Hurricane Irma recently hit the state of Florida and left many people devastated. This storm came not long after Hurricane Harvey, which impacted Texas. Hurricane Irma was more powerful than Harvey. It was a Category 5 Hurricane with winds up to 185 mph. The last serious hurricane that Florida had recovered from was Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Andrew produced winds up to 165 mph and was also a Category 5 Hurricane.
Maureen Auswald, a resident of Tampa, Florida, and a mother of a 9-month-old and 4-year-old evacuated a day before the hurricane came to shore. Auswald lived in an area classified as a Category C area. Category A landowners live directly on the beach or in mobile homes. The Auswalds were given a Category C because their home is more inland. Evacuation was less difficult than returning to their homes. Evacuation took 5-7 hours, while returning home took 14 hours. The Auswalds went to stay with family in Destin, Florida, during the evacuation and were there for two days.
When she had returned their was severe damages all throughout the area. Auswald’s family is currently not staying in their house because of the damages caused by the storm. Due to the lack of electricity the Auswald’s neighbors have to use generators, which has caused her neighborhood to wreak of gasoline. Her family is worried that her house will get mold because of the hot, humid Florida weather. Her family is living with her mom, one of the only homes still with power. She expects to return back to her home in a couple of days.
Auswald said having kids made the process much more difficult. Being able to be at her mom’s house right now with power though is making the kids feel better. There are power companies from all over trying to bring power back to the area. They are expected to have all the power back by Friday. Businesses and stores are beginning to open back up this week.
As bad as the Auswalds house was damaged there were places that had it worse. Auswald knew someone whose house had a generator that blew up and whose house burned down. Firemen do not go out when winds are past a certain point, so there was nothing they could do about the house. Hurricane Irma has affected so many people all over Florida. Auswald’s story is just one of the examples of how residents of Florida are being affected by Hurricame Irma.