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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Yes is that time of year again...

Hurricane season starts June 1 - just around the corner. As a native Floridian (we are rare, but we do exist!) it's just part of life. We do this every year. Most of the time we're pretty lucky here in Central Florida. Once in awhile we get a really big storm and luckily, even less often we get hit by THREE back to back. In honor of the upcoming season and all the "fun" that goes with it, here are some photos taken around the Orlando area after Charley, Frances and Jeanne paid us a visit.

 Downtown Orlando over Lake Eola
This was the scene on pretty much every street around town - there was a curfew and residents were told to stay home unless absolutely necessary. Only contractors, utility workers and EMS were supposed to be out and about. We went out driving around once the road near our home was cleared of a similar tree fallen across the road. At the time, my husband was working for an electrical contractor and we went out in the company truck to check out the damage before heading to my parents' house. They had a generator and we had no power. Not really a BAD thing, but remember that it's at least June (it's hot's really hot) and because there was a hurricane, your windows are boarded up. So when the power goes out, it's dark even in the middle of the day...on top of dark, there is NO airflow. Even in old homes like ours that are built to take advantage of cross breezes, if you can't open the windows, you don't get the breezes! So it's's dark...if you can't stand the ice cold shower, then you also stink. Yep - gotta love a good Florida summer! 

This is one of the hotels near the Orlando International Airport. This was taken when they started fixing all the glass that was blown out.

 This is an awning from a bar downtown. Somehow it missed the lamp post and didn't break the light globe on top. 

 We lost SO many trees around town. This one happens to be near one of the "Welcome to Orlando - the City Beautiful" signs.

Funny...but not. This is at the small Executive Airport where my dad kept his plane when I was little. A lot of the smaller planes like this are not kept in hangers.
Chicken anyone?
This was another common sight...trees on the roof and holes in houses! This one is in my grandfather's neighborhood - Colonial Town.
 The signs and light pole for the Fire Station a few blocks down the street from my grandfather's house.
It was ugly...

Tree uprooted at the park downtown - Lake Eola at the pagoda.

If you could get your boat out of the water, you wanted to...

That used to be the electronic sign at Time n Sound on hwy 50. Lucky break for the owner of that SUV. Inches to spare...not so good for the TnS delivery truck!

This is the McDonald's I used to get breakfast at on my way to work at my old job - it's not far from my brother's house.
This is a building down the street from where I used to work. No idea what it was ever supposed to be - it's never had anything in it...that silo type thingy ended up on the roof.

more damage downtown

Jacked up railroad crossing downtown

This was at an apartment complex near my old neighborhood...lots of trees on cars. In fact we had an 80' oak on our back property line that rolled over during the storm and landed on our 1971 Dodge Challenger (project car). I ran across hard copies of the photos last night - which was the other prompting for this topic today. All the neighbors helped clear the local roads and cut up fallen trees in each others' yards. We are in fact STILL using firewood from that tree. That storm was in 2004!
Some of the not-so-local heroes! Pike Electric and their big yellow trucks. I believe they're based in North Carolina. They could have come from Australia for all we cared - we were SO happy to see them! Until my husband took a job with the local utility, I wasn't aware that utility companies actually have agreements in place with companies in less affected states and when big storms are on the radar, they send help BEFORE the storms hit...knowing that they're not going to be able to get here AFTER - because of all the trees down in the roadways and such. I get to be a Hurricane Widow now - if a storm is coming, Mr. Paisley will be hanging out at one of the local water plants with some mechanics and electricians in case something happens there - gotta keep the water supply safe! Guess that means the girls and I will be packing up and going to hunker down with my parents (and their generator!)

 And the lines for gas...oh how they stink. The tankers can't get out to refill the station supplies. You actually get in the habit of FOLLOWING gas tankers when you spot one...where ever that truck is going, is going to have gas...that will cost you $6 a gallon, but at least you'll get some. If you live here, you know that you need to fill up before a storm hits...better yet, just don't let it dip under 1/2 a tank because the gas prices start climbing the minute they even start talking about a storm that MIGHT hit. Doesn't hurt to full up the extra gas can in the garage either.

This is at the dairy downtown (well near my grandfather's house - it's more or less downtown)
Some people tried to keep their sense of humor (actually, there were a lot of similar signs everywhere). Some begged for help, others thanked the people that came to help -
 Then there was the flooding...
This is what happens here - we have sand, not real dirt. So if the tree doesn't physically snap somewhere the root ball just rolls in the ground. Notice the car stuck in the air because of the tree! We didn't hear a sound when our oak fell. We went outside and it was down! Here are some of the photos from our street...
Paisley Pumpkin's neighbors are all boarded up...

The Paisley Pumpkin Cottage still mostly boarded up after the storm (notice the big white sky space over the left side of the house? That's because the big green oak canopy is...
HERE...on top of the Dodge :-( Luckily, it really didn't do THAT much damage. There was a fairly large limb that cleared the car and jammed into the ground right next to the driver side door and it supported most of the tree's weight.

Dented the roof, but didn't damage the frame.

Dented the trunk deck - which needed to be replaced anyway.
The city / county had everyone pile up storm debris on the sides of the road and had flat bed trucks hauling dumpsters and bobcats going down every road to pick up the mess.

Couldn't really mow the lawn with all the brush sitting there...not that it mattered...because it sat there long enough to kill the grass.
Welcome to 7-11...we got nuttin'
  • no gas
  • no Sunday paper
  • no milk
  • no ice
  • no bread
  • no donuts
  • no gallon jugs of water
  • no C or D batteries
  • no cash back
  • no $50 or $100 bills 
Yep - the days and sometimes weeks after a big hurricane hits...pretty much sucks! Moral of the story - stock up on batteries, donuts and small bills before the storm hits.

May the 2010 - 2011 Hurricane Season be kind to us all...


C.A. said...

2004 was a big hurricane year because Dave was down there. I think that caused the earth to tip on it's axis or something. :)

Batten down the hatches, sister!

Happy Day,


Grace2882 said...

Oh that looks so scary. Although Florida is a beautiful area, I can't imagine living where that happens on a regular basis. I am glad that you are safe.

~Robin~ said...

Grace - it can be a bit scary, but we get lots of warning - unlike random tornados, earthquakes and mudslides. We can at least prepare...but there is only so much you can do. That said, I would *never* own beachfront property in FL.

Lauren said...

My family will never forget hurricane Charlie.