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our hurricane maria experience

(pictures and videos on my blog)

Visiting family in San Antonio this August we happened to be in town as Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas coast.  Water disappeared from grocery store shelves with local TV stations warning that “the worst was yet to come”.  My dad and the boys were glued to the tube watching as Harvey tracked closer and closer on the radar.  Anticipation was building to a fever pitch, but at least for those of us in San Antonio at the time, the storm was mostly a non-event.  After all the buildup, my boys were slightly disappointed.  It’s was closest any of us had been to a major hurricane and all we got was a little wind and two inches of rain.

Well it didn’t take long before we all got more of a hurricane experience than we ever wanted.  Less than a week after we returned to Puerto Rico, Hurricane Irma dealt the island a glancing blow followed by a direct gut punch from Hurricane Maria only two weeks later.

Hurricane Maria was such a monumental natural disaster it’s hard to know where to begin when discussing it.  It’s effects are still very much dominating life on the island and will continue to do so for months, if not years.  It has altered the course of island’s economy as a whole as well as the lives of many individual residents, including our own (I am writing this from my brother-in-law’s house in California).  For now, I just want to recount the storm itself and it’s immediate aftermath to give you an idea of what it was like.  There is much more to say than can fit in a single post.

Our Hurricane Maria Experience

Using the Caribbean Storm Network’s Closest Point of Approach tool at just after 11 pm on September 19th, I calculated that the storm would be closest to us at 7:42 pm the following day.  That was the last time I was able to check on the storm.  The wind was already howling as Holly and I went to bed.  I told her that at this rate, power would be out by morning.  In fact, the power barely lasted until midnight.   We never lost our AT&T cell signal in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, but by around 2:30 am the cell signal went dead.

When the sun came up at around 6 am, the wind was already about as strong as the strongest winds we experienced during Hurricane Irma.  We cooked breakfast on our camping stove and enjoyed taking in the view from our side balcony which was not directly facing the wind.

By 10 am, the horizontal sheets of rain had caused water to begin pouring in underneath the sliding glass door of our back balcony.  We quickly put towels down in an effort to sop up the water.  Holly and I were learning and adapting as the storm progressed and because we keep an eye on our friends’ units in the building when they are away, we applied what we learned in their units as well.  We feverishly ran from unit to unit putting towels down in an ultimately futile attempt to keep our neighbors’ condos from flooding.

By 11 am, we noticed that one of our bedrooms was partially flooded.  Our condo units have hotel type air conditioners in the bedrooms that fit through the wall, and water was pouring in around them as a result of the powerful wind and sheets of rain.  We frantically put more towels down in our bedrooms as well as the bedrooms of the other units in the building we take care of.  At this point, we were pretty much out of towels so we had to start wringing them out into buckets in an effort to stay in front of the deluge.

By around 11:30 am Holly noticed that the sliding glass door on our back balcony door was bowing in.  I stood in awe watching and feeling the power of the storm as I supported the door with my hands and weight.  It was pretty obvious the doors wouldn’t be able to hold since there were still 8 hours until the storm was closest to us.  We decided to go ahead and prepare for the inevitable by moving the furniture out of the living room into my office.   Afterwards, I went ahead and slid the glass door open which immediately relieved the wind pressure from the door.

As I said earlier, we were experimenting and learning as the storm progressed, and since this seemed to work, we decided to do this with our side balcony door as well.  So we cleared out our master bedroom as much as possible and when I slid open the door, our curtains and other items in the rooms violently flew out.  Apparently, having both sliding doors opened at once allowed a tropical storm force wind tunnel to blow through our condo!  I shut the master bedroom door to block the wind, which calmed things down in the bedroom.

Armed with this new knowledge, and against the wishes of Holly, I rushed over to one of our neighbors units that also has a side balcony, to implement what we had learned.  After clearing out their rooms, sliding open their glass doors, and closing their master bedroom door, I tried to pull open their front door to leave.  There was immense wind pressure pushing against the door so it wouldn’t budge.  Realizing how dangerous the situation was, I made a mental note to keep my fingers away from the edge to avoid them getting pinched in the door.  I pulled on the doorknob as hard as I could to open the door and when I got out, I put my hands in the middle of the door, far from the edge, to try to keep the door from slamming.  Unfortunately, I failed to take into account the fact the door was wet, so my fingers slid straight to the edge of the door where they promptly got smashed as the solid wood door slammed close on them.  The force of the  impact knocked me down on the wet stairs.  Blood splattered everywhere as my fingers split wide open.  Mad at myself for allowing this to happen, I got up to run back to our condo only to slip on the wet tiles in the stairwell and fall down again scraping my knee.

When I got back to my condo, I was yelling in frustration and pain which obviously freaked Holly and the boys out.  Our fun family time watching the storm suddenly turned somber.  To think that before the accident, I was actually planning to play some guitar and relax as we waited for the storm to pass.  “David!  I can’t fix this!” Holly sobbed, as she examined my hand.  She saw bone sticking out and believed I had a compound fracture.  After Holly bandaged it up, I laid on the couch with my hand in throbbing pain and a hurricane going on outside.  I needed medical attention, but that was definitely not going to happen for quite some time.  It was only noon.

Holly and the boys stayed busy sopping up water and wringing out towels while I laid on the couch.  The whistling of the wind was so deafening that we all had to put in earplugs.  After a few of hours of laying there, I decided the best way for me to take my mind off the pain was to go ahead and try to take in the hurricane experience.  I glanced outside and it was almost completely white.

After watching for awhile, I walked down the hall and noticed that our master bedroom door was bending in at the top and cracking in the middle.  It was the only thing keeping the wind tunnel from reconstituting itself, and it was pretty obvious that the door wasn’t going to hold for much longer.  Holly grabbed a 32 gallon trash bag and I held it in place as she duct taped it in an effort to block the wind.  It took over half an hour and a whole roll of duck tape, but ultimately our patch job saved the door.  Our friends door, which I had shut hours earlier, didn’t fare nearly as well.

By around 5 pm, the wind calmed a bit.  We looked out our balcony and saw the palm trees close to our building swaying one way and the palm trees further out swaying the opposite way.  After about 15 minutes, the wind started in earnest in the opposite direction than in had been for the 15 or so hours prior.  Holly and the boys spent the next several hours sopping up water coming in from the side balcony.  Holly’s hands were blistering and her arms were aching; I felt terrible that I couldn’t help.

The back side of the storm featured slightly weaker sustained winds punctuated with extremely strong gusts.  Holly and the boys were tired of sopping up water so we tried to shut both doors as soon as possible.  At about 10 pm, I closed the back sliding door and at about midnight, I slid the side balcony door shut.  After picking up a little more of the water off the floor, the four of us went into my boys’ room to try to get some sleep.  It wasn’t more than ten minutes later when Holly and I heard a cracking sound in the living room.  Upon inspection, I discovered the bottom frame of the sliding door had been pushed into the tiles, causing them to pop up.  I opened the door and laid back down.

Periods of relative quiet were followed by regular intervals of violent, door rattling gusts against our side balcony door.  I laid in bed with my eyes wide open as every time I closed them, I had visions of our side door blowing out.  Finally, after a particularly strong gust at around 2 am, I went to inspect the door and found that it was coming out of the rails.  I slid the door back in place and resigned myself to opening it back up.  Hurricane Maria was in no hurry to leave.

The Day After

At sunrise, we hardly recognized where we were.  Desmond’s first comment was that it looked like winter.  The sky was gray and all the leaves had been blown off the trees.  Because of the extent of lost greenery, we saw houses we had never seen before.  The front of the condo was littered with deck furniture and sheets of metal from the neighbor’s fence.

Our first priority was to get to the hospital to have my fingers looked at, but there was no point in rushing out the door.  Two large coconut palms had fallen across the road on one of the ways out of our condo and power lines were down over the road the other way.  Since we were trapped anyway,  Holly made some coffee on our camp stove and we just sat on our balcony to take in the view.  Shortly thereafter, we saw some of the neighbors pull up in their trucks and start cutting the downed palm trees to clear the road.   We figured we would wait until after we had a late breakfast before attempting to drive to the hospital at about 10 am.

The last place I wanted to be was on the roads the morning after a major hurricane, but my hand wasn’t going to heal correctly on it’s own, so we had no choice.  Driving down to the Cam Playa, we saw our beloved breadfruit tree on it’s side with it’s roots ripped out of the ground.  A tree blocked the road to the left so we had to drive under a precariously balanced tree going right.  Where the road wasn’t completely impassable, fallen trees and power lines had reduced large sections of the road to a single lane.  Private citizens were out in force, clearing the roads in front of their homes and businesses with chainsaws and machetes.

After a few U-turns, we made it to the urgent care center in Aguada only to find it boarded up.  A neighbor told us he heard the road to Mayagüez was impassable, so we headed to Aguadilla.  Dodging dangling power lines on Highway 417 and downed trees we finally made it to Highway 2.  It looked like a war zone.  Trees covered half the road and drivers looked dazed and confused, driving in both directions on both sides of the road.

Holly was cautiously driving north on Highway 2 when we saw a lot water over the road up ahead.  Looking to our left, the Culebrinas River looked like a large lake.  There was a small white car in front of us which drove through the water over the road so we figured we could get through as well.  While carefully driving through the water, we noticed that the white car had stalled.  Later we found out that a few hours earlier, two police officer were killed when their vehicles were washed into the Culebrinas River at that very crossing.

We arrived at the urgent care center across the street from Walgreens in Aguadilla only to find it boarded up as well.  The harrowing drive to get there had thoroughly freaked all of us out.  Holly said we better rush home because it was still raining.  Thankfully I had downloaded the map of Puerto Rico to my phone, so I asked her to wait for me to do a quick search for hospitals.  Fortunately, there was a hospital a little further up Highway 2; Hospital Buen Samaritano.  On the way there and probably as a result of driving through high water earlier, our automatic transmission wouldn’t change gears as we accelerated, causing the RPM to run higher than it normally does.  We were in a near panic as we were surrounded by devastation and flood waters, far from home, in the rain, with a car that was starting to act up.

When we finally drove up to the hospital, my heart sunk.  The fifth floor windows were blown out and the palm trees around the building were snapped in half.  Most distressingly for us at that time, the parking lot was empty.  We went ahead and drove around to the back of the building and felt a rush of excitement as we saw cars, people and even an ambulance!  Holly dropped me off at the door and I rushed in and asked the first person I saw if there was an emergency room.  She pointed to her right and told me to take a left at the end of the hall.  As I hurried past a couple of workers who were mopping up the water that was dripping down from the fifth floor, I felt such a huge weight come off of me that I spontaneously started tearing up.  Our dangerous post-hurricane excursion was a success!

The emergency room was already busy when we arrived.  I saw and spoke to many others who had slammed their fingers in the door just as I did.  As the day wore on, we started to see people come in who had injured themselves as they were working to clear fallen trees in and around their property.

After about four hours, I finally got an x-ray.  Much to my relief, it didn’t show any broken bones!  After about two more hours, one of the two doctors on duty stitched up my fingers.  After another two hours, I had my prescriptions and was on my way.  (In the midst of the chaos, they lost my file which caused it to take longer than it should have.)  When it was all said and done, my emergency room visit cost $180.

The rain had stopped, so the drive home wasn’t quite as perilous.  However, the destruction was breathtaking.  Metal streetlights and concrete power poles were cracked and fallen beside and sometimes across the road.  We drove home into the sunset and cooked dinner in the dark.  We felt good that day one of the aftermath was a success.  Little did we know what challenges lay ahead.  (to be continued…)

well said! I live in Isabela, if you want to get together, we can share addresses.

Wow Davidtx!!!!  What a harrowing experience.  I was crying as I read your post.   Please tell me you are a writer by profession, I mean reading your story... I could actually imagine myself in your place.  It felt as though I was watching a movie in my head.

I'm happy to hear that all you needed where a few stitches.  But WOW!!!! What an incredible account.  Your family is a hero in my eyes. 

What are your plans now?  Does your family want to return to PR?

Davidtx,  That was a harrowing experience!  I can relate to it, having gone thru Ike in League City.

Glad you survived the ordeal.  Will check your blog.

So glad you guys are safe and your hand didn't sustain any broken bones.  Amazing story that had me tearing up.....so scary!

David, thank you for your well written post. It gives real intimacy in details of what  it can be like in a major hurricane and the potential dangers involved.  My house in Ponce is one of those old colonial homes that is designed for heat and hurricanes. It has no glass or screens on the windows just rejas and shutters some of the windows do not even have shutters. Of course rain got in  but very little damage.  The ceilings are about 13' high so the wind passes through the house from all sides. Above each window is a ventilation grid and also above all the doors to the rooms, etc.  I was not there so I do not know what the experience was like but now I wonder if  an upper area open ventilation system  could help protect the lower living area by relieving built up pressure?

10YRStoRincon, you are too kind.  I am definitely NOT a writer by profession.  Frankly, I don't even enjoy writing.  Because I know how much work it is, I will usually find any excuse I can to do just about anything else!

Our plan is to return as soon as we hear from our neighbors that power and water service has been restored in our neighborhood.  With winter bearing down on us, I hope it is sooner rather than later!

David

Mark, I'm not really sure if a ventilation system is a viable measure to protect your home in the event of a hurricane. 

Our plan is just to replace our sliding glass doors with something sturdier or install some shutters that can be pulled down from the inside.

David

What a terrible experience! Good to hear that your fingers are not broken!

As for improvements, shutters sounds like a good solution.
We had the house boarded up completely and it got through Maria basically unscratched.
I'm going to get the metal "tormenteras" though. They're a lot easier to install and remove.

As for power and water supply restoration, as of today 30.5% of the AEE customers have power and 81% of the AAA customers have water. (we still have nothing..)

The actual situation can be found on: http://www.estatus.pr - updated daily

It was fortunate that you were able to get medical attention!  I hope you and your family never have to go through anything like that ever again.

I just spoke to my friends on the island.  Water and power are back on in Arecibo.  But my house in Hatillo has water now, but no power yet.  The island is still 66% dark.

The situation in PR has set a new record as the longest utility outage in US history!

Sitka -

Have you by chance gotten any updates on the situation in Playa Del Mar, and whether they have power/water yet?  Have reached out to a couple people and haven't heard back (probably a sign that there is still no power).

J.D.

no, I don't know anyone on the far west coast.  perhaps someone on the board does.

I know of some in Rincon.  They had water come on for about 5 days but that ended yesterday. Still no power but some in Rincon are beginning to get power and water.

davidtx has written many great pieces, all writers have writer block from time to time. I have always enjoyed his story telling and they are not fisherman stories but true to life events.

David, Thank God that you are ok. I know of the harrowing experience driving down Rte 2 from Isabela to Aguadilla. We went two days after the Hurricane to Ramey to see if we could get some communication out at the airport to no avail. In fact, we went down Rte. 110 and had to turn around because trees were blocking the road by the Buffet place(can't remember name now) and so we had to go back on 2 and go to rte. 107 and down to the base. The airport was obviously closed and there was no  wifi but we did meet a nice couple vacationing in Guanica who had made it to the airport and we exchanged contact info and she was able to contact our daughter who was frantic to hear from us.
We then went over to the Marriott and they also had no wifi, so we just made it slowly back home.

We did not have power at the house from 1:24am on the morning of Sept 20 and we left on Oct. 8 and still  no power.  We had water on and off and then finally 4 days before we left, we lost water for the last time. We were one of the fortunate ones, since the panaderia down on rte. 2 was open every day, with a line to get in with coffee and bread. then they eventually got some pastries made and started lunch.  The first day after the hurricane, we went outside and saw some relatives of a neighbor who said the panaderia was open so we we walked the 2 1/2 miles (our van was under the house , thankfully no damage but there was a tree which prevented us from driving to the bakery.
So we get to the bakery an it is closed and so we just walked back.  On the way, this man told my husband, don't ever marry a woman named Maria and my hubby told him my name is Maria and he just laughed,

On Oct. 3, we had heard that the only ATM was the one in Aguadilla Mall so my hubby went there the day before and was told that the line began forming at 2am, so we went at 3:30am on tha t morning and found 142 people in line before us but we made friends and waited it out till the bank opened and were able to us the atm and get some cash.because no one had the availablity to use the debit cards.

We had been looking forward to moving from the house since we had leaks before the storm but then most of the roof of the front of the house flew off and we lost some furniture and we had leaks throughout the dining room, front parlor, front bedroom and our bathroom, thankfully not in our family room where the tv was and our bedroom or kitchen but I told my husband, I am through, we do not know when and if the power and water will come back, so we have decided to leave as soon as possible and relocate to Florida, where our two sons live.

My daughter had us on 5 different flights out and eventually we ere able to get on a Humanitarian flight on United on Oct. 8 that my brother in law arranged through a frined at United.  I cried when we left Aguadilla and will always have it in my heart and will some day return on vacation but not to live if the things remain the same.  I also cried when we landed in Newark when I saw all the pretty lights.

We stayed at my mother in laws house for 3 weeks and then drove down at the end of October anyway for a mini family reunion with our kids and grands.  We had a blast with them and now are at my brother in law, looking at places to move to here in Central Florida. Figured we will be close to our sons and my daughter can always drive here with her family.

I want everyone to know that I pray for all of you still there every night and that things go back to relative normalcy very soon. I thank God every day that we were able to come here and hope that things get better there soon.

Stay well and take care,

Tonie/Maria

Toni, Good to know you and Ray are well!

Thank you for coming back to update us, Tonie.  I wish you all the best!

Wow, you really got me with your story! I am happy, you and your family are ok! Your hand will be fine soon, but of course we all will remember "Maria" for a very long time!

We had the same experience with rain coming in from every door but in our case we also had to deal with the Añasco river that was about 2 meters high where I live in Mani/Mayagüez.
we planned to leave the night before but our horse didn't want to go on the Pick-up truck, I guess she already new something was about to happen and she was very nervous. So we decided to stay, since we didn't want to leave her alone.
I looked out of the window of the living room, the only window that we didn't cover with wood panels and from one second to the other I saw the water coming. OMG, I have never ever seen something like this! That was 14.45 pm, 20.09. I screamed "water" and we opened the front door and the horse was already standing in the water. My husband was able to get her up the stairs on the balcony in the last second, or she would have been taken from the flood.
So we left  her at the balcony, closed the front door and thought that was it. But noooo, the water was rising even more and it was already reaching the window.
Now it was too late to open the door and take the horse inside so she had to stay outside for 12 hours. My husband was pushing against the front door the whole time, because if not, the water would have pushed it open. We didn't see or hear  the horse on the balcony, so we thought she would be dead, drowned in the flood. The water inside the house rose about 1 meter. My daughter and I were sitting on chairs on top of the kitchen counter for many hours. Our cats and dogs on top of the kitchen cabinets.
One kitty was nowhere to be found. Three days later when we took out the sofa we found her dead.
She drowned and we didn't have a clue!
In the morning the water was gone and everything that was left was mud.
We opened the door and our horse was still standing on the balcony, between 2 chairs and a table. She survived and it was like a wonder!
We took her inside the house, she didn't look too good or happy. She must have been swollowing a lot of water and her leg joints were all swollen but she was alive!
That's what happened to us. It was a horrible, scary experience and it took me 4 weeks to become "my old me" again.

Hi Tonie, glad to hear from you. Sorry about your house. One thing I am confuced about ...... a while back you opened a breakfast place, did you close The business prior to the storm?
say hi to Ray.

Hope you return back to PR in a few months when the mess is ironed out.

Hi Marion,
Sorry you went thru that experience, I assume the horse is ok now. I assume you are still in PR and not Germany.

Wow, Marion-Olga. That sounds really scary and makes our experience feel like nothing too serious.

How are things now in your area? Do you guys have electricity, water?
We'e still without both but we manage with the generator, cisterns and the 200 gallon tank in my pickup.

Good morning Gary!

One street in Mani has electricity as far as I know. The street is next to my house and the first two houses already have electricity since 2 weeks or so.
Mine doesn't because the electricy poles in front and next to our house are distroyed and I didn't see anyone working in the area of Mani since weeks.
Water luckily came back after 2 weeks already! I tell you, I have never been sooo happy in my life!
I hope you will have electricity and water soon Gary! ✊

ReyP :

Hi Marion,
Sorry you went thru that experience, I assume the horse is ok now. I assume you are still in PR and not Germany.

Hi Ray!

The horse is fine. She lives in Jauco now. She moved into a rescue place called "Horse and Pony inc."

All our stuff is destroyed, except some cookware, deko and clothes.
my daughter and I will be leaving on the 9.12., my husband will follow as soon as he got rid of the house.

Marion-Olga :

my daughter and I will be leaving on the 9.12., my husband will follow as soon as he got rid of the house.

Sorry to hear that but quite understandable since you lost everything.
Hopefully you guys will get on your feet back "zu Hause in Deutschland" fast. Where in Germany? I lived up north, Oldenburg area, for 13 years.
Alles gute!

Oh, my goodness, Marion, what an awful experience!  So happy you and your family are OK.  I understand your wanting to leave as well, truly sad.  Wishing you all the best!

Gary :
Marion-Olga :

my daughter and I will be leaving on the 9.12., my husband will follow as soon as he got rid of the house.

Sorry to hear that but quite understandable since you lost everything.
Hopefully you guys will get on your feet back "zu Hause in Deutschland" fast. Where in Germany? I lived up north, Oldenburg area, for 13 years.
Alles gute!

Dankeschön Gary!
We will move near the town Würzburg, it's one hour from Frankurt. :)

Schuttzie :

Oh, my goodness, Marion, what an awful experience!  So happy you and your family are OK.  I understand your wanting to leave as well, truly sad.  Wishing you all the best!

Thank you sooo much! All the best for you too! :*

FYI: I live about a mile east of the Walmart "Isabela mall", and we've had power and water for quite some time now. I've got friends in town, near the plaza, and they too have power, but it's weak at times.

Is there any apartments in the area that are functional and pet friendly?
Ron and Bev
Bugbunkie[at]yahoo

Marion, sorry to hear you lost everything, and that you are heading back to germany. I am not sure I could just move on after spending good money purchasing a property. I would have to reconstruct. I was lucky that my move to PR was delayed by a year due to wife operation. Best of luck, maybe you will return one day.

ReyP :

Marion, sorry to hear you lost everything, and that you are heading back to germany. I am not sure I could just move on after spending good money purchasing a property. I would have to reconstruct. I was lucky that my move to PR was delayed by a year due to wife operation. Best of luck, maybe you will return one day.

After what happened this house doesn't feel safe anymore and I would be scared to death every hurrican season.
I feel like the time has come to leave and we want FEMA to buy the house and remove it. It will not be the last time, this happened here.

Thank you Ray for the good wishes. All the best for you and your wife!

You think FEMA will buy it?
I knew they help with recrustruction, I was not aware they purchased properties

ReyP :

You think FEMA will buy it?
I knew they help with recrustruction, I was not aware they purchased properties

They do!

Mac, we are happy that you have power. We were down the road from Isabela Bakery and my former neighbors still have no power, so I am very happy that we were able to leave. They are are off a little street called Torcaz and everyone around has power except them.
We were ther for 18 days after the hurricane and didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our daughter also insisted we leave and are happy now in Central Florida waiting to get our own place and begin our life here. We are currently with family and it is not easy but easier than being ther with no power or water. I pray for everyone there every night that you all get water and power soon!!!
Tonie

It is unfortunate that people are permanently leaving the island due to the living conditions. Both expats and natives are leaving. My plans are still to return around summer and take steps to minimize adverse conditions. Likely will install solar, batteries, collect rain water and have plenty of cisterns with pumps run by solar to keep going. Will have also chain saws to take care of any down trees and make sure they are all far from the house so if they come down they wont cause damage to any of the structures.

ReyP :

It is unfortunate that people are permanently leaving the island due to the luving conditions

It's estimated that already 150,000 left to live and work in the mainland and more are going.

Our daughter is planning leave, f.i. She lost her job in a hotel. After the storm she was contacted by FEMA (she was somehow in federal records because she had a federal in Miami a couple of years ago) They asked if she was interested to work for FEMA here on the island. So she went to an interview, was hired and told they would call her next week. The same happened to a cousin. That was three weeks ago...
Meanwhile both women are without income. Both are planning to leave in Januari... So many others are without income and planning to leave. We aren't seen the worst of this yet...

ReyP :

It is unfortunate that people are permanently leaving the island due to the luving conditions

It's estimated that already 150,000 left to live and work in the mainland and more are going.

Our daughter is planning leave, f.i. She lost her job in a hotel. After the storm she was contacted by FEMA (she was somehow in federal records because she had a federal job in Miami a couple of years ago) They asked if she was interested to work for FEMA here on the island. So she went to an interview, was hired and told they would call her next week. The same happened to a cousin. That was three weeks ago...
Meanwhile both women are still without income. Both are planning to leave in Januari.
So many others are without income and planning to leave. We haven't seen the worst of this yet...

Lots of homes going to be in the market and more defaults on the mortgages, due to FEMA putting people up in hotels and renting homes for the people that were displaced I assume the rental market is booming in those areas that have electricity and water.

Recently saw an article that many folks who otherwise would qualify for FEMA reconstruction loans are blocked due to inability to prove a deed to the property because of family inheritance, passed down from generations, yet unable to document ownership.

This will force some to abandon damaged houses and leave them to decay...  There goes the neighborhood.

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