We have lived in Sarasota, Florida for 6+ years and have come to believe in the urban legend that Sarasota is protected from hurricanes because the Native Americans who first settled here blessed the lands to stay eternally safe from destructive storms and hurricanes. Fact is Sarasota Bay has not been a bull’s eye for a major hurricane in Florida since reliable records began in 1871.
But two weeks ago hurricane Ian that was forecasted to hit in Tampa to our North, started slipping south and suddenly the forecast was for it to come ashore in Sarasota. The emergency management authorities started evacuating the barrier islands, and we joined with a few neighbors to install hurricane shutters in preparation for a direct hit. Since 2002, the Florida building codes require new construction be able to withstand winds up to 150MPH. Our home was built in 2013 so it meets the new codes and it looked liked we were going to test the construction!
We opened our home to couple of friends who had to evacuate and one of them joined us as we hunkered down and got ready to ride out the storm. The Indian blessing seemed to be working as Ian continued to drop to the south and came ashore near Ft Myers’s about 50 miles (as the crow flies)south of us and then tracked northeast thru the city of Northport about 20 miles south of us on its way to the Atlantic, passing over Sarasota with windspeeds of 85 -100 mph. The wind and rain went on most of the night and you could feel the gusts when they hit the house.
We got up the next morning to find the house was undamaged except for a couple of loose roof tiles. There were lots of trees and bushes down in the area but no physical damage that we could see. Even more amazing was we never lost power! According to Florida Power and Light, of their 287,000 customers in Sarasota 280,000 were without power, so we were one of the lucky 7,000. We did lose our internet and cable for a several days, making it hard to keep up with what was happening as cell reception was spotty due to power being out to cell towers or the towers being damaged by the hurricane.
It’s been two weeks since the hurricane and most of the debris in our development has been cleaned up. Our tennis courts are back in operation after replacing the clay that blew off and putting the wind screens back up. There are still pockets of the area without power or internet particularly south of us in Northport where a large portion of the city was flooded by the Myakka river which is still above flood stage.
So, thanks to an Ancient Indian Blessing, good neighbors, and the updated Florida building codes, we survived our first and hopefully only hurricane. We are able to get groceries and fuel again and play tennis and cycle for PD. Life is returning to normal.