Many folks living in Florida packed up their cars and evacuated the state after hearing there was a hurricane headed up the coast last week; however, true Floridians stuck out the bad weather and made the best of the bad situation.
The last hurricane that devastated Florida was Hurricane Irma, which eventually became a Category 5 and took 134 fatalities. Even though it was a rough hurricane to get through, Florida persevered. Now, Hurricane Michael is making its presence felt.
While hurricanes are a natural disaster and cause havoc when they hit, Florida natives often do not react in the way most people would. Floridians deal with hurricanes a little more nonchalantly than most.
1. The “What”
The first stage is, three days before the hurricane is due to make landfall, having no idea that a tropical storm is on its way to kill you.
About the same time, friends and family will begin calling to see if you are okay, and their worrying will soon be exacerbated when they find out you’ve just now learned about the impending catastrophe. This is usually followed by a quick social media binge to see how bad it is and if there is any reason to be concerned. Usually there isn’t, just a lot of hurricane memes to catch up on.
Yes, Floridians do judge people by how they react to a hurricane. For most, hurricanes are just another part of living in this swamp state. Anyone who starts to get worried about an oncoming hurricane is viewed as overreacting or seen as just another Northerner.
The only time someone living in Florida can get by with actually leaving the state is if they have small children, are elderly or if the hurricane reaches above a Category 3. Only then can you panic and complain about the natural disaster coming to engulf the whole state.
3. Partying Hard
While most people would have already taken all precautions necessary to prepare for a major storm or evacuated the state, Stage 3 of dealing with a hurricane Florida-style is all about making it as fun as possible. By now, you’ve already exhausted all the available memes, “attended” all of the Facebook events shooing the hurricane away and have decided to use the days off of school and work wisely. In other words, it’s time to throw a hurricane party.
In all seriousness, living in a college town, you do see your fair share of hurricane parties every time one hits. The first move is a trip to Publix to get non-perishable hors d’oeuvres (chips, pop tarts and snack cakes) and asking yourself “Ehh, why not?” when you reach the Natty Light shelf. Then, just as naturally as the rain outside turns into a hurricane, a few cases of cheap beer soon turn into a hurricane party.
4. Slight Panic
Panic only kicks in for Floridians during hurricane season once all the snack foods have run out and the power has gone out.
Just kidding, real panic will only set in when the hurricane changes its path or when the category jumps from a two to a five in a single day. How do Florida’s finest deal with that internal panic? Keep making jokes. That way, the other states know everyone is still fine and just as crazy as any other day.
5. Actually Preparing
After a brief moment of panic, it’s time to prepare, at least a little. Usually that involves paying the ridiculous hurricane gas prices to fill up our cars “just in case” and making a quick grocery stop to replace the eaten snacks. This time around, you should opt for water over beer.
People call their families to let them know they’re okay and in return are told to “stay safe.” Phones and laptops get charged and a book gets pulled off the shelf just in case boredom strikes.
At this point, all there’s left to do is sit and wait until Florida transforms back into the Sunshine State.
The best way to deal with a hurricane as a Floridian is not to panic, prepare or evacuate; it’s to feel no certain way about the whole situation. There’s a hurricane coming? Cool. I live in the path of the eye? Awesome. Oh, the hurricane is hitting today and I’m just now finding out about it? That’s just peachy.
Living in Florida is just one long perpetual rainstorm anyway, so hurricane season for Florida natives is just a little extra rain and wind.
Just like in the University of Florida’s game day song, “We Are the Boys of Florida,” “In all kinds of weather, we all stick together.”