Update... just posted this in my team forums, and decided to share it here too.
It's shortly after midnight on Monday morning, and we're about 24 hours away from the start of the tropical-storm force winds. It's late at night, my wife and kids are asleep, and I'm out of things I can do to prepare for the storm for tonight, so I figured I'd jump in here and give you all one last update while I have a chance.
All of our windows are covered with plywood, except our sliding glass door. I have two more sheets of plywood cut and sized and ready to go, and we'll put those up on the glass doors tomorrow. After that, we just have to secure a few loose items in our yard, lock up our 4 backyard chickens in their smaller coop and lock them up in our backyard shed to give them the best chance of survival. And then my wife, our kids, and our dog will pile into our minivan and drive 10 minutes over to my mother-in-law's house to ride out the storm for the duration. Our mother-in-law's house is a bit sturdier than ours, so we figured that would give us one more layer of safety, and our kids one more layer of comfort as they absolutely adore Grandma. Our 3 cats will stay behind in the house... they would be miserable getting shoved into cat carriers and shlepped to another house temporarily while simultaneously having to deal with unfamiliar territory, our own dog (who they hate), our mother-in-law's dog (who they would probably hate), the sounds of the storm howling outside, and our bored, scared, hyper children. At home, they'll have all their usual hiding places, their usual litter boxes, and plenty of food and water. If the house takes damage, they'll be smart enough to stay hidden and out of the way until it's over. I keep telling myself they'll be fine. I'm probably right. I hope I'm right.
Dorian is a monster, and he is basically scouring several small islands clean in the Bahamas as we speak. The good news is that he's forecast to turn north and away from Florida JUST offshore, and the better news is that several factors are about to combine to start weakening Dorian so he'll be down to Category 4 at his closest approach. Problem is, he'll still come close enough to bring winds over 100 miles per hour to our humble city of Palm Bay, about the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane hitting head-on. And that will just be the crescendo, the climax of a 24-hour-long build up of heavy rain and steadily rising winds that will begin tomorrow night.
This will be the 6th hurricane I've been through in my life: David in 1979 (which I don't remember as I was less than 3 months old), Erin in 1995, Charley and Jeanne in 2004, and Irma in 2017, and now Dorian in 2019. We evacuated for Frances in 2004 and again for Matthew in 2016, though both evacuations turned out to be unnecessary nightmares. Then there was Andrew in 1992... that storm passed well to our south in my youth, but over a month later, my Boy Scout troop went to Homestead on a service trip to help a storm-damaged church. Even a month later, that city still looked like a war zone, and the things I saw will forever be etched into my memory. As an adult, I worked for a guy who had been through Andrew as a young man and watched the roof peel off of his house while he was still inside it. He called it the most frightening night of his life.
If the forecasters are correct, this will end up being much like Jeanne in 2004: no power for several weeks, but no major damage for most people and we slowly and sweatily claw our way back to normal life. I've been through it before, and we can all get through it again. If the forecasters are wrong, however... I don't want to think about that.
It's late, and I need to go to sleep. There's work to do in the morning. God willing, I'll talk to you all again when the lights come back on.