Two families sheltering in the safest of two homes, 4 people, 5 adult cats and 4 new kittens. We were lucky, we had a place to stay and we only got a weakened eye-way pass that was tropical storm level. We had minor limb fall, but had been doing ongoing tree maintenance since I bought the house. Some of the immediate neighbors lost fences.
In town, there were areas of bad flooding and massive tree fall. A big transformer went up in smoke causing a 2 alarm fire. Diesel was in shortest supply and stations along the I-75 escape corridor on the West side of town were out of gas off and on for days before and after the storm hit. As fast as power was restored after the storm allowed, it went down again as wet ground caused delayed damage from continued tree fall.
Power was out long enough in the area of the major stores, that they lost tons of food. Waffle Houses were reporting food was low and had sparse menus, but as tradition had it, they were open. It only took us 3 hours to get something to eat in celebration of our good luck. We sat and chatted and gave the waitress on the floor encouragement every time she fretted about being sorry about the delay. She had been on duty 13 hours at this point.
After almost a week things are better, clean up and restocking is still ongoing.
God has blessed us and I know all things happen for a reason. That said, we do not always know the reasons. What I see are these things. This town sheltered many refuges during the storm. It sold gas to those who needed it to the last drop, without looking at were the license plate was from. Food and water was made available to the last case and accessible to as many as could get to it. Emergency line crews sheltered here out of danger, so they could stay as close as possible to where they would be dispatched. Military and FEMA passed through here waiting for the storm to let them return to Florida as quickly as it was safe.
There are many for whom it will be weeks, months, and longer, before they will finally have homes again. Some will never have anything to go home to and will choose to rebuild or move on. My prayers go out the them. May God give them shelter from the storm, that may have passed, but still exists.