Hurricane Irma; A Look Back...
Where Were You When Hurricane Irma Swirled Into Tanglewood?
One year ago this week, Tanglewood residents were busy preparing for hurricane Irma. Tropical storms and high winds were expected, and a few hurricane parties were being planned. The atmosphere inside the clubhouse was cheerful as residents had begun earlier that week to ‘stake’ their claim to areas they designated as their own. Everything from rocking chairs to blow up beds began to cover the entire floor. By Saturday, Sept 9th, space was getting limited as snacks were piled on the tables creating a pyramid of chips, dip, cookies and cakes.
On Sunday afternoon, September 10th most everyone had arrived who planned on evacuating their home in Tanglewood and coming to the clubhouse shelter. The towering white screens hung near the ceiling flashed weather updates as residents mingled with friends.
Later that evening, the mood changed from casual small talk to whispers as the storm grew closer. The winds mimicked a freight train whistle getting louder by the minute. The minutes turned into hours of a nonstop high pitched roaring noise. Residents were silent while watching the white screens shiver as the cable/wifi lost its signal. Irma had made a last-minute turn into the interior counties after spiraling through the lower Florida Keys
At 10:52 pm Eastern Time Sunday, September 10, 2017, Hurricane Irma, paid Sebring a visit. It was a storm so large, it looked like it could swallow the entire state of Florida.
Highlands County was the second hardest hit county in the state. First being Monroe County with the Florida Keys. The winds stuck around for more than 12 hours, adding to the piles of debris soon to be noticed at dawn’s first light.
We all have stories to tell. A few residents have looked back on that week with a smile, remembering how the snowbirds called to check on their homes, then offered them up to those still without power. THANK YOU! It was a most appreciated act of kindness. Now, one year later, the dam is still broke, and there are a few blue tarps left as a reminder we did have damage to homes. But, they didn’t blow away!
For those who stayed in the clubhouse shelter, here are few trivia questions about the infamous weeks of September 2017. Answers will be posted in next month’s article. No prizes, just for fun.
Do you remember….
- How many residents stayed in the clubhouse shelter on Sunday, the night of the hurricane?
- How many pets were allowed inside with their owners?
- How many rocking chairs, lazy boy recliners, sofas, blow up beds were brought into the clubhouse?
- When were residents allowed to start bringing items into the clubhouse shelter?
- How many pool lounge chairs were set up by the maintenance crews?
- What items were prohibited from bringing into the clubhouse?
- How many days before all of Tanglewood had power restored?
- What Tanglewood section was the first to have power restored? The last?
- Who performed at the dance the week following Irma’s surprise visit?
- What did the entertainers do that was unexpected, yet most appreciated?
- From what state did the church come from that brought supplies to Tanglewood?
- Who contacted the church group that brought supplies and what was the name of that church?
- How many gallons of fuel were distributed to Tanglewood residents?
- What was your favorite meal served while dining in the clubhouse?
- How many days were meals prepared and served to residents?
Things to think about: For those who stayed inside the clubhouse shelter the night Irma arrived; most have indicated they would do it again. they were concerned, not knowing if their home would still be standing after the storm. The wind blew for nearly twelve hours, yet, when it was over, every home was still here. There was damage, but not total destruction. No one died from the storm.
The Lord heard sincere prayers for safety and of thanksgiving the night Irma swept through Tanglewood, some with repentant hearts and a promise to live a better life.
One year has past. How is your health, wealth, home life, and appreciation for God’s protection over us? Life is still pretty good here in paradise. Let’s not take it for granted.
Hurricane season is in full swing again. Dr. Bill Burnham, Pastor of Tanglewood Community Church has established, with management’s blessing, a core leadership hurricane response team among Tanglewood’s full time residents. A successful ‘mock hurricane drill’ was held earlier this summer. Since then, new residents have arrived and a few snowbirds have returned. Updates from the Hurricane Response Team will be posted asap.