scrappy πŸ™‚

What a cute puppy. I’ve wanted a Boxer for so long. Waiting til I move to a place with a big yard. So sorry for your family’s loss of Scooby πŸ™

13 Lisa August 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Oh…and I’m all the way on the East Coast of FL (Palm Beach County). We are STILL getting feeder bands from Isaac and terrible flooding. He’s a big, slow moving storm!

14 Jackie August 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I was living in South Florida during Andrew…I was only five but I somehow still have very vivid memories of the storm! I guess my 5-year-old self was pretty scared. We were lucky enough to only lose part of our roof, so many lost so much more.

I remember back in the day people used MASKING TAPE on their windows when I hurricane was on its way. My mom says the idea was that if the glass broke, at least it wouldn’t shatter as badly. Who knows….Maybe this was just a Miami thing?

Wishing everyone on the gulf coast a safe few days while Irene passes through!

15 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles August 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Hope your drive home is safe!
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16 Heather August 27, 2012 at 4:48 pm

What if you named the pup pup after the hurricane? Or maybe after another one of the character in the Scooby Doo TV show? Shaggy or Fred?

17 Morgan August 27, 2012 at 4:58 pm

You should name him Scrappy after scrappy-doo from the cartoon. Every time I read Scooby I always immediately think of Scrappy afterwards

18 Megan August 27, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I was thinking the same thing!!

19 Lisa August 27, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Me too πŸ™‚ I suggested it too – 1st name I think of when I look at that little face. Scrappy Doo! πŸ˜‰

20 Amanda August 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I’m a New Orleanean, born and raised – I feel ya! August 2005 changed my life – so many things are different now because Katrina happened. We couldnt get back in the city for almost a month. However as far as this thing goes – hurricane shmurricane – lets just say my fridge is stocked with adult beverages…

21 Lindsey August 27, 2012 at 5:29 pm

You should name the puppy Shaggy or Scrappy πŸ™‚

22 Beth (Running with the Sunrise) August 27, 2012 at 5:49 pm

I hope the storms stay far, far away from you this year. I did my Master’s degree work in Florida and the lab I was supposed to work in got trashed by the hurricanes in 2004, so although I didn’t experience them, I saw all of the awful aftermath. My first year in Florida was 2005, which was a doozy of a year to move down there. I missed a few days of class for Katrina and was without power for about 2 weeks with Wilma. It’s not a fun thing to deal with. Florida’s been pretty lucky recently, which is definitely a good thing.

Stay safe!
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23 Kelly August 27, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Thankfully, in the Clermont area, we haven’t gotten much of this storm at all.. My uncle and his family went through Hurricane Andrew and they lost everything. We went down to help and hand out waters the day after it happened and I just remember seeing his home (and many, many homes) torn to pieces and one of my cousin’s bed up in a tree. Such a crazy sight..and one that will always stick with me.
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24 Erin August 27, 2012 at 6:03 pm

My dad lives in Tampa. I haven’t talked to him yet, though, so I don’t know how the storm is affecting him. The last time one skirted Tampa he laughed at his neighbor who tied their trampoline to their fence. Yeah, like that will help!

As for the puppy, he looks so goofy in a cute way! I was thinking Goofus or Gallant. Probably Gallant (am I the only one who remembers this?)
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25 Carol August 27, 2012 at 6:09 pm

I once knew a boxer named Bobby – he was so darn cute ! How about Rocky ? Or another famous boxer ?

26 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats August 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm

When I was in Charleston for college we only ever got 2 tropical depressions, and I evacuated for fun during one to go home with a friend of mine to the upstate. I’ve never actually experienced a natural disaster, although I’m from Kansas City, there are never any tornadoes that come into the city, they only seem to hit the small towns around us!
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27 Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale August 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm

While I LOVELOVELOVE rainstorms, the itty bitty summer storms that we get here in Ottawa definitely do not hold a candle to tropical storms/hurricanes. Be safe, but enjoy just how much power the Earth holds (it’s amazing isn’t it?). πŸ™‚
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28 Stephanie August 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm

You’re right! As a fellow Floridian, hurricanes can be a pain, but there are natural disasters exist all over the country (and world) so sometimes wind and rain isn’t as bad as the other possibilities!
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29 jaclyn August 27, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Ahh I love this post! Ok I am actually in Orlando this week on ‘vacation’ – um probably not so smart to plan during hurricane season! buuut I had a time share I had to use up and last minute, this was one of the only places that had a week available-go figure!

I agree that most every part of the country has its demise (earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, etc) and FL definitely does get hit hard with them! When I read that part about you being afraid of earthquakes, I had to laugh a little – I am from Seattle and so earthquakes are NOTHING new to me! However, this morning when I woke up to my phone alarm of breaking news of a tornado in my county (!) I had a minor freak out for a few minutes!! Earthquakes only last a few seconds, but a tornado?!! ummmm, no thankyou!!!!

I too, hope this passes soon and safe travels home!!
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30 Laura August 27, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Stay safe in the storm!
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31 Elizabeth August 27, 2012 at 7:54 pm

puppy looks like a “Buster” to me – sooooooooo cute!

32 Sara@RunningInPinkProject August 27, 2012 at 8:16 pm

My husband is telling me our pup is not appreciating all of the wind and rain going on in FL right now. I told him shes a VA girl at heart! Stay safe!!
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33 Meghan August 27, 2012 at 8:39 pm

One year, not sure of the hurricane, too lazy to look it up off the date of picture, we got a day off from school. My sister, cousin, and me swam in the puddles in the front yard with our bathing suits. It was one of the best days off I can remember!
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34 Julie August 27, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Be safe! Hmmm… pup’s name… Arnold? It’s the best I can come up with right now. Hang in there and good for you for running inside and staying safe!
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35 Bethany August 28, 2012 at 8:30 am

Floyd was at the very beginning of my freshman year of college in St. Augustine, FL and we were evacuated because it’s such a low lying area on the coast. Now colleges and universities send automatic text alerts and update their websites but I don’t remember my small college having that in 1999!

36 Emily N August 28, 2012 at 8:44 am

Awe, poor puppy no name. πŸ™‚

We had some pretty serious damage from Ike a few years back all the way up here in Ohio! I can’t imagine what it would be like to be closer to water (other than the Ohio River and Lake Erie where I grew up!)
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37 deepsouthrunner August 28, 2012 at 11:20 am

I grew up in south Louisiana, about 20 miles from New Orleans, so I have been through lots of hurricanes too. The first hurricane I remember is Andrew, which we evacuated to Arkansas for when I was in 2nd grade. Now I am in Baton Rouge preparing for Isaac and hoping my family, who are still in the NOLA area, stay safe. No matter how many hurricanes you go through, you never get used to seeing that big whirling storm headed your way!

38 Kathleen @ fittitude freedom August 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm

A microburst on my birthday 9/7 – it was also Labor Day. This crazy storm shut down Syracuse for weeks. Thanks to my brother’s generator- I still had a birthday cake!
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39 Sonia the Mexigarian August 29, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Growing up in CA, the thought of hurricanes and tornadoes scare the heck out of me. At least you know it’s coming and take the necessary precautions (even so, safety is not guranteed ). Earthquakes happen out of the blue and last a few seconds. They happen every day, most unfelt by humans, and we hardly any damage, escept for the big ones. Now those are scary. I remember as a small child screaming under our kitchen table as the Loma Prieda hit. πŸ™ The most recent earthquake memory was several years ago when I was carving pumpkins with the Husband. The cats started freaking out a few minutes before hand and then the pumpkins started rolling off the table.

Like you said, any part of the country has their share of weather/natural disasters to deal with. It’s just as important for everyone to have their plan and their “safety bin” updated.
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