As everyone started the rebuilding process here in Central Florida, Hurricane Ivan showed up on the radar in early September of 2004 and quickly became the 10th most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded when it reached Category 5 strength. Initially Ivan moved through the Gulf of Mexico and headed northwest dropping massive amounts of rain on Florida, but after the storm moved back into the Atlantic it decided it hadn’t done enough damage. The storm regenerated into a tropical cyclone and came back across Florida yet again.
Central Floridians couldn’t relax just yet with Hurricane Jeanne on it’s way not long after Ivan left. On September 25th, after passing over the Bahamas, Jeanne made landfall in the sunshine state just miles away from where Frances made landfall 3 weeks prior. Unfortunately, those who had damage from the earlier storms were in serious trouble with the near-record flood levels Jeanne brought with her. After surviving three previous Hurricanes within just a few weeks, Central Floridians scrambled after receiving initial notice that Jeanne would be passing offshore. However, the morning of the 23rd brought devastating news that a direct hit was inevitable.
Communities were flooded, shelters were over flowing and electricity was out throughout most of Central Florida. When the storms passed and neighbors surfaced it became apparent that it would take a long time to rebuild all that had been destroyed. In just one summer Florida homes were violently threatened by four hurricanes, overwhelming amounts of rain and damaging winds. To this day I can see the effects of the 2004 season while I run by neighboring communities. Less than three miles from my house I pass a home that is still need in desperate need of help, but for most that tragic hurricane season is just a fleeting memory.
However, for the homeowner of the house I run by each week, the damage is still very real and something that has to be faced every day. It takes a community to come together to make real changes happen, but sometimes a community needs a hand from those on the outside. I think 8 years after the storm it is safe to say that we still need a helping hand to reach out and restore the hope of this community.