Floridians are gauging the extent of the damage from Hurricane Irma, which continues to weaken as it heads northwest up the peninsula.
Power was out Monday to more than half the state as high winds and storm surge created havoc in many communities.
Former Connecticut resident Frank Tavares moved to Coral Springs, north of Fort Lauderdale, just a year ago. The eye of the storm passed well to the west of him.
He stayed in his home during the storm. He told WNPR’s Where We Live the decision not to evacuate was difficult.
“Knowing how bad the wind could get, should we make a run for it?” he said. “We went back and forth trying to make this decision, understanding that the longer we waited, the more difficult it would be. The highways were jammed, fuel was iffy, and we finally decided, you know - rather be here in our house, take the chances, than be caught in the open at the side of the road.”
He and his wife Jennifer protected the house with hurricane shutters.
“We had our water supplies, we had nonperishable food ready,” he said. “We found a place in the house that was protected inside, had no windows to the outside. We put mattresses in that particular area. We had our important papers in folders - our birth certificates, insurance, everything. And we had go-to bags ready just in case it became inevitable that we needed to get out.”
The Tavares’s house survived without significant damage, but he said trees came down and the neighborhood roads are blocked with debris in the wake of the storm.