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DenDen's Wilma Photo Report


DenDen
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Well gang, I am back, FINALLY, with my random report about Wilma! What a scary BEOTCH she was.

 

October 23-24 was probably one of the scariest nights of my life. Not only was this my first direct-hit category 2 storm, this was my first one being on the "dirty side" of the eye wall. Being on the dirty side, we were in prime conditions for wide-spread tornadoes, and the strongest gusts from the hurricane itself. Having a small tornado just a week prior, I was quite nervous to begin with. Needless to say, I got no sleep until the tornado warnings were lifted.

 

By daybreak, conditions were getting really bad, (so I thought,) and of all the times to get sick, this was the worst time. (I suffer from Crohn's disease.) Being curled up in pain, with no electricity, and hearing the strangest sounds outside, it was not pleasant. By this time, I had forgotten about doing the video report, but it wouldn't have mattered anyway, it was REALLY dangerous outside. The rain was flying horizontal, and the only window I could see out of was the little one on my front door, which has a terrible view. The only other windows I had that were not protected with storm shutters were being pelted by rain so bad, you couldn't make anything out, and the water was just pouring into the entry. Then, the eye came...

 

For approximately 5 minutes, calm. (When I say calm, I mean, it was like just a normal rain storm...) I had the radio on, and everyone on the air was exclaiming not to go outside. I was on the very southern tip of the eye, so the calm didn't last long. And then... WHAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The winds instantly changed direction at 110 miles per hour. It was absolutely incredible. It was like a bomb went off, but the destruction lasted for almost a solid 30 minutes before letting down. I could hear things crashing everywhere. At this point, I went into the closet with a flashlight and the radio. (The center of my house) But once this major part of the storm died, I came back out into the living room, and listened to the radio for a couple more hours, and the storm outside, until the tornado warnings were lifted. I was so exhausted, I passed out after being awake for 32 hours. But I wasn't prepared for what was to come when I woke up later that afternoon.

 

At about 2pm, I hear my cell phone ringing, and hear lots of people talking loudly outside. I missed the phone call, so I just open my front door to see who's outside. And my jaw just dropped. All of my neighbors had large trees on top of their houses, with my next-door neighbor's being the worst, a 70ft ficus tree. There was debris everywhere. Tree limbs, traffic lights, furniture, garbage, it was just everywhere. Concrete utility poles snapped, power lines down, and the ones still up were all twisted and tangled in trees, or just tangled in other lines. And the view had changed forever. I'm a few miles inland, but could now see the hotels and condos on the beach, as well as downtown Fort Lauderdale. People were already cleaning up, even when the winds were still gusting around 40 MPH. They were just happy everyone was safe, and that the could go outside. There's no water, no electric, thank god I have a hot tub full of toilet water, and a few gallons of gas for the generator.

 

On Tuesday 25, the weather is absolutely beautiful, so we decide to take a walk through the neighborhood to one of the main highways to see how bad everything was. It was just a mess everywhere. I was in such shock, I didn't take many pictures. Our area of Fort Lauderdale, north to West Palm Beach was the worst hit, with the max wind being in our area at 110MPH. It was 107MPH in Downtown, and many of the high-rises took major hits. Most of the roads were closed, or blocked by debris, so we couldn't go joy riding much to see everything. There were no traffic lights anywhere in the city.

 

Wednesday 26, was a little bit better as far as getting around, but all of a sudden, everyone was looking for gas, with no stations open. People looking for food, water and ice. (Most of the people didn't prepare as they should have, 3 days of supplies.) Looting and fights were breaking out in random areas, mainly at gas stations. Phone services died after back-up generators ran out of gas. (Both land and cell) I went to see if my employer was still standing, and it was. But it would be 2 weeks before we open back up. Being a waiter sucks during disasters, because even if we recoup our wages, we can never recover our tips, which is 87% of what we make!)

 

We FINALLY get power back November 4, at 5:15 pm. Yep, that's almost 12 days without power, and people are still without it. I'm only getting my Internet connection now. (Damn cable disadvantages!) Sure, a generator helps, but at $3 a gallon for gas, it's quite expensive! (Saved my food in the fridge though!)

 

Enjoy the pictures of what I actually got, they really aren't that good, and don't do things justice. I'm going to go through my video to see if I actually got anything interesting, I can't even remember it's been so long.

 

So happy to be back, and so lucky to have barely gotten a scratch.

 

These pics are from my phone, more pics coming...

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Uh oh, better call Macco... oh wait, nevermind. :)

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Total Chaos

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Store fronts everywhere were blown out.

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This WAS a 40 Ft oak tree at church.

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No icecream either :(

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Damn, no TV dinners!

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Store shelves were empty after the storm, as all stores that were open ran on generators. I wanted meat so bad!

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More pictures...

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THE SQUIRRELS SURVIVED! YAY!!!!!

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He also lost a beach house in New Orleans this year. What luck!

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this massive thing just tipped and is now leaning on his house. We shared our generator with him.

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my next door gaybor got hit bad!

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I was so lucky, we were the only ones that didn't have to deal with this stuff.

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it's like we have no big trees left in the city

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All pine trees in town look like this now.

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(shaking head)

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everyone piles their debris on the road

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Huge ficus blocks the road

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Notice all the leaves gone on the trees. We don't have season changes here.

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Glad you made it out alive...

 

I know from experiencing the "Triple Hurricanes" last year that it will take a LONG time to recover. There are places in Polk County that still look destroyed. And there are STILL houses around here with big blue tarps on them.

 

Frickin' 'canes...

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E, that sucks, in this day and age you would figure the damn power company would have the lights hooked back up already. What really gets my hackles red is the fact noone in this part of the country (the south) runs powerlines underground. You'd avoid about 99% of the "service interruption" issues if they were ran like fiberop underground.

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Well, all is not ok, my hottub has become a victim. The heater blew out.

 

Oh nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

 

Actually, glad to hear you're okay Dennis. Take care of yourself, mmm'k?

 

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I live in California, and when I travel outside of California people I meet will say, wow are you worried about Earthquakes???

 

Personally, I would be much more concerned about Hurricanes or Tornados!

 

I've been thru several Earthquakes over the years, but I would be more concerned if a Hurricane or Tornado was heading my way!

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