Editor's Note: This article is about my experience with Hurricane Irma in 2017.
In my last post, I detailed my decision making process behind why we decided to stay and ride out Hurricane Irma, and the steps we were taking to prepare.
In this post, I'll tell you what it was like riding out the storm here in our condo in Daytona Beach Shores.
Grab a raincoat and lets go!
Waiting for Irma
After all the preparations were done leading up to Irma's arrival, by Sunday all there was left to do was sit and wait.
Here's a look at the surf on Sunday morning:
By this point pretty much all restaurants and stores had closed so that their employees could be with their families and prepare their homes for Irma.
All of the news stations were running non-stop coverage of Irma's approach to the Florida peninsula, so to try and stay sane we did a lot of channel surfing trying to avoid the news so much, but we didn't have much luck.
You may have seen some of the memes on social media joking about people eating and drinking all of their hurricane supplies before the storm even arrives, and I have to tell you, the struggle is real!
My wife went and bought a honey-baked ham, made cheesy potatoes, and baked sausage bread, so it felt more like Thanksgiving or Christmas over here than it did a hurricane watch party.
But by Sunday afternoon, you could tell by the weather outside things were starting to get real.
There She Blows
For a lot of people in Irma's path, the main concern was rising water.
In fact, by the weekend, most meteorologists we heard were saying do not evacuate because of wind. Only evacuate because of water.
Because of our location, the tide schedule, and being on the 5th floor, water was never our concern for Irma.
It was the wind.
As I mentioned in my post leading up to Irma, we have hurricane shutters, and they definitely got some use this time around.
Part of the fun is watching the storm blow in though, so we kept a few of our shutters open as long as possible, and I was able to get a few videos like this that give you a sense of the strength or Irma's winds:
Unfortunately, Irma's strongest winds and impact would not arrive here until after dark.
Everything seems scarier in the dark, when you can't really see as much of what's going on as you'd like.
Around 11pm we started seeing brief flashes of blue light…transformers blowing. We tried keeping count but before long there were too many to keep track of.
By about midnight, there were no lights outside to be seen. Everyone was in the dark except us.
In my post leading up to Irma I mentioned that I had been told that our building is on the same grid as the police station and there must be some truth behind it.
I still can't believe it, but we never lost power.
By about 1am, we had seen and heard enough, and we put the last of the shutters down and went to bed.
Can't say I slept much though!
The sound of the wind got progressively louder throughout the night, and around 3 or 4 am, it seemed to shift, coming from the south now instead of the east due to Irma's position.
So instead of hearing the balcony shutters rattle and strain against the wind and rain, we now were hearing the south facing windows take the brunt.
By 7 or 8 am, the wind had died down considerably and by 11 or 12, Irma was mostly gone.
At some point overnight our cable went out, taking the internet and our digital connection to the outside world with it.
We still had our cell phones, but for the most part we were unable to see all of the news about the damage Irma had done here and elsewhere in Florida.
Just like with hurricane Matthew a year ago, our condo came out unscathed but of course there was some damage to homes and businesses in the surrounding area.
There were widespread power outages and some localized flooding, but for the most part, we did o.k.
The day after a hurricane is usually some of the nicest weather and bluest skies you'll see, but by mid afternoon, it started to get a little warm in here.
Our A/C was blowing, but the air didn't feel cold at all.
Our longtime A/C guy came out the next morning and confirmed it…Irma had killed our A/C!
All of the A/C units for the building are on the roof, and I'm not sure if some debris hit ours or what, but it was not repairable.
We would have to wait a couple days before a new unit could be installed.
So at this point, we had power (yeah!), but no A/C, cable, or internet (booo!).
Major hurricane coming? No problem…we're not going anywhere.
No A/C, no cable, and no internet? WE'RE OUTTA HERE!
That's right, we became post hurricane Irma evacuees and headed over to a hotel in Orlando to chill out for a few days.
We are now back in the condo, the air is cold, cable and internet are back up, and life is pretty much back to normal.
After Charlie, Francis, Ivan and Jeanne hit Florida back in 2004, we went 12 years before another major hurricane (Matthew) came in 2016.
I remember saying last year that hopefully it would be another 12 years before we saw another one, but it wasn't even 12 months before Irma arrived.
Hopefully we get a little longer break before the next storm comes, but when it does, we'll be ready.
donna weiss says
Wow this scares me I to changing my mind moving to Florida.
MY LOVED ONE AND I STILL PLAN TO MOVE TO FLORIDA AND BECOME LIFETIME FLORIDIANS AND MARRY THERE. WE LITERALLY AND MEANINGFULLY WORK TWENTY FOUR/SEVEN TO BE ABLE TO MOVE TO FLORIDA. WE EAT, SLEEP, AND DRINK FLORIDA. WE LOOK FORWARD TO HELP WITH THE REBUILDING THERE. WE ARE BOTH AGES 57 AND ME 64. THAT IS ALL WE THINK ABOUT IS FLORIDA. KEEP ON POSTING BLOGS MY FRIEND, I SHALL KEEP A TELESCOPE AND A PAIR OF BINOCULARS OUT FOR YOU!!! FLORIDA STRONG!!!
Larry Bond says
Thanks for the update. Glad to hear y’all made it through with minimal disruption or damage. Just which condo to you live in. I love Daytona and have been going there since the 60’s when I was just a little kid.
Patricia McDougall says
You don’t say what part of Florida you live in. For those of us considering retirement there, it would be welcome information.