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Thursday, September 14, 2017

In the Path of Hurricane IRMA

I can now say I have been in a major hurricane. Been in Florida for over 7 years and never been in a hurricane, until now.

Mandatory Evacuation 

Level A & all Mobile Home Residents. Well come to find out that Level A is all coastal residents. This news came to us 72 hours in advance.

24 hours before IRMA was to hit, I decided to head out of town to a friends house that was made of block and it had hurricane windows. To me it was a very safe place. I told my roommate to get ready and I also told my neighbor to get ready. My neighbor did not want to go. But I put my foot down and said pack and be ready to go.

24 hours before IRMA's arrival 

That Saturday Morning was the most stress I have ever had. I wanted to get out of the park. The police arrived and was on their loud horns, barking out orders to get out. Like I wasnt stressed enough, but to also have three cop cars in our park was not easy. I had so much to get done before we had to go. I had to put sand bags on the Club house doors there was 4 of them. We had to make them ourselves because the City ran out. So I grabbed trash bags and put dirt in them (Florida dirt is sand). Once that was done, my boss called me and said unit 107 had a sewer line backed up. I had to go and fix that, did that and headed home to get ready to go. My boss calls me again and said I needed to get the chain saw and put in the club house so if the shed blew away then at least we would have it. I went and got it and put it in the club house. Then a resident stopped me and said she has a water leak and wanted me to fix it right then. I apologized to her and said I am leaving, you will have to wait until after the storm. She understood, but did not like it. I went back home to start packing, my boss calls me again, you need to leave your keys with Paul he is staying in the park. It was like I could not leave. I mean we should have some kind of procedures for just in case. Instead of me running around with my head cut off on the day I was supposed to leave. I went and found Paul and gave him the keys, and headed back home to pack. Just as I stepped back into the door of my home, John was ringing my door bell. He said you wanted to see me. I said yes and smiled at him. I needed to show him how to turn on the pump so if it started flooding, and to show him how to unlock the gate if they lost power. When that was done, I headed back in to pack.  We got on the road at 12pm. We was supposed to be on the road by 10am.

We was expecting to hit major traffic. But instead we drove straight there with out any traffic at all. We was surprised. Every one in the truck was hungry. Not one gas station was open, nor any fast food restaurants either. I told them lets just get there and then decide what to do. They agreed.

Once at Indy's house, we unloaded the truck, I just sat there for a long time. My stress level was still high, but it was coming down slowly. I hadn't gotten much sleep in the past 48 hours. My neighbor asked if they could use the truck to go get some food, I agreed. They left to see what was open. About an hour later they came back with Burger King. I was happy, food at last.

I took a nap, when I woke up I went outside. Irma was approaching, you could see her in the clouds.


My cousin texted me and said get on Zello, I downloaded the app to my phone. Its a walki-talki for your phone. My cousin, my father and some friends had the app. So I had communication with all of them. We talked during the day on Sunday. But Sunday night is when Irma pushed her way thru.

Irma went up the state of Florida she moved to the east which was good news for me, but bad news for my father and cousins.

It was about 6pm, it was dark out, due to Irma. My cousin calls out on the radio and says her power went out and asked if I still had it. I said yes we are all good here. She said it wasnt fair. I laughed.

Irma had very strong winds. She blew the rain to the side, but inside we was very happy. We was watching movies and laughing and having a great time. His house was built well. We could only hear the wind if it switched directions. By midnight, I was done. But my roommate was still wanting to watch more movies and talk to the guys in the house. My friend Indy said go jump in my bed, I did with out batting an eye. I slept in the middle of him and his husband. Best night sleep in a very long time.

Day after Irma

I woke up refreshed, I got up and fixed coffee. The radio said that all roads going into our county was closed until further notice. They wanted to check and make sure all roads were ok before they opened up the county. We waited and waited, but no more news about them opening up the roads. We had to call the Sheriff's department. They said yes its open. OMG why didnt they tell that to us on the radio. At 4pm we packed up and headed back down to our home in St. Petersburg.

Irma's Power

The closer we got home the more I was dreading. I mean there was roofs, and signs torn up all over the place. I was freaking out, my stress was coming back. I told my roommate that he could not go into our home until I did a full inspection on the mobile home. I wanted to make sure it was still on the piers, and safe to go in.

When we pulled into the park, my heart sank.

Our Park

Our park is a mess. Trees down all over the park. Power was out for some of the park. We have power, I was happy about that.

The only damage I had was our fence that was between my house and my neighbor was down.

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