NOAA helped Key West residents check on the storm. Now, it’s helping them check on their property.
The agency published roughly 36 square miles of satellite imagery taken Monday on its website. It’s a quick way for evacuated residents to assess whether their homes are still standing after Hurricane Irma blew through.
Some found reasons to be relieved. Others weren’t as fortunate.
’Found my boat. #RIP’
Patrick Lewis evacuated to Tennessee to escape Irma. When a friend sent him the NOAA imagery, he discovered his primary residence – his boat – was no more.
The image showed the boat on its side.
“I’ll eventually go back to Key West to salvage what I can,” Lewis told CNN. “But it may be sometime before I can get there.”
He is currently heading to Clearwater, Florida, where he has family. His plans to study renewable energies at Florida Keys Community College are now on hold.
’While it is not pretty, we do appear to be intact’
For Jack Klausing and Diane Hogue, the satellite images provides some measured assurance their two-story, floating house is still floating. The two Cincinnati residents bought the house as a retirement property in April.
“It is not pretty,” he wrote on Facebook, referencing how the house was moved by the surge. He drew a green box showing where the house normally sits on the water.
His neighbor’s houseboat, normally next to theirs, partially sits onshore.
Klausing told CNN that not knowing the extent of damage to Key West was nerve-racking.
“First, where the storm would hit,” he said. “Then, not knowing what the damage was. As it turns out, the storm hit in the worst spot for us.”
The pair will return to Key West as soon as things open up, knowing there’s a lot of work to be done in the months ahead. They plan on working with their neighbors to help get things “back to normal” as quickly as possible.
“Much work will need to be done,” he said. “Then we hope to get back to life as usual.”
’Maybe we will get our lives back after all of this’
The images brought relief to Susanna Pope, one of the co-owners of High Class Hooker Sportfishing. The shop’s boat was fine, except for some minor damage.
“We did the best preparation possible,” she told CNN. “We left the boat in its slip. There was no good option of a place in Florida to move the boat to.”
Before evacuating to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Pope and her husband tied the boat up and prayed for the best.
The Popes aren’t planning to return to the Keys until power and cell service is restored.
Friends tell them their house had some holes in the roof. But they were relieved their business was fine.
“Maybe we will get our lives back after all of this,” Pope said.