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One thing we can be thankful for this week is that we don’t live on the west coast of lower Florida or other parts of the east coast. I’ve lived through many hurricanes while growing up on the Gulf Coast, and I’ve seen some bad destruction, but nothing like what the Ft. Myers area has suffered.
The fact that the area had been so heavily developed along the beach area added to what would have already been a devastating situation. The saving grace was that Ian came in at low tide but, even though the tidal surge was bad, it could have been much worse.
There will be areas there that will never be the same, but they will rebuild! Their infrastructure will be upgraded, the power grid will be updated, and the buildings will be stronger. And so will the people!
If you live near the water you have to be prepared to suffer through one of these hurricanes at some point – they are just a price you pay for living in paradise. It’s not meant for the faint at heart!
Florida is a wonderful place to retire to, but so many people live in mobile homes or manufactured homes that don’t stand up to these storms. Even brick homes aren’t guaranteed to survive some of the wind and water damage they could face. Again, thankfully, many people did heed the warnings to evacuate – but then Ian took a turn from its original landing point (Tampa).
What so many people don’t understand about the nature of these storms is that they do not have a predetermined landing area. Their direction can – and usually does – change until the last minute. It’s best to be prepared to evacuate if you are in even close proximity to its estimated course. Once the outer bands come onto land they can take sharp turns or keep going. Who really knows!
After riding out Camille, Fredrick, Katrina, and many others I finally decided evacuation if at all possible was the best option. When Opal headed straight up the center of Alabama, I found out the hard way that the people in central Alabama had no real plan or understanding of what was headed for them! I think most people learned a valuable lesson during that storm.
Hurricane season is from June 1 to December 1 every year, but the bulk of the bad ones are in August and September. I’ve been through one for Thanksgiving one year! Obviously, the worst of the aftermath is the temperature when it’s over – when you have no power, heat is not your friend! Then add no water on top of it and things really get bad.
If you can donate to any of the organizations trying to help these people, please do. It is going to be a long time before this mess is cleaned up. Samaritans Purse, and other organizations, go in for months to help people as long as the need is there. There are groups who take in huge kitchens to cook; others bring in laundromats on wheels, and others specialize in different things.
Rockford and some of our surrounding areas have suffered through tornadoes so we know what it’s like to go through disasters. The very best in people come out when neighbor helps neighbor. And right now we need all of that we can get!
Stay safe – and be prepared just in case!