Written on Wednesday, September 12, 2017
Thank you all for your messages and comments, asking us how we have been during this time. We so appreciate your concern, and at moments like this, it truly does feel special to be a part of the LIV family. So thank you!
At this time, we would also like to extend our best wishes to those of you who have also been impacted by Hurricane Irma. Our thoughts are with you, and we hope that you have been minimally affected and can get back on track as soon as possible.
Since many of you are asking where we were during the storm, and how we made it through, here's a brief recap of the past week, from Esti's perspective:
Miami-Dade County issues mandatory evacuation orders* for coastal cities ahead of Hurricane Irma. Since the law goes into effect at 7 AM the following day, there's a desperate demand for bottled water, flashlights, batteries, and gas. Supplies in all the local stores run low and are difficult to get. We spend the day scouring for all of the above, successfully hauling out bottles of water, and filling up our gas tanks. Flashlights are completely sold out.
*A total of 6.5 million Floridians were under mandatory evacuation orders.
We continue to search for supplies, as we plan our evacuation route and figure out the best time to leave. Traffic is horrendous, so we decide to wait until the early hours of the following morning to begin our drive to Orlando, four hours away from Miami, and at that point, not meant to be impacted by Hurricane Irma. (One team member decides to drive out as far as Indiana, a seventeen-hour drive at a staggering 1,850 kilometers from Miami.)
We leave for Orlando in the wee hours of the morning. Thankfully, we had planned well, because there is little traffic. We spend the day tracking the storm and are horrified to learn that Orlando may also get hit.
Our eyes are glued to the TV, as we watch Hurricane Irma begin pounding the US, starting with the Florida Keys. We are prepared for the worst and hoping for the best. We spend a long day indoors and begin to hear howling sounds in the evening. We pray that we don't lose power. By 2 AM Sunday, we feel the impacts of Hurricane Irma in Orlando, as high winds begin hammering our hotel and topple over trees and power lines. By the morning, the worst is over.
After inspecting the local area, and reviewing news reports, we are ready to head back home. As we begin our journey back down to Miami, we remember the fallen heroes of September 11th, 2001. Once again, gas is hard to come by, and you have to wait in line for hours on end to fill your tank with fuel. As we drive into Miami, we are shocked by what we see. Boy does it look like this place took a wicked beating! Power is out for half the city, and large trees are strewn all over the roads. At this point, a curfew is in place across most of the State of Florida, in which being outdoors is prohibited between the hours of 7 PM and 7 AM. When we attempt to enter our neighborhood, the local authorities inform us that we cannot access our home until the following day. After a long and arduous journey, we are forced to head back north and stay over in Broward County for the night.
We are the first people at the police checkpoint to get into our neighborhood. We are relieved to get home and find that we have power. Our next stop is the office: we are elated to find that there is minimal damage there as well.
This is great news as members of our team are slowly coming back together with renewed vigor, ready to get back to work!
Thank you all for your patience.
P.S. In case you didn't see it, here's a snapshot of Hurricane Irma in Miami; this video was captured during the heart of the storm, half a mile from our office: