Pine Island/Matlacha, FLA 2017
As of the 13th, Lee County Electric Co-op had 170,000 customers without power. As of today, says Pine Island still has over a thousand customers without electricity, mostly off the Stringfellow Road. However, throughout Lee County and elsewhere in Florida many remain power deprived. Pine Island had minimal damage as compared to the hit from hurricane Charlie in 2004 which nearly leveled a relatively small area of north Pine Island and Port Charlotte with 170 mph winds. It was one of strongest hurricanes ever recorded. Greater Pine island Water Assoc. lifted the boil water notice on the 15th.
While it looked like it was making a beeline for Pine Island, Irma made landfall in Naples/Marco Island. For our area the most damaging was the added water the rains brought to SW FL. Before Irma there had already been record rainfall. For those of us who have been in the area for a long time and who have experienced a handful of really historic storms, there really was nothing exceptional about Irma.
We had electric within 36 hours after the storm passed but neighbors didn't for another 5 days. However, internet just came back online two days ago. Then it went off for another 4 days, before it came back on
Still, preparation is the key. After Charlie took the roof off our 50 year old building, we spent the next four years putting everything back together better than code. We didn't lose a soffit in the 90 to 100mph Irma winds. However we DID lose our 60 year old coconut tree, but it did have 4 little offspring so its legacy will live on. Light construction and many mobile homes cannot withstand hours of 100mph winds.
We agree that Jim Farrel of WINK TV and the European modeling were the most realistic and accurate without exaggeration before and during the storm. If you had a portable digital TV with a computer backup battery, you were able to receive the latest information throughout the storm. It eased the storm anxiety dramatically.