Hurricane Wilma


 Plantation FL

Hurricane Wilma came thru South Florida on 10/24/05.   Below are pictures of the event.    The storm started out near Cuba, slammed into Cancun for a day, then turned 45 degrees and headed to South Florida.   The eye of the storm passed over Naples on the west coast, then headed over Weston, Plantation, and Pompano Beach. 

The above pictures were taken during the storm.   The winds picked up at about 7am.   At first they were heading from right to left as the top part of the hurricane passed over the city.  In the first picture you can see a tree blown over a fence into a house.  In the 2nd and 3rd picture, you can see a tree branch that fell.  This tree branch hit the mirror on our truck smashing it.  I had to order a new one that costed $150.   The 4th picture is looking down the street as the wind is blowing.  What you can't see in these pictures, is just how strong the wind is.   I'd say it was about 75 mph, gusting up to 100 every now and then.  It wasn't the speed of the wind that was so bad, it was that it didn't stop for 4 straight hours.   That's why trees fall over.  At first they can stand up to the wind for a while,  but after a few hours, they fall over.  

In the first picture above, I'm looking out our window.  The wind has now shifted the entire opposite direction as the bottom part of the storm passed over.   Since the eye passed over, there was a period of calm for about 30 minutes.    In the 3rd picture you can see our fence has been blown over.  The wind basically pushed it back and forth blowing it over.  

Here is what it looked like after Wilma passed.   The storm started at about 7am, the power went out, and the storm ended around noon, 5 hours of wind.

Here is the flooding and people walking in the street.  The 4th picture is a walk area behind a lake, the trees have now blocked the path.

In the first picture, you can see how the wind is blowing out of the west.   It's noon, the storm has passed, but the winds are still 50mph.   As Ashley and I walked back here, we were scared some debris would fly and hit us.  Lucky for us, it didn't.   In the 4th picture, you can see a window that was smashed out. 

More pictures of trees that were blown down.   Many trees were in the street.    After the storm, there was no power for a week, no street lights, and trees everywhere.   To go anywhere in our vehicles, we had to drive on the wrong side of the road, and go around trees in the street.

More pictures of trees that were blown over.

What was it like?   Hell.   The storm lasted 5 hours, but it was after the storm that your life changes.   There is no power, no gas stations working, no TV, no internet, no AC, no hot showers.  The power was out for a week.    FPL gave priority to businesses and homes in the most populated areas.    After a day, the big challenge was getting ice, gas, and groceries.   Many people had generators, and they will run a fridge, a fan, and a TV.  But, you have to fill them with gas.  Most people had two 5 gallon jugs.  These lasted a couple days, then it was time to get more.  The thing is, everyone wanted to get gas, so the lines at the pump were hours.  The same thing with groceries.  Many people had a couple days of supplies, but that didn't last long.  So everyone was looking for groceries, especially milk.

In our case, we decided to do something different.  We drove 140 miles to Sebring FL for supplies on Tuesday the 25th.    It took about 2.5 hours to drive there.   It felt like we were going on a vacation to Orlando, because this is the way we go, but instead, we were going to get groceries and gas.  The cities along the way (South Bay, Clewiston) were also destroyed with long lines for gas.  It wasn't until we reached Sebring that we could buy everything we needed.   Laurie and I went to lunch at Chilis which was great to eat a nice hot meal, filled the car with gas, went to Publix, bought 7 bags of ice, groceries, and drove the 2.5 hours home.  Going there and back took the entire day.  We left at 11am, and got home at 7pm.  Meanwhile, everyone else was waiting in 5 hour lines for a bag of ice from FEMA.   

On Wednesday, we started to clean up around the house, and I drove to my parents to talk about driving back to Sebring for more supplies.   The gas stations still had 5 hour lines, and the grocery stores didn't have power and were running on generators.  Because of this, they didn't have much on the shelves, especially in the cold food section.

On Thursday the 26th my dad and I drove to Sebring.  We ate lunch, got gas, groceries, then drove home.   Milk was a big item that many were out of, so we bought a few gallons. We met some people in the parking lot of Publix that did the same thing, drove the 140 miles so they could get supplies.    The car was again packed with 7 big bags of ice, 4 jugs of gas for generators, and groceries.    This trip started at 8am and ended at 5pm.   It was an all day thing to go there and back but it was better than waiting in a 5 hour line for 2 bags of ice.

On Friday I went back to work.  We still didn't have power.   By this time, taking cold showers starts to have an effect.  The water stings, it's cold.   More gas stations were starting to get power.  I took a few co-workers home, and by luck, a gas station opened and I was able to fill my tank.

On Saturday afternoon, our power came back on.  Things slowly started to get better.   More gas stations had power, so the lines became less.  The grocery stores started to get supplies, and some traffic lights were repaired.  Driving around was still a pain, because each intersection that didn't have lights working was treated as a 4 way stop.   So the line of cars backed up and there were traffic jams everywhere.  

Two weeks later things were pretty much back to normal.  Traffic lights were working, and the streets were cleared.   But there was fences, and downed trees on the side of the road. 

End of Report.

Thanks for reading.