Yes, I know it's officially hurricane season, and I know that what I experienced today wasn't even close to the insanity of a true hurricane, but I got to experience wild Florida weather for sure.
The day started off beautiful and sunny, and I spent the first few hours in the pool at my friend's house.
Then we decided to head to South Beach for lunch and a dip in the ocean. By the time we finished eating at a place called The Ice Box (divine, by the way), the skies were looking a little dark, but we walked down Lincoln Road to Collins Avenue and accessed the beach by the Delano. It was looking even sketchier once we hit the sand and looked around.
My friend ran and took a 2 minute swim, then we grabbed our stuff and headed into the hotel because the storm was coming.
And was it ever.
It started with a good downpour, which soon deteriorated into gale-force winds, hail, and massive lightning and thunder. We felt pretty safe on the sheltered patio of the Delano. I got a little misted from blown rain as I sipped my Arnold Palmer and enjoyed the show. We marveled at the sheer brilliance of idiots with metal-tipped umbrellas, walking out into the storm when lightning was striking all around us.
Eventually the manager rounded up all the brave souls on the patio and ushered us into the hotel lobby area. It was getting dangerous, as palm fronds and pieces of hotels' facades were beginning to fly around. We were stranded inside the Delano for several hours because the valets refused to retrieve any of the parked vehicles, even after the worst of the storm passed. Another friend had joined us shortly before the storm hit, and was going to give us a ride back to our vehicle, but the valets wouldn't get her car.
We went outside eventually, and we saw why.
This was taken after the water had begun receding somewhat.
We eventually got the car (thank God it was an SUV) and began to make our way to my friend's vehicle.
The flooding we saw was remarkable.
This is one of my favorite pictures though...
This woman's smile and positive attitude were incredible! We called out to her and she just grinned and waved, seemingly unfazed by the situation. What an inspiration!
Upon opening the doors to my friend's car, we found several inches of water on the floor. It looks like the water levels had been high enough at one point to flood it. Her car is an SUV as well, by the way!
It took us a good 45 minutes to an hour to get out of South Beach, due to the flooding and resulting traffic back-ups. My friend decided that "survival of the fittest" was the best approach, and took advantage of her SUV's higher clearance to maneuver us around many of the snarls in traffic. Of course, this often involved driving through thigh-high pools of water and spraying everyone around us, many of whom had the car windows open. Ooops!
We made it home safely and decided to make it an order-in-and-watch-movies kind of evening.
More rain. Bring it on!