Monday, September 18, 2017

Hurricane Irma - Damage and Clean Up

So, we have survived Hurricane Irma and have been busy cleaning up after it ever since! I've lived in Florida my whole life, and this was certainly an enormous storm, but at the same time I knew everything would be ok. In reality very few people die from hurricanes in the US, so while I knew we may not be super comfortable (when power and water goes out, if your roof blows off, etc), I knew we would all be fine in the end. And that is just what happened :) I live on the East Coast of Central Florida, which is where a great deal of the tornado activity came through. Thankfully none of my property was effected by the tornadoes, but I know several people who were and it's pretty crazy damage. I figured I would show anyone interested what we've been dealing with in my neck of the woods. 
Just after the storm passed us, we went to check on my house. I was pretty sure that some of my huge oak trees would fall on the house, but thankfully they stayed up and just littered my yard with debris. We had some pretty large limbs, but nothing fell on my house :) Super lucky, guys. I had some shingles blow off, but nothing that was any big deal.
My husband and I both (separately) worked on our yard over 2 days and this is the pile of debris by the road. And there is still more! It seems like my trees are held together with Spanish moss because it covered every inch of my grass, and there was still plenty more up in the trees. Crazy. After rubbing blisters in my hands from raking so much, I just didn't have the strength to carry all the piles from the back up to the front, so this pile will get bigger this weekend. Phew! I am still trying to sell my house, so now I can say this place is majorly hurricane tested :) (anyone want to buy my house? lol)
Next we went to check on the condo I'm living in while I try to sell my house. This is on a barrier island and my unit is bottom floor directly on the water, so I was under a mandatory evacuation. When we drove back up, this was the first thing we saw - the car port was everywhere. These are pieces of solid sheet metal that are peeled back like a tuna can top. The sheets were everywhere - attached to the port, up in trees, on the sidewalk, etc. Some people who didn't evacuate left their cars parked in their spaces and their back windows were busted out. Even a week later this place is still a mess of metal.
The other big bit of damage to my place is the dock - it's gone! The waves beat the dock so hard that it ripped off large sections and pulled back the parts that didn't come off. Even the land next to the dock is missing in some spots - we're talking major erosion. It even sucked the sod off and all in some places. The other end of the dock is still attached, but it curves about 4 feet away from the land in some spots. The pictures above are just out my back door. The bottom left picture shows something else pretty interesting - look at the 7th floor balcony - someone's porch is completely gone! I was extremely fortunate that there was no damage to the inside of my condo. My porch flooded, but no water got inside. Such a miracle considering what was happening outside.
These pictures are of what the car port looked like last night. It makes for some creepy sounding wind chimes, particularly at night. Thankfully my space was just fine and I'm able to park, but most others have had to figure out parking somewhere else.
Another happy incident involved my eye. I have no idea how, but Monday after the storm I burst a blood vessel in my eye :/ It's been a full week and I still have a ring of blood around the center of my eye.
And after cleaning up with my family all week and moving back to my condo, I went out with others from my church yesterday and helped people in the community. We went to 3 different cities with chainsaws and we took out trees for people who couldn't take care of it themselves or who couldn't afford to have it done. We chopped up 5 huge trees and cleaned 7 yards. We were hot and dirty (I was scratched up and sun burned too), but it was all worth it to see the relief in the faces of the people we helped. I got a great big hug from one woman, and we had several people in these neighborhoods come and thank us for helping their neighbors. It was a pretty good day. If you have a disaster come through your area, be on the lookout for out yellow shirts! We will surely be there :) Gotta love the Mormon Helping Hands.

So that's a little tour of my week. I finally got power back on Wednesday and water back on Thursday. I'm still on a boil water notice, but it could be so much worse. As this storm was coming towards our state, my area was being told to prepare for the worst category 4 or 5 and a direct hit. With the way the storm shifted and entered on the west of the state, we only had a category 2 when it arrived here. It was crazy to watch - my mom and I sat on her screened front porch at 2 am when the worst hit us and watched the wind. I know I keep saying "it was crazy", but I just can't describe it any other way. Sorry for my less-than-interesting writing style today, I think my brain is still recovering, lol. I'm glad we came through ok and that we were able to help others in the process :)

Were any of you effected by Hurricane Irma? How did you fare?

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