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Jim Holway

Florida Christians prepare for Hurricane Irma

Church members throughout the state preparing for what could be a direct hit from Irma.

As Florida residents prepare for Hurricane Irma, bread water and other necessities are quickly disappearing from stores.

“People that I don’t normally see panicked seem to be more panicked,” Tracy Moore told The Christian Chronicle.

Many people have left town or boarded up windows even though the storm remains several days away and the forecast uncertain, said Moore, minister for the Vero Beach Church of Christ along the state’s eastern coast.

The windows of the Vero Beach Church of Christ building are covered as the area prepares for Hurricane Irma.

Moore’s congregation already has covered the windows of the church building, and are now working to help older Christians prepare their homes for the storm. They’re storing extra ice and supplies that may be needed should Irma knock out the power.

Farther south, in Miami-Dade County, the roads are packed.

Supplies to cover the windows of the Sunset Church of Christ building are sorted as church members began preparing for high winds expected to cause damage in the area.

“The atmosphere out on the street is quite tense,” said Jim Holway, minister for the Sunset Church of Christ.

Many in his area are hoping the storm will do what Hurricane Matthew did last year and make a turn to the north, sparing them from the eye of the storm.

Floridians acknowledge that the damage they’re seeing on television from Hurricane Harvey just last week does make them a little more nervous. However, Holway said those in his area aren’t too concerned about flooding.

“It’s a little different than Harvey because it’s a fast-moving storm and our ground is totally different,” he said. “Even with torrential rain, the water here doesn’t just sit in your yard.”

Still, mandatory evacuations are in place at beaches and other areas close to the shore.

Some church members have chosen to evacuate. Others are staying and helping each other board up windows to protect them from flying debris that could be tossed around by the winds from Irma.

The entrance to the Sunset Church of Christ is now covered by special shutters that should protect the glass doors from flying debris.

Up and down the state people are trying to plan for what could happen, while hoping Irma will spare them.

At the Lake Butler Church of Christ, in North Central Florida, church leaders are ready to open their fellowship hall as a shelter, should it be needed.

“Folks in this part of the state aren’t quite ready to jump on the roads and evacuate,” minister Trent Wheeler said.

Wheeler’s congregation has reached out to all their members to make sure they know who may need help should an evacuation order be put in place.

“Those that are new to this are really worried. Those who have lived here feel like we have a little more time before we’ll worry,” Wheeler said.

“One thing we’ve learned is hurricanes have a mind of their own.”

Just a slight turn by Irma could spare them all.

“One thing we’ve learned is hurricanes have a mind of their own,” Moore said.

For now, each congregation is waiting to make any decisions about weekend services and watching closely to see what Hurricane Irma’s next move will be.

Filed under: National News Top Stories

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