The Truth About Rita

Newsletter written the morning after Hurricane Rita slid by…

Lovely Rita skims Key West

So many of you called and emailed worried for our safety, for your property, asking were we ok. My mother in law was beside herself due to the media coverage. We told her to turn off the TV. The power was out for 8 hours, but the breeze was cool and the generator kept the fridge cold. Of course, we had to eat the ice cream immediately because this was, after all, an emergency. You can’t waste perfectly good ice cream. What if the generator failed???

Key West is good, despite the newscasts. This morning on TV I saw that ice, water and canned goods were being helicoptered in to aid in the rescue and recovery effort. Huh? I think Albertson’s, one of the big grocery stores, is open…

Here’s the truth about Rita: it was a nothing storm. It was windy, not particularly rainy. A few limbs blew down, lots of leaves blew down, a couple of actual trees at the Golf Club (and I know a few owners who welcome this event). There was some flooding at Laird and White Street, in that beach neighborhood between White and George near Atlantic Blvd. Some of those yards flood in a heavy rain. Otherwise, nada.

The media needs to take a chill pill BIG TIME. They are whacked, nuts, completely over the top. They need to save the hysteria for Galveston. The newscasters were so clearly devastated when Rita didn’t even make hurricane 1 status before waaaay late in the game. One ‘caster was on Duval Street yesterday and exclaimed (yes, exclaimed): "LOOK. A puddle!!! This puddle was not here a minute ago! It starts here [he puts his foot by the curb, water coming to about 1" up his shoe] to HERE [sweeping motion about 2 feet into the street]." We were all rolling on the floor at that one!

It is rare that a hurricane claims the life of someone who has acted or been taken care of responsibly. If we thought our lives were in danger, we would leave. Most hurricane victims drown and there’s just not enough water surrounding the island to create a catastrophic flood! Katrina didn’t provide the water that devastated New Orleans – Lake Ponchetrain did. In a Cat 4 or 5, our roof may blow off and, if that hurricane is a rainy one, all our stuff would be wet and ruined. There are worse things that can happen frankly.

Key West would not be subject to the looting and violence that big cities have experienced. We are a small town, a community of neighbors who take pride in their city. My opinion, but I’ve lived here over 25 years. I’ll stick by that.

Is riding out a hurricane risky? Yes, minimally. I’m as likely to die in a hurricane as to be killed in a terrorist attack. I’m thousands of times MORE likely to be hit by a car as a pedestrian. Hundreds of times more likely to drown in a bucket. Thirty times more likely to be stung to death by insects. OK, I’ll stop now… that’s too icky. So we could stop walking, throw away all our buckets and avoid bushes and anthills. I can certainly live thru a windy day in exchange for living in such a spot as this!

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Katrina victims and with those in TX awaiting Voluptuous Rita’s visit… I promise more cheery topics next time!! Till then, stay dry, stay safe, stay away from anthills!


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