I traded some tools for a 5 gal can and paid another guy $100 to siphon his tank from a farm near Arcadia, FL.
Not having watched the news – has anyone mentioned that Lake Okeechobee breached it’s banks and sent a torrent of water two miles North of the town of Arcadia and into the Peace River? Has this been on the news. Not a peep was on the radio… (f**kers).
En route to the coast we got a ham radio call, well, more of a desperate plea for help on U.S. 17 for a group of families stuck between Wachula and Arcadia. By the time we got there… yikes, desperate homeowners and families trying to salvage anything amid chest high water actually flowing on US 17.
We were able to get about 5 families and their pets, and a few belongings, relocated about 2 miles away and called for the United Way to get there and help. It was like something out of a farm movie. These people are suffering, and they didn’t have much to start with; and they are so thankful.
By the time we got them to safety, we couldn’t get back to where we came from. We had to drive 20 miles north; to head West toward I-75 near Bradenton; to head South. On the way across SR64 there were people stuck with the Peace River flowing down the streets and driveways. We helped who we could amid widespread downed power lines; broken power poles snapped like twigs (East to West wind); and trees as thick as cars that were blown over (North to South wind).
It took us 4 hours to cut through the trees blocking the road just to clear enough roadway to get to I-75 (West coast). There’s massive power outages all over; made worse by flooding, that, as far as I can tell, the radio news media seemed to be overlooking.
Cell phone service is poor to non-existent. Out of frustration our team split up to check on our own situations before we lost light.
I have, well, HAD, a massive tree on the roof, small collapse (just fascia/soffit), and there’s no power anywhere. House held up ok, screens lost and two holes (size of frisbees) in roof from that darned tree. Yard is wrecked with debris – who cares about that stuff (inside voice). Looks like water came right to front door but didn’t get inside house. Lucky day, lucky day.
Sporadic cell phone service returned late in day, but doesn’t work much. Might have been sooner, but I didn’t notice while patching holes in roof. Overall: No power. No internet. No AC and hotter than well diggers butt in Utah; and the generator would do in pinch but there’s no fuel. Did I tell you there’s not a drop of fuel within 200 miles. I emptied half of the generator fuel into my truck… and had to take down hurricane shutters to see inside.
There’s an enforced curfew due to looters or troublemakers etc. (so police say)
I’ve only got about 2 gals of chainsaw fuel mix left, and there’s a bunch of people with trees on their houses. Immediate neighbor lost his garage door and tree damaged his car – too serious to drive. Together we were able to fabricate a temp rig for the door; and there’s no gas so he let me siphon his wrecked car. Lucky day, lucky day.
The problem with fuel is a MAJOR problem. We need generators and tools to help these people out. Many people are not back yet to see the damage to their houses. I would guess 50% still haven’t returned. Overall the structural damage is less than prior storms (Hurricane Charley roofs etc), but the overall debris is much worse. It’s Weird.
If we can find fuel tomorrow we can get team back into full wolverine operational mode; if not, FUBAR. That’s ok, we’ll just help people with the hand stuff we can do… etc. Thousands and thousands of desperate people. Not an empty hotel room in South Florida. I tried to get one.
I’m so thankful my family shipped out and planned to stay away. I think the house is ok, but I’m looking at structural stuff. Also, with no power the smells are horrible – oh, and water is running but looks, smells sketchy. Add that to the heat etc. my gosh it’s a big mess.
I’m writing this from a phone hotspot, which is the only source of internet access (probably because cables are down all over) and using the fuel remaining in the generator. to power up the drained laptop. I haven’t seen a second of TV (and don’t care to) and have no idea what media is saying about storm. However, if radio talk is any indicator, these pontificating doofuses are stuck in their Vichy boxes not looking past the coastal metropolitan areas.
The center of Florida is rural, farming, working class, and also lots of poor people. The coasts are more well-off. I think all the attention is going to the coasts. The center of the state is of Florida is FUBAR. Truth. Really bad. Those fine God-loving people didn’t have much and now they have less.
If we can get fuel, our greatest value will be going back to the center of the state and helping those people recover. Entire houses ripped apart there, barns, working sheds, important stuff.
Except for flooding, as far as devastation and human suffering, this was not a coastal hurricane.
Fuel is the problem. No-one has any. This critical need is making things so much worse on the recovery and assistance people are usually able to coordinate.
I’m going to take a short, cold shower indulgence; and then see if this hot spot will hold up long enough for me to review some media headlines.
The unwritten stories are the people in the center of the state. Bigly. Kids with no shoes; desperate moms; no food now; the few belongings they did have washed away or blown away.
Fact: I’ve never been scared of rivers until today.