This post could also be titled That One Time Tropical Storm Debby Almost Ruined My Florida Vacation.
Just like most summers, we Floridians sit and watch the Gulf of Mexico (and the Atlantic) churn up the tropical storms and hurricanes every year. We don’t really worry in June. We normally start to worry closer to August but not this year. Mother Nature decided to remind us who is boss early in this hurricane season.
Tropical Storm Debby was a beast of a storm. She was a large, slow moving storm and once she got near Florida she decided to hang out for a little bit while her outer bands wreaked havoc on pretty much the entire state.
As we watched the forecasts, one thing never changed. TS Debby was going to be over practically the entire state during our massive Florida road trip. The trip I had been planning for weeks. The trip that was going to finally take me to Key West after living 15 years in Florida.
We decided to plan as if we were going on the trip, weather or no weather. We packed up, prepared for a storm just in case Debby decided to turn, and got ready to leave. The original plan was to leave Monday evening and drive through the night but we read in the newspaper that parts of I-10 (the Interstate we would be driving on for the better part of 6 hours in the dark of the night) were closed. We decided to wait until daytime to leave. While we were reading up on road closures, we just stumbled upon Florida 511.
Florida 511 is the free traffic resource of the Florida Department of Transportation. You can call 511 to get traffic info but we had no idea they had a comprehensive website that was updated practically to the minute. Not only do they list road and traffic updates on the site, but the updates are also tweeted out over Twitter. You can choose to follow certain Interstates eliminating the noise you don’t need.
Throughout our very rainy drive, we followed the alerts on Twitter and the website to learn about the closures due to flooding or sinkholes.
Not traveling in the state of Florida? Check 511: America’s Traveler Information to find an active program where you are traveling.
*Photo courtesy of Oregon DOT via Flick Creative Commons.