Frances comes to Celebration

Frances was a much different storm than I have ever experiences before. I have seen my share of hurricanes and other severe storms before but nothing so agonizing as Frances. I left work Wednesday night to go home and prepare for the coming storm. Thursday started non-stop coverage on the local network channels 24 hours a day. Thursday night we went to dinner for one last meal out. The storm seemed like it would show up Friday but predictions were for it to slow down. Schools were out on Friday and we spent the day with some last minute shopping. Friday came and went with a Category 4 storm off shore 100 miles or so. That afternoon before the curfew went into affect we took one last drive around town. There were already 26 palm trees down on Celebration Blvd and the storm wasn't even there yet.  Saturday came and went and the storm hadn't moved more than 40 miles, still about 100 miles from us. Heather learned how to ride her bike that afternoon :)  Sunday morning Frances finally came ashore as a Category 2 storm at 4 mph. By noon Sunday it passed us about 15 miles to the south with winds around 50-70 mph with gusts near 90.

The strange thing was it seemed we were in a dead zone, too close the the eye. Most of the damage seemed to be occurring north of us about 25 miles or further. Daytona Beach on the coast seemed to be getting the worst of the storm and we got hardly any rain before the eye passed us.

After the eye passed, we started getting rain. It seemed to rain pretty constant from about noon on Sunday until Monday around 5pm. Around 2pm on Sunday a tree across the street let go and feel onto our next door neighbor's front porch. We were both lucky the tree wasn't a few feet taller or didn't fall straighter. The tree ripped the gutter off the porch corner and loosened a few shingles. It missed our house by 10 inches and caused minimal damage to their home. Heather spent the next hour in the hallway.

After that, the next 18 hours stayed about the same with continued wind and constant rain. Monday the news people were constantly talking about tornadoes, but we seemed to luck out again and never had any closer than 15 miles. We cleaned up Monday and prepared to get back to life. Schools were out Tuesday, so Heather would be going to the Neverland Club at Disney.

I got up early Tuesday, around 5 am and drove to south Florida. I was expecting heavy traffic, but there was hardly any traffic on the toll roads. I left with almost a full tank of gas, it was an easy drive. When I got to Delray Beach, I finally got off the toll road and onto local roads to head to the office. I hadn't really noticed much damage along the way even though I crossed the path of the storm on my way. Power was out and there were trees down everywhere. In allot of ways, the damage seemed very similar to what we had during Charley. After about 15 minutes I made it to the office to be met by security guards. I then found out the office was closed for the day. I had checked my email the night before and never thought that the office might be closed. The news in Orlando didn't really mention much about damage outside the local area, especially south of Vero Beach. With so little power, many gas stations were closed and I needed gas to make the trip back home. I didn't really see anything locally, but I had noticed the service centers on the toll road seemed to have gas, so I headed home and stopped at a service center at mile marker 144 to fill up. After 7 hours of driving I was back home and exhausted. Now I see Ivan is headed this way too :( 

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Saturday preparing for storm


This was just about an hour before curfew went into effect

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Pre-storm picture


neighbor's taped up


Next house boarded up


More boarded up houses


Another house boarded up


Downtown boarded up

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Chick-fil-A boarded up


No gas at Mobil


All cars are removed from ride


curfew is going to start soon, we only have a few more minutes on the road


Arabian Knights boarded up


Firehouse boarding up


All the stumps in this picture, were trees before Charley


More houses boarded up.


Storm finally started Saturday afternoon


Our tree in the backyard, starting to lean


small tree leaning


Our tree is leaning


blowing in the wind


Who put those leaves on my porch??

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Big trees bending

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Before trees fall

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After tree falls

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Tree just misses our house

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Fireman show up 2 hours later

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Saw won't start, so they called reinforcements

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Here come the troops


They cut the whole tree up and removed it all :)


I guess they were bored, they said we had the only down tree in south village.


They did all this, in the rain and wind.


Wish these guys had been around during Charley, we sure needed them then.

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Someone is going to have to clean up all those leaves. :(

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Picking up trash


She just needs to pick up that big stick in the background and she will be finished. ;)


Almost clean :)


Done :)

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