Posted 09-29-2004 at 15:11:01
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I am glad to report our family did not have any personal injuries related to the storms!
I found out today that we are on our own with our 80 acres of agricultural land in Geneva, FL. So far we have been chain sawing the downed trees when we have time and energy. It looks like we have 70 Ė 100 trees down or with the tops broken out. We spent three days cutting up the trees and pushing them out of the way with the tractor just to get the fence line cleared again. I guess we will make lots of burn piles and wait for the wood to dry so will burn well. At least we can still get burn permits.
The residents on the road where our property is have been without power for most of the time since Charlie. They would just get the lines fixed and another hurricane would come through and drop more trees on the lines. The damage would have been much worse if FPL had not just trimmed the trees in the area the month before. It seems sad that the residents fight to keep tall trees near the power lines and then complain when the trees bring the lines down in a storm. I think the power companies should enforce a clear zone to preclude loss and damage.
The government wants to provide assistance for those who are in need, but it appears that most farmers will have to pretty much go it alone on the clean-up. About the only assistance available is low interest loans for some crop damage to help get over the financial hump of loosing income from a crop. The best solution to the problem I have seen is an old one - neighbors helping neighbors. There has been a lot of that lately.
I have been watching the $$$$$ that FEMA has been spending hauling brush around the area. From my point of view it looks like it could have been chipped much more economically than having the contractors with 6í x 12í trailers stuff a few branches in and make a run to the nearest grinding site. The only one using chippers was the state road department Ė and they made fast work of the smaller stuff.
Well the last item is the gasoline / diesel shortages. It seems rather simple to me, but then again, maybe I donít understand. The majority of gasoline for the Central Florida area comes through a pipeline to the terminal in Taft in south Orlando. Most people that I asked usually donít keep their tanks filled with fuel. It was shocking to me to find out the majority of people I spoke with usually have around ľ of a tank or less. Along comes the hurricane and everyone is trying to fill up their vehicles and gas cans a day or two before it hits. The individuals do not curtail their driving, if anything they are making extra trips looking for batteries, gas cans, plywood, food, bottled water, etc. A lot of the stations do not have their tanks full due to a lack of funds and credit. At two dollars a gallon they could put $60,000 in one grade of fuel in the tanks, and that would probably fill up 2000 customers before they are empty and bag their pump nozzles. The trucking companies do not have a lot of idle drivers and trucks available for the extreme demand, so the usual numbers of trucks start hauling fuel for all they are worth trying to keep up. Some stations can not get more fuel because they donít have the cash or credit. It takes a while to get the credit card charges credited to their account and then transfer it to the supplier to get more fuel. I donít believe that anything could have avoided the shortage except changing the mindset of individuals to keep their vehicles full, purchase supplies at the beginning of the hurricane season, curtail driving when possible and keep their vehicle full a week or more out from when the storm hits. I did not have any trouble getting fuel three days before the storms arrived, without any lines. The two days before the storm hit it looked like the gas lines from the 70ís. The shortage continued after the storm. Luckily one of our vehicles is a dual fuel gasoline / propane so I could go the propane supplier and get filled up from one of the delivery trucks even though their power was out.