Irma Not So La Douce

 

Damage from Hurricane Irma

As some of you know, the northwest part of the eye wall from Hurricane Irma passed right over our house in southwest Florida this weekend. We took the worst part of that hurricane and we took it for two hours straight. Our family is fine, our house is essentially undamaged and we are starting to get our lives back together now, three days since it passed us.

Here are a few observations from the experience:

  1. Have someone on your block crazier than you. We hid in our safe room when the eyewall passed over us, but one of my neighbors went full Jim Cantore and stayed outside. Good thing he did, because he spotted a blocked drain that might have flooded our street. He cleared it while the hurricane was raging. Crazy.
  2. You know those clichés about a hurricane sounding like a freight train? They’re right, it does sound like that.
  3. Have more communications than you think you’ll need. Our internet is still intermittent and cell data was restored just last night, making our cheap wind-up AM/FM radio our sole source for relevant information.
  4. The more lumens, the better. I fortuitously bought a five-pack of very bright “tactical” lights the week before Irma hit, so all of our family had a bright light with them at all times.
  5. Want to be prepared for something like this? I wrote about prepping on Ricochet a few years ago. Here’s part one and part two of my quick guide to prepping for non-preppers.
  6. The sound of garbage trucks is the sound of civilization returning to your street.
  7. You may not need your neighbors to provide you power, lights, etc., but they come in darn handy for emotional support after the storm is (literally) passed. That crazy Jim Cantore guy I mentioned? He’s a recently retired Master Sergeant from the 82nd Airborne and a combat vet. Having him around to keep an eye on things was a big help.
  8. When it comes to keeping your streets safe after the hurricane, candlepower is better than firepower. A neighborhood watch and a few bright flashlights will keep all but the most determined of looters at bay. But it’s still nice to have a little punch behind the bright light as well.
  9. Get good intel. I visit the National Hurricane Center’s web page every day during hurricane season, and I talked with a family friend who worked with the NHC when Irma started to shift westward. She can read hurricane maps like a road map, and I went to Walmart the day after she said it might turn our way, which gave me at least a 24-hour head start to buy in-demand items like bottled water, bread, and stove fuel.

Again, I can’t stress how important it is to know your neighbors before something like this happens. It’s not going to be your local Black Lives Matter group, the local Republican National Committee office, or your Facebook friends in far-off cities that will show up when you need to clean up the blown-down trees in your front yard. It will be the neighbors on your street who come to your rescue.

There are 18 comments.

  1. Member

    Glad you weathered the storm and put all that knowledge to practical use.

    • #1
    • September 13, 2017 at 2:02 pm
    • 5 likes
  2. Contributor

    Glad you made it! Sound advice! When’s the story of the guy who withstood the hurricane? What was it like?

    • #2
    • September 13, 2017 at 2:04 pm
    • 3 likes
  3. Contributor

    Also, Irma la Douce:

    • #3
    • September 13, 2017 at 2:09 pm
    • 1 like
  4. Contributor

    Kevin Creighton:

    When it comes to keeping your streets safe after the hurricane, candlepower is better than firepower. A neighborhood watch and a few bright flashlights will keep all but the most determined of looters at bay.

    Darn good point.

    Glad you folks made it through, Kevin.

    • #4
    • September 13, 2017 at 2:15 pm
    • 4 likes
  5. Member

    Kevin Creighton: Again, I can’t stress how important it is to know your neighbors before something like this happens.

    Been through two events since moving to my current place. Neighbors were the ones who looked out for each other.

    Remember my mentioning my neighbors whom I referred to a the Ultimate Texas Redneck and Mr. Black Power? Redneck had gotten his bass boat in front of his place before the rains started and the two of them were doing amphibious ops helping out flooded locals about half a mile away.

    Seawriter

    • #5
    • September 13, 2017 at 2:19 pm
    • 5 likes
  6. Contributor

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Kevin Creighton: Again, I can’t stress how important it is to know your neighbors before something like this happens.

    Been through two events since moving to my current place. Neighbors were the ones who looked out for each other.

    Remember my mentioning my neighbors whom I referred to a the Ultimate Texas Redneck and Mr. Black Power? Redneck had gotten his bass boat in front of his place before the rains started and the two of them were doing amphibious ops helping out flooded locals about half a mile away.

    Seawriter

    Warms the heart! Damn fine!

    • #6
    • September 13, 2017 at 2:20 pm
    • 2 likes
  7. Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    Also, Irma la Douce:

    That’s the *easy* cultural reference in the title. The hard one comes directly from a James Bond novel: Special ExurbanKevin-level Ricochet membership to the 1st person who makes the connection without Googling. :)

    • #7
    • September 13, 2017 at 2:27 pm
    • 1 like
  8. Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    Glad you made it! Sound advice! When’s the story of the guy who withstood the hurricane? What was it like?

    He said it “pretty intense.”

    • #8
    • September 13, 2017 at 2:28 pm
    • 3 likes
  9. Member

    So good to hear all is well with you. What an experience.

    Loved your list of observations – and I hope there are more retired Master Sergeant Cantores in neighborhoods throughout the storm area who can provide such practical help. Though it sounds that your neighborhood really pulled together. May this be repeated in neighborhood after neighborhood as cleanup continues.

    • #9
    • September 13, 2017 at 3:23 pm
    • 3 likes
  10. Coolidge

    I just want you to know that the good people at Alpha Technologies have been working overtime (literally) to get power supplies out to the telecom folks in Florida and Texas, in order to get the comms backup in both areas. Working a little over time on a Friday evening or a Saturday is nothing compared to enduring a hurricane, but they did it because they believe in helping people.

    • #10
    • September 13, 2017 at 4:05 pm
    • 5 likes
  11. Contributor

    So good to hear from you, Kevin! Welcome back to civilization (mostly). We are fine.

    • #11
    • September 13, 2017 at 4:59 pm
    • 5 likes
  12. Member

    Have someone on your block crazier than you. We hid in our safe room when the eyewall passed over us, but one of my neighbors went full Jim Cantore and stayed outside. Good thing he did, because he spotted a blocked drain that might have flooded our street. He cleared it while the hurricane was raging. Crazy.

    That worked out for Forrest Gump too!

    • #12
    • September 14, 2017 at 8:26 am
    • 2 likes
  13. Inactive

    Kevin Creighton: Have more communications than you think you’ll need. Our internet is still intermittent and cell data was restored just last night, making our cheap wind-up AM/FM radio our sole source for relevant information.

    A good FRS walkie-talkie can also be useful. Set it to “scan” to see if any of your neighbours are also using ’em.

    • #13
    • September 14, 2017 at 8:58 am
    • 1 like
  14. Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    Misthiocracy (View Comment):

    Kevin Creighton: Have more communications than you think you’ll need. Our internet is still intermittent and cell data was restored just last night, making our cheap wind-up AM/FM radio our sole source for relevant information.

    A good FRS walkie-talkie can also be useful. Set it to “scan” to see if any of your neighbours are also using ’em.

    That’s a good idea.

    • #14
    • September 14, 2017 at 12:42 pm
    • Like
  15. Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    More on this subject over at Shooting Illustrated.

    • #15
    • September 14, 2017 at 12:43 pm
    • Like
  16. Thatcher

    Kevin,

    Once the atmosphere is moving above 75mph it starts to compress. There isn’t any other way to say it but the air gets hard. That’s why it makes that awful sound. The air has a punch to it.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #16
    • September 14, 2017 at 2:44 pm
    • 3 likes
  17. Member

    Glad you made it through okay, brother.

    • #17
    • September 14, 2017 at 6:13 pm
    • 1 like
  18. Member

    The best part of hurricanes is getting to know your neighbors a bit better and chating. On Tuesday because I did not have work or a gas chain saw to cut up branches. I spent almost half the day outside Chating with my neighbors. Nothing else to due other than read when you have a hot house with no power and few places are open.

    Although you also find out which neighbors a unneighborly or just jerks. The people behind us got power on Tuesday. However they did not offer to share power. This includes the Neighbor behind my next door neighbor who had that neighbor massive tree fall on their house. This neighbor who has the damage though is letting me plug into his generator and refuse to let me chip in and pay for at lest some of the gas. He’s the one with all the damage and doing the work of filling up the generator. He a great neighbor by the way. I suck as being a good neighbor compaired to Him and his wife ( I have a wild looking yard most of the year because I don’t due enough yardwork).

    Hurricanes are such productivity killers. We have lost over three days of prodution. I should not share an office because I get way to chatty and side tracked. However my office flooded so I am sharing an office. I feel so unproductive because I start talking while waiting on my models to run and then waste to much time talking instead checking to see if the calculations have ran to due the next step.

    • #18
    • September 14, 2017 at 8:27 pm
    • 1 like