One thing we didn't necessarily count on was Hurricane Nate making landfall. Before we left, we saw the storm tracking off the coast of Central America, so we knew we had to watch it carefully, and I'm grateful to say that the eye of the storm went west further than expected and made landfall in Louisiana, not that I'm grateful that they got the brunt of the storm. Talking to the Alabama locals, the Eastern side of a hurricane is the worst side of the storm, because that's where the "hook" is. Estimates for wind gusts of the storm were 30-50 mph, which we often have in Nebraska. What we don't have is the walls of water that come with that wind in the form rain and waterspouts emerging from the ocean.
Storms of this sort are so dangerous because they are so unpredictable and change so very quickly. For example, before the rain hit, a waterspout formed about 10 miles offshore and blew ashore, creating the need for a tornado warning. Voluntary evacuation orders were put in place by city leadership and a mandatory curfew was set from 8pm on Saturday to 6am on Sunday.
Nate moved quickly and was gone seemingly as quickly as he arrived...and was set at a Category 2. Being through what we experienced, I cannot imagine what the people who experienced Harvey, Irma, and other storms at higher categories have been through. My advice during Hurricane Season,which is July through November, is to be watchful if you're traveling, be prepared, and have a plan. If you're at a resort or on a cruise ship, they will take care of you and keep you safe as long as you follow their instructions. These storms, no matter what category they are, are no joke and not something to be taken lightly.