I didn't sleep much last night. While watching the news before we went to bed I suddenly became anxious about Hurricane Gustav and what our plan of action should be. Up until this point, I haven't given it too much thought. Josh and I early on said that we were going to ride this one out. Neither of us thought that it would go in close to us, so even if it intensified dramatically, we would only get Tropical Storm to Category 1 winds and rain. Last hurricane season we awoke to surprise Hurricane Humberto moving in. When we went to bed that night Humberto was a tropical storm that was supposed to go in at Galveston. Humberto to a surprise turn and then jumped up to hurricane status, and moved right through where we live. Besides losing power for about 3 or 4 days, everything else went smoothly. The kids slept off and on through the whole thing.
After Humberto last year, and the not-so-exciting Tropical Storm Edouard, we decided to stay this time unless it became a Cat 3 headed straight for us. The plan was, ride it out and leave afterwards if we lose power. IF Gustav intensified and headed more our way and it became apparent that it wouldn't be safe to stay with the children, then we would leave at the last minute so that we don't get stuck in the mass evacuating traffic. We were satisfied with our plan.
When we got home from the football game last night the projected path of Gustav had been inching and inching a little bit more west. Since it is going to be several days before it makes landfall, I got nervous that it would keep inching its way that way and head straight for us. I talked to my mom informed her of our plan. I also made the mistake of telling her that I planned to surf Monday. That landed me with mini-lecture about rip tides. But as I attempted to go to sleep last night my mind was racing thinking that maybe our plan needed a little tweeking. All the many possible senarios of what could happen with Gustav kept running through my mind.
I awoke this morning after a very restless night where I did not get much sleep only to find that my suspicions were confirmed. Gustav the great had grown from a Category 1 with 80mph sustained winds, to a Category 3 with 120 mph sustained winds. Not only that, but the projected path is curved even more towards us now than it previously was.
I let out a long sigh. I knew that the day would be filled with getting gas before it runs out, getting food for what could possibly be a VERY long car ride, and many other decisions(i.e. where we should go?, when we should leave?, what car we should borrow since mine STILL isn't fixed?, and whether or not to board up the windows?). As I drove around running my errands I could see the same exhaustion that I feel on the faces of those in the community. It is less than a month from the 3 year anniversary of Hurricane Rita. The devestation that it caused when the eye of the storm went through our city is all too fresh on our memory. No one was left unscathed.
When I returned home from the store and turned on the news I discoved that there was a huge drop in pressure and Gustav is now a Category 4 with 145 mph sustained winds. Wait, it gets better. It hasn't even hit the "sweet spot" in the Gulf of Mexico where Hurricanes Katrina and Rita exploded.
It is exhausting thinking about what we are going to be dealing with in the next couple of days(possibly weeks...). We've survived it before and I know we will again. But it is still exhausting.