LAKE PLACID — Hurricane Irma took no mercy on Lake Placid as she barreled her way north. The small town looked like a ghost town on Monday as houses and businesses were boarded up and residents hunkered down in their homes or shelters.
Irma’s powerful winds snapped even large trees like toothpicks; their limbs often falling on roofs, sheds and pool cages. The punishing rain came down in horizontal sheets for much of Sunday afternoon and night.
In Placid Lakes, three roads were washed out; a section of Catfish Creek Road near West Waterway Avenue, Island Parkway NE on both the eastward and westward lanes and Lincoln Road NE near the intersection of Coolidge Avenue and Lincoln Avenue. Fish were swimming in the roads that were flooded.
The shelters were filled to capacity Sunday night and quickly emptied Monday morning as people wanted to check their property as soon as it was light enough to see. What many will see won’t be good. More houses than not had at least some roof damage and many along the large Lake Placid have no roofs left at all.
Power lines are down in many areas and are laying over roads. Drivers should use caution when driving on flooded roads as there could be potholes or the road may be washed out.
Hurricane Irma has not defeated the spirit of those in Lake Placid. Residents were outside with rakes, shovels and chainsaws picking up their yards and helping their neighbors set their properties right on Monday. The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office brought inmates with chainsaws to cut up large trees that were blocking roadways.
There will be water in Lake Placid as all the utilities have generators. According to Town Administrator, Phil Williams, many of the generators were bought with FEMA grants.
“All of the town’s utilities have generator backups capable of running the water and lift stations,” Williams said. “As the web page states, per our Utility Director, the only weak spot is those town residences with sewer grinder systems. If they lose power for long, their system may back up.”