I think this past weekend was a good example of what I’ve heard some people refer to as a “South Florida Snow Day”…
As I alluded to in the last post, Tropical Storm (and potential future hurricane) Isaac popped up on the South Florida cultural radar this past week. The usual cautionary tales ensued, with speculation turning to preparation on Thursday and Friday. Friday, the rain started to show up, with Saturday becoming a complete washout.
By Saturday night though, it appeared Isaac would only be a low-grade tropical storm, and the worst of it was to miss South Florida entirely, and veer through the Keys and out into the Gulf. But, the machinery of closures was already in motion. It definitely reminded me of the snow days growing up…
I grew up in the Northeast. As such, we had snow days when I was in school. If a storm happened, often the roads would be rendered dangerous, and as we were a walking/drive-your-kids-to-and-from-school district (only the special needs kids got buses), it was considered a liability to have kids out and about going to and from school in the event of a snow emergency. So, early in the morning of the day of the storm, the powers that be over at the school district HQ, would decide to declare a snow day, or not. They sometimes erred on the side of caution, choosing to close the district even if the accumulation wasn’t that bad. So, there’d be three inches of snow on the ground (a laughable amount), and school would be closed.
Much like yesterday (Monday) with regards to Isaac. I woke up Monday morning, and was surprised to see the sun was out. However, the day prior, Sunday, was a complete rain event, as they say, and the governments and major businesses had already called off their Monday operations. I guess in the case of government, it’s hard to recall a shutdown. However, it did rain a lot Monday afternoon, and I think it was a much-needed day off for a lot of people, personally. Though with remote work capabilities and telecommuting, the economy probably didn’t suffer too much.
I think it was as close to a perfect situation in terms of disruption as you can get though. Enough rain came around to cause government and big business to shut down, but not so much as to engender widespread devastation and chaos. In practical matters, people got time off, and South Florida’s party machine kicked into action over the weekend. It was “slow”, of course, but most bars and nightclubs had enough business to justify staying open. I wonder what that says for society when we’ll go through hell and high water to get drunk? Probably that we spend too much time at work, personally. But, that’s another blog rant.
The party machine around was definitely active, with the events I attended at Chalk on South Beach, and of course Space in Downtown Miami, being heavily attended.
I’ve been through a few rain events and hurricanes, and despite the threat of damage and destruction, I’ve always kind of liked the atmosphere at hurricane parties. Plus, nothing beats exiting a venue and realizing, rather dimly, that you probably should get home and see about getting things situated in case the storm really does come. I remember when Hurricane Wilma, the last storm of any significance to come through South Florida directly, came through in October of 2005. I was living on Normandy Isle in the northern part of Miami Beach at the time in a fairly rattletrap (Sorry Su, it’s true…but we had fun!) apartment building, and I got around via public transport or taxis. I had shot an event with Sander Kleinenberg at Space earlier, and made my usual late exit from the venue that Sunday morning. Of course, I had heard reports that this pesky storm might just come for us, but didn’t give it much thought. I had gotten home, checked a few reports, most of which centered on “Yes, it’s coming for Miami, but at what strength we don’t know…”, and passed out to sleep. I woke up about eight hours later to the sounds of my roommate and his friend stocking up for the storm. Apparently it was close, as we lost power a few hours later. Fortunately we had enough random provisions to get through the next few days, but for a minute it was kind of tense as we had no “real” food.
I’m a little more responsible nowadays, I think. I have a few gallons of water on hand and a FIVESTAR account with hotels.com. And I keep an eye on my iPhone during potential hurricane periods. If things look ugly, I’ll prebook a hotel inland and north and get out of town. Might not be the most entertaining course of action, but fortunately I’m mobile. I can fit everything important to me (gear, data, and some clothes) into my trunk. And if the storm is a non-event, I can come back home.
It might not work for you though. Don’t blame me if it doesn’t.