by Connie Hand
Living in southern Florida, on a barrier island, I thought “Here we go again” when I heard in late October that tropical depression Sandy was heading to Florida and might be a major hurricane. I was worried.
I remembered how all of us had weathered the devastation and emotional trauma we suffered after hurricanes Frances on September 5 , 2004 and Jeanne on September 26, 2004. These events were almost unprecedented as they struck the same spot of Martin County, Florida, just weeks apart. I felt overwhelmed and fearful. My nerves were raw. I wondered if I would have a home to return to.
When we were allowed back on the island, we all pulled together and plowed through each day. We had no power, it was hot and humid, there were no food supplies, except what you had stocked, and people got around in canoes for several days because of the flooding.
Then the following year, in October, we were warned of another event called Wilma. I prayed it wouldn’t be as severe as the last two. We were evacuated and waited. Nerves were stretched thin. I remember it felt like days of waiting and holding my breath.
Wilma came barreling our way on October 19, 2005. She caused extensive damage. There was flooding, roads were washed out, we had no power, and homes and condos destroyed. After a period of total disbelief, I picked myself up and we all helped each other again as best we could, even though we felt vulnerable and fragile. We volunteered for clean-up. I felt more empowered each time I helped someone. There were many with much bigger problems than I. I knew that I was fortunate. We rebuilt and moved on.
So here it was October 22nd, 2012. We started to hear reports of a possible hurricane. I cried as I watched the news about islands that Sandy crashed into and devastated. I readied my condo and brought in supplies. Everyone I spoke to was anxious and worn out after several days of listening to the weather channel.