Blairsville, Ga (high 66, low 55)
We survived Hurricane Irma and all of our close family and friends are safe and sound. We have a neighbor in the Keys who stayed to ride out the hurricane, and we haven't heard anything about him, which is not particularly unusual right now. There is no electricity, the cell towers are down, and info is scarce. We are hoping he and his friends are fine.
The Tampa area dodged a big bullet when the storm shifted a little at the last minute, sparing a direct hit over Tampa. Our motorhome appears to be fine, but I'll feel better when our friend Stephanie checks it out inside.
Mom and my brother are fine with no damage or flooding. They were without power for about 18 hours. Our rental house is fine, but 24 hours afterwards, power still had not been restored. That is miserable for them because unlike the cool temps here, it is very hot in Florida.
The media has finally realized that the big story regarding Irma, was down in the Keys. Unfortunately, Irma made landfall on Cudjoe Key. If that sounds familiar to any of you, it may be because our property is on Cudjoe, at Venture Out Resort, and you've seen many posts from there. You will be hearing a lot about the area in the days to come.
We bought an older and inexpensive (thank goodness) fifth wheel last year and had it towed down there as our winter home. Al nearly killed himself drilling down into the very, very hard rock in order to install anchors to secure the RV. We never kidded ourselves that the anchors would stop a Cat 4 or 5 hurricane, but we thought just maybe it would help during a minimal storm.
Once we knew the Keys were going to be hit with a Cat 4 hurricane, we wrote off our RV and boat, knowing they could not survive 140 mile an hour winds and 5-10 feet of storm surge. However, when the weather reports confirmed Cudjoe Key to be ground zero, it was a little emotional and very sad.
Information coming in and out of the Keys has been almost nonexistent. There is no cell service or power. No one is has been allowed in or out. Land lines seem to work, but very few people have them. Finally, the media has recognized this to be a big story and they are flocking down there filming the areas and interviewing survivors. There are survivors down there in the brutal heat with limited food, water or shelter.
There are Facebook groups forming for the different areas and everyone shares every bit of info they get. It comes in pieces. We have seen a few photos and videos of Venture Out and Cudjoe Key, but so far, not specifically our house.
NOAA, is doing a fly over filming the area so people can get a close up look at their property. My cousin Anne was able to see a picture of their house, showing them that it's still standing and has an intact roof. Such a relief for them, but they are still now allowed reentry into the Keys. They are hoping early next week.
They filmed Key West first, and were supposedly working their way up to Cudjoe Key, but for some reason skipped it and went right up to Marathon. There is speculation online that it was because Cudjoe was ground zero and the damage was so bad. I don't really know.
If you would like to see some of the damage, here is a link
You have to zoom in and then under layers, select "map box streets". You can see cars in the driveways, boats, even my cousin's Tiki hut and pool.
After being glued to Facebook and the Tv for two days, we have finally gotten a little bit of good news. Nothing specific for our property, but there are rv's that appear to have survived. We have seen pictures of them in our park which are standing upright and even the AC covers are intact.
Unfortunately, we've also seen some completely obliterated and others laying on their sides. We have no idea about the state of ours, but after thinking about where the hurricane made landfall and the direction of travel, we realize our would have been hit broadside with only one row of homes between it and the ocean. Broadside is never good.
So, we wait. We don't know if we should go down and see if we can salvage anything or not. We don't want to go down there for nothing, but it would be nice if we could salvage some of our stuff. It will be brutally hot. We won't have a place to stay and hotels will be limited. Will there be power, water, cell service, fuel? All questions we can't answer right now. We were hoping to see the aerial photos today to confirm one way of the other if our RV was in one piece or a thousand. It looks like we have to wait another day or two.
This is a picture of the Southernmost point in the US. This buoy is famous and every tourist in Key West takes a picture of himself at this point. It's symbolizes the rest of the Keys. Battered, but not broken.