The huge clock that sits above the Germain Arena hockey rink ticks like a time bomb. Evacuees here know Hurricane Wilma is about to take her course. Around 4:30 a.m. they began to commune around small television sets and watch Mother Nature bring down her assault. Reports put the storm 55 miles southeast of Naples with 125 mile-per-hour winds.
The only evidence of the storm that rages outside is the rain that whips against the glass doors near the front entrance of the arena.
They say there's a calm before the storm. For evacuees inside Germain Arena, the saying is no different. The 5,000 people who chose to wait out the storm here are tired. You can see it in thier faces, you can hear it in their voices, you can also smell it. Volunteers began brewing coffee around 4 a.m. and a long line has formed near the arena's cafeteria. Most are returning to the line for their second time. They choose between decaf and regular.
Most choose the latter. They have a long day ahead.