Looking at photos like the first one below does put things in perspective. My trip has been postponed but the poor people in the Bahamas - even if they wanted to evacuate, how or where would they do that? Dorian isn't their first hurricane, but it has become the strongest hurricane to make landfall there in decades.
The residents of the Bahamas are well past the time to prepare themselves for Dorian, but those of us in Florida still have these last few hours to do what we can.
I'm probably an "over-preparer" by Florida standards. Although Malaysia doesn't really experience natural disasters - very lucky in that regard - I have lived other places that aren't so lucky. Living in Michigan taught me more than I ever wanted to know about tornadoes, including that college classes don't necessarily get cancelled because of impending twisters.
I also was living in New York when Hurricane Sandy hit. That was a natural disaster on steroids - dozens died, thousands of homes were destroyed, the subway system flooded, and there was no power for days.
Although I am already a planner by nature, living through Sandy was a huge wake-up call to take hurricanes seriously. Yes, the weather forecasters always make it sound like the world is ending, and yes, many predicted disasters pass by with only a brief rain shower.
But the very nature of weather is its unpredictability and I do not ever want to be caught unprepared if I can help it.
Hurricanes come at the same time every year and because of my own experiences, I do hurricane prep all year round. I make sure we have food and water that can feed us for several days without refrigeration. I've planned how I'd evacuate if I had to, particularly important because I don't drive or have a car. I keep a supply of batteries, a flashlight, a book to read, and hand sanitizer on hand. And this was even though I was holding out hope that I'd still be able to fly to Italy on schedule!
As it turns out, Dorian is really testing even my planning. First, I was going to be in Italy and not have to worry about being directly in the path of a Cat 5 hurricane. Then I was stuck here in FL, when my flight was cancelled. And now I'm looking at evacuating. But this is part of the price you pay for living somewhere like the Treasure Coast - sometimes our little slice of paradise is threatened. Having multiple layers of plans made well ahead of time is key to my mental well-being.
You cannot control the weather and you cannot change the path of a hurricane. But you can take simple steps to make getting through one much less stressful and dangerous.
Stay safe! Pay attention to the news. Help your neighbors. Kindness to others is even more important at times like this.
P.S. Click here for a great how-to for hurricane preparedness!