Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wilma 2005

Hi Folks ~ I recently showed what's left of the pine that came down in our back shed, in Hurricane Wilma. I though I'd do a little post about this hurricane.

Wilma took a back seat to Katrina, even though she was a bad hurricane herself. The eye of Wilma came right over us, and it was the first eye we had ever been through. We went out in it to fasten on some tarp to the shed roof, and just as we were about finished I yelled to DH to hurry up, because I could feel the back half of the storm coming. We no sooner got inside when the hellish fury of the storm started up again immediately, only much worse.

We had been on the cusp of the eye in both Frances and Jeanne the year before, going through both of them within two weeks of each other. Wilma was so much worse than either of them. I was petrified to say the least.

We lost power around 11 the night before she made landfall the next morning on the west coast, and were without power for 13 days.

We have a camper on our property and popped the top and used it as our cooking shack as it had a little gas stove. We rigged up hoses in the sun and an outdoor shower to have hot showers. I washed clothes by hand in a 5 gal bucket.

Friends who only lost power for a short time made ice for us, as ice was very hard to come by.

But, we survived, we are thankful, and we hope we never have to go through another one like that again, or worse.

Here is a bit of info from Wikipedia about Wilma.

Before hitting Florida, Wilma intensified despite increasing amounts of wind shear, briefly producing winds of 125 mph (200 km/h) before hitting Cape Romano, Florida as a 120 mph (195 km/h) major hurricane (although maximum sustained winds at the Florida landfall, according to some sources, might have been stronger). Wilma crossed the state in about 4.5 hours and weakened to winds of 110 mph (175 km/h) after entering the Atlantic Ocean.

Damage from Wilma was extensive and widespread over South Florida due to winds and flooding.Hurricane Wilma caused widespread destruction of critical infrastructure, including power, water and sewer systems. Florida Power and Light, the largest electricity utility in the state, reported more than 3,241,000 customers had lost power,[29] equivalent to approximately 6,000,000 people, with most residents getting power restored in 8–15 days.


My heart goes out to everyone who has ever experienced massive storms, whether they be a hurricane, a tornado, snow storm, whatever. They are horrifying. We did not know if our little 50's cottage would survive or not, but it did and we are grateful. Because of the tornadoes some people lost their homes and businesses. We did have a mini tornado go over us. While laying in bed freaked out, I noticed a change in the storms noise and fury because it sounded just like an oncoming freight train overhead, just like they say. That passed and the storm kept on howling like before. We could hear debris hitting the roof and house and we just hoped nothing bad happened.

As soon as Wilma passed, we went outside to assess all the damage, and had to come back in to get flannel shirts, as Wilma had brought a cold front. and it was now in the 50's. I immediately started clearing the driveway, hauling out small branches to the street to be picked up. I think we eventually had 5 or so huge piles of cut up pine and Melaleuca trees. We just kept plodding along day in day out. A neighbor had a chain saw and that's how we cut up the pine that was in the shed. The clean up around the state was monumental.

We did repair the shed, put an awning on the side that had been damaged and used the leaning pine section as a prop and strapped the awning to it. DH put an almost 11' stainless steel restaurant sink that we found dumped in an ally many, many years ago, on that wall and that is now my potting bench and area.

Below are pictures.

You can see the whole pine tree, the top half is out the other end of shed. When the top was cut off, the rest of the pine tree rose up out of the shed.

This was taken looking out through the sidelight in the scullery,
looking toward the workshop,
which part of the melaleuca tree had fallen onto,
poking a hole in the roof.

This is some of the Melaleuca tree fallen in a different direction.
It was a beautiful tree before the three hurricanes wrecked it.

This was our 'camp site'. Cooking shack to the right.

Inside the cooking shack.

Here I am in the neighbors yard. Sections of our privacy fencing was down on all four sides.
We cut up the pine tree, and hauled it all into our yard, then out to the street to be picked up. Before this picture, I had tripped going into the camper, carrying two jugs of water and fell into a bench with right hand, slamming my pinky finger between one jug and the hard edge of bench. I thought 'oh no', and hurriedly got the rings off my pinky finger. It and the next finger swelled right up and turned purple soon after. We think I probably broke my finger. I just taped it together, put a sock on the hand and started carting stuff. That was the least of our worries. The finger healed, is a tad crooked and feels arthritic at times, but heck we are still here and so is our little cottage/compound.

Here is the area after we repaired the roof and wall, and put up the awning.

The round artistic piece is from a friend, and it's French. The iron leafy planter on the wall we found a block over when people were moving out. The bird houses were made by DH and blown out of the trees by the hurricanes. We lost several trees, so that we not longer live in the woods at all.

This is from today.

May we once again have another quiet hurricane season.
Hurricane season lasts from June first until the last day of Nov.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL


Tufa Girl said...

Flower Lady, I have been inland of 2 cat 5's and in a house that survived a tornado that ripped the house next door apart. I am always looking at the clouds anytime I hear a storm maybe coming my way. It is hard for people to understand that you do not ignore Mother Nature on a bad day.

L. D. Burgus said...

They are so strong and destructive. We have had a tornado and seven years before that something like a tornado. It is so unbelievable when you walk outside and see what has happened.

Ami said...

Flowerlady: I just brought my memory of Wilma back again! Only my experience was much less dramatic than yours. Our area were hit by Wilma pretty bad also, but the city I live in is quite new, so the power system is much tough than the older system. We only had one day power outage, during which we just ate some leftover in our refrigerator. We also need to get the roof repaired after that. Our community street looked like a jungle with all those trees falling down on the street.

Let's hope together this year is another quite season.

tina said...

You were most lucky that pine didn't fall on your house, though to have it fall anywhere is rough. I went thru Hurricane Opal. It was my first time experiencing such weather wrath. It is not something I'd want to do again. I always remember the day it came thru because it was the day the OJ Simpson verdict came. It is very hard living in a hurricane area or tornado or blizzard area but fortunately folks adjust and go on. Love that leafy tree in the wall!

Laura said...

I live in an area where we periodically go through hurricanes (South Texas ).

It is a challenge without power, but it looks like you had a great plan.

I enjoyed visiting,


eric @ my First Garage said...

You are very lucky, indeed!

And just so you know, your cooking shack is bigger than my first kitchen in a tiny 550 square foot apartment that my wife and I lived in when we first got married.

tina said...

Forgot to say I'm so sorry about your broken finger. Good thing you got the rings off. I can't imagine that pain on top of what the hurricane dealt.

Floridagirl said...

It is weird. I remember Wilma and how it didn't get much in the way of publicity. Our area was hit badly by Hurricane Charley and its two compadres when they tore through SW Florida back in 2004. Fortunately, I was living in Atlanta at the time, but my parents and sisters had a rough go. No power for two weeks! It is amazing how everyone adapts and survives, though. Charley did NOT bring a cold front. I well remember the family complaining of the torrential heat and humidity without A/C. It was months before the gaping holes in their roofs were repaired, and it was only that soon because my father did the work himself. Our area was the land of blue tarps for over a year. We moved here a few months post-Charley and actually bought a house that had a 200-year-old oak tree fall through an upstairs bedroom and land in the foyer. Quite the talk of the town, featured in the papers and everything. But that's another story.

NanaK said...

It's amazing how everything can be restored after such devastation. Sometimes there are things that do not stay the same, such as losing so many of your trees, but some of the changes can be surprisingly good. Having been through several hurricanes, as I'm a native Floridian, I am agreeing with you that we need a quiet storm season.

gld said...

Once you have survived one of those bad storms, you will never forget it! It makes you really pay attention to weather reports. We have gone through at least two tornados, one with slight damage and one that did considerable damage to trees and a hay barn (totaled it). We were just glad to be safe and have the house still standing.

Storm season makes us nervous.

I am so glad you didn't loose that wonderful cottage. You were very inventive with the cooking shack and the shower arrangement.

Rambling Tart said...

Oh my goodness. I cannot even imagine what that must've been like! I've experienced tornadoes and seen the devastation from that, but never experienced it myself. I'm SO glad you are safe. You were so brave and clever to stick through it and make do.

Noelle said...

Having never lived in an area where hurricanes come, I can only imagine what people go through. Your story puts a personal touch to what so many people have had to go through. I am glad that you have made it through hurricanes. I do hope for a quiet season this year for you :-)

sweet bay said...

Ugh, hurricanes cause so much trouble and destruction. We didn't have power for 7 days after Fran and boy was it hot too. It sounds like you had a good set-up to cope with the loss of power, and you've done a wonderful job with your garden in the aftermath of the storm.