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That Woman Named IRMA

Posted 09-18-2017 at 12:07 PM by llrivero

So, I wanted to just share my story as a person who went through their first hurricane as a Florida resident... I have been here through other "threats"... and tend to follow the vibe of my husband, who went through Hurricane Charley, and lived to tell me about it. But this crazy storm of a size that no one had ever seen before, made me nervous. The images that were coming across the TV of the spanking Irma was delivering to the Caribbean were horrifying.

Okay, I was flat out scared. When I saw friends and neighbors packing up and heading out, gas stations over run, and water and bread were no where to be found... I had to fight my own "flee" instinct. I wanted to run.

We were not able to leave as we cannot leave family behind. A medical issue kept all of us from leaving together. So, we set up camp with all of our provisions at my in-laws home. I never could have anticipated the amount of work that goes into prepping your home and yourself for a Category 4 Hurricane and anticipation of no power or water for weeks.

We knew she was coming our way... and then she jogged right......... oh no... Miami is going to get hit the hardest... and then she jogged back to the left....... here she comes! Now, I see the panic strike everyone around me... Florida cannot get out of Florida fast enough!

Our interstates were a parking lot of people trying to get to safe areas outside of Florida, because Irma was the biggest and the baddest we had ever seen. She was going to ride up the whole state of Florida leaving a trail of devastation behind her.

We "hunkered" down... (which has become the most hated term in this disaster)... but I can't think of another word to describe it.... we locked ourselves into the home, set up our snacks, poured a few medicinal beverages, turned on the Doppler images of the ***** known as Irma. All we could do was wait....... and that was the worst feeling ever. You know it is coming, you know it is going to be bad, but when is it coming and just how bad is it going to be?

Fast forward............... fortunately she lost some of the wind in her sails........ she went from a Cat 4 to a Cat 2. It could have been MUCH worse. There were areas of Florida that were not as lucky. The Florida Keys are devastated....... they could be without power for months. Flooding took some of the cities streets and turned them into lakes and rivers........ 12 people in Florida lost their lives... millions have people were, and some still are, without power.

Once it was over, we set out to get to our neighbors, check on our elderly, and help out however we could. We took extra supplies to those without, a generator and extra fuel to a family without power, extra water, cleaned up yard debris for friends and family. However small or insignificant it may seem to the outsider...... small gestures like ... extra baby-wipes... can change your day.

I have a dear friend in Miami with a month and a half old baby girl........... I could not stop thinking of her. I sent a text because cell service was out..... I did not hear from her......it scared me because I knew that they were in an apartment building. Two days went by...... and she got a quick text out that they were okay. Such a relief and a blessing.

A small family in Fort Myers lost everything when the generator they were using, to try and keep their young daughter cool, caught on fire. Within ten minutes the entire home was engulfed in flames and gone. People are rallying to gather basic necessities for them... and trying to help them get back to some sort of "normal".

I have seen the best in people come out before, during and after Irma. I am so proud of the way our Governor handled the notifications, lifting tolls to make it easier on people to get out, staged power trucks and the national guard to get us back to "normal living" as soon as possible. The linemen have working non-stop to restore power. Florida during this time of year is tough to take without a way to escape the heat.

There are millions of Florida residents who experienced Hurricane Irma... and we will share stories about her and the loss of power for years to come. But, I know that if we only have to complain about loss of power in our area..... we are truly blessed. Other areas lost more than power or a home, they lost a loved one.

Florida is still home. It is a beautiful state with lots of wonderful people that call her home. We live here for the breathtaking beaches and views. We live here to avoid shoveling snow! (to be honest) We do accept the risk of a Hurricane as our trade-off. Like Californians risk the "BIG ONE" that will dump the entire state into the ocean... We are Florida Strong.

#irma #floridastrong #hurricane #notthistimeirmanotthistime
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