In the end we were very, very lucky.
While many people in the state of Florida are facing tremendous challenges from Hurricane Irma’s destructive winds, we got through it with completely unscathed. The only thing I lost was sleep.
The storm began hitting in the late afternoon with powerful rain squalls. This continued on and off into the evening hours. But like clockwork, just as the local meteorologists predicted, Irma’s winds started hitting our area right around midnight. By that time she had been downgraded to a category 1 storm with winds clocking in at approximately 80-85 miles per hour.
Gorgeous decided to place her faith in her own personal army of archangels along with a caffeinated-charged husband. She went to sleep around 10:30pm by fashioning a bed from blankets and pillows, and created a temporary bedroom in our newly devised “safe room” (i.e. our master bedroom’s walk-in closet and bathroom area). She also brought in the kitties’ litter box, food and water bowls, and had them join her so that they weren’t scared by the sounds outside the windows. Or maybe she had them in there so she wasn’t scared, that part was never totally clarified.
Oh, but those winds. If this is what a category 1 storm is like, I don’t ever want to experience anything higher. The windows rattled and so did my teeth. It was most unnerving.
I stayed up all night watching the news. Four times our power went out, and miraculously restored by either one of those archangels or perhaps a very stable electrical infrastructure in our condo development. Or maybe just quirky luck. Whichever, I am grateful.
The final outage happened around 5:00am and lasted for about 30 minutes. This time I thought for sure it would last. But just as I lit the very last candle and got a decent station on my transistor radio, the power came back on again. I ran to the coffee maker and switched it on — I wasn’t going to take any chances.
There were numerous flash flood and tornado warnings blaring on our phones all night. According to the news station I was watching, one tornado went though an area less than a mile from our home.
By 7:00am what was left of Irma’s eye started its trek away from our part of the state and towards the Georgia border. By then it had been downgraded to a tropical storm. Gorgeous also woke up around that time and said she hadn’t heard a thing all night. Now THAT is what I call a sound sleeper.
I went out on our screened-in porch and took a short video to send to a friend in California (Hi, H.). Although the quality is poor, and the winds by this time are comparatively tame, you can get a glimmer of what Irma’s “afterglow” is like.
The winds lasted into most of the early afternoon and finally settled down by early evening. A walk around the grounds of our condo community showed only minor damage: several uprooted trees, a few sign posts twisted, some lamp heads cracked and broken, and a smattering of electrical boxes with their covers blown off. But absolutely no damage to any of the buildings that can be seen by the naked eye.
Today we ventured out to buy a few things at the grocery store and also go to Lowe’s. The roads were mostly clear of debris, though lots of clean-up was needed at just about every place of residence or business. Still, it was apparent that many of us dodged a bullet.
In nearby Jacksonville, flooding and fallen trees have done extensive damage to so many homes and small businesses. The downtown area is facing a massive clean-up from flooding. I won’t even bother think about returning to my part-time job there till next week. It’s admittedly nice to have that flexibility.
Friends of ours who live in Miami Beach had to evacuate and spent three days in Orlando at a friend’s home. That turned out to be no picnic, however, because they suffered through not only being in the path of the hurricane at category 2 strength, but also enduring a complete power outage afterwards. Fortunately they reported returning home today to find it damage-free and with power. We are happy and relieved for them (Hi, M&P).
So we are very thankful. Currently Hurricane Jose is out there churning — and we watch and hope it stays away. One has been enough.
Until next time…