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Trinis happy they can tell Irma tale
United National Congress MP Barry Padarath is anxious to return home following Hurricane Irma’s passage through Florida, where T&T-born residents are now cleaning up and repairing post-Irma.
The Category Four hurricane rampaged through Florida last Sunday, boiling down to a Category One storm on reaching Tampa on Sunday night. Two deaths were reported. About 6 million Floridians were without power up to yesterday, according to reports.
“Oh my God—we were pounded from 3 am Sunday to 3 am yesterday—we dodged a bullet,” said Ft Lauderdale resident Oma Harry, originally from Penal.
“I feel like someone beat me up—so much stress! Hurricane Andrew passed quickly, but whenever you thought Irma was over, it just started back up again. It took so long! A lady nearby who couldn’t get into a shelter tried to stay in her car during the storm, but a tree fell on the car, trapping her inside.”
Harry added: “Tornado alerts were going off on our phones constantly. Our swimming pool almost overflowed into the house. We have many broken trees, one cut our house off from the road. It was just horrible!”
Harry said Joyce’s Roti Ship in Lauderhill was used as a hurricane shelter.
MP Padarath, who was staying in Orlando, which was hit by severe flooding, said at least ten houses near him lost roofs. Power and phones were also out.
“I’m anxious to come home once airport operations begin. The level of preparedness and dissemination of information was a good eye opener, which I think we in T&T need.”
Anton Boodan, outside Tampa, had expected the worst since his home wasn’t hurricane-proofed. Yesterday, he said, “Luckily, only some roof shingles were lost since Irma weakened.”
After 90mph winds in West Palm Beach, the Alexander family left there yesterday morning to return to Miami, where their house sustained some water damage.
In Gainsville, Ed Roberts and T&T-born wife Alisha weren’t affected, “but a Trinidadian a few houses away had a tree fall on his house and his car.”
Judith Whittingham and her husband, who were at an Orlando seniors community, said, “Boy, did we ever have heavy winds! Haven’t seen anything like this and we experienced Hurricane Andrew.”
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, whose return after his US medical check-up had to detour around Miami due to Irma, is expected home early this morning.