Home People Irma Diary – We Didn’t Evacuate (Video)

Irma Diary – We Didn’t Evacuate (Video)

Hurricane Irma in Northwest Broward

We stayed, not because it was the smart thing to do, but because there was really no place to go and our apartment, only about 18 months old, has hurricane proof windows and glass doors. Plus, the roads were packed and gas was scarce.

So, we made some preparations: stocked up on eggs, sandwich meat, peanut butter and plenty of bottled water. We even bought 4-50 pound sand bags to block the front door of our first-floor apartment.

It was clear and dry on Thursday, a typical Florida day and on Friday, the weather held. But lots of stores were boarded up or boarding up and gas lines were long at every station that had gas. We found one that had a fairly short line and topped off a 3/4 full tank. Plenty of gas but nowhere to go. There was some last minute grocery shopping for batteries and more water. We scored both.

Faith Based Events

Saturday dawned grey and breezy with light rain. The forecast called for up to 9 inches of rain later. Most of the residents are still here. At about 2 p.m. on Saturday it was raining off and on. The wind was steady but not too strong. Street traffic was light.

Tornado warnings started in the early evening and the sky looked odd, a grey green. A curfew went into effect at 4 p.m. and the streets were empty except for a stray car here and there. An eerie scene, given the population of 1.8 million in Broward County.

There was heavy rain during the night and Sunday morning was dark, rainy and windy with gust in the 40 mph range The wind was whipping the palms and the rain started in ernest The power was still on and we cooked a couple of meals we can eat cold or at room temperature. Curried chicken, rice and enchiladas.

This is no visible damage on our block but the streets are deserted.

Around noon the wind picked up from the east and the rain was nearly horizontal. Palms were straight out From then on, it was a constant downpour with gusty winds and a lot of noise.

We made constant checks outside in our hallway to see if the water was rising. I put out the sandbags but they were never needed. We followed the storms block-by-block progress on TV but except for a few brief power outages we stayed cool and dry.

Others aren’t so lucky. About 600,000 people in the county have no power, which mean no cooking, no TV, no air conditioning, and it’s still hot.

We’ve been in tornadoes and Hurricane Andrew and in our area, Irma was much less powerful. There are trees down but it could have been a lot worse. We are safe and sound.

Ardy Friedberg is an award-winning reporter who worked for the South Florida Sun-Sentinal for 15 years. He covered major stories throughout the state and nationally including the Oklahoma City and World Trade Center bombings Three of his stories were nominated for Pulitzers.