Posts Tagged ‘storm damage’

Remembering Charley

Eight years ago today, Hurricane Charley came ashore along the Gulf coast of southwest Florida as a Category Four hurricane. Places like Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte receive the brunt of this storm, experiencing catastrophic destruction in many areas. Later that evening, after being over land for a full eight hours, Charley was still packing a wallop when it came through the Orlando area, where I live. Official estimates rated the storm a borderline Category Two/Three hurricane when it came past my house. That would put the sustained winds in the range of 105 to 110 miles per hour (roughly 170 to 180 km/h for readers more accustomed to the metric system).

To make a long story short, here’s what my front yard looked like the morning after the storm.

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The picture above was taken while standing in the driveway, looking toward the house. At the far left edge, you can barely make out the roofline above the downed trees. The picture below, taken from the sidewalk, provides a different perspective. The roofline visible in this picture belongs to our next door neighbor.

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The following picture was taken from the same place as the one above, but is angled toward the right. By this point you may be wondering about all the brown grass. That actually had nothing to do with the hurricane. A few weeks earlier, we had had to replace the drain field, which is located beneath the front lawn. Following the work, we had sod put down, but it promptly died. At the time Charley blew through, I was waiting for the replacement sod to be delivered.

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The following picture provides a good sense of the power of this storm, by showing one of the trees next to the garage door.

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The next picture is interesting. It’s hard to tell by looking, but there are actually two cars in this picture. Can you see the red one? It’s parked right next to the beige minivan.

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From this angle, you can see both vehicles. Believe it or not, the red one did not even have a scratch!

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The next set of pictures show what greeted us when we opened our front door. We literally could not get out of the house by going that way. Instead, we had to go out the back door and walk around the house.

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The red you see in the picture below is the front of the same car mentioned above.

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I can’t say enough to express my gratitude for the kindness of our neighbors and family members that day. Several people pitched in to help without being asked, and within a short period of time, we had chain saws buzzing continuously. By noon, all the trees were cut down into manageable pieces, stacked along the road. The man on the roof in the next picture is a neighbor, and the one in the foreground is our son-in-law.

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As a postscript, I am happy to say that we were lucky not to have sustained any structural damage. The roof was damaged enough to need replacement, we had a bit of water damage inside the house, and our screen enclosure in the back needed to have the panels replaced, but all things considered, I believe we were very fortunate. Many others did not get off so easily.

One last thing to point out: if you look closely at the picture above, you’ll see a staghorn fern underneath the tree in the foreground. We were sure it was a goner. But once we got the tree off of it, it didn’t look like it was damaged too badly, so we hung it up in the oak tree still standing on the other side of the driveway. I am happy to report that that fern pulled through in good shape. In the picture below, you can see how it looks today.

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