Hurricane Irma strikes close to home for several Clear Lakers

Florida is over a thousand miles away from Clear Lake, Iowa, but for several locals Hurricane Irma struck close to home.  Thankfully, all were kept safe and property was spared from destruction.

“It was a long week and The Weather Channel was on non-stop,” said Kay Wieck, who with her husband, Fred, owns a home located on a canal in Bradenton, Fla.  “Things took a positive turn for us when the course of the hurricane changed slightly.  Our neighbor called and reported our condo has zero damage.  The roof, trees, shrubs and windows are all in place.  We were not concerned as much about the storm, as we were about the surge that was predicted.”

Like several other Clear Lakers, the Wiecks were not in Florida when forecasters began warning about the possible effect Irma could have on the area.

Al and Margherita Atwell were also safe in their Clear Lake home when Irma blew threw Lakewood Ranch near Sarasota where their townhome is located.

“We bought the townhome in 2012, so this was the first hurricane we have experienced,” explained Al.  “Our neighbor arranged to have our hurricane shutters put up and we had no damage.  We were glued to the TV and thought we would be OK, but it was a relief to hear from the neighbor that there was no damage after 65 mph winds and eight-inches of rain.”

The Atwells were among the 6 million Floridians who lost power in the storm, but with only a carton of ice-cream left in the freezer, they were among the fortunate who hopefully will return this fall to no problems.

Jeff Nicholas wasn’t going to take any chances with the boat he moored in a Sarasota marina.  While Irma was still coming together he began to devise a plan to put his boat on a trailer and get it out of Florida.

“I searched the entire southeast United States for a boat trailer and I finally found one in Missouri.  I bought it and headed to Sarasota.”  By Thursday I had the boat loaded and was headed north.  I was way ahead of the storm and ahead of the mass exodus.  I feel so blessed and I’m on cloud nine with no damage.”

Nicholas was aided by friends Joe and Pam Pritchard, who put him in touch with friends in Chattanooga, Tenn., who provided him with a place to layover during his travels.  Tuesday, Sept. 12, was day eight on the road for Nicholas.  “I’m exhausted, but happy to be safe,” he added.

The Pritchards didn’t escape the wrath of Irma entirely.  They own a golf cart business in the Villages which suffered downed trees, but no major dam-

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