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Hurricane Wilma in Broward County Florida


Hi All,

Hurricane issues in Broward County Florida (East side of Florida
near Ft. Lauderdale) Well, it has been a really bad week and a half.
Wilma came through here with both guns firing.

We are among the lucky. We were only out of power for 3 1/2 days and
we have a generator which we used to keep the food cold and frozen. A
barbecue that was pressed into service for all cooking and lots of
spare gas tanks for that. We also were able to buy a heavy duty chain
saw right after the hurricane to help us dig out from the tree mess.

I still do not have fully operational incoming phone service even
after 11 days. I have forwarded my regular phone line to my cell
phone and can only imagine what that bill will be like. BUT, we got
away easy compared to a lot of others.

I no longer have a screened in patio. The screen enclosure was one
of the first things to start creaking on the front part of the storm
when it started to dislodge, and start to fall down… by the
back… It totally collapsed. My husband had to go outside 3 times
to make sure the loose parts did not break any windows as the frame
was swinging in the wind attached to a small piece of screen. VERY,
VERY, VERY scary. The noise was amazing. Sort of like a continual
freight train right outside the window. We were told the wind was
clocked at 135 mile per hour (maybe more) in gusts, with 100 mph
sustained. We had water streaming into both bathroom doors (from the
patio) as the wind and water were coming at a completely horizontal
angle and just being pushed through the top and bottom of the doors.
They are both warped beyond belief and have to be replaced. There was
at least 2 inches of water in those rooms, thank goodness the storm
changed direction so we did not have more damage. BUT, we are lucky.
There are places in the ceiling where the drywall was loosened from
the support beams and the ceiling is buckling. The house was
literally shaking during the height of the storm. Just a small amount
water damage that I can see, we have loose drywall on the ceiling,
starting to form a ridge. There are a few water spots on the
ceiling… have to investigate those since we have a new roof. My
roof is almost intact, a few tiles missing. Many asphalt shingled
roofs are no longer holding together. The wind was furious. I am sure
in the next few days, I will see other damage as is popping up. Many
roofs have been torn off or collapsed.

Here is the catch 22. The adjusters will not come out until you have
an estimate to fix the damage, you call (on cell phone) all sorts of
people to come give one and they are just too busy to get to you.
Still working on this. The outside landscaping is just decimated in
all parts of the county. The GIANT tree that was on the right side of
the driveway, well, we now have a big pile of debris. Fell across the
street, blocked all the traffic and took out a mail box and other
trees. We lost two 25 foot palm trees (Washingtonian), two live oaks,
two large mahoganies, one jackfruit and half of a carrot wood. We may
still loose other palms if their centers were damaged. It is
interesting how much shade the screen enclosure gave. We are
reviewing options when we can get someone here to give an estimate
for tinting or maybe replace the windows altogether to make them
hurricane proof. This would be in lieu of shutters. We have also
gotten one estimate for shutters before the hurricane…
looks like we will have something before next season. We are being
told that there will be a 10 month wait for new tiles for the roof
and maybe even longer for hurricane shutters which is why we are
exploring other alternatives. There are still so many people without
electricity after the 11 days. The elderly are in a bad way they
cannot climb down the stairs in their buildings to get food and
water, no elevators in service and no backup generators for those.
Thankfully, there are many social services that are helping them
out, finally. Very sad they do not have the medicines and nourishment
they desperately need. There was rain two days ago and many flat
roofs collapsed making the residents homeless. Cannot say FEMA is
much of a presence. There had sights in the county to hand out water
and ice, but, not everyone had gas or transportation get there, and
there were very long lines. Where we do see some relief is where the
trucks are removing the vast amounts of debris from the tree and
landscape damage and getting roads cleared. There are many areas of
the tri-county area that are worse off than where I live in western
Broward County, which is hard to believe. They have given us a date
to have phones fully operational December 11. Many, many are still
without power. We have had several groups come in for meals, hot
showers and washing machine time. One of the bad things right after
the storm was there was no gasoline able to be pumped since there was
no electricity. Many emergency services could not operate without the
gasoline. Now there is talk of having all the gas stations put in
generators. Lines were three and four hours long at those stations
that had power (or generators). The lines have finally dissipated,
so that is good. School has not been in session here for two weeks
and we will find out if there is going to be any in session next
week. Too much damage to some properties and very difficult travel
for the busses and cars with almost half the traffic lights out in
the area. Traffic is a complete snarl. But, we are lucky.

My office finally got phones and power on Tuesday (Nov 1) of this
week, so if any of you have paste solder orders pending, please
understand they will be out as soon as possible. I have managed to
ship some out on Thursday. I only have one out of two phone lines
operational at the office and am thankful for that. We ran the
generator over there for only one day. Thanks for being understanding
about the delay. Good news is we have mail delivery since our
mailboxes were not damaged.

I have the utmost sympathy and understanding for those displaced by
other hurricanes. Hurricane Andrew was bad, but not as widespread. I
still believe the costs associated with that storm will be far
greater. I can only imagine that it was worse, and maybe still is in
Louisiana and Mississippi. I wish all those in that hard hit area a
speedy recovery and welcome you good wishes.

Beth Katz
Unique Solutions, Inc.
Paste Solder and Powder Solder for Jewelers and Metalsmiths



Thank you for your sad report. So many of our online friends have
been impacted by one or more of the furies of Nature reminding us
what little control we really have.

Words of sympathy are so inadequate under the circumstances. I feel
for each and everyone of you.

I hope your recovery is as easy as possible given the circumstances