About 01:50 am, September 16, 2004, Hurricane Ivan struck Alabama and the panhandle of Florida. The eye landed in Orange Beach, AL, which is near the Florida/Alabama state line. The Hurricane landed as a category 3, with winds at 130 mph (just 1 mph below a category 4). I had to wait out the Hurricane at the police station while Susan and the boys bunkered down in the hallway. Fortunately our family was safe and our house did not sustain any serious damage. We lost about fifty shingles, our shed blew away and our fence was damaged. Two trees in our backyard did not do so well. One was leaning badly after the storm. The other tree looked to be dead because so many limbs broke during the storm. The photograph to the right is our street after several days of cleaning. The photograph on the left is of the boys and I cleaning the backyard. Notice the table in the background. That was where the shed was located. Trees and limbs were down everywhere. We lost power, cable, and telephone for one week and we lost water for two days. Thankfully, we were able to plug in our refrigerator and a fan into our neighbor’s generator. Power linemen from around the nation and even Canada came down to help Gulf Power restore power in the area. Being without electricity was sustainable. The time without water was very rough to deal with. Thankfully before the storm Susan filled the bathtubs with water, but one leaked out. The one bathtub of water lasted us the two days we were without water.
Other areas did not fare quite as well. Buildings near the water absorbed the most damage, mainly because of the storm surge. We also lost access to three bridges in the area (one on I-10), which caused traffic problems. Every school in the area was damaged. Susan missed three weeks of college and the boys missed a month of school before they returned. Brian and Aaron’s school closed and they had to go to a split day at another elementary school. The photograph on the right is an apartment building that was located on Pensacola Bay. The storm surge tore down a complete building. Following the Hurricane, FEMA and the American Red Cross arrived to hand out hot meals, ice, water and put temporary roofs on houses. Gas lines shortly after the Hurricane were extremely long. Looting was also a problem for a lot of businesses that were unsecured because of damage. Law enforcement officers from around Florida and the Florida National Guard responded to Pensacola to help in traffic control and security.
Our house sustained damage slightly over $10,000.00. The insurance covered about half the cost, but FEMA only offered a loan, which we denied. We had to replace our entire roof, our shed and our fence. Most of the damage was to items that were already planned for replacement (the chain link fence for a wooden fence, the shed for a wooden one and our roof was 16 years old). We also had to replace a soffit, some of the roof decking and repaint Brian’s ceiling because of water damage. Seems the hurricane jump started replacements we had already planned for in the future.
Click on any of the photographs to view the entire gallery.