Irma pummels Central Florida, Highlands County

With pleasure I announce that The Wasteland is finally back online. I do apologize for the delay but I have been quite busy. Storm projections had this riding Florida’s west coast, meaning my family and friends should have been out of the brunt of the storm. That did not occur, Irma went due north from Naples and ripped a path of destruction right up the center. This path placed central Florida directly over the eastern eye-wall, the most intense part of these storms. I am happy to report that everyone I know is safe, though damages were plenty. My family in Highlands county fared worst, but even here in the Orlando area there was plenty of damage.

First off were the power issues, this storm caused one of the largest outages in U.S. history. I went without power for 5 days, my family down in Highlands county were without for 8. Some were out for longer and parts of the Keys still may be without. The Highlands county area made the news, being rural there were not only issues with power but also gas. The hidden toll with this storm will be agriculture, central Florida has a huge citrus and cattle industry. I can confirm the citrus crop this year is ruined, most of the oranges were blown off trees. Things were bad enough for both senators Marco Rubio and governor Rick Scott to visit to witness the losses first hand. Luckily Highlands county was one of many to be added to FEMA’s official list to receive federal assistance.  I can assure you they will need it, damage to citrus alone could drive many farmers out of business. That would cripple the local economy.

I want to share some YouTube links with local news reports showing how bad things got for a bit down where my family lives. Supplies were hard to get, I wound up having to run them gas and ice from the Orlando area where I live. Getting out of their county was quite the challenge too with all but 3 traffic signals in the entire county out.  I will just provide links to keep this post as short as possible.

This link shows the fate of their bowling alley. It caught fire during the storm and they could not respond. The rest of these links will be random local news stories highlighting the issues they had in Highlands county. I was lucky enough to weather the storm there myself as I got caught there after helping them board up. It was a fun ride I assure you. Not only did they have no power, but no running water since they are in the country with a well. If you want to know more about my personal experience with the storm feel free to comment or email me here

YouTube Links

Highlands County clobbered by Irma

Majority of Highlands County still in the dark

Devastating damage in Highlands County

People waiting hours for gas after Irma

Highlands County struggles after Irma

Governor Scott visits Highlands County

Highlands County deputies pass out supplies

Highlands County residents getting the basics

Highlands County power concerns grow, fuel in short supply

Senator Rubio visits Highlands, witnesses agriculture damage

I also wanted to share a few personal photos I took of damages, these are from Highlands county where I rode out the storm with my family. The first three show roof and overhang damage at my family’s place. All of their gutters were ripped off.  The mangled metal in the last photo you see is someone’s porch that blew off and traveled about a block. 

 

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Rick

Thirty-something IT Professional

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