Spirit Daily



From The Mailbag: Was Hurricane Ivan A Prelude To Bigger Disasters?

2004 Florida Hurricane stories


First story

Dear Spirit Daily:

On Sept 2, my wife (Cindy) and I left a day early to fly to Miami from Tallahassee to help our daughter (Jenna) prepare for Hurricane Frances. We live in Panama City, and it is about a 95-mile drive to the airport. Jenna had just moved into her first house with our grand-daughter (one year old) in Miami Shores. Jenna’s husband was out of the country for several weeks and she asked if we could come down to help with our grandbaby since she works full-time.

We left a day early (changed flight plans) since we were flying out of Tallahassee’s airport to avoid our flight being cancelled the next day.

At the time we left, Hurricane Frances was a category-4 storm heading slowly and directly for Miami (not following the computer predictions for turning northward).

We arrived at 10 a.m. at the Miami airport and I spent the next eight hours helping Jenna make preparations for the storm but there was no plywood available. We spent 2.5 hours taking down a large canvass awning that went across the back of the house after making several calls to a vendor in Maine as to how to take it down (we had to unbolt the vertical legs from the patio and fold them horizontally into two brackets on the house, remove five large horizontal staves and then roll up the canvas, since this awning had never been removed the latches were hard to operate and it took a long time to undo the rusted bolts).

Next we had to hand-bail out  a pool, store roofing tile in the backyard away from house, take down flower pots, tape windows, travel to the store for milk, park a second car at a mall three miles away (driveway prone to flooding), etc. It rained for the next seven days straight and the sewer backed-up but after saying a lot of rosaries Hurricane Frances turned at the last moment and went north into West Palm Beach after (miraculously) dropping in strength.

No sooner had Frances passed Miami than Hurricane Ivan was coming at Miami as a very dangerous catergory-5 storm. It would be difficult to evacuate much of Miami at this point because gas supplies along Interstate 95 were low since there had not been time to get many trucks out to re-supply since Frances was still hitting central Florida.

Most people decided to stay that were not directly on the water. 

The same shortage problems were occurring with food supplies since the central distribution points for trucks was in central Florida which was getting flooded by the slow motion of Hurricane Frances. This time we got a lot of plywood and boarded up all the windows and doors to the house. We kept waiting to decide to evacuate or not as the storm did not turn and finally passed west before turning northward.

We flew back to North Florida on Tuesday morning (just ahead of Ivan) – only four people on the jet. Again the track of the Hurricane Ivan at this point was on Panama City but gradually shifted west to Pensacola/Gulf Shores.

We arrived in time (24 hours ahead of the storm) to prepare for Hurricane Ivan (category-4) and to say more rosaries for mitigation.

Both my wife and I grew up and went to high school together in Pensacola and were married in Pensacola (Sacred Heart Cathedral). We have close childhood friends who lost their homes in Pensacola after the storm so the events of the past three weeks have brought a new realization of community and family to us.

Cindy’s brother had three large pine trees fall into the pool at his house and a car port fell on his new car. The city of Pensacola looks like a war zone and houses/condos on the barrier islands such as Santa Rosa and Navarre are destroyed (major future insurance issues).

Huge waves (perhaps higher than 30 feet) hit Pensacola Beach and Gulf Shores – nobody can recall a  storm of this magnitude hitting Pensacola since 1926 (this type of event has been predicted to occur in the US in prophecies by a number of Catholic visionaries as well as increasing storms of this magnitude continuing to happen).

Cindy and I travel to Pensacola regularly to visit family. In June of this year as we were traveling home over the Escambia Bay Bridge (Interstate 10), Cindy said to me she did not like this bridge. When I asked why, Cindy said she had a repeated dream in which she saw the span of the east bound lane of this bridge collapsing into the Escambia (Pensacola) Bay.

At the time, the location where Cindy said this to me was at almost the exact location where this bridge collapsed from the surge from Ivan last week (I have since heard a rumor there are design issues with the construction of this particular type of bridge span which had only vertical supports).

My aunt (now 85 years young) lives in Tiger Point (near the water about ten miles east of Pensacola). Despite repeated attempts by her daughter to get my aunt to evacuate she refused but went to a neighbor (cousin) to “ride out the storm”. My aunt and the other couple had to form a human chain to get to another house on a hill when water started coming under the door at the height of the storm. They barely escaped with their lives with gusts of 120 mph+!?
What is now happening is that people have to come together to share food and water in these devastated areas in Florida. All the roads to Pensacola were knocked-out after the storm. At least fifty of the electrical substations are heavily damaged and 80percent of the electrical transmission system may have to be replaced. It will take weeks to restore some power back other than the beaches. However, city water is working in some areas. The death toll is now at 48 for Pensacola but you may not see this in the news any longer (officials will quote a lower number just after a storm and usually not mention it again).
To help expedite the Florida emergency requests, Senator Bill Nelson (FL) is personally manning the phones in Destin to get the proper State/Federal emergency responses (this is a needed action for your communities).
FEMA (to register for disaster assistance call 1.800.621.FEMA) will normally set-up a free water, ice and food distribution centers at a either Fire Station, Wal-Mart parking lot or other central point (find out where yours maybe located in the event of an emergency) as soon as possible after a disaster (three to five days?). The food is distributed in a box with fifteen individually-wrapped packages or meals in a box (military meals called MREs). To open a package you do not need scissors. You pull the food package apart from the center.
Inside the package is a small box with the main course (say beef enchiladas). Open the box and pull out the plastic-wrapped meal but do not yet open the plastic-wrapped meal. You can heat it (chemically – no matches required only a bottle of water).  There is another light green wrapped piece of felt looking material in a separate wrapping. Open this package from the top and pull out the felt material. Add about one inch of water to this plastic bag. Next combine your plastic-wrapped meal and the white felt and stick it back inside the water-filled bag. In a few minutes the bag (meal) will get hot, and will be ready to serve (hot) in ten to fifteen minutes.
As we enter the End Times, I have already seen the city I grew-up in and love (Pensacola) destroyed and this has become a bitter reality. We also had tornadoes strike Panama City and Blountstown that were large (not seen before in this area) and two of them killed seven people. Fourteen homes were destroyed in Panama City and 56 damaged from one tornado event. There were many other micro-bursts which also occurred. The storm since caused a lot of other flooding and damage along the entire east coast including knocking out power in our son’s apartment in Atlanta as well as extreme flooding – this water will continue to flood low-lying areas in South Georgia and Florida.
Why did it happen to Pensacola? Pensacola is a faith-filled, conservative community with strong roots in family ties in which many generations grow-up and go to school together.
Pensacola also had one of the nation’s first abortion clinics – the Ladies Center. Many people who once lived in Pensacola have come back to retire including many military. My personal feelings is that Pensacola will serve as a future role-model for the rest of us as to how to we should cope as Christians when faced with a major disaster. It is already placing a premium on sharing resources to survive and to rebuild a “new community.” There will be many “lessons learned” out of this disaster for the rest of the US. Perhaps this is the beginning of “predicted significant natural disasters” which are now striking the heart of America. Be prepared – both physically and spiritually.
Where would you stand if all roads are cut-off and gasoline is in short supply (cannot run home generators either)? What if there is no electrical power for a month and sewer systems do not work? What if the churches can no longer hold services for months or the buildings are heavily damaged and cannot be occupied? Do you have cell phone numbers for family and friends written down?

Without power, your cell phones cannot be charged – you need to pre-arrange a call time between loved ones in the future for cell phones to conserve battery power in an emergency. Do you have a satellite phone or cell-tower phone? Satellite phones may work if the cell towers get knocked-out during a storm!?  You need to have extra bottles water on hand, canned food, propane tanks for cooking, “C” and “D” batteries (one of the first items stores will sell-out for flashlights), powdered milk (?), keep car tank full of gas (or more than half-full), extra plywood to board up windows, buy five-gallon plastic pails to fill with water (replace water in toilet systems), battery-powered radio and mini-TV (for tornado warnings), evacuation plans thought out and rehearsed (do you really wish to get on Interstates with millions of other people) or find back roads/motels off the main drag, have a good set of US maps readily available and a compass, and most importantly carry an extra rosary and prayer in your heart for the rest of us. 

We are the children of the Light. We need to come together and do things for ourselves and each other.  Our existing infrastructure is too fragile to survive continuing disasters – stringing wires on poles for electrical systems are cheap but archaic. Most importantly you will find you need to place your trust in The Father and ask Our Mother to intercede for your family. I know I did…..and it works if you believe!


Dr. Stephen A Rinehart



Second story

Dear Spiritdaily

I so very much look forward to your writings on your web site.  Prayerful consideration of the prophecies you present for discernment is a high point of my day.


Florida IS a spiritual powerhouse for all the reasons mentioned in your article:  http://spiritdaily.com/frances2.htm.
There is the added reason that our governor is not only pro-life, he's a devout Catholic who has consecrated the state of Florida to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Not only that, he's the only Republican governor in the history of the state to be reelected.
I've been watching him on the local news, and listening to his words.  He's a man of faith who cares deeply about the people of Florida, and we are so lucky to have him.
I've written before, about being called to Florida -- after 15 years, finally making it here, and the thought of living anywhere else is unthinkable.  It's painful even to leave the state for vacation (that probably sounds neurotic - and maybe it is, a little).
We live in interesting times, my friends.  VERY interesting times.  I pray that the Lord is merciful in His Divine Justice!
Deb Brown
Orlando, Florida

Third story

Dear Spiritdaily

Hi  this is about the results my mom, my  aunt in Tampa, Florida, and I experienced as it hit the Florida coast. The hurricane was in the path arc of my aunt's house on the eastern coast so the night before the storm was to hit we all prayed together, the three of us, and  we saw the storm had turned so sharply, as the news was dubbing it, miraculously. I could feel the power as we prayed together. Thank God for His blessings and thank you for allowing me to share them.


Fourth story

Dear Spiritdaily

Hello! a team of UCLA scientists have predicted a major quake in Southern California.  They have successfully predicted two others.  While it is reported to occur in the desert, it could have an effect on large metropolitan areas.

I firmly believe what Our Lady says about prayer changing the course of nature.  God is God and it's all up to Him, but it would sure be nice if the West Coast had prayer covering like Florida did so recently.
Thanks ever so much,
Your faithful reader and supporter,

Mary Violasse in Riverside, California

Oct 2004


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