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    Hurricane Ivan   

  (If you would like to see more pictures, please go the web site of the Pensacola News Journal.)  

  The storm surge devastated a bridge - that supposedly was designed to withstand ANY hurricane!! (ind_ivan_i10.jpg, 10 KB)

September 15th, 2004:  If you have not heard by now,  HURRICANE IVAN  hit  Pensacola, FL ...  pretty hard. 
(The storm actually came ashore sometime on the 16th, like 1 AM in the morning.)  

(I-10 is currently NOT functional!)  All the major bridges ... the "Three-mile bridge," (across the Bay); the "Bob Sikes Bridge" ...  have been severely damaged. Pensacola Beach, (FL); Gulf Shores, AL; Orange Beach, AL ... were nearly wiped off the map. (FL Governor Jeb Bush called it,  "The worst  {hurricane damage}  that I have ever seen."   Our community will be picking up the pieces  ...  for a very  long time.)  

I was without power and phone service for several days - many still have no electricity. (Some areas, it will be weeks - or even MONTHS - before power is restored ... too many trees down, and too many power poles snapped off like twigs, and so many trees down on the power lines.)  

NOTE: (August, 2010) I have a friend who lives "out in the boonies" north of Milton, FL. He lives down at the end of a long, dirt road. He was literally without power for NEARLY ONE YEAR ... so many trees down, so many power poles down ... ... ... I called him yesterday. I asked him if he could remember how long it was before he got his power back on. (His family went to live with a relative for a long time. He lived in a camper in his front yard while he worked to repair his house.) He said: "A.J., as best as I can remember it was July or August of 2005 before the electricity to my home was finally restored." How's that for difficult times? 

I feel blessed just to be alive. I also am grateful to the LORD that I still have a roof over my head ... people who live in the building less than 50 yards away had the roof removed, courtesy of the very powerful winds and multiple tornado's that came with this storm. Praise God! He brought me - and my family - through this natural disaster.  My heart, thoughts, and prayers are with those who lost so much in this terrible tragedy. [more

  Damage from Hurricane Ivan ... at a local area beach. (hurr-ivan_dam-pic01.jpg, 18 KB)

  More hurricane damage ... at a local beach. (hurr-ivan_dam-pic02.jpg, 19 KB)

  Shawn Dennis, Asst. Superintendant of Operations, views the damage at a local Pensacola School. (hurr-ivan_dam-pic03.jpg, 22 KB)

 Literally thousands of homes have trees down on them. (hurr-ivan_dam-pic04.jpg, 30 KB)

Words cannot begin to describe the damage done to Pensacola, nor my grief and regret for the harm caused to this area ... where I have lived my whole life. As I write this, (November 15th, 2004); the signs of this catastrophe are still everywhere. 

Anywhere you care to look, people have damaged roofs. Blue FEMA tarps are on nearly every home, with no end in sight. 
(It was almost five years later before all the houses in most neighborhoods had gotten rid of all the blue tarps. Aug. 2010.) 

On a road very close to the airport, the tree stumps, branches, logs etc; are piled over 30 feet high on what used to be a large softball field complex.  (I believe that eventually the authorities plan to use a wood chipper to get rid of all this debris.)  

Many houses on the various area beaches are completely destroyed, I do not know if there is an exact tally as of yet. 
(Hundreds, thousands ... tens of thousands? I truly have no real idea as of this writing.)  

However, life does go on. While it might be YEARS before you will be able to drive around the area and not see the left-over damage from this storm, we are rebuilding and getting back to normal. The children have returned to school ... after nearly a whole month off! When my little neighborhood has been fixed up, our privacy fence repaired and things put right again, I will be sure to update this little page. If you think about it, say a prayer for the families still without homes. 


Approximately November 25th, 2004:  I read a very touching story on the Internet the other day. It was about a doctor and his family who were living in the back of a building, (a church?) with two or three other families. (They lived in a home valued at half a million dollars prior to the storm ... now they are basically homeless.)  The insurance was - naturally! - dragging their feet. Many {former} homeowners did not have flood insurance ... and are looking at a total loss. 

The story's main focus was how well the families seem to be adapting to their environment and the kids were getting along well together. Yet my heart went out to them. And Thanksgiving I thanked God for a dry roof over my head!! 

Nov. 29, 2004:  This web page has generated literally dozens of e-mails. One of the common misconceptions is that we get hammered by hurricanes all the time.  Actually, this is not at all true.  We have had many brushes with quite a few storms over the years, but I have lived in Pensacola all my life ... and never seen anything approaching this level of destruction that we experienced with Hurricane Ivan

The city of Pensacola went almost 100 years without a direct strike from a hurricane. Then in 1995, we got slammed by TWO storms. (Erin and Opal.) And although we have had one or two brushes with a couple of storms since 1995, There was really no direct hit from any storms since 1995. So this is  NOT  something we are really used to!!   [ more ]  

   The first week of March, 2005:  We are finally getting new roofs on the apartment complex ... it is about time! 

   Sunday; 10 April, 2005:  The roofs are pretty much finished ... although the privacy fence has not been repaired. 

   Wednesday;  April 20th, 2005: The privacy fence is being repaired and should be finished in a week or so. 

The above entry is the last entry - at least for a while - make on this page. There are still many roofs that have the "blue FEMA tarps" on them, and many other signs of this disaster. The bridge across I-10 has yet to be finished. (Note: August 9th, 2010: Repairing the I-10 bridge was a project that took YEARS to finish!!!!!) The other day, I was out riding in a friend. I had him stop the car, there was an old oak tree being cut down. (It had been ripped in half by the hurricane.) I had my friend stop the car. I talked to an official in a hard hat, he informed me that the oak was ordered removed by the city and the county. It was truly sad, it was at least 200 years old ... it had been at this one corner ever since I can remember. (40+ years!) 

If Ivan were a person, I would seek retribution. (I would hunt him down like an animal, and make him pay for his crimes!)  

 ------>  I continue to pray for all those folks who lost their homes and their lives were devastated by this storm.  

  The benefits of Ivan?  

I try to put a positive 'spin' on almost everything, so here goes: A newspaper article, (Pensacola News Journal, don't have the exact issue handy); in June of 2005 said that Ivan had greatly stimulated our local economy ... many jobs were created as hundreds of homes had to be rebuilt. (Plus repairing other hurricane damage to our great city.) Also - the night before Hurricane Dennis, I tried to go out and purchase milk, but our side of the city was a ghost-town ... all the windows were boarded up and all the businesses were all closed. It seems in the wake of Ivan, people in our area have begun to take Hurricanes and evacuation orders a little more seriously. So ... I had to look really hard, but maybe even the dark clouds of Ivan had a silver lining. (July, 2005.)  [more

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    This page was first posted on my website on:  Monday; November 15th, 2004.     ----->  It was last updated on:  07/14/2012