updated 9/23/2005 12:16:56 PM ET 2005-09-23T16:16:56

Your assignment: Do you live in the path of Tropical Storm Arlene? If so, how did you prepare and how did you come through? Are you still feeling the effects of last year's storm season? We are no longer taking submissions for this topic. Thank you for the hundreds of responses.

Your stories:

Lesson learned - - prepare!
I've lived in the Northwest Florida panhandle (Fort Walton Beach area) since 1993. I've felt the wrath of Hurricane Opal (1995), Hurricane Ivan (2004) and several tropical storms like Danny, Allison and Barry, but I still took Arlene seriously. Unfortunately, I live in a low-lying area of my neighborhood, and each time we get a good rainfall, my garage comes close to flooding, so in preparation of Arlene I put a plastic tarp underneath the roll up door and put sand bags in front of the side entry door. Luckily, Arlene didn't dump the amount of rain originally predicted, so my garage is safe and dry. Lesson learned--PREPARE!!! I consider myself one who prepares for the worst and hopes for the best, but Arlene struck just 11 days into the 2005 hurricane season and I still haven't taken the steps I promised myself after Ivan. Rest assured, I will be visiting Lowes next week.
--Jay, Shalimar, Fla.

Look of terror
We had a short power outage on our road and the Gulf Power crews were here to fix the outage by the time I make a quick trip to the grocery store for batteries. During hurricane Ivan we had no power for two weeks. My youngest son is still feeling the effects of Ivan. When I explained to him that a tropical storm that may become a hurricane was heading our way, a look of terror came across his face and his eyes welled up. I comforted him and told him that this was going to be a baby storm compared to Ivan.
--Melissa Miller, Pensacola, Fla.

Not impressed
This storm is weak. We've had worse afternoon thunderstorms this summer.
--Bill Brasky, Mobile, Ala.

Bracing and waiting
We live in Pensacola, Fla. It is currently raining and the wind is picking up. Yesterday evening I put plywood over my second story windows. Hurricane Ivan almost blew the second story windows out last year. The wind is gusting and has not reached a steady sustained wind yet. It looks like we will be on the east side of the center of the storm and that usually where the worst winds are. My wife is an R.N. who works in the call-center of a local hospital and calling in is not an option so she left for work while I'm at home sitting with our two dogs and nursing a sore shoulder and arm, the results of falling off the ladder after putting plywood up.
--Mike Murray, Pensacola, Fla.

Air Force preparing Airmen
As an enlisted Weather Forecaster for the U.S. Air Force, I have followed Keesler AFB's (Biloxi, Mississippi) hurricane preparedness directives by moving things away from my windows, storing loose objects both inside and out, making sure my flashlights are working and by gathering up enough supplies to last for 3 days in the event that I am recalled to the base to shelter from the possible hurricane. Those supplies would include non-perishable foods (that don't require heating), clothes, blankets, and some sort of entertainment. Also our pets have been provided a shelter area on base so that they are not left to chance it out in the storm. Of course this is but a small portion of the direction and support provided to us Airmen. The Air Force has, with experience, provided a sound set of directives and suggestions (above) when it comes to these situations that enable us the Airmen and our families to cope, survive, and quickly recover with as little loss of life, limb, or property as possible. More than that our "Hurricane Hunters", aircraft specially designed for the purpose of taking direct atmospheric measurements within severe tropical storms and hurricanes, are working diligently to provide not only us Air Force forecasters but also the National Weather Service (NWS) and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the most accurate data so that accurate forecast information is given to the public, the local governments, and the military. All in all the Air Force has provided more than adequate direction to it's Airmen alleviating some stress in an already stressful situation. I would like to thank them for the support that they are giving me and my family and my military brethren during this time of uncertainty and fear. Thank you.
-- SSgt Chett Tyson, Biloxi, Miss.

Shutting down offshore
I am the Offshore Operations Manager for Falcon Gas Storage Co. with 2 offshore platforms located at Dauphin Island, Alabama. I ordered the shutdown and securing of all lose items on these facilities at 3:00 P.M. on Friday (6/10/05). My crew was evacuated at 4:00 P.M. We will remain shut-in until Arlene passes over the coast line and clears the area. Our evacuation includes shutting in all wells, tying all lose items that may be blown around and shutting down all pressure generating machinery.
-- Douglas Cagle, Dauphin Island, Ala.

Lots of hurricane hype
I live near (2 miles) from Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. My attitude is "here we go again!" Everywhere has some form of severe weather. Ours gets announced so much that you are tired of hearing about it when it gets here. But that is better than tornadoes, they have no warning (been there , done that). Getting some more water and batteries, all we need to complete our hurricane supplies. At our house, we are still trying to get the sunroom either repaired or replaced from last year's damage. This storm may do more damage, and this will help make the (sun room) decision.
-- Susan Nichols, Shalimar, Fla.

Bracing for busy season
We aren't really preparing like we normally would. I have gone through several tropical storms and at least three major hurricanes in my 33-year lifetime and this isn't going to be a devastating storm like some others. I do feel, however, that we will have a lot of flooding. They have already reported that at least 15 to 20 inches of rain has fallen in parts of Cuba. So, we will be extremely wet here in Mobile. It is easy to feel a little threatened by a storm after going through Hurricane Ivan last year, but I think this storm is only just the beginning of what is going to be a very busy hurricane season. I better keep the anxiety medication filled!
--Stacey Neese, Daphne, Ala.

Hang on tight!
Living in Pensacola, Fla., we are getting up on the roof tonight to patch up the leaks left from Ivan and will reinforce our garage as best we can. It is still missing most of the roof from Ivan, and missing one of the doors. The house down the street was just torn down last week due to damages, and a crew of demolition guys are trying to clear as much of the debris as possible to minimize the possibility of it flying through the air. Still have to gas up the cars, lines are very long now, and although we're still stocked up with batteries and candles from last year, we need water and a few things. Many places are already sold out of generators and plywood is going fast hang on tight Pensacola!!
--Kerry Bowman, Pensacola, Fla.

Still in temporary housing
ARRGGHHH. We can't believe this is happening so soon. Here in Gulf Breeze (island by Pensacola Beach), most of us are still in temporary housing repairing our homes and beach condos. Ivan was supposed to have been a one in five hundred year occurrence. We can't take any more rain, small rains still flood us! But we'll never move away from here, the Gulf Coast is the most beautiful place on earth.
--Laura Balters, Gulf Breeze, Fla.

Not repeating mistake of ill-preparedness
My family and I live in an apartment on the Mobile Bay near the Dog River Bridge. We're hoping that the storm doesn't come too close, but n the event that is does we're pretty well prepared. We've been working on stocking up on our canned and dry goods and have a pretty good supply in our pantry for our family of four. We've already got an evacuation route and destination planned in the event the storm becomes too strong. That's the main problem when Hurricanes or severe storms hit, people don't plan for what may happen. Last year we weren't as prepared as we should have been when Ivan hit, this year we won't be making the same mistake!!
--Mitch R. Schenkel, Mobile, Ala.

Pensacola still struggles
I live in Pensacola, Fla. We still have serious problems from Hurricane Ivan. Many people still are without homes, or living under "blue tarps". The bridge over Escambia Bay on I-10 is only three lanes with the eastbound lane being a temporary bridge. This is a major East - West corridor and traffic backs up on a daily basis never mind if we have to evacuate! It will take years for Pensacola to get back to normal. Ivan was indeed "Terrible." We are hoping Arlene will be a lady, and be gentle with us.
--Colleen Vert, Pensacola, Fla.


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