My county, Palm Beach County, FL, home to 1.471 million (2017) residents and host to 6 million annual visitors, is carefully watching the trajectory projections of Hurricane Dorian, the strongest hurricane in recorded history.
Dorian is “stalled” over the Bahamas.
The Bahamas is a “coral-based archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. Its 700-plus islands and cays range from uninhabited to packed with resorts”.
It has a population of 395,361 in 2017.
The Bahamas is 202 miles from West Palm Beach, where I live and is easily reached by cruise ship, private boat, and airlines.
Today the Bahamas airport is covered with angry grey waves.
One of the Abaco islands appears flattened. The roiling water is up to the mangled roofs.
People who have survived hurricanes know that they are powerful, relentless, terrifying.
In 1992 Hurricane Andrew struck south Miami.
Photographs taken after the event showed the facades of multi-story apartment houses ripped away,. They looked like oversized doll houses.
Andrew killed 44 people and left a record $25 billion in damage.
Hurricane winds sound like a speeding, shrieking train.
They can easily bend and flatten a 30 foot palm tree.
I drove through a section of West Palm Beach today about 4:00 p.m.
Normally, at that time of day, the streets and roads are filled with people and cars.
Today, the town was eerily silent.
The doors and windows of nearly every supermarket, drug store and gas station were boarded up.
The news reports that 17,000 Florida Power & Light personnel and trucks are waiting in staging areas to restore power in the event it fails.
AT&T has provided stand-by equipment and personnel.
Fuel trunks are poised to deliver supplies.
Thousands of Florida National Guard troops have been mobilized to assist those in need.
Experienced and trained federal and state Emergency Management Services are on site.
They are all a tribute to American organizational and economic power.
Still, despite the preparation, and confidence of the experts and residents, there is anxiety in south Florida.
And, now, the noisy, heavy rain has begun.