Hurricane Irma Strikes Florida


This photo was taken by Joan Mitchell of her yard after the hurricane hit.

Madison Mitchell, Assistant Editor

The Southern Atlantic states, including the Gulf of Mexico, have been struck by a series of hurricanes from the end of August to mid-September. Most notably of these hurricanes is Hurricane Irma, which wreaked havoc on tropical areas such as Florida. Not only did Irma’s wrath reach Florida, but inflicted a state of panic in families and friends all over the United States.

Joan and Gary Mitchell, two current Florida residents, quickly made arrangements to stay with family members in Michigan while the hurricane circulated over their city Naples, Florida. After the storm had passed their area, they both tried reaching out to friends and neighbors to be informed of the damage to their property and around the city; however, it took a few days to receive any feedback due to the statewide power outage and no cellular service in most of Florida.

Not knowing the effects of this potentially catastrophic whirlwind, the two were unsure if they even had a place to return home. Once in contact with neighbors and the power returned, the news was surprisingly, and luckily, positive.

“We were one of the lucky ones. Our home and shop survived 142 mile an hour winds. A tornado went through our yard” Joan said.

The damage caused by these winds did leave much inconvenience; however, the main structures on their property and surrounding homes withstood the harsh conditions.

“One of our outdoor yard lights was destroyed. An oak tree was uprooted. The screen on our gazebo was torn. Some shingles on the garage roof attached to our house are missing. The buildings appear to be okay” Joan said.

Gary and Joan experienced flooding in their yard along with wind damage, but the water did not destroy anything on the inside.

“There is a power line down in our front yard and it is still down. Water surrounded our house, it looked like a lake. The water did not get high enough to get in either building” Joan said.

The good news of their situation brought much relief to family and friends both in Michigan and in Florida.

Steve Gralewski, a local Madison Heights police officer, was visiting Florida during the time of the hurricane’s arrival. He, along with other Florida residents, were evacuated before the storm hit.

“We evacuated from the coast then had to drive to South Carolina to find a flight, since all Florida airports were closed,” Steve Gralewski said.

He was fortunately safe from the storm; yet, he still worried for his sister who wasn’t able to be evacuated from Cocoa Beach, Florida. He later heard from her with reports of little damage.

Although these residents were fortunate enough to not endure huge amounts of damage, others were not so lucky. With the help of organizations around the country, the relief efforts for those in Florida were hopeful. According to Convoy of Hope’s website in the blog “Convoy of Hope Responds to Hurricane Irma,” this organization has reached out and served those in need of relief by providing victims of the natural disaster with over 263,520 meals.

Even with this major threat to the people of Florida, organizations are providing support for those in need and effected, bringing not only relief to the residents, but to their families and friends all over the United States, proving that the nation can come together and unite in times of crisis.  


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