Watching Hurricane Irene 2011 and Remembering Hurricane Wilma
As I watched the local news this morning, I breathed a deep sigh of relief. Hurricane Irene is not likely to be a direct threat to South Florida. So far the projected hurricane track is a direct impact for most of the Bahamas and possibly the Carolinas. Many of the islands in the Caribbean are already beginning to recover from the aftermath of Irene.
When I first learned about Hurricane Irene brewing, I went to the grocery store for the essentials: bottled water, canned food, batteries, and medicine. I also, made sure that my car's fuel tank was filled. Some of my neighbors purchased generators and ply wood to protect their homes. With all this preparation, one can never be fully ready for the inconvenience and results after a hurricane has passed through.
Back in October 2005, Hurricane Wilma lashed South Florida with its 105 mph winds. Most of the South Florida residents were without electricity for almost a month. Some residents' electricity was not restored by Florida Power and Light, until after several months. FPL subsequently went up on the price of service in order to recoup the cost of restoring electricity to businesses and residential areas in Florida.
I subsisted off of canned foods for the first few weeks after the hurricane and eventually fast food. Just thinking about all of the cold baths gives me the chills. I was not able to attend college courses for a few weeks, because of the hazards of flooding after the storm, with downed power lines, trees and debris strewn about the streets, and out of order traffic lights. When the lights were finally restored in my area, I could hear loud cheers throughout the neighborhood.
Many businesses and homes suffered thousands of dollars worth of property damage. The courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale suffered damage as a result of blown out windows. Several months after Hurricane Wilma, we were still feeling the impact. I recall driving by businesses with destroyed signage and leaky roofs. I am not sure whether insurance coverage was inadequate, but some businesses were forced to shut down after Hurricane Wilma.
Most recently, Tamara, Florida suffered a tornado, which left some of the residents' homes in shambles. A few of those whose homes were damaged, are saying that they aren't sure whether their homeowners insurance will cover the losses. As it stands, these people have tarps covering their roofs and are not ready for a hurricane. All I can say is that since Hurricane Wilma, those of us in Broward County, Florida have been blessed that there has not been another major hurricane to directly hit the area.