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Blake Dowling: Reflections on the storm

This time last week, power returned to our house in Tallahassee.

A lot of communities in North Florida weren’t so lucky after Hurricane Michael.

Normally, I crank out a column pretty fast about the news of the day, but I had no desire whatsoever to write about what went down last week.

As I sat at our tailgate the weekend before, someone mentioned that I should take our generator back home. I recall saying, nope. Tropical storm? We are good.

Then things changed.

By midweek, we were hunkering down for the storm of the century. The in-laws were taking up shelter at our house and we waited for what Mother Nature would throw at us.

After 24 hours of Weather Channel coverage, we decided to try Fox News coverage; mom said it was great coverage.

For those triggered by the mention of the network, get over it. Shepard Smith did a great job with coverage.

I do not normally watch the network and was very surprised how on-point it was, and around noon the day of storm, when he announced that Tallahassee was about to get very lucky. For a second, I was thrilled. Then I thought of our neighbors to the west. They got rocked.

Why is the national news not covering this issue like they have superstorms in years past?

There are people who have run out of money, died in the storm, looting is happening, and in our community, it seems as if everyone I know helped in some way.

But it doesn’t feel like that from the outside. And when I say outside, I mean the media.

If you want to see what help looks like, come to Tallahassee. It’s ground zero for the recovery effort.

There is a tent city at the airport housing relief and line workers from across the country helped restore our power. Day of the storm, Tallahassee was 100 percent without power — and we only got sideswiped. 100 percent.

Pretty unbelievable, and a week later, it is just about back to 100 percent restored. Tremendous effort.

After Hurricane Hermine, our local government was severely criticized for not accepting outside assistance. Offers were accepted this time around. There are countless stories of good deeds going around — as well as awful stories of scamming tree companies and looters.

This one from Chambers County Sheriff in Texas offering some payback to the Franklin County Sherriff’s office was pretty spectacular.

Since elections are coming up, what are these counties going to do?

Elections officials have a plan, but do you think voting is top of mind when people are sitting in the dark worried about looters, or they don’t have a dime in their account — wondering how the hell they are going to get the next meal?

Or where do you vote if the elections office has power?

Most sites have notices, but what if you don’t have internet access? It would seem logical to push the vote back or give an extension to these areas. But what do I know?

There is a detailed breakdown by county from our friends at KTLA/California (at least they are sharing the story).

You can see a notice like this on some of the counties that were affected.

It was a terrible storm. Lives have been lost; homes and businesses destroyed. If you want to help, consider giving to the Red Cross ( or contact your local elected official or law enforcement office as there are massive recovery efforts underway and North Florida needs a helping hand.

Prayers to all affected and to all those who have answered the call to help.


Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He is going to Mexico as soon as he finishes writing this — to get out of dodge for a few days.

P.S.: It wasn’t a good time to dump on our community Mr. President; while your comment (I assume) was directed at our local government, your words insulted to our entire community. Boooo.

Written By

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. His technology columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at or at

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