It was a perfect day at Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park. The sun was blazing, the sky was clear and cloudless, and the sea glittered with hundreds shades of blue. Nothing in the horizon gave out that a day later, a tropical storm nicknamed Isaac would be roaring over these shores.
We had heard about the tropical storm that was on its way to Florida Keys, although it was hard to believe looking at the clear sky above us. After its furious run over Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Haiti (where it claimed six lives), the storm was predicted to hit us on Sunday morning. The tropical storm was said to turn into a Category 1 hurricane when it reaches land.
Having had our room at Hawks Cay Resort booked until Sunday, we decided to stay and wait for news about the storm. At worst we would extend our stay until the storm passed. Hurricane Isaac was a great excuse to get some valuable down time.
Watching the Storm Rage
The next morning, however, was a different story. It had rained all night, and we’d awoken to dark skies and light drizzles. Grey clouds had gathered over the isle, and the waves were crashing loudly. The resort was empty, except for a few stranded guests like ourselves. We stayed in the comfort of our room and watched the winds bellow and howl outside.
We followed the news intently, it was evident that the Keys would clearly be hit by the storm. Soon enough, a staff from the resort came to inform us they were evacuating the resort and we had just a few hours to pack and take off.
Taken aback by the news, we were not sure what to do next. We were expecting to spend the night at the resort so we didn’t have anything arranged in Miami until Sunday. After a few phone calls and internet research, every hotel seemed to be fully booked. We had to leave the resort without anywhere to go.
When we started our drive, we were mentally prepared for a furious storm and strong winds on the way, but the weather was surprisingly calm. Our two-hour drive from Duck Key to Miami was sprinkled with intermittent showers and unpredictable gusts, but it still didn’t feel like a hurricane was approaching. Traffic was slow as everyone rushed to evacuate from the Keys.
Eventually, we managed to find a place to stay thanks to Wimdu, who’d promptly agreed to let us check in to our apartment rental a day earlier. With the storm quickly approaching, we were relieved to arrive at our beautiful beachfront apartment were we would bunk ourselves for the duration of the storm.
Our First Hurricane Experience
As I’m writing this, there is a constant hissing outside our window and the strong wind is blasting against the glass. It’s been pouring all night and day, and the rain has even sipped through our window frame into our apartment. The storm has finally arrived and although it seems like it won’t be hitting Miami directly it does feel like we’re in the middle of a full-blown hurricane.
As of today, the tropical storm is predicted to enter the gulf of Mexico and gain momentum until it slams into the Northern Gulf Coast somewhere between Florida and Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane on late Tuesday night. The storm is said to be over by Tuesday here in Miami – we can’t wait to see the end of it.
It’s our first time experiencing a tropical storm of this magnitude and, although it is considered to be a mild one here in Florida, the initial fear made it quite an experience.