Running from Hurricane Dorian/Sheltering in Gainesville, Florida

Along the east coast of Florida

Sunday-Wednesday, September 1-4, 2019


According to Wikipedia, the Atlantic Hurricane Season typically occurs from June 1st to November 30 with peak activity from late August through September.  The season’s climatological peak usually occurs around September 10th.  On average, 10.1 named tropical storms occur each season; 5.9 become hurricanes; and 2.5 become major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5).  Floridians commonly monitor the National Hurricane Center website during the season.

We learned of Dorian on Saturday, August 24th.  We watched her grow and strengthen to a category 4 (130 to 156 mph winds capable of catastrophic damage:  can tear off roofs).  Dorian turned out to be a very slow-moving storm.  A times, she only moved 1 mph!  This allowed her to intensify.  As she approached category 5 (winds higher than 157 mph, capable of leveling houses and destroying buildings), it seemed prudent to seek shelter and drive to a point outside the “cone of uncertainty”.  Gainesville (a city we had never visited) fit the bill.

But this post is not about Gainesville; that will come later.  This is simply about our response to the hurricane threat.

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Whenever a hurricane looms, it is necessary to remove all possible projectiles and secure them indoors. We took all the patio furniture, potted plants, and porch decorations into the garage. The heavy grill is strapped and bolted to the ground.
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We have hurricane windows and a secured roof. We are positioned on a rise above the lake. We took a final look at our little piece of paradise, prayed for the best, and loaded the car with the “importants.”
As we left, it appearad the feeder bands were coming in.
As we left, it appeared the feeder bands were coming in.
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Because mandatory evacuations were announced for Monday morning, Sept 2, we decided to start our drive on Sunday afternoon and beat the traffic. We found the gas lines to be minimal.
Traffic was light.
Traffic was light.
Do note that the billboards have been stripped down to avoid "lift off."
Do note that the billboards have been stripped down to avoid “lift off.”
Note the roadside lights.
Note the roadside lights.
They are being lowered to present a "clean" profile in the wind.
They are being lowered to present a “clean” profile in the wind.
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We noticed many, many convoys of utility vehicles heading to the potential areas of damage. Repairing utility lines is a critical activity after a hurricane!!!
Spotted this convoy at a rest stop!
Spotted this convoy at a rest stop!
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Arriving in Gainesville, we noted this search and rescue team at our hotel. They have high-water vehicles, jeeps, trucks, rafts…, rescue equipment, and trained personnell.
….boats, rescue equipment, and trained personnel.
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They were already gone when we awoke Monday morning. Tuesday is when Dorian came abeam the east coast of  central Florida.
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Wednesday morning, we awoke and departed Gainseville. Arriving home, we found everything intact!!! We had left anticipating a category 4 or 5 strike. We returned to the relief that a “wobble” had taken Dorian a little bit to the east. It was enough!


As I write this, today, Dorian has come ashore in North Carolina as a category 1 (74 mph-95 mph winds; minor damage.)  But don’t be fooled by the words.  The winds of the hurricane may not be devastatingly bad—but the tornadoes generated are deadly!!!  And don’t forget the sea surge is pushed in from the sea and flooding is caused by down-pouring rain; most injuries/deaths during hurricanes are caused by water.  The east coast of Florida dodged a bullet this time.  The Bahamas, however, did not fare well.  Dorian struck them as a category 5; weakened but stalled to a standstill and then regrew.  The islands were devastated!!!  As she turned north and continued on her path up the Florida coast, the eye stayed 70-100 miles offshore.  We were lucky!!!  Now North Carolina is dealing with her.  Then she will head up to Nantucket and on to Canada; then, perhaps, as far as Greenland where she could dump snow.  This is a monster!  It’s scary.

NOAA path chart
NOAA path chart
NOAA wind chart
NOAA wind chart

Hurricane Categories:

  • Category 1: Winds 74 to 95 mph (Minor damage)
  • Category 2: Winds 96 to 110 mph (Extensive damage — Can uproot trees and break windows)
  • Category 3: Winds 111 to 129 mph (Devastating — Can break windows and doors)
  • Category 4: Winds 130 to 156 mph (Catastrophic damage — Can tear off roofs)
  • Category 5: Winds 157 mph or higher (The absolute worst and can level houses and destroy buildings)

2 thoughts on “Running from Hurricane Dorian/Sheltering in Gainesville, Florida”

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