Irma Moves through Florida and Mid-Atlantic Regions, Leaving Destruction, Uncertainty

By Norah Dick, Glass Magazine
September 12, 2017

Hurricane Irma hit the southeastern United States on Sunday, Sept. 10, bringing severe damage to the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane with 130 miles per hour winds, before making landfall twice along the Florida coast, according to reports from the National Weather Service. The impact comes after Hurricane Irma brought devastation to the Caribbean, including the islands of Barbuda and St. Martin.

Irma arrived in Florida less than two weeks after Tropical Storm Harvey made its final landfall on Aug. 30 on the Gulf Coast, and marks the first time in 166 years of recorded weather history that two Category 4 storms have made landfall in the United States in the same year, the NWS reports. 

On Monday, Sept. 11, Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm, but continued to move northwest into Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. Though some warnings have been discontinued, storm surge warnings from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are in place for portions of the coastlines of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. NOAA warns that intense rainfall of 2 inches or more per hour may lead to flash flooding for the eastern panhandle of Florida, as well as southern Georgia.  

Irma has claimed 10 lives in the United States so far, according to a report from ABC news. Almost 6 million are without power in Florida, and thousands more in Georgia.

As many glass shops and companies remained closed through Monday, most members of the glass community available for comment were those exhibiting at GlassBuild America 2017. While some in the glass community are assessing the damage, for many it is too soon tell.

“The good news is there's no damage whatsoever to anything at [IGE Glass Technologies],” says Michael Spellman, owner, IGE Glass Technologies. “There is no damage to my home, which is just down the road from IGE [in Jupiter, Florida]. The families of several of our technicians were concerned so we sent them home from [GlassBuild America] early.”

“We evacuated on Thursday, and are in Atlanta. We will sit it out here for the show,” says Ricardo Dominguez, owner, Jordon Glass Machinery. “All employees are safe. An employee [in Miami] will go out today to see what kind of damage there is.”

The Glass Doctor franchise locations in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale were both closed Monday, though a representative from the Miami office reported that there has been a need for the shop’s services. C.R. Laurence’s facility in Miami closed last Friday as a precaution, and remained closed through today. “Facilities and personnel are safe, and CRL Miami is open for business tomorrow [Tuesday],” says Andrew Haring, vice president of marketing, C.R. Laurence Co. 

As many glass shops in the affected areas of Florida remain closed, it is still too early to determine the extent of the damage, and how the stringency of Miami-Dade codes aided the performance of local glazing. GWR Repair, a window repair shop in Ft. Lauderdale, appeared to be one of the only glass shops in the area open for business. A representative from the company reported that while all employees were safe, “getting glass, and getting it ready, is a challenge.” The representative was not sure of the extent of the local damage, but was experiencing a high call volume. 

To provide individual or company contributions to the Red Cross, click here or text “Irma” to 990999 to donate $10.