It’s been over a week now that Hurricane Irma has come and gone, leaving destruction in her path. The week before Irma hit was filled with anxiety, preparations, fear, and more. I tried playing it cool, being a long-time Floridian and all, and I thought I would be able to keep calm having been through numerous hurricanes in my life already. For the most part, it worked. I was pretty calm on the outside, handling all the indoor prep like buying snacks, making bags of ice, getting battery powered lights, and what not. My dad and Briam, with the help of some friends, put up our shutters on Thursday before Irma hit.
I’m so incredibly grateful for the experience we had during Irma. The was very little damage done to our apartment, with no personal property being damaged inside. And my car – Rhonda as she’s so kindly name – has zero damage. I kept counting my blessings as we walked around the community. We saw roof shingles on people’s cars, trees fallen down, and garage doors locked from the power outage.
We lost power twice on Saturday for about 30 minutes each time. That prompted us to hustle and make the last bit of refrigerated food we had. The days leading up to the storm, I did my best to make sure that we used anything that would ultimately go bad if we lost power for an extending period of time. We had no meat, cheese, fruit, or vegetables by the time we actually lost power.
We finally lost power Sunday afternoon around 4:30 after listening to the wind and rain whip around the building with huge gusts rattling the front door. Briam kept going outside to see how much the lake behind our building was rising, and let me tell you, it go pretty close! Thankfully it never flooded and everyone was safe. What was funny though was that my best friend, in the building next to us, never lost power! And my dad, who lives about an hour south of me – closer to the direct storm path – never lost power either!
We were prepared though. Briam turned our fridge and freezer to the coldest settings to keep everything cold and had bags of ice ready just in case. We also dropped the AC down to about 55 which kept the house pretty cool while the power was out. The highest the temperature got to was 75 which was outstanding! It was a little hard sleeping with no AC or moving air, but it could’ve been a lot worse. We went maybe 20 hours without power and I truly consider us to be very lucky with. Some of my friends went 3-5 days without power!
But all of this aside, there were and still are so many people who don’t have power, lost their homes, had businesses demolished, and more. I have a friend in the Keys who feared his home wouldn’t be there when he was allowed back onto the island. Another friend’s apartment complex refused to let them put up shutters to protect their home. It’s not just the Keys, damaged happened all the way up the coast. Even more, the islands of the Caribbean were basically destroyed. And now, they’re having to live through Maria – yet another category 5 hurricane.
Here is a little video showing Irma and the damage around the neighborhood:
Sometimes we forget how lucky we are to have what we consider simple life necessities like AC, internet, and even data on our phones. During the storm and afterwards seeing all the destruction made me count my blessings. We are so grateful for what we went through because it could’ve been so much worse. I think we all, myself included, need to take more time to be grateful for all that we have. I’m always telling others to be positive and appreciate the lives the have. And now it’s time for me to start doing the same thing.
Below are a few links where you can donate to the Hurricane Irma disaster relief:
UNICEF: Disaster Relief
Global Giving: Hurricane Irma Relief Fund
World Vision: Hurricane Irma Disaster Relief
The Humane Society: Disaster Relief Fund
There are plenty more charities and organizations that need help other than financial donations. If you are willing and able, please consider donating water, diapers, canned goods, animal food, and more to the local counties and islands affected by the storm. Harvey, Irma, and now Maria have taken a toll on everyone. Any support and help makes all the difference.
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