Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Hurricane Irma exacts heavy toll on Florida's mobile homes
By Sébastien BLANC
Naples, United States (AFP) Sept 12, 2017

Twisted pieces of aluminum roofing litter Donald Larcom's yard, but the retiree says he doesn't even know which house it came from. The Florida mobile home park where he lives was devastated by Hurricane Irma.

The storm's fierce winds tore apart some of these small, prefabricated homes, which line what were tidy lawns in this neighborhood.

Now, the streets are covered with floodwaters dotted with floating pieces of particleboard and Styrofoam, and not many trees are left standing.

Mobile homes were a particular worry as Irma approached Florida, as they are simply placed on bricks or cinder blocks, then anchored to the ground. They can be quickly dismantled or moved onto the back of a large truck.

Mobile home parks can be found in nearly every American city, and are often filled with working class families. In holiday destinations, these neighborhoods are popular among retirees enjoying the quiet years of their life.

Larcom and his wife Marie live in the "Enchanted Shores" mobile home park, in the seaside city of Naples away from the historical center where upscale mansions are found. There are no young families or children here, the only residents are 55 or older.

With streets named after precious stones like amethyst, sapphire and turquoise, two-thirds of the homes here are occupied only from November to Easter, when retired Americans who live in the northern parts of the country flock south to enjoy Florida's mild winter weather.

- Designed for storms -

Some of these "snowbirds," as they are known, will have to give up their little winter havens after Irma's battering. But others, like the Larcoms, were lucky, making it through the storm without major damage.

As Donald Larcom explains, the older homes did not survive because they weren't built to withstand major hurricanes.

"From the early 1990s to after (1992 hurricane) Andrew went through, they just doubled everything" in terms of strength, he said, noting that wooden rods used in the frames are now triple the thickness of pre-1990s construction.

Homes from the 1990s and later are built to withstand winds of up to 110 miles per hour (177 kilometer per hour), he said.

But Irma sometimes exceeded those speeds as it cut a deadly path from the Caribbean through the southeastern United States. By Tuesday, Irma had dissipated, though parts of the US remained flooded and millions were without power.

Larcom, who worked for 32 years at General Motors, estimates that his mobile home weighs 15 to 20 tons but "it's nothing when they get a 130, 140 or 150 mile an hour wind."

A neighbor's home, which looks like a traditional house, was knocked on its side. And not everyone has insurance to cover hurricane damage, which is expensive.

As Irma approached, the Larcoms fled Enchanted Shores for safety, taking their valuables with them.

"I was sick. I am thinking I come home and my little house is gonna be gone," Donald Larcom said, confessing that he burst into tears when he found it still standing.

- 'Well-blessed' -

Stasia Walsh, 77, who didn't have any place to go, remained in her prefabricated home throughout the raging hurricane.

Following directions broadcast on their battery-powered radio, she and her husband huddled in the center of their mobile home, which in this case was a closet that they padded with a mattress.

The couple had placed metal storm shutters over their windows but could hear the wind literally tearing apart the awning over their parking spot.

Ultimately their three-room home -- which has double anchors thanks to a state program -- survived intact.

"I feel very well-blessed from God, for him to give us this experience, and to be able to survive and live through this," she said.

Monster success of "It" feeds primal fear of clowns
Los Angeles (AFP) Sept 12, 2017
The big-screen remake of Stephen King's "It," starring the evil entity Pennywise, has smashed box office records and reaffirmed an age-old rule of horror: clowns are creepy as hell. But while countless movies and television shows have cashed in on so-called "coulrophobia" - or fear of clowns - the primal dread associated with the long-shoed entertainers probably isn't Hollywood's fault. ... read more

Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Britain ups aid for storm-hit Caribbean, but Brexit fears loom

Global split over Rohingya crisis as China backs Myanmar crackdown

Thousands need shelter, healthcare in Caribbean after Irma: UN

US environmental regulators probe Arkema after explosions

New microscopy method for quick and reliable 3-D imaging of curvilinear nanostructures

Chinese video site offers virtual escape from 'boring' reality

Chinese video site offers virtual escape from 'boring' reality

Molecules move faster near sticky surfaces

Man-made reefs: A compelling diving alternative

Vulnerable Pacific states demand urgent climate action

Risky business for fish in oil-polluted reef waters

Japanese seaweed is welcome invader on US coasts: study

Reindeer grazing protects tundra plant diversity in a warming climate

Bleak outlook for Asian glaciers

Ancient tree exposes cause of hike in Arctic temperature

Experts call for added focus on the impact of glacier mass loss on downstream systems

Foodies cheesed off as China says 'non' to France's finest

Latvia tweets no room for mushroom hunters on army base

EU chamber urges China to lift cheese ban

Climate change threatens Latin America coffee producers

2011 Tohoku-oki earthquake: Results from seismic reflection data

Why Irma wasn't as catastrophic in Florida as feared

Italian couple and son die after falling into volcanic crater

Study finds U.S. threatened by more frequent flooding

DRCongo troops chasing reporter 'force entry' at UN base

Angolans vote as Dos Santos ends 38-year rule

Death toll in SLeone flood disaster reaches 441

Africa Endeavor 2017 communications conference starts in Malawi

Large-scale study of genetic data shows humans still evolving

Groups are more likely to lie than individuals, new study shows

Human settlement in the Americas may have occurred in the late Pleistocene

Humans are still evolving, study suggests

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement