We live through this fear of demise by a huge storm every year.  We actually became somewhat complacent for years, until Wilma flooded our island in October 2005.  So we watch the National Hurricane Center reports with much more interest these days.

Tropical strom Fay is now meandering just below Cuba and expected to make a more northerly track toward the Keys by tomorrow.  She is not very powerful at the moment with sustained wind speeds of 50mph around the small and disorganized storm eye.  But that can change as she traverses across the warm waters of the Florida Straits.

This morning tourists and visitors were told to evacuate the Keys.  It’s standard procedure to remove the non-locals first so , if necessary, the locals can be evacuated later.  I don’t expect that will happen with Fay, but you never know.  But I doubt many of us would leave for this one.

However, after talking with many locals, a category 2 storm would prompt many locals to leave.  A lesson was learned with Wilma.  The fear is more of the flooding than the wind.

When you get to category 3 or higher, the island is in trouble.  A direct hit would cause catastrophic damage from both flood waters and winds.  We are not very high above sea level and many of our homes are old and not designed to survive high winds.

Some tourists may be disappointed that their Key West getaway was cut short or cancelled, but I can assure you that it is in your best interest.  Even if Fay does not bring storm surge waters and high winds, she will still drop a great deal of rain, which will temporaily flood many steets and neighborhoods.

There are some local die-hards.  They claim the best way to survive a hurricane is to open the windows in your home.  That way the super low pressures produced by a storm will not cause the home to explode from the pressure changes.  It also allows the wind to flow through the structure, rather than blow it down.

I don’t think I would want to try this myself, but a lot of Conchs live by this belief.  And their homes are still standing.  The old shack on the corner of Thomas & Angela would maybe prove this theory.  It looks like a high breeze would knock it down, but it’s still standing after decades of storms.

We love having tourists in the summer in Key West.  However, it is the “slow season” for a reason.  You can come to Key West for a lot less money in the off-season and have a really fun time.  And if you get stuck here with a storm bearing down, go to the Green Parrot Bar on Whitehead & Southard.  I’m sure the locals will be having a hurricane party there, as long as the generator fuel hold out.