I have written two nonfiction books about hurricanes (Hurricanes and Hurricane Katrina Dogs), so I know some of what the storms can be like. However, I only recently experienced a hurricane firsthand. I spend part of each year living in St. Augustine, Florida, with my husband and dogs. Earlier this month, we learned that Hurricane Matthew was bearing down on our area. I remembered reading about and seeing pictures of Hurricane Katrina and knew I did not want to be someone who ended up standing on top of their home waiting to be rescued. Luckily, we found a pet-friendly hotel in a nearby flood-free zone, so we evacuated. The hotel was filled with many people who had made the same choice, plus what seemed like a zillion dogs, cats, and birds.

Our experience at the Best Western left me with stories to tell about being with my dogs and husband in torrential rain without power (hint: it was smelly and hot but safe!). Our many thanks go out to the hotel for allowing pets. We were also grateful for smaller things (especially pee pads since our dogs were not going out in that rain!).

We are now home safe and blessed to have no damage to our house, but so many others were not as fortunate. St. Augustine, the oldest continually occupied city in the U.S., was hit badly by storm surge and will take a while to recover. Neighbors and organized groups have brought food and water and provided cleanup assistance. We’re so thankful to utility companies that sent trucks and workers from far away to get our power back on. Things are slowly getting back to normal.

Of course, you can expect this all to show up as a plot in a new story soon! I’ll let you know when it’s ready for you and your young readers. In the meantime, share your own Hurricane Matthew stories with us if you have them. We hope you and your families are all comfortably back at home.