Hurricane Irma by Mona Risk

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For days we watched TV and prayed that Hurricane Irma would not come toward Florida. Twelve years ago, I survived Hurricane Wilma and watched the devastation it inflicted to South Florida and my building: broken windows, snatched shuttered, cars smacked on top of each other, uprooted trees. We were left without electricity and water for a week and spent a year repairing the damage.

The mandatory evacuation order annihilated our hope to avoid the hurricane path. Evacuating was a big hassle.

Not sure if we should leave–to go where?

The airports were crowded with stranded tourists trying to go home. The three airports within a two-hour distance responded with a “sold-out”. We couldn’t just take the car and drive north, and risk being stuck for hours on a cluttered highway.

In addition, I was dealing with a fractured kneecap and a big brace to wear 24/7 and had trouble riding in a car for hours. At first, we decided to stay and brace ourselves to cope with the hurricane.

We stocked on water and food, and filled the car with a full tank. Remembering that big buildings can shake under the impact of high winds, we removed frames from walls and delicate bibelots from shelves.

Not sure if we should stay here. We live on the beach–first line of defense.

I spent hours researching Google for “How safe are high rises during hurricanes?” High rises are built to sustain 185 mph wind. The safest place is the stairs, completely built in steel and concrete. The safest apartments are those on the 7th to 10 th floors. Floors higher that the 20 th are exposed to horrible wind. Floors lower than the 6th face the risk of flood and flying objects.

We live on the 22 th floor. Back to watching Irma’s news. The Governor of Florida urged us several times to leave: “We can replace your material possessions. We can’t replace lives.”…”If you live in a mandatory evacuation zone and don’t leave, you will be stuck on your own. No one can access your place. The bridges will be open and we won’t answer an emergency call.”

Enough to scare the heck out of us.

Our daughter insisted we should stay with her family. All our friends in high-rises on the beach were staying home, claiming that these buildings are 50 years old, quite sturdy and have survived their share of hurricanes in previous years. Praying for their safety and for Irma to get lost over the ocean.

On Friday morning, we drove to our daughter’s house, an hour away, northwest from our high-rise on the beach. It was good to be with family. Surprisingly I-95 had little traffic that morning. The calm before the tempest.

The house was all shuttered and we had electricity. We couldn’t see what was going on outside, but we could hear the noise, the wind, the rain. Strident alarms on my cell phone alerted us to the danger of tornadoes and raised panic in my heart. My grandchildren decided they needed a break from bad news and made us watch eight Harry Potter movies over three days.

And we survived Hurricane Irma.

On Monday morning, we welcomed the sun and nice breeze and opened the doors for a peek outside. Fallen branches in the driveway and yard. A few broken or uprooted trees. My son-in-law cleaned the driveway.

In our area the bridges were now accessible and the elevators of our building functioning. We returned home. At the entrance of our evacuated zone, police cars patrolled to protect us from looters and asked for ID to check that we lived in this area.

Our hurricane high impact windows resisted the strong wind. No leaks. I sent a thank you note to the man who did a great job on the installation ten years ago. Many of our neighbors had to cope with buckets of water leaking under the windows or from the sides.

We stayed without TV and Wi-Fi for three days. The Comcast box supplying the building was smashed during the hurricane.

All in all we are grateful we survived without damage. Others were less lucky in Miami, Fort Meyers and the Keys.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

A BRIDE FOR PRINCE PAUL                                                                                           

Mona Risk

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk, received an Outstanding Achiever Award from Affaire de Coeur Magazine. She’s a two time winner of Best Contemporary Romance of the Year from Readers Favorite; a winner of Best Romance Novel of the Year from Preditors & Editors Readers Poll; and an EPIC Award finalist.
Mona Risk’s name has often been posted on the Amazon.com 100 Most Popular Authors in Romance list, and her books have garnered: Top Pick, Outstanding Read, Sweetheart of the Week, and Best Book of the Week from various reviewers, and received two mentions in Publisher’s Weekly.
Mona lives in South Florida and has traveled to more than eighty countries on business or vacation. She writes contemporary romances, medical romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal fantasy. Sprinkled with a good dose of humor, her stories are set in the fascinating places she visited or more simply at home.
If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy her international romances. Meet the spirited heroines and special heroes who share irresistible chemistry in stories that simmer with emotion.
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Bittersweet September #mgtab

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Ah, September - quote by Peggy Toney HortonSeptember, with its summery days, but foggy mornings and chilly nights, is a bittersweet month for me.

It always feels like both a fresh start—no doubt because of all my years as a student—and an obvious, undeniable end of a season. This year the contrast seems extra poignant.

I’m about to launch a new story into the world, plus I’m excited and gearing up for new writing projects, yet other things that have kept me busy the past few months are slowing down.

My flowerbeds appear to be at the height of their glory, but a closer look reveals the beginning of their end, softening stalks, a gentle wilting, the slightest touches of brown on the edges and undersides of leaves. . . . The balmy air carries a cool undertone, and if a breeze kicks up, it has bite. The forest and grassy areas around my home hold the lightest scent of earthy dampness and decay. The toads are on the move. . . .

I’m excitedly anticipating the birth of my second grandbaby, who’s due any day—and my own wonderful grandma just turned 87. She’s healthy, strong and incredibly sharp minded, and I suspect and hope she’ll be a centenarian—but can’t help thinking about new beginnings and autumn seasons, all the same.

September 2017 Yellow Rose photoI’m looking forward to cozy fall nights and preparing my garden, yard, and freezer for winter—but I’m heavily conscious of all the folks across BC, the province of Canada where I live, still in danger from, or suffering the results of, the terrible, ravishing fires that blazed out of control all summer and are still burning. Likewise, I’m sad and worried for all the people in the south, fleeing, losing everything—or being afraid that they might—in the extreme flooding and/or hurricanes that have hit (and are continuing to hit) so hard.

Jodie Esch, an author friend of mine, finished a recent blog post with this observation, “during these precarious situations in the world, isn’t it time to take a few moments out of each day, to focus on the idea of love?”

It absolutely is—and not just in this season, but in every season, those that are bitter, those that are sweet, and those that are both simultaneously.

I hope wherever this September finds you, you are safe—or on your way to safety—and surrounded by love from friends, family, or pets, with a roof over your head to shelter you, enough food to sustain you, enough clothes to keep you warm, and enough books to keep you comforted and/or entertained.

Ev Bishop lives and writes in a remote small town in wildly beautiful British Columbia, Canada—a place that inspires the setting for her cozy sweet romance series, RIVER’S SIGH B & B.

Book 1 in the series, WEDDING BANDS, is FREE right now, so go to your favorite eBook vendor and grab your copy today!

Ev also writes and publishes under the pen name Toni Sheridan.

In addition to writing novels—her favorite form of storytelling!—Ev is a long-time columnist with the Terrace Standard and a prolific scribbler of articles, essays, short stories and poems. To see her ever growing body of work, please visit her website.

When Ev’s nose isn’t in a book or her fingers aren’t on her keyboard, you’ll find her hanging out with her family and dogs, or playing outside with friends, usually at the lake or in some garden somewhere.

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