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the story of the hurricane

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List,
 
Just wanted to give everyone a quick firsthand account of what I have seen so far. If you want great pics and local info check Orlandosentinel.com .
 
Everyone I know including myself is fine. My house has no damage and no downed trees, despite having 4 big oaks. I have not had power since Friday nt and MAY not get it back until this Saturday. Except for my fridge and all the frozen meat and fish that I may be grilling, the big thing is no AC. If anyone has been in FL in August you will no what I mean. Almost impossible to sleep, and I will be going to a friend or family's house tonight , that is for sure.
 
I live in Lake Mary which is about 15 miles N of downtown Orlando, and what a difference that made versus downtown or south of town by Disney. We are running about 35% at work and obviously have power. One of my school projects under construction reported some tilt panels down, but that is because there was no roof and they were temp braced. Ironically they were on the gym which we designed as a hurricane shelter with "enhanced hurricane protection" which means a hardened roof and special doors and windows. A school we designed in New Smyrna Beach lost its gym walls (12" CMU), no roof as it is under construction. It is quiet as a lot of clients are out or half staffed. I am sure in the next few days RFIs will pile up, as most of our work is in the belt of this hurricane.
 
Almost all of the damage I have seen is tree related. We have lots of old oaks in O town that did most of the damage. I have seen very little real structural damage from direct wind. I got little window and door movement in my house during the brunt, and was able to poke my head out my back door several times without the door being pushed in from pressure. It seems shielding from trees and other structures plays a huge role in actual wind loads hitting the structure. You better believe there is a difference between Exposure B and C!! I have an old solid panel type garage door that I backed my truck against and rigged up to provent it from opening, and it was fine although it moved a lot. It only took me an hour or so to tidy up my yard, I got so lucky.
 
The main wind only damage is light gage roofing, canopies, signs, privacy fences and walls, almost every billboard, and a few gas station canopies, including one that failed in bending/overturning at the column. But trees are down everywhere and you hear chainsaws running non-stop. Downtown especially is like a war zone. My sister's neighborhood has several houses sliced in half or roofs taken out by oak trees. It is an older neighborhood with lots of oaks, ironically named Southern Oaks, and a lot of trees went down. My sister's house had a 40' oak break and fall parallel to the house, just luck or God or whatever! It fell in the yard and missed the fence, house, everything. I have heard a lot of these stories from people.
 
But it is very strange how localized damage can be. My buddy who I helped dig out on Saturday had about 5 hours worth of clean up to do, and Sunday am he had power. Two blocks over we walked around and power lines were snapped from branches, poles laying on the ground, wires down everywhere, trees smashing through roofs and cars, just a war zone. His street seemed relatively fine. I guess they call these "microbursts", but I guess there could be plenty of mini-tornadoes spun off of it too.
 
As far as flooding I haven't seen any, I guess our Civil guys got the retention pond thing down. But it did rain Sat and Sunday most of the day, delaying clean up and power line work, plus leaking in a lot of people's houses.
 
Well, I have to run out to look at a school/shelter that had some roof damage. I am sure we are going to be very busy in the next few days/ weeks !!
 
Everyone else take care, especially those in Central FL.
 
Andrew Kester, PE
Longwood, FL