Living in Florida is just like living in paradise…except when it isn’t. As a community, we’ve seen strong tropical storms and we’ve weathered a few named hurricanes without too much impact on our day to day lives. This one was different.
I watched my daughter’s stress level rise as she prepared to explain to her kindergartner what we were beginning to experience. As the storm wobbled back and forth, growing closer and closer, we all sat on the edge of our seats wondering if we should stay or go. As the nervousness grew, so did the panic. This one was seemingly coming right for us. Were we prepared? The long gas lines, the chaos over water bottles, plywood and generators only served as more fuel for the roller coaster of emotions.
Timelines ticked down, the pressure mounted more. We second guessed our decision a dozen or so times. If we left, what might we come home to? Would there even be a home? If we stayed, would we be safe? After all, this was a storm like no other that had been seen before. It spanned the entire state and looked terrifying on radar. For those in mandatory evacuation, the decision became that much more difficult. Shelters began to fill, gas began to run out, exhaustion set in. The range of emotions ran the gamut; from tears of fear to tears of relief.
As the storm moved on, we soon learned the destruction could have been much worse. The Keys had been flattened, flood waters were rearing their ugly head on the East Coast and many were without power. Some residents lost trees, other lost their homes entirely. It was bad, but for the majority in our immediate area, it was manageable. Thankfully, social media was a Godsend to keep up with friends and family and we shared minute by minute updates on gas, water and power. It was also extremely instrumental in helping people locate much needed supplies and hot meals after the storm.
Hurricane Irma gave us much to be thankful for. It brought our community together. It reminded us to practice humility and help our neighbors. It reminded us that nothing matters more than friends and family. Things can be replaced. People can’t be. Hopefully, she opened our eyes on the importance of being prepared and paying attention. A big thank you goes to Governor Rick Scott who, in my opinion, was awesome at keeping us informed and organized during the madness. Thank you to ALL first responders for putting your responsibilities to the community before your families and to the work crews that worked long hours in less than desirable conditions to turn our air conditioners back on!
As our hearts and minds now turn to Puerto Rico and the devastation there, we are reminded of how powerful nature truly is. They are indeed dealing with catastrophic conditions. Certainly 5+ days without power pales in comparison to what they are now experiencing and what could have just as easily been for all of us.
Just a reminder that the next few weeks will be very interesting times in the world of real estate. Sellers: You may want to consider having your home checked by a “licensed and qualified” inspector for possible post-Irma issues that may or may not be visible to the naked eye. Buyers: Most lenders are requiring appraisers to re-inspect homes prior to closing to be sure the home survived. To all: Beware of scammers and unlicensed workman. As for licensed contract work only and get second and third quotes whenever possible.
Do you have unused hurricane supplies? Our Leslie Wells Realty office is a drop-off location for the Florida Keys relief effort!