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Vestiges of Irene

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Lynnie and I are here now at Point o’ Vue four months after Hurricane Irene stormed through. Other hurricanes that have caused damage since we built our home were Andrew in 1982 and Floyd in 1997. Andrew created havoc in north Eleuthera and went on to pound southern Florida. The surges from Floyd nearly wiped out our local villages and went on up the coast of Florida and into the Carolinas. Both were “wet” hurricanes….high winds and heavy rains. However, while those of us here in south central Eleuthera on the Atlantic side lost power, down phone lines and had our beaches rearranged neither Andrew or Floyd caused damage to our homes.

Not so with Irene. Ironically the phone lines did not go down so we were able to have phone contact with our property manager, Columbus Carey, before and after. When it hit here on Winding Bay and up at Windermere Island it was “dry” which was fortunate. We lost part of our roof but no water got in the house. All the shingles were stripped off and our satellite dish was later found 100 yards away out in the road. There was enough salt spray kicked up by the winds to spray and kill the lawn and much of the landscape. The palms survived, as did the Casuarinas and Bougainvilleas.

When we arrived we had a new roof and Papa, our gardener, had the outside cleaned up. The lawn is being reestablished which will take some time. It is moonscape at the moment.

Yes, there are Hurricane risks when you have a home in the out islands. The uninsured loss of the roof can be rationalized by the fact that it was a 20-year-old roof anyway and would soon have needed to be replaced anyway. When you think about it, three hurricanes in 21 years is one every seven years, which isn’t that bad. And, only one caused real damage. So, in 21 years hurricanes caused a partial roof loss and landscape damage ONCE. This puts the risk into perspective.

The key is to have built high enough to avoid surge risk (we are on a ridge 30 feet above sea level) and to have heavy-duty shutters and a responsive team of people on the island to manage the process.

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