Hurricanes

9/12/17 9:45pm All staff are accounted for. Some sustained damage to their homes, but they are still very concerned about getting your property back into tip-top shape. 

Many of our staff is without power at home. Since we now have power at Canada House but are not able to open for guests this week, we are allowing (encouraging) any staff member who does not have power and does not have anywhere else to go, to stay at the resort. It’s a selfish motive, really… people who sleep better can work harder. 😉

Most of the management team was on-site today after power was restored, and we started getting things in order. All the equipment was checked, the chiller was started, and the pools were cleaned. The spas will be emptied tomorrow. 

Most of the staff will be in tomorrow to continue putting things back together and get the rooms in order. A few had vacations planned, and we are not asking anyone to cancel their vacation time. 

It will take a couple of days to get everything back in order, so as I said, we will remain closed for this week. Saturday begins our maintenance weeks, and we were scheduled to reopen from that on October 7. That will still happen (as long as Jose and all his friends stay away from us!!) 

We have a contractor coming to look at the awning tomorrow, and I have left a message for the fence company.  I’m sure the fence company will be very busy, as lots of folks lost fences, but none of ours are an emergency. 

Since our damage was so minimal, and we are going to be working on getting things put back together and doing our maintenance week projects, this will be our last update for Irma. 

But before we go, we just want to thank all of our many owners, from the bottoms of our hearts, for your thoughts, prayers, calls, and messages. We appreciate your concern. We know that you are worried for your property, but we also know you were worried for us, too. That means a lot to us. Thank you. 

9/11/17 8:45 pm My apologies for the delay in posting the previous update. WordPress said it went through but cell, texting, and data are really spotty down by the beach right now. 

I took some videos as we walked around, and posted them on YouTube. Here they are: 

East side walk through:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyFuLFdacJo

West side walk through:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYQVKwkMlsE

9/11/17 1:30 I’m at Canada House. We have some pretty minor damage all things considered. We lost the metal awning behind the east building and some wood fences. Lots of bushes down and one little tree that we may or may not be able to “right”. Keith from Daily is here with his husband and they are walking the floors of the east side to make sure there’s nothing catastrophic going on. I really appreciate them doing that since stairs aren’t my friend these days. 
We will not ask the staff to come back to start cleanup until we have power. There’s no point if we don’t have hot water and can’t vacuum. We will have someone on site at all times until the power comes back on. We’ll let you know when that happens but for the time being, rest assured your property is safe. 

9/11/17 11:00am Now that the curfew has been lifted, I’m heading over to assess any damage and see if we have power. Keep your fingers crossed! 

9/11/17 7:00am I was able to confirm with one of the neighbors on NextDoor that the power was off at Canada House last night but now that it’s getting light they won’t be able to tell just by looking. We have power at my house (hooray!) but as of 6am there are still 641,900 without power. I gather there’s also been some flooding of streets in the area down by Canada House, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get down there or not. Curfew lasts a few more hours, so after that I’ll find out. Will keep you posted. 

9/10/17 8:15 pm Winds have died down a bunch but there are still enough gusts to keep FPL from fixing power. 709,360 out of 933,300 customers are without power in Broward county as of 7:00pm according to FPL’s website. I’m more than a little miffed that two condos in my development still have power. But as long as we just sit around doing nothing (or eating really soft ice cream) we stay comfortable. The humidity is the worst part. 

We see lots of tree branches down from our windows. I’ve looked at NextDoor for Canada House and there are some pictures of A1A partially or completely blocked by branches, so not sure when we will be able to get there and of course when we will have power. That, of course, won’t matter until the curfew is lifted. 

More in the morning. 
9/10/17 12:00pm Still hanging in there. Missing AC. Trying to conserve cell phone battery. 

9/10/17 5:00am Irma has finally arrived. It’s raining heavily, and I can hear the windows being hit by gusts of wind from time to time. And of course the thing all Floridians dread the most… the power is out. Boo! 

9/9/17 8:15PM Still nothing of interest to report. We’ve had a couple of tornado warnings and we’re under a watch until midnight, but we’ve barely even had any wind or rain here. As of 7pm FPL reports about 27,000 customers in Broward County without power. Thankfully, we are not one of them. Not sure about Canada House, of course, but at this point my smallest concern about the resort is loss of power. 

The mayor of Broward announced a few hours ago that we are under a curfew until further notice, and that the weather should be really bad between 4am tomorrow morning and 9pm tomorrow night. So that’ll be a rough few hours. We’ll keep you posted… 

9/9/17 8:30AM There’s really nothing to report, but I didn’t want anyone to mistake the silence for an inability to give an update. There just hasn’t been much going on. We’re following the path closely and refraining from saying anything about it lest we curse ourselves. For those who are wondering about Batty, he’s at my house in a crate so he doesn’t fight with my cats. I’ll report more later as things become reportable. 

9/8/17 2:30PM We have finished securing the property to the best of our ability, and we are going home to “hunker down”. Waste Management, in their infinite wisdom, decided to suspend service sooner than they said, so our Dumpsters are not empty, but they are chained up. Wish us luck!

 9/7/17 8:30PM It’s eerie when there’s no one here. Everything has been put away. All computers, cash, and keys have been removed from the property. We had to give up on cleaning rooms, but we got them all stripped and secured. Tomorrow morning I will do one final walkthrough. After Waste Management has emptied the Dumpsters, we will chain them up, shut down the elevators, and hit the road. Staff has been instructed to text me at least twice a day once the storm begins, with a simple “I’m ok” message. Please feel free to keep us in your prayers.

9/7/17 1:00PM

All guests have left the property. I’ll refrain from saying anything about the folks who were sitting calmly in their rooms surfing the internet and whatnot while we were running around like crazy ants trying to get everything secured.

We are still in the process of moving everything indoors and stripping all the rooms after the guests who checked out. We are trying to get as many rooms clean as possible while we can still be here, so that when we return we can focus on cleaning up and assessing damage.

9/6/17 7:00PM

For our owners at home, who are worried about their property, we want to let you know that our preparations are going very smoothly. Several of our staff members who weren’t scheduled to work have volunteered to come in and help, and we are so grateful to them. Quite a lot of outside items have already been put in rooms. We still have a lot of work to do tomorrow, but we are ahead of schedule, and doing well.
Most of the guests who were here have already checked out, and we have only a few left who will be checking out tomorrow. RCI has cancelled all inbound reservations for this Saturday.
We will keep you apprised.
We appreciate all the calls and emails and Facebook posts letting us know you are all praying for us. XOXOXO

9/6/17 12:00PM

Broward County has now issued a mandatory evacuation for everyone East of the Federal Highway (US1).

https://www.local10.com/weather/hurricane-irma/mandatory-evacuations-ordered-for-broward-county

9/6/17 6:45AM

Well, the direction of the cone of uncertainty took a decidedly ugly turn in the night… it now looks like Irma will be heading straight up the middle of the state, with the East coast on the stronger side of the eye wall.

We will be evacuating. All in-house guests will be required to check out and vacate their rooms no later than 8AM Friday morning so that our staff can finish securing the property and get home safely before the storm starts.

Notices will be given out to all guests and voicemails left in all occupied rooms first thing this morning.

Obviously we will not be checking in any guests on Saturday. After the storm we will let everyone know by a post here if we can accept guests for the remainder of their week.

9/5/17 9:45PM

Not much change in the cone of uncertainty or the strength of this massive storm… but for those wondering what we could be in for (or for our guests who are thinking of trying to “ride it out”), we found this:

https://youtu.be/lqfExHpvLRY

9/5/17 2:40PM

Subsequent to the 2PM advisory, we believe that evacuation of our area is extremely likely. We hesitate to put a specific timeline on it because hurricanes can change so abruptly, and we are loathe to put a damper on anyone’s vacation for no reason. But for those guests whose anxiety would be lessened by having a TENTATIVE timeline, we will say that at this point, if evacuation is required, we anticipate our evacuation deadline for guests to be no later than 8AM Friday morning. This time is VERY MUCH SUBJECT TO CHANGE at the whims of the weather. We will continue to update this page as needed.

For those guests scheduled to check in next week, the status remains unchanged – we will not know if we can reopen until the storm has passed, we have electricity, and we have assessed any damage.

Thank you for your prayers.

9/5/17 9:15AM

As you may have seen, Hurricane Irma is taking aim at our area. As of 8 AM on Tuesday 9/5/17, she is now a Category 5 storm, and she’s still headed in our general direction. The National Hurricane Center is predicting that we will see, at a minimum, tropical storm force winds – possibly as early as Friday morning.

What does this mean for our guests?

Guests currently staying at Canada House:

We are strongly recommending that you contact your airline NOW and make arrangements to fly out no later than Friday morning – and preferably Thursday. Why? If we are placed under a mandatory evacuation, we will ALL have to leave the property. It is the Resort’s policy that all guests must leave at least 12-24 hours prior to the official evacuation time, so that our staff can finish securing the property and get home safely before the storm begins in earnest. In the past, this has sometimes meant that guests have had to leave while the weather was still truly gorgeous. And while we regret that, we have the utmost respect for the power of a hurricane – especially at 175mph – and we take our duty to secure this property, our staff, and our guests extremely seriously. If we have to evacuate, and the planes are grounded due to wind, our guests will have nowhere to go. This is why we are recommending that our in-house guests contact their airlines NOW and change their flights – while there are still seats to be had.

Guests due to check in on 9/9:

In order for us to be able to check you in for week 36, we require two things at a minimum. The storm must have passed in its entirety, and we must have power. Please note that this does not necessarily mean that we will have drinkable water – we may be under a boil water order after the storm. This also assumes that we do not have any significant damage.

In order to know if the storm has passed, please visit the National Hurricane Center website at www.nhc.noaa.gov, where you can see the current position of the storm as well as the estimated track it will take. If the storm has passed, you will see it there.

In order to find out if we are open, please consult this page. We will be updating the page at least daily until Thursday, and then as conditions warrant. The most recent updates will be at the top of the page, and will have a time stamp. In the event that the storm does hit, updates will continue as long as there is cell phone (actually data) service in the area, and your webmistress’s phone has battery. If there are no updates, there is a good probability that we have lost power long enough for cell phones to go dead. If that is the case, you can assume we are still closed.

If you are not in-house and are not scheduled to arrive this Saturday:

As much as we appreciate your concern, we have a LOT to do right now. Please, please refrain from calling the resort. If you’d like to let us know you’re thinking about us, please post a note on our Facebook page, or send us an email. And please do continue to watch this page for updates.

In case you don’t follow us on Facebook, you can find us here: https://www.facebook.com/CanadaHouseBeachClub/

 

To read the usual information that is found on this page (when we do not have a hurricane bearing down on us), please read on.

Hurricane Information

For those folks who see on the news that South Florida is in the path of a hurricane and begin to worry about us, we thank you for your concern. Judging by the number of phone calls, faxes, and emails we receive during hurricane watches and warnings, there are a lot of you out there who are very concerned about our safety. We are most definitely grateful for that. However, to be perfectly honest, it can be very difficult to answer questions about our situation while in the middle of  hurricane preparations. To counter that, we have this page that we use to update our owners and guests (and sometimes faraway friends & family members) as to our status. When hurricane conditions threaten, we will update this page as often as possible. Keep in mind that when we lose power and/or phone service, it becomes impossible to post updates. So if you hear that we’re being threatened, please come check this page… but if you notice we’re not updating it, it means you’ll need to bear with us while we work to get things back in order. It also means we’ll need your prayers for extra help with that! ;o)

Links:

Hurricane Prep @ Canada House

We’ve often been asked what’s involved in preparing the Canada House for a hurricane and/or evacuation. Actually, for the most part, whether we get evacuated or can stay on property, there’s not too much difference in what we do to prepare. This isn’t a complete list of what goes on, but it will give you some idea of what’s involved (this is in no particular order):

  • Periodically communicate with exchange companies regarding status, especially if evacuation is ordered for our area.
  • Go to every unit and take the patio furniture inside, also checking to make sure all doors and windows are securely closed. Close blinds and curtains to help keep water out in case windows get broken during the storm.
  • Pick up all loose branches, coconuts, etc., from around property.
  • Remove all outside furniture, trash barrels, luggage & grocery carts, wall ash trays, filtered water dispensers, and any other item that isn’t permanently attached from pool and yard areas and place in empty rooms.
  • Take down all signs and other items that may be attached to walls, which could come loose and cause damage to people or property.
  • Lower water level in pools & spas (because the storm will dump lots of rain into them, and they could overflow and cause flooding).
  • Turn off all pool equipment (if sand gets in the pool during the storm, we need to clean it out before it gets into the filter and/or motor).
  • If needed, call for extra trash pickup to empty Dumpsters, then secure them to keep them from rolling around in the wind.
  • Contact all in-house guests – either to inform them of evacuation or to advise them on how to weather the storm (if there’s no evacuation and they choose to stay). If evacuation is not mandated, also hand out glowsticks in case the electricity goes out.
  • Check all doors and gates to ensure that they are closed securely and locked.
  • Update hurricane page on website & change recording on main phone line.
  • Backup computers (4) and server (1)
  • Close & lock hurricane shutters
  • Wash as much laundry as possible and clean all rooms as guests check out (decreases the amount of time it takes to re-open after the storm)
  • Order extra housekeeping supplies (so we’ll have supplies after the storm even if the roads are closed or gas is in short supply)
  • Fill gas tanks for use in chainsaw & blower after storm is over.
  • Reconfirm contact information for all employees so we can call them to come back to work after the storm is over

Keep in mind that after the storm is over, we have to put back everything that was put away. We also have to check all rooms for leaks, broken windows, or other damage. There are always leaves, branches, and other debris to clean up — and of course we have to have extra trash pick-ups because of that… The Maintenance Team also has to check all the equipment (boiler, chiller, pool equipment, elevators, etc., etc.) to make sure it’s all working the way it should be…

Wow. All this talking about hurricane prep makes a girl tired! Let’s hope it’s a long time before we have to do this again!