We are so relieved and thankful for not being directly hit by Irma as forecasted until 2 - 3 hours upfront. But our thoughts are still and will be with those this event didn't spare. These are the Florida Keys, especially the well-known Key West, but also the area around Marco Island and Naples. These areas weakened the storm dramatically and we feel thankful because the significant damage found there could easily be the damage in the area of Cape Coral if the storm would have hit the area as forecasted. But noone should forget about the Caribbean islands that face a very significant devastation and may not be able to recover from this as easy as this will be possible in Florida due to missing infrastructure and funds.
The National Hurricane Center warned more than one week ahead that Irma will be a massive hurricane that has the potential to hit and damage islands and land in its path. Thru social media and local media, such as Wink News, we realized this threat quite early, read and took part in corresponding discussions in Facebook, and talked to friends about the situation. After the flooding, which is only 2 weeks ago, we were kind of optimistic, thinking there can't be something worse than that. But we were taught better very soon. Suddenly, daily needs like water got rare. At this point, this was very strange to us, especially since we were so far away. We thought there's plenty of time to prepare, wasn't it? Long ago, when we were on vacation in the Dominican Republic, we faced heavy rain falls because of a hurricane but we had really no idea of what it means seeing a direct hit ahead. And then, you realize that you, by no mean, can do very much to protect your home unless you'd come to Florida. We had no shutters but also plywood wasn't available in reasonable amounts. So you end up sitting in Germany, following the local news and Facebook and become more and more stressed.
The following gallery shows the last movement of Irma before hitting Florida. All screenshots are taken from the Wink Weather App.
100% thrill. During the week ahead of Irmas landfall the forecast shifted from the west coast of Florida to the east and back to west. By Thursday it was clear that we face a direct hit of this massive hurricane. We would never have dreamed that we'll watch the weather news a whole weekend long and engross to the path of Irma moving further to the west. But Irma moved straight North. Even though the official landfall was defined as the hit of Marco Island, the forecast still showed Cape Coral in the eye. Even though you are not there, you somehow feel something really bad is going to happen. Just like it was the end. I mean, it's only 3 hours left. But what happens then? Suddenly Irma changed it's path against the forecast, moved a little east and further to the north, just around Cape Coral. What? How can this be explained? As you do not exactly know what is going one there, you suddenly feel a little happy. The eye of the storm has passed. We're alive - sure, we're in Germany. But how are the people, residents and visitors, locally? You're not able to reach them. Only a power outage? Again, agonizing questions and demand for more information. It's so hard to describe what we went through these days ...
We'd like to thank all of our friends and guests who felt with us during that time. We received so many messages via various channels and are grateful and touched for crossing fingers and prayers. As of today we can say: It helped. We cannot say anything about damages inside the vila (such as water leaks) but it looks good from the outside. Smaller damages, which are not comparible to those seen on the Caribbean islands and can be fixed rather easily. We're happy being able to welcome our next guests in the Villa Waterway Dream very soon.
Here are some impressions of what the house and the surrounding area looks like.