Disaster Zone

Riding Out the Storm in Naples

My sister and brother-in-law hunkered down in Naples for Irma.

by Eric Holdeman / September 11, 2017

Yesterday, Sunday, I was in contact with my sister periodically throughout the day. While they lost Internet and landline telephones, their cell service remained functional for the entire event.

They are located with a Naples address, but in Collier County, about 10 miles inland (13 feet above sea level) from the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven years ago they did a total remodel of their home, down to the studs, and put in all the hurricane mitigation measures they could. These included:

  • The roof is strapped down
  • Hurricane window glass
  • Hurricane garage doors
  • A ballistic curtain to protect their outdoor patio
  • A mondo hurricane front door
  • A natural-gas-fired 15 KW home generator, wired to the home

Other functional things they did in preparation for the storm was to bring in all their patio furniture and other items that could become missiles, blown by the wind. They also have what is called a "cage" in Florida speak, over their pool. They had slashed the screens to allow the wind and water to blow through.

All of the steps taken above paid off when Irma roared through their region. The eye passed over where they live (an opportunity to take the dog outside) and just before that eye they got the full brunt of the storm's winds — much stronger than the continuous 70 mph winds they had earlier in the day.

Now the clean-up begins. Part of their cage was damaged by a falling tree and there is debris everywhere. Power in their immediate area is underground, but I heard this morning that parts of Florida will take two weeks or more to get powered restored. There are over 17,000 electrical workers staged and now out there working in the region, once winds died down to 35 mph. 

Remember, disaster mitigation pays off!