On September 10 -11, 2017, Hurricane Irma hit Florida. It was the strongest storm on record to exist in the open Atlantic regions, with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph for 36 hours. Because its exact path was uncertain, it prompted evacuation orders of more than 6.3 million people. It became the largest evacuation in Florida history.
We were going to evacuate on Wednesday, September 6, and head to my sister’s house in Georgia. But the idea of running out of gas on the turnpike, I-95 or I-75 with two dogs and two cats was more daunting than staying. We later learned that friends who had left for Georgia were on the highway for 12-18 hours. It took 8 hours just to get to Orlando, a drive that normally takes us about 3 hours.
So we stuck it out.
What saved the east coast of the state was that Irma stayed along the northern coast of Cuba longer than anticipated before it made a northern turn. It hit here at night, always the scariest time for a hurricane to bear down. It ultimately did $64.76 billion worth of damage, making it the 5th costliest hurricane on record.
Here’s Noah surveying the damage in the aftermath:
We lost power for only 36 hours; by comparison, after Wilma, we were without power for 10 days. We thought our house and property had come through with just minor damage – trees and fences down, the porch roof with a few more leaks, screens blown out, roof tiles broken. But during the first thunderstorm after Irma, we found leaks in 4 rooms, the coil in the AC system died from saturation, one of the skylights had leaks around it. We called the insurance company and they sent someone out to inspect the property.
The company eventually issued a check for $3,800 – which didn’t even cover the cost of a new AC unit. A friend who works for an attorney advised me to do what her boss had done – hire a public adjuster. It took awhile to find someone; business for these people was booming in the wake or Irma. But in mid-November, a public adjuster came out to the house and did a thorough inspection. The verdict?
The dry wall was saturated in the rooms where there were leaks, we needed a new roof, and that was just for starters. His estimate ran into the 6 figures. Once he filed his estimate with the insurance company, the company had 60 days to respond. They missed the deadline. The next step was a threat to sue them and they had to respond by May 15. They missed that deadline, too. Then, on May 18, the public adjuster emailed with GOOD NEWS. The claim was settled for about the same amount as the adjuster’s estimate.
Now the hunt is on for a roofing contractor. And here’s where the synchronicity comes in. In 1994, our house was built by roofer John Dobson. He and his family lived here for several years, then sold the house to a family with 5 kids, from whom we bought it in 2000. On the day we got our first estimate – which was way too high – I ran up to the drug store and pulled into a parking spot next to a van. Across the side was: Dobson Roofing Company.
A synchro! I immediately called Rob, told him what had happened, and suggested we try Dobson Roofing. Dobson’s wife answered the phone, remembered the house, and when Rob related the synchro, she said, “A sign! I believe in signs, too.”
The next day in the mail, there was a letter addressed to John Dobson. This one may shape up to be a cluster.
They’ll be out to do their inspection for a free estimate in a week. I suspect we’ve found our roofer!