Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Hurricane Irma Is Hitting Florida - What it Feels Like on the Ground (in Gainesville)

At 2:00 A.M. local time on Monday, we will be hit by what is predicted to be the most devastating hurricane of the past 25 years.  The course of the storm keeps changing. At present, it has veered west, away from Miami toward Naples and will follow the west coast of Florida north to Tallahassee.  This will put inland Gainesville out of the eye of the storm but still in danger from significant rain and wind.  Last fall, a mere tropical storm caused my neighbor's pine tree to create a natural skylight in the front of his house. The winds from Irma suggest a more significant risk from falling trees and branches.  All roads out of Florida are very slow moving.  It took friends 12 hours to get from Miami to Gainesville and they got off the highway (which was not moving) to take back roads to shave the last 2 hours off of their estimated travel time.

The local supermarket is out of all sorts of things - bread, eggs, granola and energy bars, water, canned beans (except people didn't seem to understand that the Goya branded beans are in the Latino section, not the general section - we bought those last night), potato chips, etc.  We bought  Yasso frozen Greek yogurt bars (buy one get one free sale no less).  They are full of protein and 8 bars are likely not to last through tonight anyway.  At most gasoline stations, there is no gasoline - a combination of locals topping off their gas tanks, South Florida refugees here topping off, and lots of people stopping in Gainesville to refuel before heading north to Georgia (no hotel availability between here and Atlanta from what I can tell).

A number of friends have emailed as to what we are doing so let me answer here:

  • we are staying in the house and hoping for the best
  • driving out is more dangerous (potentially) than staying put
  • the airports are closed
  • Disney is closed
  • the 5 hour drive to Atlanta will take 10-12 hours and it is unclear if we could get gas on the way
  • it is warm and sunny at the moment
  • the girls are scared
  • the girls are fighting because they are scared
  • I have a full tank of gas and Hannah has 7/8 tank of gas should we need to flee
  • we have lots of shelf stable food - enough to last for at least 2 weeks.  This includes shelf stable chocolate milk. Everything is better with chocolate milk (like the recent Intel decision)
  • over the last few years we preemptively cut lots of branches off of trees and also removed our largest and fattest trees that posed the greatest danger to our house.
  • hopefully we will get through this without any problems

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