Prior to Hurricane Michael, our blog talked about hurricanes that had impacted Florida, like last year’s Irma. Before that it had been twelve years since a major hurricane in the state. Hurricane Michael will be remembered not only for its strength and impact, causing damage and destruction. As a Florida resident for over 25 years, I felt anxious, worried and concerned as meteorologists threw out words such as catastrophic. You could see it in their facial expressions and hear it in their voices as they described the latest track.
When they canceled classes, I really began to think that maybe the students should leave there too. I made it clear that any students that didn’t come from S. Florida were welcome to come home with my kids. During Irma my home became a shelter for nine people and four dogs. As things changed, I was incredibly impressed by how quickly FSU responded and made decisions. I double checked on the dorms and off-campus apartments to be sure they had hurricane impact windows and you will be happy to know that most complexes that the students live in off-campus at FSU are fairly new and do have hurricane impact windows.
In the midst of all the preparations, I tried to find just the right amount of urgency in my texts and responses so as to not scare them too much, but to take planning seriously. The last hurricane my daughter recalled, she slept in a windowless hallway in our house and only remembers the fun parts. If they were going to stay, I encouraged them to get supplies and for those things they couldn’t find already in the stores, I had them sent overnight via Amazon Prime (flashlight, batteries, and battery operated candles). They arrived too late anyway, as they did decide to leave. They found water at a gas station since Publix was already out and filled the car with gas and parked it on the second floor of the garage (in case of flooding on the ground floor.) Armed with plenty of dry goods, they felt prepared, but then, as Michael escalated to a sadi Category 4, they left.
Students then left school in a hurry. There were options for shelters, but most students seemed to leave town. Some flew; others drove, which was risky in itself as gas became a rare commodity and highways were virtually at a standstill. As our kids trickle back towards Tally there have been questions about road closings and massive traffic as they get closer. Gas is available again though. Some parents recommended using Waze to check the road conditions or to find alternate routes.
There is no judgment whatsoever if you had your student return home or flee Florida. We all make decisions that work best for our own family. FSU has stated repeatedly, and notified their staff, to be flexible when it comes to homework, assignments and so forth. They have shared with all students, and parents signed up to receive this information, places they can get help if they need it. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for emails and perhaps get into a Facebook group for FSU parents. Someone there always knows the answer.
As of right now, many places, including many apartment complexes, do not have electricity. Many trees are down and FSU asks students to use caution when walking around campus. Classes will resume on Monday. Philanthropy events are being rescheduled.
Additional information on FSU’s storm preparedness can be found below (go ahead and bookmark them in advance).
Florida State University Web pages
FSU Emergency Hotline
If you want to receive a direct SMS text message, send a text message to 40404 saying “Follow FSUAlert”