Resilient Community Survives Wrath Of The Hurricane And Comes Out Unscathed
No one is ever ready for a disaster. Hurricanes ravage communities every single year, and every time this happens, people have to deal with the devastation it leaves behind. And when you see the path it has taken, you’ll be shocked and appalled at how it can destroy homes and buildings.
Some people do their best to fortify their homes, but like most natural disasters, no one is really prepared. However, one community in Florida virtually came out unscathed from the strong winds and continuous rains. That’s because their homes were built to be sturdy against Mother Nature’s wrath.
Hurricane Ian has left an indelible mark on Southwest Florida. It has been nothing short of cataclysmic. A total of 2 million Floridians lost power in their homes and they were all left to scramble for their lives in the dark. However, one community survived and remained intact because their homes were designed to be resilient.
The community is named Babcock Ranch and it is located around 20 miles from Fort Myers. This is the very center of the devastation. That’s because the community is equipped with the right tools in their arsenal: solar power, native flora, and built-to-code construction. This means that while their pool coverings didn’t make it after the winds blew, and some houses had broken fence posts had a missing shingle or two, they had what they needed the most – electricity.
“When storms take aim at southwest Florida and evacuation orders are issued, residents of Babcock Ranch are at a distinct advantage,” a representative for the community, Lisa Hall, said when she spoke to CBS News. “Storm safety and resiliency has been factored into every element of design and engineering of the town.”
Around 4,600 residents reside in Babcock Ranch. The place has been billed as a storm-resilient and is 100% solar-powered. “They were told that Babcock Ranch was built to stand up to storms—but you never really know for sure until you see how everything performs when a storm comes,” Lisa Hall added to CBS news. “Ian put it to an extreme test.”
Babcock Ranch was built 25-feet higher on average when compared to their surrounding communities. This means that the place goes above the reach of storm waters. Aside from that, the buildings were specifically made to withstand Category 4 hurricane winds of 145 mph. When this was put to actual test, it passed with flying colors. Everyone was impressed.
The ranch was built in 2018. It was designed to be resilient to the climate. In fact, the town has a wastewater plant to serve them and a water system that is able to penetrate deep into an underground aquifer. Because of its innovative design, their drinking water remained clean from contamination and never shut off from access, which meant that they had all that they needed.
A total of 700,000 solar panels that came from Florida Power & Light was also set in place to provide each of their residents with electricity. If you look at the map, you’ll see that the ranch covers a large area of 900 acres. Despite its massive size, the community only sustained very little damage. They were left essentially unscathed and only needed minor repairs as the hurricane left the area. In fact, they retained both power and internet connections.
As for the electricity, their solar panels were able to constantly provide them with power. They even had a storm shelter, but they never expected to use it because the diesel generator was delivered late to them. The shelter was only opened at the 11th hour and even then, they were the only community in the area that always had electricity.
Babcock Ranch has been impressive. In fact, they have caught the attention of people all over. In fact, they wouldn’t be surprised to see more growth. The town expects to see its population expand to around 50,000, with 6 million square feet allotted for commercial space.
The residents have been extremely grateful for their place. They want to reach out to those who have lost so much of their belongings and have, in fact, organized several donation drives to help out those who were not as lucky as they were.
“I think the feeling for most people is surreal – and amazing blessed,” Hall also said. “They were told that Babcock Ranch was built to stand up to storms – but you never really know for sure until you see how everything performs when a storm comes. Ian put it to an extreme test.”
“It [is] a constant outpouring of support from Babcock Ranch residents who know how incredibly fortunate they are to have homes and community still intact,” Hall explained.
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