I live in Florida. We went through pretty much the entire 2022 hurricane season with no named storms. To say that’s unusual would be an understatement. But October and now November have more than made up for it. I remember the song, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” by Gordon Lightfoot where he sings of the gales of November. I always thought that had to do with the Great Lakes; Lake Superior, in particular. But now I’m not so sure.
Mid October Ian crept slowly towards our peninsula building in strength, keeping everyone guessing until it made landfall at Fort Myers Beach as a high-end CAT-4 hurricane. After dragging itself through, the devastation left behind was mind-boggling. Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel Island, Captiva, Pine Island – flattened; obliterated as if bombs had gone off leaving the islands and shores barren; half-erect buildings leaning into now empty lots strewn with debris. It even took out a bridge cutting the mainland off from the island as if to say, don’t bother; there’s nothing for you here now. As it moved slowly across the state, it caused major flooding from west to east.
I truly thought that would be it for the 2022 hurricane season. There were a few storms that went towards Central America, but it looked like we would be in the clear until the season ended. We weren’t.
Nicole, a very disorganized tropical storm, was edging itself towards a CAT-1 and then scaling back, wobbling a bit to keep everyone guessing where she would land. The east coast area south of Vero Beach ended up her target, though since it was such a huge system (700+ miles wide), the entire coastline was in the zone. We took precautions. We knew there’d be some power outages. They closed bridges to the mainland. But it was a CAT-1. What’s the worst that could happen?
The top photos are in the area of South Daytona. I cannot imagine what this has to feel like as a home owner. The last few are in Flagler Beach. I won’t go into the particular heartbreak I feel for Flagler Beach; I lived there over 10 years and fell in love with it. But what was is essentially gone. The homes didn’t get the destruction the Fort Myers’ area did, but the beaches, the dunes, the walkovers – when all is said and done, it’ll never be the same. In the repairs and reconstruction to come, they will have to forego the aesthetics and concentrate instead on the stability and function of a maybe not-so-attractive alternative if we’re to keep any semblance of the area alive.
So on 11/12 I’m fairly certain the worst is over as far as the 2022 hurricane season. But it has wreaked havoc across this state. I think no one, outside of the Panhandle perhaps, came through unscathed. Is this to be the new normal? Have the warmed seas now made way for future gales of November?
As of right now I’m unsure whether I want to find out.