Yes Irma going down to a Category 2 was the one thing that truly saved the few that stayed in my area and
the whole of Tampa; not to mention the other areas north and south of us, as the
majority of people headed north (my daughter and children ended up at Ft. Bragg for the duration).
Even at Cat 2, the howling sound of the wind and slapping of the rain/winds against our home as we
huddled with candles lit; playing war, 21 or rummy were incredibly loud, not unlike
Hugo which I went through while in PR some years back. This place was a ghost town, as many were
ordered to evacuate; thus the police turned any one heading to the beach (2 miles away) away. We still
were able to get on the beach, the waters were at the highest I ever seen; coming right on to the wall of
Redington and Madeira Beaches; too unreal. Like us there was a few that hadn't left: all were at the pub at
John's Pass, mostly boaters.
Would I stay again, especially if a 4 or 5 category was bearing down, I don't think so. We were blessed for
the cat 2 but you see whats happened in Puerto Rico at cat 4/5: terrible. I have a house there and sure
enough the part of the house that I have a tin roof at (for the cool sound of rain hitting it), as it did during
Hugo, flew away although it was screwed extra tight. Nothing was stopping Maria, Puerto Rico is paradise
lost (very sad), as it will be sooooooo very different an Island for a long, long time.
PS; I'm holding tight to SFOR and BVTK and hoping for the best (now let us pray)........