First, Texas was flooded by Hurricane Harvey, now The Florida Keys are being hit by Hurricane Irma. We have hit the mid-point of hurricane season, and suddenly two major storms have come to the United States. Monroe County ordered the evacuation of both residents and visitors on September 6th. By the time of this blog post, it is my hope that the storm has passed and everyone makes it through safely.
Regardless of how long the storm lasts, there is likely to be major damage across the county, which will take a long time to clean up. Communities, government agencies, and humanitarian organizations will come together to help bring order out of chaos, and eventually our corner of paradise will be as we know it most of the time, warm and tranquil in terms of the weather.
If you are a visitor, I hope you won’t be dissuaded from returning to the Florida Keys. While hurricane season lasts from June through November, our region is not always affected, and the good certainly outweighs the negative, or high risks of strong weather phenomenon. I encourage you to visit the Florida Keys & Key West Tourism Website, where they have extensive sections dedicated to helping visitors understand the impacts of hurricanes and how to deal with them when traveling in the area.
If you are a resident, my first hope is that you and your family are safe, as well as your home. If you already live in the Florida Keys, chances are you already have some type of flood insurance policy. Living in a coastal region makes this type of coverage a must, especially since typical homeowners insurance plans do not cover floods, other types of damage from natural disasters, or “Acts of God” as many a policy stipulates.
If you do have a policy, be sure to submit a claim as soon as possible once you are able to return home. Before you submit your claim, take plenty of pictures, including close-ups and wide-angle shots to show the full impact of damage. Today’s Homeowner has published Top 5 Things to do After a Hurricane, a great review of how you can get started on repairing your home.
If you find yourself without flood insurance, or need additional assistance to return your home to normal, there are resources available. FloridaDisaster.org, the state department of emergency management, has an in-depth Recovery Page. From this site, you can access FEMA for Federal assistance. You can also keep informed of current storms and find a wide range of preparedness tools, information, and ideas.
Monroe County also offers helpful information and resources in connection to natural disasters as well. If the aftermath of Hurricane Irma is significant, there is a strong likelihood financial assistance grants will be offered from a variety of private and non-profit organizations as well.
While the Florida Keys can be in the path of Mother Nature at her worst, our strong, independent spirit keeps us here, where life is worth living in paradise. I hope you and your family are able to weather Hurricane Irma safely. When you are ready to enjoy life in the Florida Keys year-round, or want to buy or sell a home in the Key West area, please contact me, Jimmy Lane, for all of your real estate needs.