Michael, for most is just a name. Neither good or bad. I have several family members with that as a first or middle name. However, if you’ve been around a news broadcast anywhere in the last few montgs you know the name has taken on an infamous shadow that will haunt thousands for years to come. It started innocently enough as tropical wave L91 in the lower Caribbean Sea off the Yucatan peninsula.
As a long-term Florida resident we didn’t give it much thought. It strengthened and started heading north as these often do. We get regular storms brought up from the Gulf year round. While bringing some wind and rain, it’s not really an odd occurrence. Indeed this is a normal weather pattern for us. A couple of days later it intensified to a named storm. Michael. When early predictions started rolling in we took note but really didn’t consider it worth getting anxious about until it made category II.
If you’ve seen the pictures from Panama city, Lynn haven, Tyndall AFB, Mexico Beach, you have seen the catastrophic damage these storms can cause. in the days right before it hit land we urged friends and family to evacuate. People with brick homes are facing starting over. I was surprised by how many people were going to stay even those in mobile homes were planning to ride out the storm at home. I was very surprised to learn that even with all the years experience that most long-term residents have, they did not have a basic hurricane kit with essential like a weather radio. Along with posting information for survivors to help in the aftermath, I am putting the link to the supply list everyone should have and how to prepare before the storm arrives.
With most communications down, info was passed on thru the few working cell carriers. The vulnerable systems left, advocated using secondary sites like Facebook, Google hangouts, Zello and others for both rescue officials and citizens. I am proud that most who stayed showed the best side of humanity by jumping into action and helping each other without any expectations. While some tried to take advantage, the majority pitched in to help. Many like myself could not physically travel to the affected area, we turned to social media groups to help verify and pass important information. Working with both people bringing supplies in, official stations for aid, and real people on the ground, we were able to help connect people with needs and help.
Special Thanks to all the Linemen who work so diligently to restore power to affected neighborhoods. The search and rescue teams who help save countless lives. The Cajun Navy from Louisiana. Their tireless efforts to help can never be overstated. Thank you for continuing even after official operations were turned over to the National Guard.
This is from NOAA just before the storm made landfall.
Over a month later the major news media has refocused thier attention. Good Morning America, did a live broadcast just this morning to help bring focus back to the destruction that is total and onhoing. People are still living in tents throughout the city. Mexico Beach just no longer exists. As Thanksgiving comes to us all this year we give special thanks for surviving the storm. Even with everything lost and no place to go or live the residents remain strong, hopeful and yes, this Thanksgiving we give extra thanks for our family and friends from this affected area. So as you gather for your holiday celebration, and prepare to shop till you drop, please remember the spirit of giving. While there are many who donate to charities this giving season, please consider giving to those in the ground aiding directly in this recovery.
An alumni from school started her own non-profit for Hurricane recovery. Way to go Rachel!
https://www.facebook.com/SenatorGainer/ 🍁I have compiled a list of Thanksgiving events that are free to our community.
If I have missed a link to a valuable resource please let me know.