The 2017 hurricane season began as hurricane Irma began pummeling toward the Florida coast. The world watched as the monster storm quickly became one of the biggest CAT 5s ever recorded. The storm, almost twice the diameter of most CAT 5s, slowed down a bit as it moved over Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, leaving massive destruction in its wake. For a while, Irma lingered as a CAT 3 as she moved toward the Gulf of Mexico. It was here that the location of where it was going to make landfall began to be questioned.
The question did not last long, as Irma, now a category 4 storm, made landfall right over Ft Myers, Florida, its massive eye finding shore only 40 miles north of our home.
Having Irma make landfall so close to us was unexpected, and as so much of our community was not fully prepared for the repercussions of the storm. Being in Florida, The Salon Professional Academy, Ft Myers has experienced our fair share of hurricanes. Irma was no exception, along with the winds and rains that we are used to, she also brought flooding and damage that impacted us and many other local businesses.
But in true Florida spirit we not only survived this storm, we have conquered every pitfall!
See where we are, and witness how we, and other businesses, have risen above Irma, three months after the hurricane.
Water, Water, Everywhere
One of the biggest causes of damage and halt in business during a hurricane is flooding. While most remember the legendary flooding from Hurricane Katrina, Irma brought with her her own issues, complete with hundreds of damaged seawalls.
When hurricanes are about to make landfall, the coastal water before them recedes dramatically, often stranding sea life on now bare ocean floors. In Ft Myers the quickly receding water removed the pressure from the hundreds of seawalls in the area, causing many to collapse from the lack of support. This left the land behind them open to the elements and as the water and rains from the hurricanes pummeled the area, dirt gave way, levees broke, and the communities and streets in the Ft Myers area filled with water.
The flooding closest to the beach reached more than nine feet above street level during the storm surge. Where TSPA Ft Myers is located saw approximately three feet of storm surge, and several feet of flood water.
Three Months Later
While the flood waters have long since been cleared away, and the seawalls have been repaired, many areas close to the beach are still battling damage from the flooding. That said, the roads have been repaired and life is quickly returning to normal.
Let Her Blow
Second to the flooding that accompanies hurricanes is the wind damage. Beyond the usual downed tree and damaged business signs comes the downed power lines that cause considerably more issues. While power outages can be a nuisance in an everyday situation, in hurricanes they cause major issues as homes, hospitals, and other emergency services are left without power for days at a time. This causes many of the conveniences we have become reliant on disappear.
At TSPA Ft Myers we experienced rolling power outages for weeks after the hurricane had come and gone. Not only did this stall the repairs that were necessary after the flooding, but it halted many of our classes, causing delays in our students’ education.
Luckily, we have amazing students who are not only dedicated to their education but to the school they call home. Working to help us rebuild, our students stood by us through recovery, power outages, and even a downed phone line that lasted almost a full month.
Three Months Later
Luckily, we were able to open our doors just weeks after the hurricane. It was a great feat to be able to open so soon, and we were one of the luckier ones in the area. Although the power in our area has been completely restored, many businesses are still struggling to make repairs and recover. Thanks to the dedication and support of the community, we are all recovering and will soon be back on our feet.
If you live close to a recently reopened business, we hope you will choose to become a patron so as to help in their recovery. At TSPA Ft Myers we are featuring specials in our student salon training area to help our students get back on track with their education and reach the graduation that may have seen impossible. Come in for a service today.
While the recovery effort may have felt lengthy, we are proud of our students, our staff, and our community for the work they have done to bounce back from this storm.