Storm preparation evolved after the lessons from Hurricane Irma’s destruction.
San Marco business owners spent Thursday returning to normal operations after Hurricane Dorian passed through Wednesday with minimal impact.
Joe Carlucci, president of the San Marco Merchants Association, said businesses prepared for the worst after the floods caused by Hurricane Irma in 2017.
This time, Carlucci said the area sustained little to no flooding and he received no reports of damage.
“Everyone is trying to get back to normal,” Carlucci said. “We had this weeklong anticipation and still kind of thinking it was going to miss us, and it did, but we were still on edge.”
Carlucci said water pumps were stationed on Lasalle Street and on Landon Avenue, two areas that often see flooding, even during rainstorms. Property owners on Lasalle Street that Carlucci spoke to didn’t see significant flooding.
Many businesses, especially those that had storm damage from Hurricane Irma, were prepared for Dorian.
Preparations at Office Environments & Services, at 1524 San Marco Blvd., included moving files, electronics and valuables off the floor, barricading doors and installing a flood barrier outside the door, said Todd Hogan, the company’s chief financial officer.
With Irma, the building was inundated with 18 inches of water.
“We learned all our valuable lessons in Irma and Matthew,” Hogan said. “Because once you’ve gone through one flood, you don’t want that to happen again.”
Hollingsworth Decorative Tile & Plumbing, at 1458 San Marco Blvd., was flooded by nearly 4 feet of water in Irma.
To prepare for Dorian, sales associate Jessica Hoey said the company moved items off the floor and placed concrete barriers in front of the doors.
Dorian didn’t damage the building, but the storm could have been a lot worse, she said.
“We didn’t know what to expect, so we just took as many measures as we could to make sure it didn’t happen like last time,” Hoey said.
Aside from taking time to prepare the building, the long lead up to the storm disrupted employee workflow, Hogan said.
Hoey said the company’s clients were understanding of delays caused by the storm.
Although the storm wasn’t a direct hit, preparing for one can benefit San Marco business owners, Carlucci said.
Hurricane season runs through the end of November, so it’s possible another storm could come within the next few months, he said.
“I think it just had everyone back in the mindset, because like it or not, most people have short-term memories,” he said.
“It kind of gave everybody a nice, dry run-through and now it’ll just make everyone that much more efficient and effective the next time a storm comes.”
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