Drive By Dorian
September 2, 2019 9:01 AM   Subscribe

My parents need to drive from the Jersey shore to the Tampa, FL area and could start as early as tomorrow. Should they go ASAP Tuesday or hold back?

Are they crazy to try to “beat the storm” by rushing home early this week? Help me surreptitiously help them.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total)
Not even close to Florida but a lot of my co-workers are in Orlando and their office is now closed and powered down until at least Thursday. No way I'd be driving towards that general area; even if the hurricane stays out on the water things like gas and water have been hard to find since late last week according to my co-workers. In my non-floridan mind you're too late to beat it at this point.
posted by cgg at 9:11 AM on September 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yes, they are crazy. It's a natural phenomenon that is already causing evacuations and is as likely as not to change direction and turn their trip into a sailing expedition.

On Saturday I could have seen doing it. Maybe Sunday. But today is far too late.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:18 AM on September 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

The latest estimated arrival times have tropical storm force winds potentially arriving in Tampa between 2am and 8am on Tuesday. Even if they left this very second (writing this around 12:30 on Monday) and drove through the night, they would risk driving directly into the worst of the storm.
posted by firechicago at 9:26 AM on September 2, 2019 [4 favorites]

My mother and I drove back to north Florida from North Carolina during the evacuation for Irma in 2017. On the one hand, it was otherworldly weird in a very fun way to be the only car going south with traffic the other way bumper to bumper coming out, and we made amazing time plus got to see all the power company trucks from all over the country coming down to help, which was thrilling and inspiring. On the multiple other hands, it was also remarkably stupid and completely terrifying. We could've gotten walloped. It's disconcertingly hard to find gas--and there's the uncomfortable knowledge that you're using gas, gas that people trying to GTFO need and that you don't actually need because you could've stayed a couple of days at your sister's/aunt's house like sensible people. I cannot recommend this course of action.
posted by Don Pepino at 9:30 AM on September 2, 2019 [12 favorites]

I'm in Savannah and I wouldn't even ever no way consider driving to Tampa from here today or in the next few days. It's normally a 6 hr drive from here.

They should stay put for the next several days.
posted by mareli at 9:49 AM on September 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'm here in St. Petersburg, and it's nice and sunny at this exact moment, but it's not going to be that way once Dorian gets closer to the other coast and starts drenching it. The bands from the storm will extend across land, gradually weakening. The predicted effect on the west coast here is going to be minimal.
This would be good news for them if they had left on the past Friday or Saturday.
But, remember that the storm is going to work it's way up the coast - Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia - as the week progresses.
My honest opinion is that they should sit tight until at least this coming Saturday or Sunday and let this thing die before getting in the car.
posted by Bill Watches Movies Podcast at 10:22 AM on September 2, 2019

Not worth it! Whatever they “need” to do can wait until the storm clears. With all the closings, evacuations, etc. I can’t imagine a single obligation that wouldn’t be waived, postponed, or excused until after the storm. If they just want to be home (understandable) I don’t think that’s a good enough reason. Maybe appeal to their altruism: resources and emergency services should be directed to those who need them, not to those voluntarily driving into danger.
posted by kapers at 11:04 AM on September 2, 2019 [4 favorites]

Yes, they are 100% crazy for even considering “beating the storm” at this point.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 11:40 AM on September 2, 2019

I'm in SE NC and just got back from waiting in line for gas. This storm is exceedingly difficult to parse. They should stay put.
posted by mightshould at 11:46 AM on September 2, 2019

If they really want to get back as soon as possible after the storm passes, they could drive down to Chattanooga or Atlanta (or some other point inland) tomorrow morning as early as possible, hole up in a hotel there for a few days, and see what happens. There's a small chance that Dorian will impact the Jersey shore as well by Thursday, though the forecast is less certain that far out; and if that happens they might be safer & happier further inland. You'd have to weigh the inconvenience of staying where they are (and a possible storm) against the inconvenience of being in a town where they don't know anybody.
posted by Johnny Assay at 11:47 AM on September 2, 2019 [5 favorites]

Living in Central NC, and going through a couple hurricanes, we are not expecting to have any effects from the storm until Thursday or Friday, and it sounds like mainly rain (less than an inch). Right now, driving south on 95 through Richmond, and then taking 85 South to Atlanta will allow them to avoid any significant storm issues (based on predicted path).

It looks like Florida will be lucky in that the storm is not making landfall, but the east coast will get a ton of rain, with the west coast of FL getting significantly less rain.

If your parents can take 85 through Atlanta, and can get to 85 in NC by Thursday morning, they should be fine. If they are only comfortable driving 95 to FL, then waiting until the weekend would be the best choice.
posted by bonofasitch at 11:03 AM on September 3, 2019

Response by poster: Well they took off yesterday morning, against my advice. I told them if any harm came their way, I'd be sad but mostly I'd be saying I Told You So until the end of time. They've made it to Georgia and seem to be doing well. "It's breezy, and all the fast food places are closed- we're having nuts for lunch!"
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:22 PM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: They made it home safely!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:41 PM on September 5, 2019 [4 favorites]

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