Published On: Fri, Sep 22nd, 2017

Boca Raton Stared Down Hurricane Irma and Made it Through the Storm

By: Michael Demyan

CRA Media Group Staff

Boca Raton was ready.

As Hurricane Irma’s forecast covered nearly the entire state, there was no waiting around. Millions of people packed up and left their homes, creating the largest evacuation in the history of Florida.

For those that stayed, it was all about preparation. Local gas stations had lines stretching out to the streets and local stores were running out of bread and water. Meanwhile, neighbors helped with shutters, friends helped with supplies and the whole community came together as the storm barreled toward the state.

Palm Beach County district schools also closed days before the storm, along with Boca Raton’s universities, to allow students, staff and their families to adequately formulate a plan.

“Boca Raton is prepared to respond to this storm effectively with experienced staff, state of the art equipment and dedicated volunteers,” Mayor Susan Haynie said as Irma slowly approached.

The hurricane became one of the strongest storms to ever come out of the Atlantic, with Category 5 force winds that lasted for days. After brushing against Cuba, the storm did weaken, but still made landfall in the Florida Keys as a Category 4.

While the worst of the storm stayed to the west coast, Boca Raton and the rest of the south portion of the state still felt some of the strongest impacts. Hurricane force winds and rain passed through, resulting in flooding, debris and uprooted trees. The mayor’s words were put into action.

During and after the storm, Boca Raton police officers enforced curfews to keep residents safely inside their homes and away from the strong winds and flying debris. Throughout Irma, the main goal was for everyone who stayed behind to safely wait it out.

By the time it passed through, millions were left without power, including hundreds of thousands in Palm Beach County. Florida Power and Light, with the help of other companies, jumped right in, making it their priority to turn the electricity back on as quickly as possible. Today, all homes in Palm Beach County have had their power restored.

The community also came together to help one another out through donations, fun activities or simply lending a helping hand.

During four days without power, Lynn University students who rode out the storm were able to participate in Camp Irma, a group formed to provide some entertainment such as karaoke and Uno tournaments. Students in grade school affected by the hurricane were also treated to free meals provided by the USDA.

“In times of disaster, it’s paramount that USDA makes it as easy as possible for our programs to be administered, so no one affected by this disaster goes hungry,” USDA secretary Sonny Perdue said.

As far as relief efforts, the Boca Raton community didn’t simply think of themselves, but also the millions of other Florida residents who felt the damaging winds and rain of Hurricane Irma, including those in the Florida Keys.

The Keys felt the worst of the storm as shown from the tremendous damage to buildings and neighborhoods. The Boca Raton Police Department and Boca Raton Fire Rescue Services sent out deployments to Collier County and the Keys to help the areas through the aftermath. The firefighters also hosted a collection for those in Boca who wished to donate water and other supplies to help those who suffered in the Florida Keys.

Almost two weeks after the storm, things are still not back to normal, but it is only a matter of time before the cleanup in Florida comes to a conclusion through the cooperation from people around the country, including those in the Boca Raton community.  

Boca Raton was not only prepared for Hurricane Irma, but prepared to help as well.

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  1. sad says:

    bunch of stupid saps. it was a little stick storm

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