Hurricane Irma leaves behind stories to tell

A day after Hurricane Irma stormed through Tampa Bay, residents ventured out for ice, gas and cleaning supplies.

Some had a ray of hope that somewhere they would find an open restaurant. They tooled along the busier corridors spying telltale signs of life – cars and the people in them.

Bagging ice
A Twice the Ice machine on Land O’ Lakes Boulevard had a steady line of residents waiting to fill coolers with bags of ice.

Sheila Crawford’s house, off North Dale Mabry Highway at County Line Road, lost power about 6 p.m., as Hurricane Irma swept into Pasco County.

The next day, there was still no power, and no gas to be found for a generator.

She wanted ice and sodas, preferably cold ones. She found the ice, but the drinks were still on her to-do list.

She recalled the “whipping wind and listening to cracking of trees going down. It was scary.”

The day after Hurricane Irma stormed through Pasco County, Harry Perkerson picked up bags of ice at a Twice the Ice machine on Land O’ Lakes Boulevard. (Kathy Steele)

The first thing she wanted to do after being freed from Irma was to find a hot cup of coffee. “Now, I’m just so happy to be out,” she said.

Harry Perkerson also stood in line for ice. He and his wife Shirley lost power sometime early Monday morning.

They had filled a bathtub full of water, bought gas for their generator, and filled their car with gas.

Besides ice, post-Irma, he needed more gas.

Irma took out four “big trees” at their Land O’ Lakes’ home, including two large oak trees.

“It’s a mess,” he said. But, he added, “They didn’t hit the house.”

Next up for the Perkersons? Dining out.

“Have you found anything open yet?” he asked.

To go or not to go
Angela Lynch ended up at home with her mother and her fiancé. As Irma raged outside, Lynch, at times, watched the storm from behind her sliding glass doors.

She didn’t plan to be a spectator.

“I went shopping to leave town,” she said. “We ended up staying.”

News reports said Irma was shifting eastward, so it seemed safe to stay.

With food on hand, she mixed up a “Manwich” meal from hamburger and baked beans. And, she even managed to cook up her mother’s breakfast biscuits on a grill.

Her family and house survived with no damage, but she was waiting for word on how her office in Ruskin fared.

Friends help friends
Kathy Moré and Sandra Randazzo combined forces to deal with Irma. And, on Tuesday they celebrated with margaritas at Ukulele Brand’s in Land O’ Lakes.

Randazzo came to Moré’s house, which lost power Sunday night. They had cooked up a mess of food, including pork chops and potatoes.

They fashioned a safe room in a hallway, with a futon, a cooler, snacks and wine. And, they never used the room.

“I think we got lucky,” said More. “We prepared for the worst and are glad that didn’t happened.”

Her house was still without power on Tuesday, and no sign of when it might be turned back on.

“I feel displaced without my electricity,” Moré said.

Randozzo’s home apparently never lost power.

But, no matter, they felt lucky. Moré planned to donate her trove of leftover canned goods to a local shelter.

Randazzo recalled Hurricane Andrew, from 1992, when she lived in Miami.

“Andrew was worse,” she said. “The howling wind was a hell of a lot worse in Andrew. It was definitely worse, but that was a hurricane 5.”

Share your hurricane stories and photos
We’d love to share your Hurricane Irma experiences and photos with our readers. Please tell us how you weathered Hurricane Irma. Did your home, car or property suffer damage? Did your power go out? Is your power still out? How did you cope without television, telephone or Internet? How did you handle child care, while the schools were closed? Finally, did Irma ruin wedding, proposal or other special plans?

Please send us your stories and photos, if you have any, by Sept. 22. We plan to publish a selection of what we receive in our Sept. 27 issue. Send your submissions to moc.s1566657463wenzt1566657463ulrek1566657463al@sw1566657463en1566657463.

Thanks!

Published September 20, 2017

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