Nicole, you did your damage and we’re glad to see the back of you. No offense. Sorry, but not sorry.
A category 1 hurricane in November, is almost, but not quite, unheard of in Florida. This one made landfall in South East Florida, Vero Beach, and then blew across the state, into the Gulf as a tropical storm and across the Panhandle.
It is the drama of hurricane season, that we all stay prepared and plan for the next one. Truth be told, my fellow Floridians don’t breathe a sigh of relief until Thanksgiving is in sight. Michael, the hurricane that wiped panhandle Mexico Beach off the map in 2018, is still very fresh in our minds. He was a Cat. 5 that intensified just before it crashed into land, when the forecast was for a Cat. 4.
And of course, 2022 will be know for Ian, another practical Cat 5 that smashed into South West Florida making middle class people homeless, and working class people almost destitute as homes were washed away, or destroyed beyond repair. The waiting and waiting on insurance payouts, and disappointment that all that money and all those years of paying exorbitant premiums have not resulted in a check that will cover everything lost.
Starting over when you’re in your “later” years is not always possible. And all the money in the world does not replace the loss of family and friends, pets, familiar neighborhood haunts, comfortable routines, sentimental, irreplaceable items from loved ones.
Some say it’s climate change, and growing worse. Some say hurricanes come in waves over a span of years. Having lived in Florida for 35 years, I can attest to the fact that hurricane season in Tallahassee never seemed to be much of anything in the early years. There was Charley, Wilma, Irma when we first opened the Little English Guesthouse. But in the 2006-2017 period I don’t believe we had any major hurricanes hit Florida. I’m sure someone will correct me, if I’m wrong.
But as property insurance rates double, triple and even quadruple in Florida since Ian came ashore in September, some say even if it is merely the “wave” that we’re in, living in Florida is simply not affordable for the average person anymore.
Our towns seem to be overtaken by franchised restaurants, hotels and coffee shops as local business are literally, run out of business.
Is it that regular Floridians (and I count longtime expats such as myself, amongst them) are going to be run out of Florida? Will Florida be overtaken by those from out of state who can afford to buy second, third and fourth “homes” only to list them on those websites as “vacation rentals” and basically become property management companies that have run regular people out of business, or out of the state? Just because it’s just too expensive to live in Florida.
I’ve seen this happen in London where “regular” people don’t live anymore. It’s just too expensive. Only the mega-wealthy can buy property, and regular folks just rent, and when the rent hikes become unsustainable, they leave town. Sadly, all that’s left are the tourists who are paying for those “vacation rentals” that used to be someone’s home. And the rich people. The loss of neighborhood communities, local businesses and that local feel is lost forever. Is this what we’re allowing to happen to us, Florida?
But I digress, again…
Hurricane season causes such disruption to normal life, to business schedules, school schedules, surgery dates, celebration dates and everything in between. It seems like we’re in chaos, often without electricity, and the rest of the news cycle moves on. The devastation left in the wake of a hurricane is left for the locals do deal with, or not, as the case may be. Many of whom have lost their livelihoods along with their homes, and have to move somewhere “else” and start over, but probably not.
We’ve almost upon Thanksgiving and thankful that hurricane season 2022 is almost in the rear view mirror and we made it another year in business. We hope to celebrate our 20th anniversary in 2023. Woohoo!
(Make sure to stay at the Little English Guesthouse, next year!)
Hurricane Nicole, you blew through in November, ruining Veterans Day across Florida for so many. But now we’re back to business. Get out of our way.
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