Monday, October 19, 2020

Hurricane Irma: The Calm Before the Storm


Islanders shopped the aisles of Publix for supplies. Though water supplies were dwindling, some cases remained. Photos by Samantha Husted

Islanders shopped the aisles of Publix for supplies. Though water supplies were dwindling, some cases remained. Photos by Samantha Husted

By the time you’re reading this, Hurricane Irma will have come and gone. Here is how Marco Island prepared during the days leading up to Irma, one of the strongest Atlantic cyclone’s ever recorded.

On September 6 the City of Marco Island declared a state of emergency for its residents, with a voluntary evacuation recommended. Come Friday, two days later, the island was barren. Imagine what it’s like during our offseason, how empty and slow it feels, and then times that by ten. Houses, businesses and restaurants were boarded up and the roads were barren. Those who remained were busy preparing for what was to come.

Novi Kocev and George Budei board up clothing store, Island Time.

Novi Kocev and George Budei board up clothing store, Island Time.

Publix, 7-Eleven (despite being out of gasoline), and a few other convenience stores remained open, providing islanders with their last minute hurricane supplies. Oscar Galvez, owner of local coffee shop Wake Up Marco, also kept his doors open to islanders in need of a caffeine fix, though his windows were boarded up.

Local photographer Frank Steiger toured Marco Island and took some photos that represent the “calm before the storm,” while I took photos of islanders and their preparations. The weather was nice, albeit a little warm, and the town was quiet.

The 7-Eleven on South Collier Boulevard also remained open. Photo by Frank Steiger

The 7-Eleven on South Collier Boulevard also remained open. Photo by Frank Steiger

Jasmine Parcelles enjoys her coffee with Wake Up Marco owner Oscar Galvez. Wake Up Marco remained open on Thursday, supplying islanders with their much-needed caffeine during hurricane preparations.

Jasmine Parcelles enjoys her coffee with Wake Up Marco owner Oscar Galvez. Wake Up Marco remained open on Thursday, supplying islanders with their much-needed caffeine during hurricane preparations.

Finding gasoline on Marco Island was difficult; the 7-Eleven on the corner of Bald Eagle was emptied, though the store itself remained open.

Finding gasoline on Marco Island was difficult; the 7-Eleven on the corner of Bald Eagle was emptied, though the store itself remained open.

Sunshine Booksellers and accompanying stores were completely boarded up. Photo by Frank Steiger

Sunshine Booksellers and accompanying stores were completely boarded up. Photo by Frank Steiger

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