Open Thread: Flood & Fire

Awkward readers from Texas, Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico, Florida, Antigua, Barbuda, and other Caribbean islands and everyone in hurricane paths or aftermaths, check in if you like and talk to us.

Awkward readers dodging fires in the Los Angeles area, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Western Canada & other places (I am sorry, I do not have a complete map of fires in my head, and as y’all mention, news coverage is selective) check in if you like and talk to us.

Awkward readers from or with family in Bangladesh or Myanmar, I don’t even know what to say about the devastating floods and the violence. Check in if you like and talk to us.

Mexico. Earthquake. Shit. (I hadn’t checked the news yet when I initially posted). Check in if you like and talk to us.

If I didn’t specifically mention where you life, I apologize. Check in if you like and talk to us. Like everyone, I’m dependent on incomplete media reports that filter to where I live (in the USA, so, yes, US-centric) and what I can wrap my head around at a given time.




185 thoughts on “Open Thread: Flood & Fire

  1. Washington state here. I’m well away from any actual fires, but the smoke is gross. It’s been heavy enough that I can look straight at the sun during sunrise and sunset. My relatives in Seattle say there’s been a couple days when they can look at the sun during the middle of the day. I know a couple people who are wearing gas masks to leave the house.

    For perspective, my Mom took a trip to China a couple years ago. She said the air pollution is like this all the time over there, and it’s much worse stuff than wood smoke. It’s hard to wrap my head around humans messing up their environment so badly, but apparently we do.

    Think we’re setting a record yet for the largest percentage of the human population witnessing a natural disaster simultaneously?

    1. Western Canada here and same. I was looking at the sun through smoke the other day before I realized what I was doing. I keep hearing this is going to be the new normal, which is really scary. I’m also keeping up on what’s happening in the rest of the world, because what I’m dealing with here feels so extremely minor, but it’s hard to not feel like “whyyy is this happening all at once?! there must be a reason!” and leap to really irrational conclusions.

      I’m lucky the only thing I’m facing is that with the smoke, my allergies are much worse than usual so I have the dilemma “feel sick all day” or “feel sleepy and hazy all day from allergy medicine.”

      1. My husband says we’ve lost the mandate of heaven. I blame the eclipse. Or the current White House, either works. I was just thinking yesterday that all we needed was a really good earthquake to round out the apocalypse. Hah.

        Oh, which reminds me – it’s getting lost in all the other news right now, for obvious reasons, but the bad weather isn’t just confined to Earth. There’s a solar storm causing a couple large sunspots right now. If you still have glasses from the eclipse, go take a look.

        The fun part is that solar storms can mess up satellite GPS and some radio bands. The same radio bands that are widely used during emergencies by disaster response teams.

        1. *jaw drops*

          I… I just don’t even.

          thankfully the worst that’s happened to me so far is being weirdly short of breath one evening (and lack of sleep from the heat making my muscles act up; I am so so happy to have mostly slept through the night last night!). but what was that about the new normal? :/

          1. Please see a doctor about being weirdly short of breath. My best friend’s sister is going through that, refuses to get medical care, and my friend is spending her days sobbing afraid for her sister. (Her sister has had this for weeks.) In your case, it’s probably something minor. But think of the people who love you and get a checkup.

        2. I recently woke up completely anxious that the earth’s magnetic field was going to reverse “soon” because it’s “overdue” and the entire world was going to shut down and go into complete chaos.

          Highly irrational, and there is literally nothing that any one of us could do to stop it, and yet…

          (Western Canada, but far from the fires. This morning my weather apps both said it was “clear” but its so hazy from the smoke that you can look directly at the sun (albeit briefly).)

          1. I woke up from dreams about earthquakes (despite having not heard about mexico), so my paranoia is going “hey what if The Big One hits just to top it all off?” – but it’s a very small quiet voice now thankfully πŸ™‚

            otoh, I still half expect Trump to do the “Dicks Fuck Assholes” speech from Team America. This world has gotten so crazy that it just wouldn’t surprise me any more. and it would be vastly preferable to bringing out the nukes.

      2. Hey twomoogles, western Canada here too (central BC, village of Clinton). It’s been an terrible, incredible summer, fires burning in every direction! here’s hoping things start to look up as the cooler, wetter weather sets in.

    2. The sun was blood red and you could see ash particulates in the air. It was like being on a mini tour of Hell’s suburbs.

    3. I’m outside of Seattle, in Bellevue. Still hazy today but I didn’t hack up a lung outside so I’m going to say the air quality is better. I long for the rain.

      1. Also, totally not a disaster but this JERK rear-ended me in stopped traffic today while she was trying to change lanes and she just DROVE OFF without even a glance in my direction and I am still FURIOUS. I got her plate and made a hit and run report when I got home, not that I think anything will come of it.

          1. So, I am part of a lightsaber performance group, and we did a show this summer where a sith named Darth Reeva was creating a whole bunch of traffic on purpose in Seattle because “construction leads to traffic, traffic leads to road rage, and road rage leads to the Dark Side.” At the end of it, she pulled out a map and said “ok where was I supposed to go next… oh yes, Mercer Street!” and it got a HUGE laugh out of the audience.

            Now any time Mercer Street is a clusterfuck (and lets be real; Mercer Street is always a clusterfuck) we blame Darth Reeva.

    4. Western Canada here. I saw my doctor today convinced I had pink eye. And I was wheezing. I don’t have pink eye, I’m having allergic reactions to the forest fire haze. Now I have eye drops, pills for my third prednisone blast this summer, an antibiotic because I’m coughing up stuff, and a fresh inhaler.

      But all that pales to everyone who has lost their home all over the world, who is trapped, who is evacuated, who is terrified.

    5. Northern CA here – we’ve also been bombarded by smoke from the Yosemite fires. Feeling you so hard on the allergy dilemna, mine have skyrocketed the past month, to the point of calling in sick to work a couple times. So tired of either sneezing my brains out & being unable to breathe or being groggy and hungover from allergy meds. Today was the first day it was clear enough to exercise outside in over a week.
      I am so very grateful that the fires are not closer – last week marks the 2nd anniversary of a fire that burned half my county, left me & my little family evacuated for a week, and burned the houses of countless friends – so I know how horrible it is to have a disaster right on your doorstep. Hard even now to not feel low-grade panic at just the smell of smoke in the air.

  2. And the earthquake in Mexico. I’m not effected by any of these personally, but I find myself paralyzed by terror and anguish, and then I realize that the US won’t do anything at all to help any of these people, regardless of where they live, and then I feel guilty for that, and also for having pleasant temperate weather. 😦

      1. Sometimes, I go whole days without checking the news for my sanity. I recognize this is a privilege.

    1. And the terrible mudslides in Sierra Leone a few weeks ago. Every time I write a check to the Red Cross, I turn on the news and…

    2. Well, the US government might not do much, but there are all kinds of nonprofits and churches and NGOs that are collecting supplies right now to get down there. The Pumpkin Spice Shit Clown in Chief’s attitude toward the Mixikins is NOT shared by, like, 75% of us citizens.

  3. My sister lives in Florida (Tampa Bay area). They’re planning on evacuating to Tennessee, but I’ve heard it’s hard to get gas. Plus she’s not planning on leaving until late tonight or tomorrow morning after her next work shift. Any insights on feasibility? She struggles with planning for things like this, and she’ll be traveling with three dogs. I’m worried she’ll be stranded halfway up the state with nowhere to go.

    1. Last I heard, people where averaging 9 (9!!)) miles per hour! People are already stranded on the road with no gas or anywhere to go. There’s no hotels until Tennessee.

      1. That’s my worry…she’s convinced they won’t have trouble finding gas or anything (apparently they’re going to carry extra gas cannisters in the back of the truck and try to stick to side roads rather than the interstate).

        1. Honestly, if I were in Tampa, I’d head towards Alabama and Birmingham. I don’t know if it’s any better, but Georgia’s going to be a nasty slog since we’re evacuating our coasts as well.

          1. Seconding this advice. I-75N to Atlanta is practically a parking lot. Take 98 to where it hits US27 and go up to Columbus, or take US84 to where it connects to 231 and take that to Montgomery or further. There are a LOT of routes to get north and west from Tampa that don’t go through Atlanta (I mean, from the looks of it, Irma’s basically going to go straight up i-75 so I’d avoid it for that reason alone).

    2. It took a friend of mine 11 hours to get from Jacksonville to Atlanta yesterday morning and people still in Florida say it’s getting worse. Some areas near Jacksonville have mandatory evacuation notices for 6pm tonight which will add to the strain on the roads

    3. Some friends are currently driving from Jacksonville to northern Georgia. They got off 75 because it was a parking lot, and the back roads were a lot better. They also found gas about 20 minutes off the highway. That will obviously only get worse from here, but it seems like it’s feasible.

    4. My friend in Palm Beach Gardens said there’s no gas to be had, anymore. She’s got a place nearby that is rated for a Cat 4, but she doubts her 3rd floor beach view apartment is going to make it.

  4. Oregon checking in; doing ok in the Mid-Willamette Valley, we got 15 minutes of rain yesterday that really helped clear the air and lower temps. Much worse both north and south of me. And feeling paralyzing anxiety about everything else. Having super trouble working or doing anything productive.

  5. It really feels like the apocalypse is here; every day something more tragic happens and I have a constant pit in my stomach waiting for the next bad thing to reveal itself 😦

    1. Even in places that aren’t immediate disaster zones, things are… weird. I’m in Ontario, and while we have been thankfully safe from all the fires and hurricanes.. we’ve had more rain this summer than any I can remember in all my 37 years, and barely a single day this summer that reached more than 25C (for perspective, July and August can often have week long stretches into the low-mid 30s–think high 90s on the Farenheit scale).. There’s been days where we’ve almost had to turn the heat on in August. That.. never.. happens.

      It’s small potatoes but in the context of the absolute shit-show of weather happening everywhere else.. but it’s not comforting.

      But no, climate change isn’t real. pffffft.

      1. meanwhile in BC this morning: rain, glorious rain! never has it smelled so good πŸ™‚ part of me almost wants to go roll around in the wet grass to celebrate πŸ˜‰

        kinda seems like your weather swapped with ours this summer. :/

        1. My boyfriend was in BC back in late-June/early July while the fires were just starting to be reported.. he was supposed to be there until mid-august, but since one of the highways out of the province had already been shut down, decided to get the hell out of dodge. But yeah, he was telling me there were days and days of 40+ weather in the Okanagan. Said it felt like he went away to have summer and came back to fall.. in July.

      2. I live in the Bay Area, and we had RAIN the other day. In September. It does not rain in September. It is known.

      3. We’ve had similar weather in NW Ohio. We got heat and humidity but largely in the mid-80s zone. Usually July and August get up into the mid-90s and never really did. September hit and got chilly! So hearing about all these climate disasters and then having an extra mild summer does feel really weird. We didn’t even get enough rain to flood our fields and that usually happens every summer.

        1. Down below you in SW Ohio, and same. We’re used to high 90s/low 100s in late summer and 70s-80s through September (sometimes even through October), so the odd weather along with everything else happening around the world is enough to make it feel very eerie.

      4. Yeah, here in western Pennsylvania it’s been a really really cool summer–I’m not sure it’s hit 90 more than once or twice, and even days in the 80s have been rare. And like you say, normally we’ll have a couple-three full weeks where it’s 98 degrees and 98% humidity every day.

  6. Fort Lauderdale here. We are Not in the evacuation zones but we are all boarded up. We have enough water, and food. Cleared everything in my yard, and have activities planned for the kid. Let’s hope for the best!

    1. Thank you for checking in – my grandmother is in Delray Beach and not evacuating, and I’m worried. Hoping for the best, indeed.

      1. My Mom is in Delray Beach, and also not evacuating. Lots of sympathy; I am fretting. Here’s hoping that they’ll be fine.

        1. Update from Delray Beach: power out for a while, now power is back on but no TV/internet. My grandma is fine just wishes she had a radio (she’ll get one very soon). She lives in a retirement community so definitely support nearby, thank goodness.

    1. Ugh, I’m sorry. I do not have a full map of the fires in my head, can’t wrap my head around it.

      1. If the news isn’t reporting on us, how are people going to know?

        But it is bad. Really bad. I’m safe from the actual flames, myself but the smoke is just horrible and will likely last another month or so.

        I can’t speak for anybody else, but I simultaneously want to scream “what about us” and feel ashamed, like I’m playing some sort of “natural disaster Olympics” if I do.

        1. I went through MT a few weeks ago on my way to see the eclipse and the smoke was awful. I’m sorry it’s still so bad. Smoke is underestimated in its horribleness.

        2. Smoke filled Northwest Coast here. I am surrounded by nature lovers/outdoor types who are very, very concerned about the Montana fires. People like me who have friends in Missoula, Kalispell, exchange info daily. You are NOT forgotten.

        3. I am right there with you, Nerd Girl Runner. Also in Montana. Thank god we are getting rain today and the air quality map looks soooo much better.

          Definitely have lots of sympathy for the other areas of the country (and world) experiencing their own natural disasters (seriously, it’s everywhere – what is happening? Is this the apocalypse?). But it’s hard to see all this coverage for the hurricanes and earthquakes while your home (in the larger sense of home state – my actual house is not in danger) is on fire and there’s no national attention. Plus being smothered under the smoke for 2 months is making us all smangry.

      2. Dunno if the link is going to go through, but here’s a map of Canadian fires: If the link doesn’t work, a search for “Canadian Wildland Fire Information System” should bring it up. The fire maps that stop at the border do the situation no justice. Canada has more and larger fires than the US, a couple of times over.

        1. Yes, I live in Alberta and all summer (and right now!) there has been more smoke than not over the region. It’s havoc with my allergies, it’s gross, it’s dirty, and that’s to say nothing of the poor people who actually live in B.C. and have it so much worse!

    2. Seconded. Native Montanan living elsewhere, and I just want to thank CA so much for actually seeing and acknowledging the seriouslyrics bad spot my state is in.

  7. Oregon here. The smoke has been less bad for the past day or two but for a while I needed to wear a dust mask to leave the house. How is everyone?

    1. Oregon as well – center of a Big rainstorm yesterday – air is clear and breathable in Eugene. Miles from the highway 126 evacuation zone, staying in the air conditioning, my daughter was still getting headaches and insomnia. Her first full night of sleep was a blessed relief. My sister has scheduled her next year’s purchase of masks in time for next August.

      1. Is poor air quality a cause of insomnia? Or is it the “I’m stuck inside all day so my brain is worn out but my body is not” thing?

        1. I hadn’t thought of that; I assumed for me it was the heat. I have trouble sleeping when the temperature stays above maybe 18-20C at night.

        2. I’m not totally sure, but considering the level of itchiness it cause us, I think that alone could have done it.

  8. No shout out for poor western Canada? We’ve been on fire for months now. And just a year after the devastation of Fort Mac. 😦

    I drove through the mountains last month and couldn’t see any mountains. As someone with impaired lung function, I’ve now consumed a small ocean of black coffee in the pursuit of not coughing myself into broken ribs again.

    Every day the sunlight is red and hazy. It feels like an actual hellscape and it’s hard not to feel depressed.

    1. Sorry I will add Western Canada! I do not have a full map of the fires in my mind, sorry. The news I see in the US is US-centric and I had no idea. That sounds completely awful.

      1. I know, I was only teasing a bit. It’s hard to keep track of how awful things are right now. 😦

        I hope you are somewhere safe!

  9. I am in Kansas and hoping everyone is safe. We’ve been getting the wildfire smoke all the way out here. There’s a weird haze in the sky and we can look directly at the sun without our eclipse glasses in the evening (I don’t know about the morning because I’m always rushing around to get ready LOL). I do hope everyone is safe out there. It feels like the earth is out to get us.

  10. My paternal grandparents are in Los Angeles. My sister and her fiancΓ©e and my maternal grandmother are in Oregon. My parents are in central Florida (and are hopefully on the road out by now, although they may have decided to stay.)

    I just. How do we do this? I don’t know how to split my heart and my cares and my worries and my prayers in so many directions at once. I mean, I always send care and prayers (and money when I can) to all the places in the world that are hurting, but this is just so close to home. I’m overwhelmed.

  11. Los Angeles here – I stayed inside a lot of last weekend to avoid the smoke, and am sad that one of my favorite hiking areas burned. It was my favorite because unlike a lot of trails around here it actually had trees. Because there hadn’t been a fire for 30+ years. All of this feels really small compared to the losses around the world, and my heart aches for communities facing such devastation.

    I feel like the Turnip administration/GOP does enough to make me feel powerless. The pile-on from the earth and realizing just how much climate change has occurred in my lifetime (35-40 years)… it’s a lot.

  12. My best friend just moved to Jacksonville last month and has already had a bad string of misfortunes. She was also in NO during Katrina and is suffering from PTSD because of it. I’m terrified for her. 😦

  13. My parents flew from CA to Miami yesterday on an almost empty flight. They were in and out of the Miami airport as it was just a layover, but still. I was relieved when they caught their flight out of Miami.

  14. I was flipping through Twitter yesterday, thinking that with all of the above plus DACA, basically the entire world is going to shit. The next thing I saw was some stupid promoted post about hashtag-positivity, and how you can make your world hashtag-awesome just by thinking positively about it! Ugh. I hate that kind of thing at the best of times, and this is most decidedly not the best of times.

    To everyone affected by climatic and political disasters all over the world, I wish you peace and strength; and whatever physical, financial, and emotional resources you need to get through it.

  15. Central Texas. All I saw from Harvey was wind and rain, no damage. Others in my neighborhood lost sections of fence and at least one small tree came down, but no one flooded as far as I know.

    I have friends and family on the Gulf coast but apparently they all made it through with minimal damage as well. One cousin reported that his family was trapped in their subdivision for a whole week before the waters receded, but they had stocked up in advance (and, knowing him, they were probably already over-prepared) and the worst part was that the kids’ school delayed their starting day a week, which will screw up the whole calendar.

    I also have friends and family in Florida. One elderly aunt had just settled into a new care facility and had to be uprooted and moved upstate, but apparently that went as well as could be expected. Friends in Miami have been sending status reports of their (long, slow) journey to shelter in Georgia, although it’s possible they may have to keep going. Friends and family in Orlando are apparently sheltering in place.

    Yet other friends, in California, Oregon, and Washington, have been posting photos of their respective hellscapes visible from their houses. None of them are in any danger but there’s an awful lot of anguish in their posts, understandably.

    Short form: Team Drew is doing well with minimal injuries. We’ve been super lucky.

    1. Me too. We had a window smashed by a flying tree branch, but other than that we were OK. We have cleaned up the broken glass.

  16. I moved to Tampa, Florida from Europe (actually just got my green card today, so yay!) and this is my first hurricane. It’s pretty terrifying. Just looking at the pictures of the hurricane, this massive thing moving towards us like some kind of Eldritch Abomination leaving destruction in its wake. Me and the family have prepared as well as we can, thankfully we managed to stock up on the most important things early in the week, but I don’t know if we’re gonna be able to board up the windows. My brothers in law are out shopping for wood now, but most places seem to be out, and none of us have any experience with stuff like this.

    Husband will likely have to work all weekend, and I’m worried he won’t be able to make it back home tomorrow. But I’d rather he stay at work and be safe than go out and try to drive through the storm. I’ll likely be hiding in our windowless bathroom with four cats and a dog. We’re still in a relatively good place, it’s not a flood zone and we’re not expected to need evacuating. Staying home and waiting it out is probably the safest option for us. I feel really bad for everyone out there who is in a worse position though.

    1. Freeze as many containers of water as you can now. If there is no power, they will help keep things cold and you can drink them, too. You probably already know about filling your bathtubs. It’s not like after the Hurricane things go back to normal. After Katrina I had no power or running water for a month.

      1. Oh wow, a month? That’s terrible. But yeah. We’re stocked up on bottled water, but I’m also gonna fill up bottles of tap water, and put a bunch in the freezer. Thanks for the advice!

        1. @AshiCata I grew up inland in a hurricane-getting state (NC) and remember when Fran came through – still a Cat 3 when it hit us! We only lost power for a week, but it’s worth thinking about what will be edible when there’s no power for a fridge or to heat up food. (Our neighborhood had a big cookout on people’s coal grills for all the food that was about to spoil, right in the middle of the street, which was actually fun?)

          Fran struck at night and the wind was Really Really Loud, so that’s my only experience of a hurricane. Figure out the most torando-shelter-safe room in your house and make it cozy. Good luck!

          1. Yeah, we have stocked up on lots and lots of canned food and dry snacks, and water bottles and tap water. Dry and wet food for the pets. And charcoal for the grill. We have some food in the freezer that we can grill too, and the neighborhood cookout sounds kinda fun, haha.

            I’ve also put a bunch of water and food in the windowless bathroom in the middle of the house, and while it’s kinda small, we should be able to squeeze three people, four cats and a dog in there. I wanna be able to use the bathtub for extra space, but I’m gonna fill a tote box in it with water for flushing the toilet and stuff.

            But thanks! I appreciate all well wishes and encouragement πŸ™‚

        2. We’re good! Beautiful weather, it’s COOLED off, low humidity. Great after non-stop rain – and mud all summer. I almost feel guilty. But we’ve certainly had out turn in the barrel. Still, as always, I mourn the destruction of wild things and habitat. I visited the Gulf coast after Katrina and easily spotted 6 dead herons and other beautiful birds within a couple of hundred yards of the road. Extrapolating, that is thousands. Birds, bats Racoons and other small animals. Deer, wild cats. (Some) people rescue pets. No one can save the wildlife.

          1. Some of us try though! After Katrina, I rescued a catatonic glossy ibis from the back of what had been a shopping center lot and kept it in my bathtub with a dog bowl of water for a few days until it finally came back to itself and let me know in no uncertain terms it was ready to go back outside into the the big, bad world and be a wild bird again. And a great blue heron that had lost its nest tree moved into my neighbors’ yard for the month or so till electricity was restored and they came back home, at which point it immediately flew off making angry frog noises which probably translated to “There goes the neighborhood!” in heronish. Paltry little things amidst so much devastation, but they meant a lot at the time, and they’re still some of the few good memories from a time where there weren’t very many of them.

          2. ::nods:: I work for a bird conservation NGO and the Gulf is one of my focal areas. TS Cindy was “just” a tropical storm but it hit in the middle of nesting season and wiped out nests of entire populations of Least Terns, an endangered species. My last two weeks have been nonstop scrambling working with partners in the Gulf to try to figure out just how bad Harvey was for birds and their habitats, and ramping up for Irma. So far we know it’s bad but not just how bad.

            On a positive note, there are things we can and are doing to save wildlife. For example, those endangered Least Terns? Birds nesting on beaches that had recently been restored made it through just fine. So we and our partners are scrambling to identify those beaches most in need of restoration to protect birds and wildlife from the next storm, and direct resources there. Remembering and focusing on these good things we can do is how I personally keep from getting overwhelmed by it all!

    2. Probably too late to leave this advice, but…Before you fill up the bathtub, use duct tape to seal the plug. Really seal it, as in tape going horizontally and then vertically over that. Some plugs allow a slow, steady drain of water and you want that H2O for flushing toilets and taking bird baths! Also, if necessary, for boiling (or at least filtering) and drinking.

      1. Oh that’s actually good advice. It seems obvious when I think about it, but I probably wouldn’t have thought of it myself.

        We’re doing good for now though! We decided to get out of Tampa after all. Brother in law had friends in Ocala who offered to let us stay, so we packed our stuff up and drove over last night. Three humans, four cats and one dog. Awesome hosts too, with a well-secured house full of food and everything one could wish for.

  17. Oregon here, south end of the Willamette Valley. We had a while of very bad smoke, air quality index over 300 (0-50 is good, anything over 150 is considered unhealthy for everyone). I didn’t leave my house from the night of August 31 until the afternoon of September 5. Then it started to get a little better from a shift in the wind, and yesterday we had rain. Today the air quality index is 38.

    I know that things are still bad in other parts of the state. Rural areas have it worse, though happily the evacuation notice for the rural eastern parts of my county was downgraded from Level 2 (wait for us to tell you when you have to go) to Level 1 (Be ready for the possibility of evacuation).

    Between the epic allergy season last spring and the epic fire season right now I definitely need to look into getting some kind of breathing mask.

  18. I’ve lived in South Florida for the majority of my life, so hurricanes are not a new thing to me. However, for the last several years I’ve been living in Key West and for this storm I made the decision to evacuate. I spent all of Tuesday and most of Wednesday trying to find the most irreplaceable things in my house and jam as many of them into my car (for a bibliophile with an extensive collection of antique books this was extra hard), and coming to terms with the reality that if I have a home to come back to, it will likely be completely flooded (I live on the water and the storm surge is expected to be 5 to 10 feet above ground level). I think it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I did evacuate though, but what was meant to be a pit stop at my parents house in Miami, turned into a “oh hey we haven’t prepared at all can you help us with everything k thanks” and I missed my window to refuel and leave so me and my two dogs are now stuck here. Luckily we are inland enough that flooding isn’t a concern and we’ve finally prepared the place to the extent that I feel we have a chance. My parents aren’t entirely seeing the severity of the situation though. I’ve picked an interior hallway on the ground floor that I’m going to hunker down with the dogs starting tomorrow and they think I’m being extreme and panicky. My mother is more concerned with me putting on makeup and nice clothes and making sure the floor is repeatedly vacuumed from all the dog hair “in case we have guests” and I’m at a loss. And the worst part is there is really nothing that I can do for now but wait.

    1. Please get out of there if there is any way possible. Since the hurricane is now projected to go up the west coast, it will be brutal on the east side of it. You may want to investigate moving to a public building that is solidly built. Probably no basement but one with deep footings. If you can’t move there, find the most solid place you can on a SECOND floor, preferably no windows. Inside a steel bathtub in a pinch.

      1. We weathered the storm in Miami just fine! Dogs were exceptionally happy to be able to go outside yesterday (after some extensive yard debris cleanup), there was lots of rolling in the grass and refusing to come back inside. We got cell phone reception back today which is very exciting, still waiting on power.

        As for my home and work…I’ve heard from my family that stayed in the Keys and they’re safe so I’m very thankful for that. I’ve heard that my workplace has substantial damage so I’ll have to wait and see exactly what that means. The Lower Keys remain without power, cell reception, water or septic, so they are understandably not letting people back in and likely won’t for some time. I haven’t heard from quite a few coworkers that lived in the most effected areas and decided to stay, so we are all very nervous about that.

        On a positive note, we got aerial footage of my area today and…you guys, I still have a roof!!! My porch appears to be gone, which is problematic considering that my house is raised so you need to climb a flight of stairs to get to the front door, but hey I guess that may deter looters. Still no word on if the sketchy front shutters held up or not, so I’m not totally in the clear yet, but very very happy about the roof situation. In other news my mother is causing my sanity to rapidly deterriorate so I’m looking at possibly moving to alternative accommodation with the pups later this week!

  19. I’m in Seattle, WA. We don’t have actual fires here, but we have a lot of smoke from the fires in neighboring areas. So far, I’m not having breathing problems, but there are not enough eye drops in the world to keep my eyes from feeling itchy and sore. Still, I feel incredibly lucky given the problems elsewhere.

  20. PDX, Oregon. Just to make this Awkward. There is a boy I wanted to ask on a date this weekend but he lives in the gorge… so there is a literal wall of fire (and a closed freeway) between us. I don’t believe in signs, but damn. They don’t come much clearer.

    The air is a lot better today thanks to some sprinkles, but people are ANGRY about the gorge fires. PDX tends to ignore rural Oregon, and especially the “normal” mountain wildfires that don’t threaten to do much other than mar the landscape. But this gorge thing has people calling for blood since it’s a major recreation area and on the main east-west artery.

    1. That’s the fire that was started by a teenager with fireworks, right? I understand the calls for blood, I hope the kid remains safely anonymous. I was just driving through there a couple of weeks ago on my way to see the eclipse. It’s so pretty. Or was so pretty.

      XD about the sign to not date this guy. Though if you do go ahead and get together, then you have a ‘wildfires couldn’t come between us’ story.

    2. Also here in Portland. The catastrophizing of the Eagle Creek fire has been adding to my overall frustration. Yeah, forest fires suck, and it’s angry-making that a dumb kid started this one, and some parts of the gorge will be less pretty for a few years, there will be trails to clear and bridges to rebuild… But these forests are actually supposed to have occasional fires, it’s part of their normal lifecycle, and they actually do recover and can even benefit. But all the social media and IRL chatter about “it will never be the same” and “destroyed” and “lost” – often amplified without clarifying comment by media – is making things so much worse. People were grieving and crying thinking that the entire area would be a blackened wasteland for the next hundred years. it was especially bad Monday and Tuesday when ash was literally falling from the sky, and all the photos from the gorge looked like hellscapes, the tensions were high – added to by people confusing level 1 evacuation warning with actual evacuation (no, they did not evacuate Troutdale)… I’ve been trying to share good news like the Willamette Week coverage of Multnomah Falls flowing past living green trees on Wednesday. It’s gonna be ok. And now our air is even breathable again.

      1. Yes, absolutely: there are supposed to be fires, it’s a cleaning thing and sterilises the soil. if I remember correctly, some of the larger trees in Yosemite have evidence of previous fires in the rings.

        1. Yeah, where i live (Australia) many of our species of trees actually need fire to flourish. I’m not sure if that’s ths same though because these species had evolved to adapt to fire over around 60,000 years of careful agriculture management from Aboriginal peoples, but I’m assuming that that capacity exists to some degree within a lot of species. I guess that its hard to gauge what the capacity to cope with fire in such a bizarre and changing climate is though.

        2. The natural cycle of fire is definitely something to keep in mind with the current trend towards planting with native species. What is the term – fire adapted?

      2. I feel for that kid too. Hope they all stay nameless. Although I grieve because Eagle Creek was my first backpacking trip, and I visited Multnomah Falls quarterly, I don’t want any blood. My current partner went through a “lighting fireworks and homemade explosive devices at inappropriate times” phase. This fire could easily have been something he might have caused, had we had drought conditions like this back when he was in that phase.

      3. You’re right, fires are natural and the areas affected in the Gorge will all regrow, so the catastrophizing has been a bit over the top. But one thing to remember is that because we humans have suppressed fire for so long (thanks, Smokey!), western forests haven’t had their regular small cleaning fires which has allowed lots of fuel to build up. Combine that with climate warming causing drier trees and more frequent tree-killing insect infestations and that means fires now get much bigger, hotter, and are more likely to get up into the crown and kill rather than just damage trees than historically. So the kinds of big fires we see today aren’t typical of the kinds of fires forests are adapted to.

        I’m in California now so I’ve been watching from afar, but the Gorge was practically my backyard growing up and my first ever backpacking trip was out of Eagle Creek, so I’ve been a bit sad seeing it go up in flames. I’m just glad the firefighters saved Multnomah Falls Lodge, and that the air is clearing for folks in the area.

        1. This.
          The vegetation is not adapted for these kinds of fires. A century of fire suppression has allowed undergrowth and forest floor debris to build up so that when they finally do burn, it’s much hotter, much bigger, and devastating: killing trees, literally sterilizing the soil and baking it into impermeable surface so water just runs off.

  21. In the Seattle area here. Days of smoky skies and strange sunlight, it is very unsettling. My lizard brain keeps telling me something is very wrong. I went out to dinner last night and in addition to the tip line on the credit card receipt, there was a line for donating to the firefighters. My eyes are red and irritated and there was ash on my car for a couple mornings. We had some brief rain this morning, and more in the forecast for tomorrow, so hopefully that will help with both the fires and the smoke. It is tragic the damage that has been done by the fires.

    I friend of mine lives in the Mexico earthquake area. Fortunately she posted on Facebook that she was fine. Magnitude 8 is BIG.

    1. My lizard brain keeps telling me something is very wrong.

      Yeah, this happened to me too. Just this pervasive sense of unease. (PDX here.) I’m grateful the smoke has cleared up and the air quality is back in the “Moderate” range, but still worried about those closer to the various fires.

      And worried about my family in Florida, including my dad who’s visiting to take care of an older brother. Most of them live in the Tampa area, one family on the eastern coast. They’re staying and battening down the hatches and I really desperately hope they’ll be okay.

      1. In Seattle, and same with the lizard brain. The air quality has been bad (though thank god it let up a little today- Tuesday-Thursday I was getting really sick and feeling oxygen hungry by afternoon if I didn’t stick right by the air purifier, and I wore a n95 mask when I was outside) but it almost feels like the worser thing is seeing the weird grey skies and blood red sun and moon, thinking “oh, it’s going to rain” but then realizing it’s that the sky is full of smoke. When we moved here two years about from Brooklyn, we were like, wow, we’ll never suffer from shitty NYC air quality again!…. argh. It’s also scary to me how quickly things like wearing a mask become the new normal. And I know that BC and Oregon and Montana are suffering so much worse. I have never been so eager for the rainy season to start.

    2. I’m in Eastern Washington (Tri-Cities) and the smoke has been so bad I told someone yesterday I feel like I have seasonal affective disorder. It’s so gray and dim and blech. Outdoor recess and sports practices have been cancelled at all the schools all week. Even though we had a local wildfire overnight, it was still slightly better today due to some breezy conditions, but they tell us it’s basically going to be “out with the old smoke, in with the new” for pretty much the rest of the month. It’s certainly not doing my asthma and allergies any favors.

  22. Border of Georgia and South Carolina here. We’re battening down the hatches, but the waiting is pretty wearing. Everyone’s tense, and coming home from school, I was yelling at a driver who passed me like I was standing still… then I realized they were from Florida. Hopefully we’ll just get some Tropical Storm action, but since I just moved here in July, this is Babby’s First Hurricane, so I’m extra freaked out regardless.

    We’re prepared, and the house has storm windows, and I’m the only one who hasn’t been through this sort of thing (I’m from the Midwest, so if this was a tornado is be OK; everyone else in the house is from this area). But we also all have diagnosed anxiety disorders, so I’m really trying to ramp up the self-care.

  23. 2017 can stop it ANY TIME, for real. Any time.

    My parents are in California and I can’t get ahold of them and it’s making me extra twitchy (and my usual team me all have people in Florida, so that’s not a great direction for dump out/comfort in).

  24. Family is mostly in BC and is suffering massively from the smoke and heat. I have a few friends who are first responders up north. They’re all fine, but it’s still really worrying. I also have quite a few family members in Florida…we’re all really concerned, as they’re elderly.

    Also, my cousin moved to Japan recently and got a nuclear bomb alert on her phone telling her to get to shelter. She was obviously fine, but the fact that everyone around her seemed to be mostly used to/resigned to that was unnerving. She said that the North Korea threat never felt so real…

    It’s a scary world right now. If I believed in anything, I’d pray, but…

  25. Wow you guys! I had no idea it had gotten so bad in so many places. I’m safe on the other side of the world and I’ve not been closely following the news. I hope everyone can stay safe and that things get better.

    Adelaide is having an unusually cold spring but nothing like any of these disasters is happening. The debate about the marriage equality postal vote is awful and has caused fractures and falls outs in our friends circle and I just want it to be over. I’m dismayed by the strength of both the no voters and the people who plan to abstain since it doesn’t effect them. I worry the yes vote won’t “win” but even if we do the results are non-binding. It is such a mess.

    Good luck everybody.

    1. Adelaide here tooo *waves*

      I thought Aus bushfires were scary (they are) but they definitely don’t affect so many people.

      Aus politics has had my head in my hands for years, like First Dog on the Moon, permanently amazed.

    2. *Fistbump* and *JediHugs* from another Aussie (from Perth, now in the UK)

      I’ve kicked one of my oldest friends off my facebook permanently because she was sharing ‘no’ vote stuff. I knew she was getting more evangelical as she got older but that was a gut-punch and a half :/

      Between that and the amount of homophobia pouring off the female Doctor Who thing I feel like I’m constantly having to defend my existence.

      At least the weather is behaving in Nottingham, I guess.

  26. Mr. Uptown and I have an empty rental unit in New Orleans that we will open to Irma evacuees. No furniture in it, but we’ll help out with bedding, towels, dishes and cookware. Even groceries.

    1. That’s very kind of you. I’m in the middle of Houston and we just rode out Harvey. We were fine, but so many people are still reeling, and I think everyone’s nerves are shot at the moment here. I appreciate so much that there are people like you willing to help others who are still facing dangers and upheaval.

      1. One of my sisters is in Houston. They didn’t flood in her affluent area. She and her children volunteered afterward, sorting donations and making lunches.

    2. No one took us up. My father’s companion (my father died at the end of May, they weren’t married, but she’s effectively his widow) and her daughter live on the Florida panhandle, out of the danger zone. My de facto daughter-in-law’s parents are in Pensacola, they are all right, as well.

      Mr. Uptown mentioned a certain . . . problematic . . . acquaintance in Florida whom he worried would take us up on the offer. We wouldn’t have declined this person, but they’re the sort who drains one’s energy very quickly. They’re OK, too.

  27. Iowa here. The smoke from the Montana fires has been affecting our air quality pretty damn badly. My dad and I (asthmatic) are both trying to convince our lungs they actually know how to work.

    1. I’m also in Iowa, and there was a day last week when it took me far too long to figure out why the cloudy sky was yellow.

      1. *Iowan high-five, if you so desire*

        I’ve been trying not to go outside, it’s just too difficult to breathe.

      2. Iowa tri-five!

        People have been taking pictures of the yellow sky where I am, but I was too oblivious to notice myself.

  28. I’m in Ontario, so other than my usual overwhelming Fall allergies, I’m fine.

    My brother works for the US Forest Service and every summer that means fighting wildfires. Last I heard they were sending him out to the Eagle Creek fire.

    He’s been doing this for 20-some years, but I’ll never entirely stop fretting about him this time of year.

  29. Oregon here. I moved to the PNW in 2002 and the first thing I saw as I crossed the WA/OR border was the Gorge. It was such an amazing experience; I was crying from the sheer beauty of it all as I drove to my new home and new beginning. In 2009 I got married at Eagle Creek and every summer since then have camped and hiked Eagle Creek. Seeing all the familiar and well loved scenery engulfed in flames has been emotionally devastating. A friend in Portland told me how surreal it was sending her son off to his first day of school in his facemask while ash rained down around them. I am in the Western part of the state, and the sun has been a small orange chip in a gray/orange sky, the air burns your nose and I’ve had a dull headache for days. Yesterday the wind shifted and we finally got some rain and fresh air here but the rest of the state is still burning. I hope for rain and for the safety of the firefighters and for new growth where the old growth forests are gone.

  30. Bay Area here. We had the heat wave to end all heat waves last week – cooling centers were open all around the Bay, even in coastal cities. Now we’re back to what I like to call “regular hot”. But – and this is very very weird for here – it’s muggy.

    We’re getting smoky air from the fires in Oregon & Washington, but only a light haze. I haven’t heard of people around here having breathing problems.

    I’m counting my blessings every day.

  31. Houston area, post-Harvey. Jobless, car-less, and just sitting on raw nerves. I do have my cats and for now an apartment. I will be okay. I worry for my Florida friends, but they are levelheaded people. The weather is oddly beautiful here. Jedi hugs to those who need them.

    1. Hey, Malia76, I’m in Houston also; if you need something will you reply to this and let me know? I live near Tomball and work at Richmond & the Beltway, and attend church in Cypress so I’m kind of all over the map. πŸ™‚

  32. Thank you SO much for asking, Captain! I’m in Western WA and it has been a long summer. I have good friends with asthma who have been housebound for several days. I don’t have official lung problems but that may have changed by the end of this summer. I’m so frustrated bcs I’m so outdoorsy- I need a minimum of an hour outside every day to avoid depression – and I keep having to stay on, drive to work instead of bike, skip camping, etc. So not fun. I’m a ways from the fire but I have some people that I love who may be evacuated soon and I’m on pins and needles waiting to see what happens. And trying to breathe. At least today we got a bit of rain so I can no longer look at the sun anymore (seriously weirded me out) and it is more of its normal whitish yellow instead of red and hazy. Plus the air seemed like I was breathing actual oxygen. I’m a huge fan of oxygen. I want it to be a staple in my life, and the last month it’s felt like it was leaving me like a bad ex-boyfriend.

    1. Update: we had more rain Sunday and so today was sunny and clear, perhaps the first truly blue and non-smoky day we’ve had in awhile. Such a relief!

  33. When the Eagle Creek Fire jumped the Columbia into Washington, I had a few days of panic, as my beloved childhood Girl Scout camp (and wedding venue) is only about 20 miles from Archer Mountain. But the whole fire complex seems to be dying down finally, thank the Force, and the camp is still safe, as are most of the towns. AND air quality is getting better and it’s starting to look less like a Silent Hill game outside.

    I’m hoping that this is the kick in the pants that the Pacific NW needs to start taking forest management seriously so that we stop having massive wildfires every single summer… but I’m not going to hold my breath.

  34. My daughter is in Florida, and due to her Darth boyfriend has so far declined to evacuate. I am beside myself.

    1. So sorry to hear that. I hope she’s OK and that being sequestered with him during a hellish storm helps her realize how Darth-y he is. Familiarity breeds contempt, however overdue.

  35. Spokane here. Hazardous air for a week. It looks and smells like the apocalypse and I’m coughing with watery eyes inside my air-conditioned home. Many people here don’t have a/c at all. I think a front is supposed to come through tonight, but no rain is expected for any of these fires.

  36. Now my husband is talking about taking a plane out of florida to escape the hurricane. But I can’t do that. Not without the cats and the dog. They are my family and I couldn’t live with myself if I left them. I was worried before but now I’m terrified in a whole new way. Does he really think we’re gonna die here if we stay? I have no idea obviously, I’ve never experienced even a small hurricane before. But if they die because I abandoned them I will probably kill myself anyway, so… The hurricane is probably less dangerous to me than I am.

    1. Having even through a few, it is FAR less likely that you will die that you will have a really frustrating and uncomfortable next few days, weeks, or months if power, water, sewer, etc go down.

      The actual storm, depending on the intensity, can almost be fun in a way. Be there for your fuzzy ones, they will be scared, you will be scared, and you can all comfort each other.

      1. Thanks, that is a it reassuring at least. Yeah, I feel like now it would be more dangerous to try and get out than staying anyway. And I hear flights are either full or cancelled, and people get stuck on the way to the airport, or at the airport, or just end up having to go back home anyway. We are not in an evacuation or flood zone, and we have stocked up with plenty of food and water. We’re boarding up as many windows as we can, and I’ve still put together emergency evacuation bags that we can just grab if we need to go.

        Husband seems more okay today, I think he was just panicking. With all the reports on how bad this storm is and how it’s the worst ever and with the images of Houston fresh in mind… It’s definitely easy to panic. But panic kills people too. It may not be a “good” option, I’m not sure any options are good right now, but I’m pretty sure staying where we are is our best bet.

        But yeah, thanks. I’m seeking out all the reassurance and comfort I can find right now.

        1. Yeah, if they’re trying to evacuate millions of people and you’re not in the flood or evacuation zone, staying put is almost certainly the best choice, even aside from the issue of your pets.

    2. How dangerous the hurricane is depends on where you are, including where in the state (because that will affect how close the storm comes), local geography (the elevation of your home, and how close it is to either the ocean or Lake Okeechobee), and how your home is built. Mobile homes aren’t safe in high winds, and for regular buildings, newer construction is more likely to be hurricane-proof than anything built before 1980, especially if you’re in a part of Florida that wasn’t seriously affected by Hurricane Andrew.

      I would take the warnings from the National Weather Service seriously.

      The other advice from this internet stranger who has been through a few hurricanes is, Tell your husband what you just told us. Even if he hasn’t been through a hurricane either, working together on this is a good idea.

      1. We live in Tampa, which is not a good place to be right now. The house is a sturdy brick house and not in a flood or evacuation zone. But it’s still terrifying. It looks like we might go anyway, but by car so we can bring the animals. I think my husband understands that I can’t leave without them. Traveling by car is also not a great idea right now, but we have gas and if we go soon we should be able to make it to Atlanta…

    3. I don’t know where in FL you are, but a lot of us up here in NE FL are planning to stay put. I’m not in a flood zone, my home is sturdy. We may loose power, but honestly, camping out at home sounds *way* less uncomfortable than joining the slow-moving traffic trying to head north and west. (And my Iris-cat doesn’t really want to get in the car, either.)

      Town is sort of spooky right now… half-deserted, half good camaraderie. What’s getting me right now is the waiting… the storm proper won’t hit until Monday morning, and so now there’s just… waiting. It’s like I’ve forgotten how to occupy myself — I’m antsy and restless. I’m taking myself to the coffee shop down the street one more time before they close for the storm mid-afternoon. A friend who’s also staying put is coming over this afternoon for board games and beers. I have the entirety of the internet, a tremendous DVD library, a pile of grading, a different pile of yarn, power and baking supplies, and i’m still at a loss.

      Sending you mojo and calm. Snuggle your animals.

      1. Unfortunately, we’re in Tampa. So it looks like we’re gonna take the direct hit of the hurricane. We might leave after all, but we’ll go by car so we can bring the animals. I’m not thrilled about going out into the traffic the way it is now, but I’m also not thrilled about being in Tampa right now.

        Thank you though. Hope you stay safe.

        1. Sending mojo your way. I hope that you are safe, no matter which choices you make. I think the turn it took really caught lots of people by surprise.

    4. I watched video footage of volunteers rescuing animals after Harvey. Some asshole had left his dog in a wire kennel inside a garage! The poor pup was standing in water up to its hocks for who knows how long??? It was standing still and shivering as they carefully lifted the crate, but its tail was wagging. The idea of being its abandoned in such scary conditions and wondering where its humans were…I was appalled and wanted to put the OWNERS in cages in a garage with slowly rising water.

      It will be scary for you but I think what others have said is true: You will be mightily inconvenienced and at times very frightened but you will be all right. Having the pets to comfort and care for should help center you.

  37. I ❀ you for so many reasons already, but the fact you care and do things like this thread makes it all the more.

    High and dry in Austin, my thoughts are with everyone in the various disasters.

    1. Yes, many thanks to the good Captain for the opportunity for people to share their news, concerns, and well-wishes. Love your deeply caring heart and healing intention……… you are an inspiration, Cap’n!

  38. South central Canada here. We have massive forest fires in the north of Manitoba (our province), with residents having to be evacuated by military aircraft, with just what they can carry. Some have been able to return to one area; but there are still many in hotels or an arena with cots, as fires continue in their home areas. .

    Red Cross and community organizations, plus caring people are helping. Hoping that there will be continued help for those experiencing fire-flood-hurricane anywhere! Stay strong! Hugs to those who want them….you are not alone.

  39. Vancouver here, the smoke coming down from the fires actually managed to send me to the ER (asthma is a real pain in fire season). Tons of fires still burning in BC, but we’re lucky enough to not have them threatening us directly. It’s just the apocalyptic haze and a lot of nasty particulates.

    Family friends in Puerto Rico came through ok, which is wonderful. No word yet on folks in Cuba. And just starting to worry about the friends in Florida.

    It’s one hell of a year. Sending jedi hugs to anyone who wants one. It’s rough for everyone.

  40. Things have cleared up in Portland by now but I was just sitting down with ash floating over me on cracked bare ground (from the extreme summer heat) and that felt pretty post apocalyptic. All my friends in Mexico are far enough north to be safe if shaken but one of my floor mates is from fort Myers and his family hasn’t evacuated. Oh and my cousins in Eugene were being reckless about the smoke but I think everything’s cleared up.

  41. Far west Texas. We’re getting haze from the wildfires which is playing havoc with my asthma like WOAH and that, dear awkward army, screws up my executive function. I can sit. I can mindlessly read. I can’t think. It occasionally drops to ‘I forgot what I was in the bathroom for’ levels. So keep in mind even those areas ‘safe’ at the moment can really screw up the invisible disabled. I haven’t needed my inhaler, it’s more like… background noise. Someone yelling in the next room when you’re trying to sleep or shouting random numbers when you’re trying to count.

  42. Cottage Grove Oregon. We’re currently experiencing a 2-3 day respite from the smoke, but it’s been terrible and it will be back by Monday.

    My wife’s previously minor asthma has been kicked into overdrive and she’s barely been able to leave the house for a month. She had her first ever “Oh my god I cannot breathe” attack when the smoke first got bad a few weeks ago. That caused her generally low level anxiety to also kick into overdrive. Since then she has been having what I can only describe as “PTSD-like” moments. If her chest tightens, or if her breathing feels labored in any way, it causes her now always present anxiety to ramp up to 4-6 range. This then can trigger more severe asthma symptoms.

    It also does not help that our son has mild anxiety disorder that is exacerbated by the ADHD meds he just had to go back on for school. A bad night with him sets her anxiety alarms off which then can trigger asthma symptoms.

    We’re incredibly lucky and privileged that I have a remote job and can take on all of the things that require her to go out of the house.

    She got to go out yesterday for the first time in several weeks and it improved her mental state remarkably! We’re hoping the smoke will stay gone until Monday so she can go out with her friends for a much needed recharge Saturday and Sunday.

    Stay safe out there Awkwardeers!

  43. My mom moved to Florida a few months ago to try and help out her late husband’s mother-in-law. It didn’t work out (MIL blames my mother for her son’s death, as my mom had to administer the morphine that gave him respite from his cancer-consumed body) so she moved into a rental house. I love my mom but she has her issues, and in a fit of reckless arrogance informed me that she wouldn’t be stressing about preparing for Irma because she was “sure” it was going to skim back off into the ocean. She is now in the direct line of fire and asked me to call her today. She understands that she was wrong (which is huge for her, to her credit) but wanted me to know that she had done some proper last-minute preparation: she had bought a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter. “That should be enough to get me by,” she said, and I realized with a start that this is another symptom of the endless passive suicidal ideation that has plagued her since her husband’s death. I told her to stock up on whatever food was left at her workplace today and to be safe. I’m sure she’ll be okay, but damn it feels good to rant. Parents!

  44. I’m safely in Massachusetts but my brother is in Fort Myers and lives less than a mile and a half from the coast. This morning I saw that the storm track had shifted to the Gulf Coast and he’s right in its path. When I texted him, he said he wasn’t evacuating because “it’s too late, and I don’t trust my car.” I’m sure he’s as prepared as he can be, but I am terrified for him.

    I’m terrified for the rest of the planet too. Floods, fires, hurricanes, earthquakes–this feels a little apocalyptic to me, everything seems to be falling apart. Good luck to everyone who is in proximity to danger, or has recently been through it and is still recovering. I’ll be thinking of you, and of my brother, and hoping things will be better than I fear.

  45. I live in Seattle & have asthma.

    Just need to dump some feelings here about my idiot neighbors that chose to use their charcoal SMOKER to BBQ several times this past week. Apparently there wasn’t enough smoke in the vicinity. Luckily for us, they took care of it.


    1. OMFG. Is King County not under a burn ban? I’m over on Bainbridge and our FD has said “You can run propane grills and that’s IT, we will take your birthday away for using charcoal with everything so dry”.

  46. Another Washingtonian reporting in, on the other side of Puget Sound from Seattle: I saw a bit of blue sky today for the first time in a week, and felt three raindrops walking back from the library – and I was able to walk back, as a lot of the smoke had blown out. I’ve been stuck inside with an inhaler, watching the HEPA filters getting dirtier by the day; midweek I was able to look at the sun without my eclipse glasses, which just ain’t right. While we no longer have family there, Spouse went to university in Florida and is beside himself with worry.

  47. Hunkered down in a motel. Boat on the hard. Evacked with our electronics, clean clothing, and rum. The motel is full of climate refugees. All our doors are open and there’s a hurricane party in the hallway.

  48. I live in Jacksonville, FL, but fortunately a friend of mine who used to live in Jacksonville and now lives in the Richmond, VA, area offered me and another friend (and our respective pets) shelter at her place, so the other person in Jacksonville picked me up Friday morning and we drove to Richmond (which took something like 16 hours for what would under normal circumstances be an 8.5 hour drive with no stops, probably more like 9.5-10 allowing for stops for food, fuel, drinks, bathroom breaks, etc.), but we are all safe and sound and well out of Irma’s path at least for now.

    I’ve lived in the coastal southeastern US basically my entire life; Hurricane Hugo rolled through Charleston, SC (where I mostly grew) up during my ninth grade year (I was thirteen at the time), and the blessing of Hugo was that it was hauling ass. The winds were high and scary as hell, the eye passed over right at midnight, but by 8 a.m. or so Friday morning, the skies were clear. (Everything was a fucking mess for weeks afterward, but at least Hugo didn’t pull a Harvey and make landfall as a Category 4 storm and then sit there and dump rain for ages. Ugh. I’m so sorry, y’all on the Gulf Coast, that y’all had to deal with that bullshit, because wow is it some epic natural-disaster bullshit!)

    After that, I decided that if anything stronger than a low-end Category 3 was headed my way, it would be GTFO time. Where I live now is a large apartment building, and it’s technically a shelter itself, and the building has its own generator, but I live on the top floor, and I am NOT going to be on the fourteenth floor in hurricane conditions because Fuck. That.

    So Carys-kitteh and I are in Virginia with Friend, Friend’s Gentleman Caller, New Friend, and New Friend’s mousie in her little habitat. We are safe. We are tired. We went and toured this awesome historic house (Agecroft Hall, Google it, it’s amazing!) in Richmond today, and we played Cards Against Humanity this evening. New Friend is leaving tomorrow to go visit family a few hours away, and then she’s planning to return on Monday, and depending on what the roads look like and how badly Jacksonville is damaged, the tentative plan is to drive back to Florida on Tuesday.

    My family decided to hunker down and ride it out, but they live in a single-story house on relatively high ground (as such things go in coastal Florida); they would not be under evacuation orders in their area unless a Category 5 hurricane was heading directly for Jacksonville, and both my parents are natives of southeastern South Carolina, so this isn’t exactly their first rodeo with hurricanes, not by quite some measure. They should be okay. Mom sent me a goofy link on Facebook messenger this evening, so I’m assuming they’re more or less prepared and safe. (I couldn’t stay with them this time the way I did with Matthew last October because the family-drama equivalent of kicking open a hornet’s nest happened the weekend of the solar eclipse, and long story but it’s a no-go right now.)

    So things in DesertRose land are as good as they’re going to be for now. Thank you, Captain, for thinking of everyone in the areas affected by all this shit. I hope everyone stays safe. *hugs* if welcome and Carys offers kitty snuggles. πŸ™‚

    1. Still in Virginia, still planning to head back to Florida tomorrow.

      I may not be able to go directly home, as the area where my apartment building is located is very severely flooded, but New Friend and her parents have offered Carys and me crash space at their home if the roads are not passable so I can go to my home. (New Friend is in the loop re the long story of family-drama hornet’s nest.) I’m fairly sure my family is okay, they didn’t have electricity restored last I knew, but they have a generator, so they won’t lose the food in the fridge or the deep freezer, and Mom’s been in contact via Facebook and a group text including her brother (her only sibling)/my uncle.

      Awesome friends are awesome, BTW.

  49. You need us Australians! We’re great at dealing with natural disasters! Just don’t come here by boat, don’t ask us how we treat refugees, don’t ask to get married if you’re gay, and don’t ask if the people who run the country are even Australian citizens. No seriously, don’t ask on the last one, our deputy Prime Minister is in the High Court trying to prove his not a New Zealander! On second thought, get the New Zealanders to help, there way more competent than us. Stay safe!

    1. Us americans are actually very familiar with obnoxious turds not believing certain birth records. Some of us even voted to put them in office.

      1. Ironically, the other way around in Aus right now: about half a dozen MPs discovered that they were unwitting dual citizens and thus ineligible for the offices to which they had been elected. Predictably, the left-wing MPs affected have resigned with apologies, while the right-wing MPs are fighting it in court. *sigh*

  50. We’re in Largo, which is in Pinellas County–we’re gonna get hit directly in the face tonight. My dad is a nightmare to be around during MILDLY stressful situations, so he’s not-so-silently losing his mind right now. It’s me, him, my sister, and the guinea pig.

    Cement-block house, non-evacuation zone, we have no fear of flooding here, and we’ve boarded up all the windows really securely; we’ve got lots of food and water, a generator and plenty of fuel for it. It’s just more than a little terrifying sitting here waiting; we made the best decisions we could with the information we had at every stage, it’s just hard not to feel trapped at the moment. And my partner lives in Seattle, so when we inevitably lose cell coverage here that gap will be hell. And of course none of us slept well or at all last night FOR SOME REASON, so…it’s just gonna be a long night.

  51. Jacksonville. My f-ing bf is pissy that I didn’t want to go watch football while a tornado watch is on and we have two dogs at home. Plan to leave him after hurricane. He is frankly the last person on earth I want to ride this storm out with.

    1. Jedi hugs, if you would like, and fist-bumps for your future self who is going to be glad of the silver lining that is realising you’re incompatible with someone before wasting any more time with them.

  52. In Atlanta, where we’ve been in the “cone of uncertainty” for the last few days. The university I work at has announced that we’re closed Monday and Tuesday. I did my shopping and gassing-up-of-car a few days ago due to an “OMG FREAK OUT NOW” email from AAA which was probably meant for Georgians on the coast, but also meant that I wasn’t trying to brave the stores today. There have been reports of gas shortages due to people evacuating through here. Right now it’s just cloudy. Anticipating power outage and maybe some tree issues, but my building is on pretty high ground I think.

    My favorite coffee shop has been offering free coffee to evacuated Floridians, so I spent yesterday there reading and drinking lots of coffee to help support their overall being-good-people-ness. (Luckily the guys there know me well enough to know when to switch me to decaf πŸ™‚ ) (Ebrik Coffee Room if anyone wants to know — they may not be open for a bit though).

  53. I don’t live in Florida, but I grew up there and lived through Andrew in 1992. I have serious anxiety about major hurricanes as a result and have been panicking all week about my parents, who still live there. Fortunately, at this point it looks like they’ve missed out on the worst of the storm, but this has not been a fun week. And I really feel for all the people who are getting the bullet that they dodged.

  54. Just a shoutout to Cubans who are also very badly affected, and usually forgotten by the West, with all the consequences the blockade has.

  55. The Jolly Mountain fire is within 9 miles of my parents’ and my brothers’ houses. They’re safe (river, freeway and unforested plateau between them in the fire), but it’s scary to see so much of the community I grew up in evacuated out of their homes or having to be ready to leave in a moment’s notice if the wind changes direction. I wish we could pick up all the rain from this hurricane and drop it on the west.

    Be safe awkward army.

  56. Mexico here. Far from the earthquake zone, trying to send stuff to help out but there’s account of one of the trailers crashing and the locals (down in Puebla) stealing the goods for themselves (which makes me horribly angry and lose faith in humanity). The hurricanes aren’t hitting here either, but yesterday we had a 5 states blackout. Seriously, whassgoinon?

  57. Houston here and it seems more normal for some of us this week: traffic is getting back to “regular terrible” instead of “nightmare terrible,” most kids are back in school, people are back to work. But so many people still need help mucking out their homes, and there are sections of the city where homes are STILL flooded and probably will be for another week or two. Because people are going back to work and school those who can still volunteer are getting burned out, and those who need help are having trouble getting that help. We could definitely still use all the kind thoughts and prayers you can manage.

  58. Tampa here. We got very lucky. I was a mile from Tampa Bay and seriously considering leaving in case of a major storm surge. In the end, the forecasts were low enough that I figured I was safe in my 2nd floor apartment. On Saturday, I walked along Bayshore Blvd. taking pictures, then on Sunday when the news reported the water had gone, I went back and took more pictures. It was incredible – water normally 3-6 feet deep had completely disappeared for nearly a half-mile out. The police lectured us all not to try to walk on the bay floor (no way of knowing what was in that mud or how deep or thick it was) but that didn’t stop some people.)

    The storm wasn’t as bad as it might have been, since it weakened coming up over land from Naples/Fort Myers. We had tropical storm force winds for several hours and a few hurricane-force gusts. Power was out for hours or days in many places, and I saw a few broken windows and uprooted trees. It’s very common for storms to veer away from Tampa Bay, but one day, we won’t be so fortunate. Hope all my fellow Floridians came through okay!

  59. I was doing all right until a co worker threw me under the bus at a conference call today for not returning his calls or those of a client on Tuesday (36 hrs after hurricane passed). Monday, the whole tri-county area was advised to “shelter in place” while downed power lines and damage were assessed and streets cleared. I didn’t even get cell phone service back until Tuesday morning, and this coworker’s calls simply were not my priority.
    Tuesday I went straight from my friend’s inland house (where I’d been since Friday night) to the office without going home first, because the bridges to my island were closed off by police until it was deemed safe to return. When I arrived home that afternoon, I found my house thankfully intact with no water incursions, but treelimbs in my drive way and sidewalk and remnants of salt and sand in the swale. no electricity either (it’s Friday night and still no electricity). But hey its florida, these things are part of the price of living in paradise, so i got to work cleaning up on tuesday night and continued going to work (where there is, mercifully, electricity and air conditioning! ) and eating non-perishables and generally “keeping calm and carrying on” for the rest of the week. Until dude threw me under the bus, I lost it and screamed into the whole conference call “there was a hurricane! Did you not notice? There was a HURRICANE!!!”. I was so blinded by anger that i could barely listen to the rest of the call. Someone mentioned the meeting with the client the prior Thursday and i was like “you mean the meeting from which i went to wait in line to get sandbags for my house because THERE WAS A HURRICANE??” at this point, my boss was across the table from me sliding her hand across her throat for me to stop talking. The rest of the day was totally shot. I was too pissed off to accomplish anything. Arrrrrrggggghhhhh!

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