Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Tampa Bay Weather

Riding out Irma in a mobile home: 'Pretty scary there for awhile, I can't lie to you'

RECOMMENDED READING


LEALMAN — As his mobile home shook and debris slammed against the walls outside, Robert Franks felt pangs of fear.

The 28-year-old Lealman resident had decided to stay with is fiancee in a single-wide home in the Casa del Sol park on 58th Avenue to help some elderly neighbors who weren't evacuating. The neighbors ended up evacuating at the last minute, but Franks and his fiancee didn't have that option, he said.

When Irma's winds began rocking Franks' home, he wondered if the walls would hold.

"It was pretty scary there for a while, I can't lie to you," the Florida native recalled Monday morning as he took a break from picking up downed limbs scattered around the park and wheeling them away in a red shopping cart.

Compared to what forecasters had predicted, though, "it was a lot better than I thought it was going to be, for sure." Some trim flew off the trailer and plaster on the inside walls cracked from the shaking, but the home is intact.

Much of the Tampa Bay area breathed easier after a weakened Irma blew through here, but mobile home dwellers tended to feel a special kind of relief. They're the first to be ordered to evacuate, after all, because the walls around them are most vulnerable to high winds and falling trees. But tours of mobile home parks in mid Pinellas showed remarkably few signs of damage, perhaps the clearest sign of how Irma's shift to the east spared the area.

"I'm relieved," said Patsy Miner, who lives in a double-wide abode in the Lowe's City Mobile Home Community on 28th Street N. "I thank the Lord."

Miner and her husband, Jim, both 78, left Saturday for a nearby Comfort Inn. The Massachusetts transplants have lived in Florida for 17 years and had fled their tidy beige home for other storms, but Irma scared them the most.

Before they left, Patsy sprinkled some holy water on all the windows and doors. They returned Monday morning to find the storm had shorn several slats of siding off the home. That was it.

"It worked," she said of the liquid blessing.

Before they left, the Miners urged an octogenarian neighbor to do the same. She refused.

"She said, 'If it's my time to go, I'm ready to go,' " Miner said. "I said, 'We don't want you to go. We love you. We want you to stay.' "

Apparently, it wasn't the neighbor's time. Her immaculate red and white mobile home appeared to be untouched. No one answered the door when a reporter knocked.

Down the street, Patrick and Elaine Mullen evacuated to their son's house in the Edgemoor neighborhood and returned Monday morning to find a section of the aluminum roof over their home's sun room peeled back like a sardine can, their attached laundry room in pieces and their carport flattened.

"We were worried about the winds and that's what happened," said Elaine Mullen, 63, as metal flashing flapped in a still-stiff wind.

Her prized Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix concert posters were untouched. So was Patrick Mullen's collection of Tampa Bay Rays bobbleheads and other memorabilia perched in glass cases in an adjacent office.

"We're just glad to be safe," said Patrick Mullen, 75.

Timothy Price and his family were safe, too, because they decided Timothy's single-wide mobile home was no place to ride out the storm.

They were right.

Price, his brother Chad and Chad's 11-year-old son, Brandon, left the home at the Sun Cove Apartments and Mobile Homes on 28th Street before Irma arrived. They headed across the street, to a building at County Recycling, where Price, 41, works as a welder mending trucks and bins.

"My boss was nice enough to let me go there," Price said.

At some point, a massive, sickly looking oak tree toppled onto the home, crushing half of it like a soda can. Chad Price's bed had disappeared under the flattened metal.

Now the family felt a mix of anxiety and relief, glad to be alive but unsure where they will now call home.

"We can replace things," Timothy said, "but we can't replace family."

Comments
Forecast: Foggy, then partly cloudy Thanksgiving Eve before holiday rain takes hold across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Foggy, then partly cloudy Thanksgiving Eve before holiday rain takes hold across Tampa Bay

A foggy, then partly cloudy day precedes what potentially could be a wet and dreary Thanksgiving across Tampa Bay.Deep moisture in the region has produced thick fog early Wednesday morning, with visibility reduced to a quarter-mile in some areas — in...
Published: 11/22/17
Nursing home tells Congress Irma deaths not staff’s fault

Nursing home tells Congress Irma deaths not staff’s fault

Associated PressFORT LAUDERDALE — A Florida nursing home under investigation for the deaths of 13 patients after Hurricane Irma says in a letter to Congress that staff members did everything possible but couldn’t overcome a lack of power to the centr...
Published: 11/21/17
Forecast: Clouds build, setting stage for a soggy Thanksgiving across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Clouds build, setting stage for a soggy Thanksgiving across Tampa Bay

Clouds and temperatures are increasing — and so are rain chances – as Thanksgiving could be a soggy one across the Tampa Bay region.[WTSP]Check the latest Tampa Bay-area live radar: The wet outlook is due to a systems that will produce spotty shower...
Published: 11/21/17
Forecast: Sunny, crisp conditions across Tampa Bay ahead of a soggy Thanksgiving

Forecast: Sunny, crisp conditions across Tampa Bay ahead of a soggy Thanksgiving

Crisp, refreshing and sunny fall-like conditions will remain over the Tampa Bay region before a pair of cold fronts move through the area during the week, culminating in a soggy Thanksgiving day.Temperatures are starting off around 10 degrees cooler ...
Published: 11/20/17
Two months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico struggles to regain electricity, thousands flee

Two months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico struggles to regain electricity, thousands flee

Los Angeles Times (TNS)ANASCO, Puerto Rico — The lights remain off in bustling cities and in small rural villages. Gas generators, the only alternative to the downed power lines that seem to be everywhere, continuously hum outside hospitals and bodeg...
Published: 11/19/17
Forecast: Cold front to bring rain, wind gusts to Tampa Bay

Forecast: Cold front to bring rain, wind gusts to Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — A warm Sunday will be threatened by a few afternoon rain showers and wind gusts up to 20 mph, forecasters predict. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10News WTSPFeels-like temperatu...
Published: 11/19/17
Forecast: Ideal conditions across Tampa leading to weekend, but rain is on its way

Forecast: Ideal conditions across Tampa leading to weekend, but rain is on its way

The week ends with more virtually ideal weather conditions across Tampa Bay, but that changes a bit on Sunday with the arrival of a cold front that could result in a soggy Thanksgiving.10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay area Whi...
Published: 11/17/17
Forecast: Low clouds will yield to sunny, pleasant conditions across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Low clouds will yield to sunny, pleasant conditions across Tampa Bay

A cloudy morning will lead to another cool, sunny day as a string of pleasant, comfortable days will remain intact across Tampa Bay.Temperatures are starting off in the upper 50s to low 60s. Once the low clouds burn off as the day progresses, dry air...
Published: 11/16/17
Forecast: Sunny, breezy and refreshing conditions prevail across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Sunny, breezy and refreshing conditions prevail across Tampa Bay

Wednesday is setting up as another sunny, pleasant and breezy day across Tampa Bay.10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay area Residents are waking up to temperatures anywhere from 5 to 10 degrees cooler than Tuesday, with lows in t...
Published: 11/15/17
Forecast: Cool breezes drive pleasant conditions across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Cool breezes drive pleasant conditions across Tampa Bay

Cooler air, filtering from the north along with breezy winds, will create more of a fall feel across the Tampa Bay region.10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay area St. Petersburg is experiencing sustained winds of 17 mph, and some...
Published: 11/14/17