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Luck: Hurricane Irma Waned to Category 2 by the Time It Reached Clearwater, FL

Luck: Hurricane Irma Waned to Category 2 by the Time It Reached Clearwater, FL

Hurricane Irma passed over Clearwater, Florida as a Category 2. We were lucky. Ironically, during the hurricane, I had no idea how lucky I personally was.

I entered my safe-room bathroom around 10pm, knowing Irma would only be a Category 3 or 2 when it hit. Not afraid for my life, I feared broken windows and the destruction of my possessions. I calmly reposed on the swimming pool air mattress, listening to an audio book on the Kindle. The winds began to roar around 11pm. I sent a text to my best friend who lives a few miles away. No response. A little worried, I told myself cell towers must be down.

My apartment is sheltered in a corner of the building, and located next to a stair well. The stair well has a metal rung ladder that opens to the roof two stories above me. I could envision the roaring wind sweeping over the roof, rattling that ladder. I felt the bathroom wall for vibrations. Nothing. Solid structure.

I had left the air conditioner on, hoping to keep my apartment cool for as long as possible. By 11:30pm we still had power, and I was getting chilled lying on the cool bathroom floor. I turned on the flashlight to find my sweater, as I could not easily reach the light switch from my prone position.

Fifteen minutes before Midnight, two dogs from a neighboring apartment began barking sharply. Almost immediately they quieted. Was that good, or bad? The eye of the storm was upon us. I lay there, wondering if anything would crash into my big, beautiful picture windows.

How long would it take for the hurricane to pass? At 1:00am, my cell phone chirped. At last, my friend was texting me back — they were OK! According to her text, they’d been cooking, eating, and stepping outside to smoke cigarettes and watch the storm.

Next Time May Not Be So Lucky

We may not be so lucky when the next hurricane hits.

Certainly, people are utterly devastated by natural disasters all over the world. The climate scientists have been telling us that extreme weather events are occurring more often. After the last several weeks, with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Katia, an 8.1 earthquake off Mexico, and raging wildfires in Montana, it’s as though we are passing into a new epoch — the age of North American disasters.

Meanwhile, I’m packing up my hurricane supplies to keep them handy… and may invest in a weather radio.

Sign saying:

Irma’s Destruction Aftermath: from the Caribbean to Florida

Aware & Fair



About The Author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She writes fiction about an alpha Bichon named Chester, and his friends–with a dash of humor and a dab of poli-sci. JoAnn worked professionally in the Psychology and Information Science fields. Retired now, she enjoys the creative life.


  1. stuartbramhall

    Glad to hear you’re safe. I have 2 cousins in Florida and they marked themselves safe on Facebook.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      Glad to hear your cousins are safe!

  2. Rosaliene Bacchus

    JoAnn, so glad to hear you’re fine and spared the worst.

  3. John Fioravanti

    Glad you’re okay, JoAnn. Thanks for sharing your experience – it must have been scary.

  4. smilecalm

    happy you are
    safe from the storm 🙂

  5. Su Leslie

    I’m glad that you are safe JoAnn.

  6. Robert A. Vella

    Interesting anecdote. I wonder if victims of war might share similar stories… hunkering down in a safe-room waiting for the storm to pass.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      I rather felt like one of those Japanese soldiers who didn’t know the war was over.

      • JoAnn Chateau

        I will have to look at that GI episode!

  7. Victoria

    Glad you’re safe. I always look forward to news from you and Chester. And I’m old enough to hope I predecease you so I never have to do without. Blessings and hugs.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      Thank you very much, Victoria, for your concern and kind thoughts. Chester says that is the best compliment he ever got. He promises to visit you in the Great Beyond, when you are both there — because love lasts forever, and he loves you.


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