Surviving Hurricane Irma, Day 4.

It’s over.

Hurricane Irma has struck Florida and it’s time to go outside and survey the damage. Structural damage in Palm Beach County seems to be minimal but the real mess is the fallen branches and piles of leaves scattered everywhere.

I decided to go visit my house to see how well it fared during the hurricane. I was nervous about the drive home because I wasn’t sure if there was a widespread power outage that affected the traffic lights along my route. The one thing I hate the most about driving after a hurricane is coming to an intersection with no working traffic lights. Drivers completely disregard the rule to treat such an intersection as a four-way stop and as a result there’s plenty of danger and frustration. They seem to be enforcing an “every man for himself” rule instead. As much as I hate traffic lights, I actually miss them when they’re not working.

I managed to make it home in one piece. As expected there was debris everywhere in my neighborhood but I was pleasantly surprised to see I still had power. Judging from the correct time on my stove in the kitchen, I don’t think it ever went out. My phone service, on the other hand, wasn’t working, and neither was my Internet connection. I had a busy afternoon of taking down my storm shutters, moving my plants outside along with my patio furniture and then cleaning up the debris.

Then I decided to go check on my parents’ house. They left on a cruise out of the country just before the hurricane hit and were keeping in touch via email. I could imagine their anxiety about how things were back at home and I wanted to relay some good news to them to help put their minds at ease.

However, when I arrived at my parents’ house, I saw a huge mess of fallen branches around the house. I couldn’t get inside because there was no power to open the garage door and the rest of the house was heavily barricaded with hurricane shutters with drill-tightened wingnuts too tight to try loosening by hand.

During my walk around the outside of the house, I saw something that made my jaw drop. There was an aquarium stand that once stood behind the garage that my father used for his small barbecue grill. That stand was no longer there. The strong winds flung it across the yard where I found it resting on some bushes along the fence.

Anyway, the storm may be gone but the aftermath remains to linger for a long time to come.

Oh yeah, Hurricane Jose’s out there churning in the Atlantic and just might hit Florida again.

Isn’t life in paradise wonderful?

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