Well, we are going to shelter in-place since we are not under mandatory evacuation orders. We are about 40 miles from the west coast of Florida as the bird flies. We are also about an 1/8th of a mile from the Green Swamp, which is the watershed and headwaters of the Withlacoochee River.  Yes, we are in a 1% flood plain. Our river is already at action stage prior to Irma, but it is only forecast to reach moderate flood stage, which won’t affect us.

Our neighbors tell us that past river crests have only ever flooded parts of our south pasture and filled our empty pond. The historic crest that our flood zone is based on occurred in 1933 and was over 20 feet (four more feet than the crests that flood the south pasture). 

No one I know remembers that flood. Our house also didn’t exist back then. Our house is built on a mound and is several feet higher than the pasture.

We are getting more concerned about the possibility of many hours of sustained hurricane force winds. We are hoping for the best. If it blows out our windows, oh well. We hope the roof holds.

Our neighbors will be sheltering with us.  They live in an old stick-built farmhouse down the dirt road. Our house is cinder block and brick front. We have two windowless rooms we will shelter in (they have an outside wall, but I’m pretty confident about the construction) overnight. We are well stocked and have a huge generator for afterwards.

The horse has her halter on with a piece of paper inside double ziploc bags duct taped to it with my name, address, and phone number. She has many ancient grandfather oaks to shelter under in her 3-acre pasture. We will leave her pasture gate open so she can come up into the yard around the house if she wants.

The sheep will all be herded into our cinder block garage with our hurricane reinforced garage door in lock-down mode. It’s like the Taj Mahal in there.

The Husband is required to shelter in-place at his work as he has to tend to his patients. He won’t be home until Tuesday…
Pray for us and wish us luck. We know there will be damage and that it’s risky, but it was a rock-and-a-hard-place type of decision to make. We were danged if we left and danged if we stayed.