Well, history says there has never been a direct hurricane hit on our part of the North Coast. We thought for sure Irma would break that historical record and prepared accordingly.
We boarded up almost all of the ocean-facing windows on both levels (we ran out of plywood for the last two, but they are relatively sheltered). The carpenter team got a very slow start … first it was the wrong plywood. Then they didn’t get here till 11 AM Wednesday because the hardware stores were all packed. Then they didn’t follow instructions – after 5 hours they hardly had anything done because they were framing everything in which wasn’t the plan at all.
We finally got it on track but they didn’t finish till 8 PM! We thought we were ahead of the game and it should have been done on Tuesday.
We brought in all of the outside furniture and made sure there was nothing out there loose that could fly around and damage things. That includes taking down green coconuts that were fairly mature. We had a whole wheelbarrow full, but our police guests ate them! Oh, well. We also took down most of the solar panels.
I moved my office and our tech gear upstairs to the gym which is on a more protected side of the house. We filled the gas tank, extra gas containers, propane tanks and had plenty of diesel for the generator on hand. I did a big shopping, and we reactivated the temporary kitchen in the gym. We sent the staff home early Wednesday afternoon so they could do their own preparations.
This is what Irma looked like here at the peak.
It looks pretty scary, but in reality, it was just tropical storm strength. Bruce calculated that the eye wall was 45 miles out to see, which was closer than projected. Yet we escaped virtually unscathed. Lucky. Very lucky. It was certainly stressful, that’s for sure.
Street power went out before the storm even hit. Luckily we have the inverter, batteries and generator. As of late Saturday, it’s still not back on. Strangely, our cable TV and cable internet from Delancer never went down. I wonder how Irma will affect that once she hits Florida. We recently changed to a Miami IP so I am assuming the server is somewhere in Miami. Our Claro DSL was down before the storm started and still hasn’t come back up. The phone line is working. You never know if it is your problem or theirs, but as you can imagine, their phone lines have been swamped and I haven’t been able to report it yet. Glad we have the backup.
The next day, we had lots of small branches and leaves down, but our staff showed up and cleaned it all up in one day – 4 truckloads. They are the best!
We had the dogs inside for most of the storm. They were happy to be able to go outside again – except for Samantha who always prefers to be inside. Blackie is surveying the damage and hoping we will bring the dogfood back outside. You can see all the palm fronds down from the very high palm trees. Glad they survived, since those trees are estimated to be more than 300 years old. They’ve probably seen worse!
We haven’t taken down the boards yet. It looks like Jose will go north after it pummels the Leeward Islands again, but you never know. And we are not quite at the peak of the season yet. Let’s hope the rest of the season is a disappointment!
And here’s hoping that Florida isn’t damaged too badly. As I write this, it’s just left Cuba and not looking good for Florida. Thoughts and prayers go out to all Floridians, including the many friends I have that live there.