Norm has lived in Naples, Florida for the past couple of decades. Here is what he had to say about his encounter with the storm:
Norm Winski Reports on Hurricane Irma
I had considered staying in my Naples, Florida home and riding out Hurricane Irma.
As the forecasts for the hurricane became more ominous, my trader instincts kicked in to cut my losses and I decided to accept an invitation by an old CBOE friend who lives in Boca Raton, on the Florida east coast. All day Saturday I was packing, putting any valuables and computer equipment, in garbage bags, on high shelves in a closet to hopefully avoid damage from the forecasted devastating storm surge. I pulled out of my driveway at 8:18 PM. The highways were empty. Except for the occasional car wash weather, the trip went well.
I arrived at my friend’s house at 11:30 PM. Shortly after arriving the cable TV went out. Later, the electric went out. The electric came back on for a while on Sunday and then went out for several days. Sunday afternoon, we were able to watch the live hurricane reports on the internet.
I watched on the internet as a reporter stood in downtown Naples as Hurricane Irma’s calm eye passed over. During this time, Boca Raton was getting battered by near hurricane conditions with 90 mph bursts of wind and horizontal rain.
Monday, we had no electricity. However, a few stores were opened including Costco’s gas station, where I was able to fill my gas tank. Tuesday morning, it was time to go home. This time, I decided to take the faster southern route, I-75 aka Alligator Alley. Despite the reports of debris on the roads, I-75 never looked cleaner. If there was any debris, the road crews managed to do a great clean up job in one day. I arrived back in Naples in under two hours.
Norm Winski Was Prepared For The Worst
I was prepared to find the worst. Exiting off of I-75 there was minimal building damage. Most of it was tree damage. Almost all of the stores were closed. There was one gas station opened and with surprisingly short lines. To my surprise, the streets were relatively debris free, perhaps better than the street conditions in Boca Raton.
I continued to my house. I drove through the opened gate to my gated community, where conditions were a little more chaotic with substantial tree damage and tree debris in the streets. However, I didn’t see any substantial damage to anyone’s house and only minor damage to pool cages, the most vulnerable part of any Florida home.
During my drive toward my home, I had my wife, who was in Chicago, on my cell phone, giving her an audio tour. I pulled into our driveway and noticed the tree near the curb, near our mailbox, had a major limb blown into the next door neighbor’s driveway. I got out of the car. My wife was concerned about her pet Mango tree in our backyard.
As I walked around the side of the house toward our backyard, I exclaimed to my wife, “oh my gosh” our air conditioner is running” She asked, “does that mean we have electricity?” I replied, “ either we have electricity or the hamsters are running really hard.” LOL It was a miracle. I later learned that 80% of my county, at that time, did not have electricity and my neighborhood was one of the few that did.
Even more remarkable, later a neighbor, who had rode out the storm, told me the electric came back about three hours after Irma had passed over. The bad news was that my wife’s pet mango tree was blown over. The good news is that the mango tree fell away from the house. Surveying the house, we had some minor damage to our garage and to our pool cage. I went inside and found the interior was totally unaffected.
Norm Winski Hits The Hurricane Irma Lucky Lottery
We were very fortunate. We sustained only minor damage and I had electricity, including air conditioning. However, the cable TV and telephone landline were not working. The TV cable came on, Wednesday, the next day. The telephone landline came on for a while too. I needed this line to access the internet. Thursday, the telephone was on longer. I was able to reach my computer guy, who said he could send someone to reassemble my system on Friday. So, Friday afternoon, I got my computer put back together and I was able to access the internet.
Now, things are improving slowly. I am among the most fortunate. I have a friend in another part of town who does not yet have public electricity. They are getting by with their own generator. The have spent about $300 during the past week on gasoline for the generator. The entire county is under a boil water advisory. You can’t drink the water directly from the tap. All things considered, relatively speaking, I hit the Hurricane Irma lucky lottery.
Thank you very much for your support and good wishes during this stressful time. Words can never fully convey how much I appreciate you and your support.
My thanks to Norm Winski for sharing his comments on the storm and its aftermath. Events like this are a reminder of just how important it is to stay in touch, and how vital our individual perspectives are, especially in the light of mass media hysteria.
Contact Norm Winski
You can can connect with Norm Winski at: firstname.lastname@example.org – call him at 239-594-3939 or via Skype: norm.winski