Tomorrow, June 1st, is the first day of the six month Atlantic Hurricane Season. — the price we have to pay for living in Paradise. I’m not sure which is worse, the actual storms or the experience of following their long and agonizing paths as they make their way across the Atlantic and/or through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, wondering if they will come your way.
In all, I’ve spent over 28 years in South Florida. In that time I’ve experienced some pretty scary storms. One, a very minor but very wet one about 10 years ago, howled and raged all night long, and in the morning I discovered that the water in the little lake behind my house had risen to within three feet of my patio. Not nice, Mother Nature! I have flood insurance, but, come on, that’s not funny!
Hurricane Andrew, in August 1992 was the third most powerful Category 5 hurricane that ever hit the US mainland. It was fairly small but extremely fast moving. Watching the radar screen as it was approaching, it appeared that the eye was headed directly for my house, but thankfully (for me) it suddenly veered a bit to the South as it got closer to the coast. There was significant damage in my area, as sustained winds over 120 mph will cause, but the major effects were felt in the city of Miami and south. I had one huge tree in my side yard uprooted and leaning at a 45 degree angle parallel to my house, which had to be removed. (The tree, not my house! Heehee…..) If it had fallen towards the house the damages would have been significant. There was much debris on my property and I was without power for about 24 hours, but I actually was quite fortunate. I drove into Miami and the southern suburbs about two weeks after the storm, and I swear many areas reminded me of photos I had seen of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
I wasn’t so lucky when Hurricane Wilma paid a visit in 2005. Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans was the big story of that year but Wilma had a big impact on Florida. Wilma hit in the daytime, so although it was not nearly as scary as a night storm it allowed you to visually experience Mother Nature’s fury. One funny thing though – some idiot in the neighborhood decided that it might be fun to go wind sailing on our little lake. Awesome! How he was able to stay on the thing and maneuver it at the amazing speeds the winds were taking him is a mystery to me.
I lost two more giant trees, a mail box, the fence at the side of the house, all the screening around my patio as well as the framework. The patio roof was penetrated and the ceiling mostly collapsed. I also had so much damage to the house roof that it had to be replaced. I had no telephone or electricity for a week. Plus the winds tore my satellite dish from where it had been (I thought) firmly attached to the roof. Here are a few photos of the damage outside.
This is about a week later – the remains of two trees ready for pickup. It may not look it but the pile was taller than me. Notice all the missing shingles on the roofs across the street. The blue behind the house on the right is a tarp over a roof more badly damaged. There were thousands of those tarps in the area – roofers never had it so good!
The “experts” all predict an abnormally active hurricane season this year. —–Bummer! But, to tell the truth I really would not prefer having to shovel snow and drive on ice and freeze my duff. At least the storms are quickly done with, and the aftermaths are not usually horrific.