In Jim Cook's Archive


Hurricane Ian first came to shore in Florida at Caya Costa, an uninhabited barrier island. Directly to the south are Captiva and Sanibel. To the north is Gasparilla Island and the community of Boca Grande. My wife and I have a winter residence on this island. As of this writing, there is still no power and it’s the 10th day of warm, muggy air in a house with water-soaked wood flooring and where half the drywall must be replaced. A convoy of 50 big power company trucks carrying telephone poles arrived 5 days ago and they have been working feverishly. We had wind gusts that were measured at 220 miles per hour and straight-line winds of 180 miles per hour, so the damage is extensive. Our furniture goes into storage Monday and a crew will be there Wednesday to start tearing out the sheet rock. The cost estimate makes my knees weak.

Hopefully our insurance will cover most of it, but you never know for sure. We have a deductible of 5% of the insurance coverage, so we will still be paying a lot. Fortunately, we experienced no surge or flooding like the other barrier islands to the south of us.  Some of our neighbors lost their roofs. We have been lucky not to have experienced that.

Happily, we were still in Minnesota and didn’t suffer through Ian firsthand like our housekeeper. She sat in an interior closet of her home in terror for 6 hours while the wind blew with a deafening roar. Another couple we know were left in the dark with no water or power and were so frightened they jumped in their car and drove back to Wisconsin. The cell tower on our island blew over onto the roof of the bakery and without power or phone service, we could not find out anything about our damage. The days dragged by without us knowing or talking to anyone on the island. My wife was especially worried because she had just finished remodeling the house and had yet to see the final results. Eventually, we got a few cell phone calls that delivered the bad news. Our house was badly damaged from water and wind. Now we have to put it back together again.

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